When making meals for postpartum families, I try to keep two concepts in mind: nostalgia and food as medicine. Recipes should not only be comforting and evoke a sense of familiar warmth, but also fresh, whole, and packed with earth’s bounty of vitamins and minerals. This is what will heal a body that has just undergone labor and birth. 

 

When I set out to the Red Bank Farmers’ Market on Saturday, I had these concepts in mind. I took a lap around and quickly scanned my options. I stopped first at the mushroom stand, eyeing the beautiful Maitakes and Shiitakes and felt immediately inspired to cook them up in a red sauce. 

 

Then I walked over to the organic farmers’ stand and spotted a gorgeous bunch of garlic scapes. Of course, it’s scape season! So wrapped up in the short-lived strawberry season, I had almost forgotten about these special green stems. Sautéed in olive oil with a squeeze of lemon, scapes are a bright, fun-to-eat vegetable for just about any meal. 

 

Mushrooms and garlic are both in the exclusive club known as “super foods.” Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, these super foods will give the immune system a strong boost and give new parents the vitality to care for their little one. 

 

Classic Meatballs in Mushroom Spinach Marinara and Sautéed Garlic Scapes

 

Ingredients:

 

Sauce: 

1 Spanish Onion, Roughly Chopped 

1 Pound Mix Shiitake + Maitake (Hen Of The Woods), Washed & Roughly Chopped

4 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped

2 28oz Cans Crushed Tomato

1 Bunch Or 2 Cups Spinach,Washed & Roughly Chopped 

2 Tbl Olive Oil

1 Tbl Kosher Salt, Plus More To Taste 

Black Pepper + Crushed Red Pepper To Taste

 

Meatballs:

1 Pound Grass Fed Ground Beef

2-3 Slices Bread Of Your Choice

2 Eggs, Beaten

2 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped 

⅓ Cup Fresh Ricotta

¼ Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped

1 Tbl Italian Seasoning

⅓ Cup Parmesan

¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg 

½ Tsp Finely Ground Black Pepper

¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 ½ Tsp Kosher Salt

 

Garlic Scapes:

1 Bunch Garlic Scapes

2 Tbl Olive Oil 

2 Lemon Wedges

¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan 

 

Instructions:

 

Sauce:

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat with a pinch of red pepper flake, if using. Add onions and mushrooms. Let simmer until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and spinach with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes with a little more salt and pepper.
  4. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil on high heat and then set low to simmer, about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally

 

Meatballs: Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Best Meatballs 

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉
  2. Run bread under water until completely soaked. Firmly wring out to expel as much water as possible. Finely chop, then add to a large bowl with eggs, garlic, ricotta, parsley, and ⅓ cup Parmesan. Stir with a fork until just combined. 
  3. Add Italian seasoning, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to bread mixture. Mix until combined. 
  4. Add beef and mix gently with your hands until smooth and ingredients are evenly incorporated; be careful not to overmix.
  5. Lightly oil your hands. Working one at a time, scoop out portions of meat mixture to a size of your liking; roll gently between your hands into balls. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Place in oven for 20 minutes. 
  7. After 20 minutes, remove meatballs from oven and place in warm sauce for another 25-30 minutes. 
  8. Serve hot. 

Garlic Scapes:

  1. Fill a medium-size pot with water, about half way. Add ¼ cup of salt and bring to a rapid boil 
  2. Cut the ends and chop scapes in half or thirds depending on the length. Place in pot of boiling water and allow to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Heat 1 tbl olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer garlic scapes from boiling water into skillet using slotted spoon in order to shake off excess water.  
  4. Sautée garlic scapes, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown or stems appear semi-shriveled
  5. Transfer to serving platter
  6. Add a squeeze of lemon, sea salt, and parmesan     

Jodi Silberstein is a postpartum chef as well as a birth and postpartum doula. She is a Monmouth County native who loves seeking out new ingredients to work with and has a deep admiration for those who know how to garden. For more recipe ideas and all things doula, follow Jodi on Instagram @jodiraedoula or check out her website, www.jodiraedoula.com

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