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
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
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
1 Bunch Garlic Scapes
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Lemon Wedges
¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
- 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.
- Add garlic and spinach with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes with a little more salt and pepper.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350℉
- 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.
- Add Italian seasoning, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to bread mixture. Mix until combined.
- Add beef and mix gently with your hands until smooth and ingredients are evenly incorporated; be careful not to overmix.
- 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.
- Place in oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove meatballs from oven and place in warm sauce for another 25-30 minutes.
- Serve hot.
- Fill a medium-size pot with water, about half way. Add ¼ cup of salt and bring to a rapid boil
- 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.
- 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.
- Sautée garlic scapes, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown or stems appear semi-shriveled
- Transfer to serving platter
- 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