Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"We are at war." Said everybody except the President ... Roasted Garlic Creamed Spinach

I tried staying away from the news for a few days because it has been frankly frightening and nerve-shattering.  I hardly need my nerves shattered any more than they already are, but there is no way to avoid what is happening out there.  There are terrorists among us. Our President is unwilling to face the enormity of the danger.  There are reports that the White House has induced advisors to "cook the books" regarding the nature and import of available intelligence, and there are three different investigations ongoing. "Intelligence manipulation." Remember those two words.

Okay. If I go into it any further, my head will explode. 

Oh dearie dearie me. My Orlando Magic is playing tonight, away game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. You know, the team in the city that Lebron James calls home. We are screwed. I'm thinking about going back to FOX News. It's going to be a bloodbath, either way.

I continue to slog through the whole disability process - both of them, state and federal. Today, totally frustrated, I posted to my timeline on Facebook:

Today I officially applied for regular early retirement through the state.  Although my doctor has never been able to certify that I can go back to work after almost nine rather terrible months, he is unwilling to check the little box that says "permanently disabled." With that lack of support, I cannot proceed on an appeal of the Retirement Commission's decision. Seriously there are days I cannot get out of bed and other days that the pain borders on unbearable.  I didn't ask you to lie, doc ... I asked you to listen to me, and to take the time to educate yourself on fibromyalgia.

Going through this process I have come to believe that the people who understand fibromyalgia the least, and who have the least sympathy for fibromyalgia patients, are medical doctors. Fancy that.

So the Saga of State Disability is over. Stay tuned for the Federal Fandance. Oy!!!

Today, I also happened to get mail asking me to submit to a physical examination for purposes of social security disability determination, and that is happening because my doctor did not send my medical records as requested.  Proverbial last straw and all that, so yes, I will be changing primary doctors. This is my life we're talking about.

We are officially in the Interregnum of the Cookies. Normal cookie-baking is suspended while Thanksgiving planning and cooking takes place.  This is one of the dishes I will be making for our dinner.

Roasted Garlic Creamed Spinach

This is a variation on the creamed spinach recipe my mother in law gave me over 40 years ago, which had exactly two ingredients - frozen chopped spinach and cream cheese. I cannot count how many times I have prepared the original recipe. It is one of those no-fail recipes every young bride should have in her back pocket: heat together 2-10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and well-drained, with 1-8 oz. bar of good quality cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

I recently decided to tamper with perfection by adding roasted garlic, which can't help but improve anything it is added to. The amount of roasted garlic is completely adjustable, as is the heavy cream. Or you can add another half of a bar of cream cheese instead of the cream.  Creamed spinach is a favorite around these parts, and in fact was part of my Last Supper at the Yachtsman Steakhouse just before my gastric bypass surgery in 2003.  Of that fabulous meal, the only food I can still eat is - you guessed it - creamed spinach.

1-6 oz. jar peeled garlic cloves (Spice World brand)
olive oil
3-10 oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and well-drained (press out excess liquid)
1-8 oz. bar cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream, divided
kosher salt
black pepper

First prepare the garlic. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Empty the entire jar of garlic cloves into a shallow baking pan so that they are in a single layer. Add just enough olive oil to coat all of the garlic cloves. Season with some salt and pepper, and place in the oven. Roast the garlic for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and turn all of the cloves. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.  Avoid allowing the garlic to turn brown.  Mash the roasted garlic with a fork and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, begin to soften the cream cheese. Add as much of the mashed garlic as you wish (I used all of it, which comes to about 1/2 cup) and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Stir constantly until the cream cheese is almost completely smooth. Start adding in the spinach, stirring well to incorporate it into the cream cheese sauce.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

I did all that and then piled it into a pretty little Corningware  casserole dish, and then I took a picture to show my cousin Steve Schneider that I occasionally do serve food in something other than aluminum pans. (Love you, Cousin Steve.)

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