Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Unified Theory of Spinach

Many of you have worried that it's been so long since I've posted about food. You were hoping this wasn't a sign that we've stopped eating. The truth is, we've been eating, but not as well as we should be. We've both been working too much and not spending time trying new foods and examining unusual fruits, or even just cooking the stuff we like to eat. Today, however, I am attempting to reverse the trend. I am cooking spinach.

Spinach has been observed to have the following properties:
  • spinach, organic spinach in particular, must be eaten or cooked within 48 hours of purchase
  • time spent cooking spinach breaks down to 20% making the recipe; 30% cleaning the spinach; and 50% wondering if you've actually got that spinach clean
These observations, coupled with the fact that spinach is one of my favourite vegetables, led me to the following determination:
  • when eating out, spinach must be ordered
That way, someone else has to worry about the cleanliness and timeliness of the spinach.

However, today all the factors came together. Our food was delivered yesterday, with spinach; and today is my day off, so I can cook it well before the sell-by date; and since it's a day off mid-week (not full of brunches and other social responsibilities the way weekends are), I can take a leisurely approach to the cleaning process. And voila: spinach soup.

Years ago Winnifred taught me her cook-by-colour concept. She finds it aesthetically pleasing on multiple levels to use all similar-coloured ingredients in a dish. So for this soup I used: virgin rosemary-infused olive oil; scallions; celery; spinach; and, it must be said, garlic, which I posit as the mood-ring of savory ingredients. The result was indeed a very green soup that looked very nice in some bone-white Chinese bowls, and tasted just dandy.


ES said...

Garlic is not just the mood ring, it is the one essential ingredient in almost all cooking. Maybe not French Toast, but just about everything else.

Your spinach soup sounds yummy.

FJ said...

That's just what I mean, Evil Stepmother! No matter what colour the food you are cooking, garlic goes with it! It positively changes colour to become the right colour to go with your ingredients.

stephanie said...

Wasn't it Winnie who taught me that there is no such thing as too much garlic? I'm pretty sure that's one of a good number of Winnie-sayings I've been repeating, uncredited, for years.

("Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal," she mutters to herself as several implicitly contradictory deadlines loom.)

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

I like that deadline-mutter very much, but what I was about to say is, I was thinking that for the first seder I might make spinach soup with matzo balls instead of clear broth. Maybe do the clear soup for the last days of yontif.
A nice match, I think. and devastatingly delicious red spinach is in the market.

To wash:
Fill sink or a large pot with water, submerge spinach and swoosh it around with your hands. lift the spinach out of the water. Do not pour it through a strainer, or you will merely deposit the sand you just washed off back on the spinach. Repeat once or twicse as needed.
When I bring home a ig CSA pickup full of sandy greens, I set up a whole assembly line of about four pots, then a collander, and fiinally the spinner. Will have to blog this, but briefly, first bunch of greens into first vessel, swish swish, first bunch of greens into second vessel, second bunch of greens into first vessel, and so on.