French Spinach Turnover

Last Friday and Saturday were crazy days for me. I was to host my sister’s bridal shower beginning at 1pm on Saturday afternoon and I had a lot of work to do come Friday evening. I was really set on making the shower as traditional and awesome as possible. Now writing about the shower almost a week later, I can say I completely accomplished this goal!

I was keen on having all the food homemade, rather than store-bought. I wanted all the guests to go home feeling the love from their food. I swear by this method of cheering people up. I am known for needing my space while cooking in the kitchen and I tell people the same thing every time they pick on me for it, “I have to concentrate on putting my love into the food!” Its understandable, right?

I made 48 homemade chocolate cupcakes with a pink butter cream icing I whipped up. They were sure winners! I also had other family members whip up some delicious meals to bring to the party.

Among all of this delicious, love-filled food, was Julia Child’s French recipe for a spinach turnover. This recipe took the most labour (well worth the labour I should add), it took the most love, the most time, and it also got the best rave reviews from my hungry guests.

In total, the recipe took about an hour to prepare and once prepared, it sat waiting for a couple of hours getting ready to be baked. Once the guests arrived, I plopped the turnovers in the oven for 1/2 hour and they came out ready, warm and delicious, in time for lunch.

I browsed through the pics of the shower, but not one of the turnovers was captured. The picture up top is exactly how it looks though, if you need a reference. I have also posted the original video before if you want to watch Julia.

Here is the recipe:

  • Enough pastry for 2- 9″ crusts (you need dough, not the shells! I bought a package of puff pastry and it worked well, you can also make your own)
  • 9 oz fresh spinach
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 2/3 cup hot milk
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1-2 egg yolks for glazing
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk (I used milk because I forgot to buy cream, Julia uses cream)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Here is the method:

  • Start by washing the spinach and removing the stems. Plunge the spinach in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain spinach and plunge into cold water. Squeeeeeeeeze out all excess water. Chop up aggressively!
  • Clean mushrooms and chop them up, chop the ham too
  • In a saucepan, saute the mushrooms and ham with the tablespoon of butter. Set aside.
  • In another, larger saucepan, saute the one onion in low heat with a 1/4 cup of butter (no skimping!)
  • Remove half of this onion mixture and place in another saucepan with the spinach. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or so.
  • SO! Going back to the onion alone in the saucepan. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the hot milk and beat quickly until it is a thick paste. Take the pan off the heat, add an egg, whisk right away! Add the pinch of nutmeg.
  • Take about a 1/2 cup of this mixture and stir in with the now cooked spinach. Set the spinach aside.

It is now time to make the sauce to pour on top of the finished dish…

  • In the thick flour/milk mixture you made, add the cream and simmer for ten minutes. Season to taste. Take it off the heat and sprinkle with the cheese to prevent a skin from forming. Before serving, bring the sauce up to temperature again by using low low heat.

Now let’s assemble the pastry!

  • Roll out the dough into a long rectangle. (10″ by 15″) about a 1/4 inch thick. Glaze with the egg yolks
  • Smear a thin layer of the spinach on one half. Leave about a half-inch of edge bare on the dough. Add the ham and the mushroom and then more spinach. Turn over the other half of the dough and pinch edges to seal. Glaze with the egg yolks.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees

For a party, make a few, and cut into thin slices. Don’t forget to serve it with the sauce!

Et Voila!

Bon Appetit and thanks for reading!

It Was a Successful Bridal Shower

Happy mother’s day! I am so lucky to have a mom who supports me running away to France!

I am also very happy to report the total and complete success of the bridal shower I held for my sister. This has been the key factor in preventing me from my consistent blogging for the last couple of weeks. But, all in all, I pulled it off. It was a blast for everyone involved, with fun games, awesome decor, and a plethora of food (not to mention a lot of left overs as well).

I served many different dishes for lunch, and as expected, Julia Child’s French dish won over the crowd. I made her spinach turnovers as featured in her television series “The French Chef”. Here is the link to the recipe.

The cupcake display looked magical with rich homemade chocolate cakes topped with bright pink buttercream swirled on top. This was definetely a little reminder as to how much I love cooking and baking for other people!

I also learned this weekend, that my little sister (who would like to become a pastry chef herself) dreams of moving to France as well! How cool that both of us share similar aspirations.

Pictures of the amazing food will be posted shortly along with the recipes.

I am also itching to start another blog devoted to my adventures on the kitchen(but more on that later)…

Short break to re-group, but I’m back!

I took a short break from blogging but now I am back to purge my thoughts and ideas once again.

Everything has been moving very quickly lately and I am learning to adapt to this new pace. I realize that as I get closer, certain, important tasks will become more urgent (e.g. selling some some of my things before I go, becoming fluent in the French language, organizing trip stuff…). My sister’s bridal shower is coming up shortly which will be hosted by moi and that has me a little tangles in the mind as well. My only strategy is to do one thing at a time and hopefully I will finish all the necessary to-dos.

To do:

-Bridal Shower: Write out final food list and grocery list, delegate food list, make an “advice book” for guests to fill out, put together a PP presentation. The dress has been purchased and the invitations all sent so I’m practically ready for it… right?

-Learning French: Watch French television (thank-you Canadian TV!), continue reading (I have been completely slacking), correct my writing assignment, test my vocab, fill out my verb book

-2E Visa: Get my pictures re-taken because I need three and I only purchased 2, finish obtaining the funds (includes selling drums, guitar and TV), buy my insurance

Now that I have written all these tasks out, they seem a lot more manageable for some reason!

Oh yeah! And one more big task: FILE MY FREAKING TAXES!!!!!

Until next time…