A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pine Cone Ponderings and a Tasty Spinach Pine Nut Recipe

I have a huge window in the back of my 5th wheel which is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse. But for now, it's a blessing. Our rig is backed up to some beautiful privacy-giving trees as well as one stately pine. I enjoy my morning coffee gazing out the window watching the birds, weather, and pine cones. Yep, you read right - pine cones. We've had warm sunny days and more recently cool rainy ones. Did you know pine cones open and close? I didn't...but now I do.

When the sun is shining and the warm dry air is circulating the pine cones on my tree open wide...

On cooler days and especially when it rains my pine cones close right up...

This apparently has much to do with pollination with the tree producing male and female cones. The cones even open and close when they've come off the tree.

All that aside, did you know that pine cones make excellent campfire starters? Pick an armful up next time you go camping in a piney area and see what you think. A much cheaper alternative to the store bought fire starters, you'll agree.

Pine nuts are the edible seeds of the pine tree and can be delicious (get them at your local grocery store...not your backyard pine tree!!). The Italians call them pignoli and they are essential to authentic pesto sauce. Here's a quick and elegant spinach recipe from the RV Cooking Show kitchen:

olive oil
2-3 large cloves of garlic - coarsly chopped (to taste)
1 bag of prewashed baby spinach
fresh ground salt and pepper
handful of toasted pine nuts
parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil on low in large saute pan. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant - a minute or two. Add spinach, stir well and cook until spinach is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Add pine nuts and stir. Serve as a tasty side and provide diners parmesan cheese to sprinkle to taste.

Take a moment to observe all that's around you...and enjoy the spinach pine nut dish...it's delicious!!

RV Cooking Show

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