Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm Strong to the Finish, Cause I Eats Me Spinach.

I remember asking my mother why Olive Oil never ate any spinach since she was the one always getting kidnapped by the big ugly guy. She had no answer for me. I myself didn't need Popeye and his spinach conspiracy to coerce me into eating spinach or anything for that matter. Hell, I'd eat dog biscuits if they were put in front of me. I was a five year old garbage disposal. The sheer volume of food that I ate as a kid was phenomenal. I was taken to the doctors several times in my childhood just to make sure I didn't have a tapeworm or a black hole in my stomach. My mother was a smart lady though. "Hello, Shoney's Big Boy Restaurant? So your buffet is all you can eat right? Kids under five eat free? Hell yes, come on kids, we're going out to eat!" You gotta do what you gotta do, know what I'm saying? Sadly, as I've gotten older my metabolism finally caught up with me and now I have to pace myself. No more gluttonous four plate buffet benders for me. I'm still able to eat what I want. I'm just saying that I think my tapeworm died and my body doesn't need ten cheeseburgers per meal to satisfy itself. That's a good thing. I can't afford that kind of behavior. Anywho, enough of that thought. Let's move on before I ramble myself into a corner.

Eating well does not mean denying yourself of food that you love. It's all about moderation. It's the key to life. I love bacon. I put it in lots of things. Do I brush my teeth with it? No I do not. You see, moderation in action right there. I did make a delicious Cream of Broccoli and Spinach Soup with Sherried Mushrooms and Bacon. Here, make it yourself:

Cream of Broccoli and Spinach Soup with Sherried Mushrooms and Bacon

1 lb broccoli, including stems
1 cup blanched and drained spinach
1 rib of celery, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp parsely, minced
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, quartered
1/4 lb bacon, diced
4 cups vegetable stock (you can use chicken stock or water if you are so inclined)
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp dry sherry (or 1 tbsp sherry wine vinegar)
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Slice off the bottom fibrous part of the broccoli stems and discard. Cut the florets from the stem. peel and dice the broccoli stem.

In a large pot of boiling water blanch the broccoli florets for 4 minutes until just soft. Blanch the spinach for 1 minute to set the color.

In a saute pan over medium heat render the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan but leave the bacon fat.

Add the celery, onion, and diced broccoli stem to the bacon fat. Saute until just soft.

In a blender add the broccoli stems and florets, onion, celery, spinach, and parsley. Add a little stock and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into a soup pot. Add the rest of the stock and simmer while stirring. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors come together and the soup to thicken a bit.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan (you can use the bacon pan) over medium heat saute the mushrooms (add a little olive oil if you're out of bacon fat) until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sherry and cook 1 more minute to cook off the alcohol.

Stir the cream into the soup and cook simmer for 5 more minutes.

To serve ladle some soup into a bowl and garnish with some sherried mushrooms and bacon. Eat with a spoon. Yum.

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