Tuesday, January 3, 2012

OMG, That's Good

There's a restaurant down the street from me that I think I could easily call one of my top five restaurants in Providence.  They don't really have a particular style of cooking, except I once heard them described as serving "comfort food that your mom would make for you--if your mom was a really, really good cook."  My mom is not a really good cook (and she lives 1800 miles away), so I am adopting this restaurant instead.

Last time I was there, I was looking for something hearty but light, and warm because it is winter.  I'm also trying to eat more vegetables and do a bit of a detox from all of the heavy holiday foods and sweets.  Enter, The Warm Spinach Salad.  They made theirs with spinach, lentils, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, shallots, cranberries and maybe something else.  As I was eating my leftovers, and scheming to get more of this salad, I realized that  I could totally make it myself! So here's what I made:

I ate a little divot in the front so you could see the layers...
No, that's a lie, I just wanted to eat it.
I didn't feel like cooking lentils (not sure why), so I subbed in some quinoa; and instead of using sweet potatoes (which I would have had to leave the house to buy), I used butternut squash (which I already had).

1/2 medium butternut squash (or just use a small one, obv.)
1 c, quinoa rinsed and cooked
About four handfuls of spinach, wilted
Vegetable Bullion
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Other spices as desired--I'm not going to tell you who to be
Slivered almonds and Craisins (garnish)

  • Peel, seed and dice butternut squash into small pieces.  Arrange onto cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and desired spices (I used rosemary--so good!).  Work the spices and oil through the squash with your hands and roast in oven for approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Cook quinoa according to directions adding 1-2 veg bullion cubes.  That can boil on a back burner while the squash roasts, and you get started on the spinach.
  • Add two glugs olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic to skillet (unless you want more garlic).  Heat and toast garlic until just brown.  Add four large handfuls of spinach (more if you want more spinach--it shrinks a lot), and cook over medium high until all spinach is wilted.
  • Hang out for a bit while the squash cooks, maybe do some dishes or play with your cat (but be sure to wash your hands), or maybe you should have started the squash a bit earlier than the spinach and quinoa--did you ever think of that?  Finish up the quinoa and layer it onto plate or bowl.
  • Layer spinach next.
  • Layer squash on top and sprinkle with Craisins and slivered almonds (if desired).
  • Pat self on the back because this is freaking fantastic.
I had  little extra quinoa, so I just piled it on top.  You can do whatever
you want with yours--follow your heart.

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