By Jeremy K. Finkeldey
One of the best meditations in my world view is the mindful washing of dishes. Another is mindful cooking - and no, it doesn't have to be vegetarian. Did you know that the Buddha was a meat eater? Hmmm... food for thought.
There's just something very deep about getting all those "raw" ingredients and applying heat and mixing and whatever is necessary to create something people love to eat. It's a good practice while cooking to offer a thanksgiving prayer for the ingredients and the cooking skills, and, to reflect on what constitutes spiritual nourishment within your particular sphere of influence.
And, yes - real men DO cook (and do dishes).
So here's a recipe I made up this past weekend. I thought I'd share it and get away from all the studiousness for a minute here.... Enjoy.
Spinach, Cheese, and Bacon Casserole
~Frozen Spinach, 1 6”x5”x1.5” box package
~Green Onions, fresh, sliced in 1/4” slices, 5-6
~Bacon Bits, real, about 4 tbsps (whatever seems right to you)
~Salt and Pepper
~Some fresh herbs you think might be good with the other ingredients (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme? Minced?)
~Cheese, cheddar, extra sharp, grated, enough to cover the spinach when it’s in a small baking dish
~Cheese, parmesan, crumbled (or grated), how much is up to you
~Cheese, feta, crumbled
~Bread Crumbs, seasoned
~Cream, heavy whipping, 4 tbsps
~Oil, olive, 2-3 tbsps (for sautéing green onions)
1) Microwave the spinach per the directions on the box.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the sliced green onions until slightly caramelized – throw in the bacon bits at the last minute just to heat them up.
3) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
4) Put the spinach, green onions, and bacon bits in a good sized mixing bowl – throw in some of the crumbled (or grated) parmesan, the heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all up. Get creative and add other herbs you think might be good with spinach, cheese, and bacon.
5) Put the mixture into a baking dish small enough that the mix is 1.5-2 inches thick.
6) Cover with a layer of the grated cheddar cheese and crumbled parmesan mixed together.
7) Sprinkle some seasoned bread crumbs on top of that and then some more of the cheddar/parm mix. How much cheese depends on how much of a cheese lover you are.
8) Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
9) Switch oven to “broil” and remove casserole from oven.
10) Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and place under the broiler until the feta is melted and starts to develop browned spots on it.
11) Remove from oven and allow to cool somewhat before serving – it doesn’t have to be 400 degrees hot to eat it.
2 big eaters or 3 smaller ones (It was so good I ate the whole thing myself for lunch AND felt virtuous because it was spinach).