Tag Archives: rosemary

Spinach Casserole

It’s interesting to consider how dining habits change over time — both society’s and our own. A lot of new things have been introduced, a lot of food fads have come and gone, and a lot of things that were once hard to get are now readily available. And, personally, dishes with which I grew up and dishes that were cornerstones of my culinary repertoire when I first lived on my own have been pushed aside for increasingly complex or exotic foods. However, in the last couple of years, I have from time to time gone back to some of those old recipes. A few need to be updated, but some are still perfect, and I wonder how I ever let them go. Granted, I grew up in a family that took cooking and eating seriously, so I had some good material to work with. But it has been fun to rediscover some of these old favorites.

One such old stand-by was the spinach casserole below. It is a lovely dish deliciously scented with rosemary (the history of which was touched on in the previous post). I believe this was the first recipe I had that used rosemary. When I had my first apartment and lots of single friends, I would always double this recipe. Enjoy.

Spinach Casserole

1 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Tbs. melted butter
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbs. scallions (green onions), chopped (white part and 1 inch of the green)
1/4 tsp. rosemary

Cook and drain the spinach. Combine all ingredients, crumbling the rosemary slightly as you add it, to release the volatile oils. Place mixture in a shallow, greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serves 4.

© 2011 Cynthia Clampitt

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“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” says mad Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This was not a new thought, as the ancient Romans placed rosemary in the hands of their dead, as a remembrance. Nor is it a thought that is confined to antiquity, as Australians remember their war dead with sprigs of rosemary in their buttonholes on ANZAC Day. Interestingly, science is now finding that this is not merely a romantic fancy. A key compound in rosemary is rosmarinic acid, which is so effective in aiding memory that it is now being tested as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. So it is “for remembrance” indeed!

But that’s not all it does. Rosmarinic acid possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, and has been used to treat peptic ulcers, arthritis, cataracts, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and bronchial asthma. And here you just thought it was a fragrant little herb. (And if you have ever grown it, you know that it is wildly fragrant when fresh. I have a friend in Australia who has it as a hedge around her garden, and just brushing past it is an intoxicating experience.) Continue reading

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