Spinach Béchamel

Spinach Béchamel

Named after its originator, Louis, Marquis de Béchamel, steward to Louis XIV of France, this dish is prepared with chopped spinach and a creamy sauce for maximum deliciousness.

When we prepare meat entrées, we usually serve them with two side dishes, including starches like potatoes, pasta or yuca, and a leafy vegetable for added nutrition. (A good rule of thumb when planning balanced meals is to always try to include something green on the plate.) With this recipe, we turn ordinary spinach into melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness by adding a béchamel sauce, which is a white sauce seasoned with onion and nutmeg and named after its originator, Louis, Marquis de Béchamel, who was the steward of Louis XIV of France.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 5 minutes


For Spinach

  • 2 ½ pounds fresh spinach, washed, water still clinging to the leaves

For Béchamel

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced onions
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg


  1. Steam the spinach in a large pot for 2 to 4 minutes, until the leaves have all collapsed. The water clinging to the leaves will be enough to cook it. Drain, cool, and squeeze out the liquid in a strainer. Coarsely chop the spinach.
  2. To make the béchamel, heat a sauté pan over medium heat, and then melt the butter and sauté the onions until transparent. Whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk until fully incorporated and simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  3. Fold in the spinach and serve immediately.

TIP: The spinach can be steamed in advanced and folded in with the béchamel at the last minute, just to heat it through.

YIELDS: 6 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

If It’s Good, Wrap It In A Crepe

Heather eats a crepe

Your hunger is destined to be satisfied by huge crepes that take two hands to hold! Heather chows down on her favorite Italian Crepe filled with pepperoni, ham, peppers, onions and Mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Last month, a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati taught us the importance of taking a stand for justice and of being the change we want to see in the world. But after five hours of touring the Smithsonian-affiliated museum, we were ravenous and in dire need of sustenance. That’s when we discovered a culinary treasure.

We’ve never been to France. Sure, foodies that we are, we’ve wanted to go to the place Colette made famous in her stories about the luminous Gigi, where we could dance under the Eiffel Tower, lose ourselves in the Louvre Museum, eat our weight in cheese, then wash it down with champagne. But it just hasn’t happened yet. The closest either of us has ever come is to stroll along the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter where Creoles dish up hot beignets and po-boys stuffed with shrimp and crawfish.

When we left the Freedom Center one hot July afternoon with aching feet, blurred vision and our emotions on overload, both of us just wanted to sit down somewhere cool and eat something filling and delicious. We crossed over I-71, made our way up Vine Street, and voila, we discovered a bit of French culinary magic at It’s Just Crepes. From the moment we walked into the small store-front café, our senses were overcome by scents both sweet and savory. The aromas were so overpowering, the way our stomachs rumbled in appreciation you would have thought we were giving a pre-movie demonstration of THX® surround sound technology. So we studied the menu and realized that this joint offered much more than just the meager crepes selection presented at IHOP.

Now just in case some of you may not fully understand what a crepe is, we’ll tell you. It is basically a very skinny pancake made from a thin batter poured over a hot griddle or round hot plate. While crepes originated in France and are served by street vendors and at fine restaurants all over gay Paris, they are like tortillas in that almost every culture has their own version of them now.

It's Just Crepes

It’s Just Crepes offers a wide array of delicious crepes to satisfy every appetite, including sweet flavors like “Paradise” and “In Your Dreams” as well as savory selections like “Santa Fe” and “Florentine.”

Okay, so glorified stuffed pancakes might not sound very filling, but let me tell you that you could not be more wrong. Stuffed with everything from sweet treats to mouth-watering savory ingredients, they are quite a versatile meal. Admittedly, when Heather first suggested we try this little gem of a restaurant, I thought I would have to stop and grab a Big Mac on the way home to satisfy my hunger. That was definitely not the case!

It’s Just Crepes dishes up every sort of crepe imaginable, and even adds some new Americanized twists to this French classic. Heather chose the Italian crepe stuffed with Mozzarella cheese, sliced pepperoni, ham, banana peppers, sautéed onions, green peppers and pizza sauce. Because of my chronic spice addiction, I went straight for the Southwestern crepe filled with pepper jack cheese, diced chicken, sautéed onions and red peppers, and drizzled with a chipotle mayonnaise. Both were out-of-this-world delish! In fact, they were so good we both wore huge, satisfied smiles for the rest of the afternoon and gave the chef our compliments with a promise to return. And we’ve lived up to that promise… twice!

So now we have a new motto in our household: “If it’s good, wrap it in a crepe.” We think if you try It’s Just Crepes for yourself, you’ll soon be thanking us for the recommendation and may even find yourself quoting our new motto in your house. So what are you waiting for? Get your crepe on!

If you go: It’s Just Crepes now have three locations to satisfy your cravings. Find out more about their menu and get directions to all three restaurants by visiting their Website at www.itsjustcrepes.com. Be sure to tell them Jathan & Heather sent you!

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.