Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You Are Going to Love This One!

Yes, I am actually going out on a limb to say that I am pretty sure you will love this.  I suspected it would be amazing, and was actually surprised by the luxurious, multidimensional flavors of this cold soup.  What makes this a cold soup and not just a spinach smoothie? . . . The flavors!

Once again, this recipe was born of necessity. I had a large tub of raw baby spinach for the family that nobody wanted to eat. It was not expired, it wasn't bad, it was just a bit strong in flavor, like it had been grown post-season. My son has nut allergies, the deadly kind, and his allergist confirmed that it is not uncommon for kids allergic to nuts to also have reactions to certain fruits and vegetables. It has to do with the type of protein in the seed of the plant. It is problematic in a way that is similar to the nut issue. With a limited range of fruits and veggies to eat, my son thankfully always enjoyed a simple spinach salad. But the other day his mouth began to itch after eating one bite of this spinach (red flag!). My husband got heartburn and my daughter wouldn't even touch it. I tasted it and was reminded of the way spinach tastes when it is too old.  I decided it needed to be cooked! Then I came up with a glorious treatment for the spinach that I had high hopes for. I was not disappointed, and you won't be either!

Cold Spinach Bisque
16 oz. raw spinach
1 cup roughly chopped onion (I used purple)
3 cloves chopped garlic
extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
1 c. rice milk
6 Tbsp. tofutti "sour cream"
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. nutmeg, plus more for garnish

Saute onion in olive oil in a large pan for 3 minutes on medium heat. add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes. Add spinach to the pan and cook just until wilted, stirring a few times.

In a blender, combine the spinach mixture and the other ingredients except the salt and pepper. Blend until homogenous, taste, then season as you like, adding more nutmeg if you want. Chill for a couple of hours.
Serves 4.

You can add a dollop of the "sour cream" to each bowl, but I think this soup would be just as luxurious without it. It sunk to the bottom of the bowl anyway. The flavors are multilayered here, hints of cream, hints of butter and broth, none of which are actually in the soup. I love what the nutmeg does to emphasize the richness of this soup. It is so nice to serve it cold in the summer. This is an elegant dish and would work well as a first course for a sit-down dinner. Just think how easy it would be to pull it out of the fridge already made and ladle it out into bowls on the table. I'm happy with this effort!

My daughter wanted to contribute to the blog and so she did a little sketch of me holding a couple of my chinese long beans from the garden. Here it is:

Though my daughter still enjoys cheese and occasionally chicken, she has given up hamburgers and is opening her mind to my vegan food. She loves my vegan mashed potatoes! My daughter also has a friend at school who is vegan. Her mother told her she might contact me to find out what to feed her daughter, who has been vegan for only two months so far! It would be fun to meet Wynne's friend. I've never met another vegan in real life!

Hope you like the soup!

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