Friday, February 3, 2012

Creamed Spinach by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

(Part of a series featuring Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game Changers in Food)

I was pleased to learn about the two ladies in the spotlight this week at #33- Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, the dynamic duo behind Canal House Cooking, a food magazine that dishes out seasonal delicacies. They're the brains behind Canal House (opened in 2006), a unique little food and design studio that's quite intriguing to read about from other articles. It's apparently laid out like a kitchen, dining room, office, workshop, studio all rolled into one where they cook up delicious food, write, create recipes, shoot and much more. Hirsheimer and Hamilton have known each other for about 15 years and have a bunch of credits they each carry in their bags. Hirsheimer, a writer and photogrpaher, served as the food and design editor for Metropolitan Home magazine, and was a founding editor at Saveur magazine. She shoots food photos for Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Rick Bayless. At the other end of the table, Hamilton, a chef, food stylist and recipe developer, has worked at Martha Stewart Living, Cooks Illustrated and also served as a food editor and director of the test kitchen at Saveur magazine. Both the ladies come from different cultural backgrounds - Hamilton's french heritage and Hirsheimer's california childhood - and that reflects highly in the food they lavish in their cookbooks.

When it was time to pick a recipe from their treasure trove, I first settled on their stewy roasted root vegetables. It looked so earthy and delicious that I couldn't resist. I'd planned to have the food and pictures all set by midnight Thursday so I could post it early on Friday. 


So, I gathered all the ingredients and started roasting. Every time I peered into the oven to check its done-ness, the aroma from the roasted vegetables was so heavenly. I smiled contently thinking I had a success of a dish. But, then, things slowly didn't turn out as I hoped they would. It could also perhaps be that I just discovered I can't stand the taste of parsnips. In addition, the liquid quickly dried up and my vegetables had still not completely softened, so I had to add a little more here and there. It didn't help. When I tasted the final product, all I could think was 'Blech'! No offense to the lovely ladies, but it is most likely me making a disaster of a good recipe.

There went all my plans of having the recipe and post ready for early Friday! I went back to the drawing board and started hunting for new recipes. I decided to stick with something really simple so I couldn't mess it up again. And my eyes took me straight to their version of creamed spinach, and my heart and hands followed. 


BOY, was I right to pick this one! This creamed spinach is one of the best I've ever eaten and the potatoes really add a new dimension to the dish. Me being thrilled with the results, is an understatement. I was grinning like a buffoon, is more like it! So, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Bon Appetit!



Creamed Spinach by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton (recipe found here and in Canal House Cooking Vol. 6)

Ingredients and instructions:

For the ginger-garlic paste

  • 1 5-inch finger fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Salt
  • Really good extra-virgin olive oil

For the spinach
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1potato, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound washed young spinach
For the ginger-garlic paste, pulse the ginger, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add a little water to thin the paste. Store in a covered container with a little olive oil on the surface. Keeps for about a week.

For the spinach, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 big tablespoon ginger-garlic paste and cook for a minute, swirling it in the butter. Add the potatoes and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and pile the spinach into the pot, pressing it down so that you can fit it all in. Cover and cook until the spinach wilts, about 10 minutes. Fold the spinach into the potatoes and cream, and serve.



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Here's a list of the other bloggers participating in this series. Do go over to their blogs to see what yummy dishes they've whipped up. If you'd like to join the group, please get in touch with Mary of One Perfect Bite. 

Val - More Than Burnt Toast [] Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed [] Susan - The Spice Garden [] Heather - girlichef [] Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney [] Jeanette - Healthy Living [] Mary - One Perfect Bite [] Kathleen - Bake Away with Me [] Sue - The View from Great Island [] Barbara - Movable Feasts [] Linda A - There and Back Again [] Nancy - Picadillo [] Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits [] Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen [] Annie - Most Lovely Things [] Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook [] Alyce - More Time at the Table [] Amrita -Beetles Kitchen Escapades

20 comments:

  1. What a shame your roasted vegetables disappointed. The spinach looks delightful and it something that really appeals to me. It is so good to have you as part of our group. We love new voices and yours is bright and clear. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Awwww Thanks so much for such a lovely comment, Mary, I'm absolutely touched! I'm enjoying myself in this group thoroughly, discovering new chefs/cooks and their recipes. :D

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  2. It looks like it all turned out for the best in the end...this is such an interesting creamed spinach recipe, and your photos are wonderful.

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  3. Oh man, what a bummer! But hey, this second dish looks absolutely fabulous. I mean, the ginger-garlic paste!? I knew I'd like it from that moment on- it sounds and looks delicious :D

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    1. Oh yes, Heather, that was the best part...the aroma you get when you're cooking the potatoes in the garlic and butter is amazing! :D

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  4. So sorry your first dish was a thumbs down! This spinach dish looks wonderfully delicious!! Love the addition of the ginger-garlic paste...yum!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! The ginger-garlic paste really made a huge difference! :)

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  5. This dish seems so healthy with all that spinach in it! My husband and I always look around for healthy options. This is wonderful! And you have a lovely blog!

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Gursahiba! I hope both you and your husband enjoy this dish some time!

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  6. I love spinach, Beetle! And this dish sounds so easy and tasty. Beautiful plating and beautiful pictures. I have been reading more about Canal House...I came across the name in another blog and assumed it was a restaurant, but after your description I get what they do.

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    1. Cinnamin!! This dish is horribly easy and soooo yummy!! Thanks so much for all your compliments! *blush* I'm glad I was able to clarify what Canal House is all about! :D

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  7. Nice to learn a little bit more about these ladies and Canal House Cooking. This dish does look healthy as well as tasty. You did a great job on your pictures here!

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    1. Thank you, Tina! These ladies do have a whole host of delightful recipes I'm bookmarking to try!

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  8. Creamed spinach is one of my daughter's favorites, therefore I know she would absolutely love this! I especially love the fresh ginger! Beautiful post and site! I Blessings, Catherine xo

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    1. Thanks for the lovely words, Catherine! I'm so glad you stopped by and I look forward to visiting you soon! :D

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  9. Some of the greatest kitchen discoveries happen by mistake. I'm glad you made this discovery because now you've made me feel I must try this.

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    1. I hope you love it because it's so yummy! :D

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  10. You creamed spinach looks wonderful. You know my daughter does not like spinach if I cook it in a puree style.But she can eat raw and as you have cooked. By the way, your posts does not show on my dashboard. Don't know why?

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    1. Thanks, Balvinder! I love spinach in any form! :D It's strange that my posts don't show on your dashboard, I guess Blogger is nuts sometimes, it happens to me too!

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