julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

Get Your Game On


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“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

Over the weekend, Ben and I got together with friends and family for a used-to-be-monthly-but-now-we-get-together-whenever-we-can Game Night. Our new favorite is the card game 31 – everyone brings some single dollar bills for the chance to win big, and while I left this time with empty pockets, I still had a blast.

The cheese melts with the heat of the spinach - a perfect topping!

Everyone was asked to bring an appetizer so there would be plenty to munch on throughout the night, because let’s face it – only half the fun of Game Night is actually playing games. The other half is eating lots of good food and trying new adult beverages (let’s hear it for peach margaritas!).

I flipped through MtAoFC half-heartedly, not expecting to find much in the way of snack foods. But while looking for a side dish for one of this week’s dinners, my eyes landed on the perfect dish – Canapes aux Epinards (spinach and cheese canapés). Julia says these can be served as a hot first course or, if made smaller, as appetizers. Sounded good to me!

Headed to the oven...

I used a loaf of French bread to prepare the canapés, which I then cut in half to be more bite-sized, and set them on a cookie sheet. Meanwhile, I blanched some fresh spinach (word of warning: start with a lot more than you think you’ll need. You’ll be amazed by how much it shrinks once it’s been been boiled.) and then drained it, gently squeezing out excess moisture with my hands, and then chopped it on my cutting board. I tossed the cooked leaves into a pan with some butter to evaporate the extra water, then added a bit of flour and beef stock. Finally, I emptied the spinach into a bowl, added some shredded Swiss cheese (the hot spinach melted the cheese perfectly) and I topped each canapé with a spoonful of the mixture.

I dusted the spinach covered canapés with a sprinkling of bread crumbs, a little more shredded cheese, and finally a light drizzling of melted butter. I set the cookie sheet under the broiler for a few minutes, and took it out when I could tell the tops were bubbling and the cheese/bread crumbs were turning a light golden brown.

Easy to make and easy to eat! Even if you lose at Game Night, you'll win with this dish.

I have to say, these were a nice little snack! Easy to make, easy to transport (I just set them on a platter covered with aluminum foil) and easy to eat (some finger foods are too messy while trying to play games – not this one!). The crunchiness of the bread was a great contrast to the smooth spinach topping, and the melted cheese gave the spinach an extra level of flavor I liked. I should have added a little more seasoning to the spinach/cheese mixture before topping the canapés, but all in all, it was a successful recipe.

The next time you need an idea for a finger food recipe or an easy appetizer, give these a try. They make a nice presentation, and they taste good, too!

Game on!
– Jessica

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