Northeast Times

Enjoy spinach burritos this spring

A sea­son­al de­light: Spin­ach-mush­room-cheese burri­tos of­fer a fresh and light taste.

If re­in­carn­a­tion does ex­ist, I want to come back as one of Jerry’s birds. My hus­band, Jerry, is for the birds. As soon as the first leaf of au­tumn had fallen, Jerry was look­ing for the best prices on bird seed and get­ting his thermal spa ready for winter bathing. I have nev­er used Jerry’s spa. It’s in our back yard just past our deck in prime real es­tate loc­a­tion for a bird’s eye view while sit­ting at our kit­chen table. It could prob­ably handle my foot and big toe… pos­sibly. I don’t have a spa, but Jerry’s birds do.

A few years ago, St. Fran­cis, aka Jerry, re­ceived a bird bath warm­er for Christ­mas. He opened his present and, with sheer and ut­ter de­light, im­me­di­ately pro­ceeded to the bird­bath to “hook that baby up.” Jerry has been hooked on feed­ing the birds for as long as I have known him – a very, very long time. I guess you could say feed­ing the birds is his soft-core ad­dic­tion.

To his cred­it, he does feed the squir­rels, too, but they have to work harder to get their daily grub. He has bird feed­ers with baffles over­head to thwart the squir­rels, but I think he put up the baffles just to watch the fun. On any giv­en winter day, the squir­rels will slip, slide and do all sorts of ac­ro­bat­ics to get Jerry’s bird food. But after all these antics, St. Fran­cis does re­ward the squir­rels for their men­tal man­euvers and per­form­ances. He stocks the flat, wooden rails along the top of our deck with bird­seed, and those furry va­cu­um clean­ers just gobble it up.

I must ad­mit I do like to see the little snow birds and nuthatches that vis­it in winter. There have been winter vis­its from car­din­als, jun­cos, blue­birds, black­birds, doves, blue jays, wood­peck­ers and many more. Even some ro­bust robins vis­it in the cold weath­er to bathe at Jerry’s spa. I’m be­gin­ning to think that Jerry’s Place was “tweeted” as the bird re­treat to vis­it when win­ter­ing over in Phil­adelphia.

We’ve talked about get­ting a soak­ing tub, what I al­ways refer to as “my spa.” But I’m not rush­ing out to buy bath salts and soak­ing oils yet. For now, I am con­tent just to live vi­cari­ously watch­ing Jerry’s feathered friends. Hope­fully, my spa plans will ma­ter­i­al­ize someday, but for now those plans are … for the birds. 

Now that winter has turned to spring, Jerry stops feed­ing the birds, as his winter col­lec­tion flies north, and any re­main­ing feathered friends have enough in­sects and worms to “fend for them­selves.”

Re­cently, read­ing about an ex-cor­por­ate in­vest­ment banker who traded Wall Street for hanging out and shoot­ing with hunters, and then cook­ing her bounty, made me think of Jerry’s little treas­ures in the back. In fact, read­ing her re­cipes for Squir­rel Dump­lings and Fried Dove Breast promp­ted me to think more about ve­get­ables and to of­fer a no meat or fowl al­tern­at­ive this week.

The fol­low­ing re­cipe has been en­joyed while watch­ing our loc­al back yard crit­ters.

SPIN­ACH-MUSH­ROOM-CHEESE BURRI­TOS

1 Tb­sp. can­ola oil   

1½ cup onions, chopped

3 gar­lic cloves, minced

24 oz. frozen, cut leaf spin­ach, seasoned with salt/pep­per. (Mi­crowave spin­ach to cook, drain, and squeeze out li­quid.)

Set aside.

8 oz. fresh mush­rooms, chopped, sea­son with salt/pep­per. (Mi­crowave mush­rooms for 2 minutes, drain, and squeeze out li­quid.)

Set aside.

1 tsp. ground cori­ander

1/8 tsp. nut­meg

3 cups shred­ded ched­dar cheese

½ cup cream cheese

8 to 10 whole wheat tor­til­las

Pre­heat oven to 375 de­grees. Spray a 9x13-inch bak­ing pan with oil.

In a large pan, heat 1 Tb­sp. oil and add the onion and gar­lic. Cook 2-3 minutes un­til onion is softened.

Add the spin­ach, mush­rooms, cori­ander, nut­meg, and cheeses. Mix well. Turn off heat.

Soften tor­til­las by lay­ing them on a bak­ing sheet and put­ting them in the oven for a minute or two.

Put about ½ cup filling on the lower half of warm tor­tilla, fold bot­tom up and sides in, and roll to en­case the filling. Re­peat with     re­main­ders.

Place each seam-side down in bak­ing dish. 

Spray tops lightly with oil. Cov­er with foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes un­til hot.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053)

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