Monday, March 17, 2008


Springtime Spinach Soup with Gruyere Croutons

Just between us kittens, I simply have no idea why The Ombudsman isn't head over heels madly in love with me.

I mean, really. That man...he can be so exasperating!

This weekend, among other things, I fed him home-made soup (well, he fed himself, but I made it) and I surprised him with tickets to see the Derby Dolls.

And that isn't just some run of the mill roller derby mind you. No, no. I'm talkin' all-girl, indoor, bank-tracked roller derby. Described by someone as "a cross between a Suicide Girls photo shoot and a prison brawl...on wheels." In other excellently good time to be had by all.

So really, it just doesn't add up.

I think he needs to reassess. Pull his head out of the sand. Open his eyes and realize this soup alone is worthy of a proposal, let alone the fact I am a super star friend.


Oh well, I guess it's just not meant to be.

But you should try the soup and see how fab it is. It may not set your heart afire, but it sure is tasty.

The Ombudsman swears it.

So try this my lil' Shamrocks, and taste the joy.

1 pound spinach leaves
2 T olive oil
1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups water
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 thin baguette, sliced on the bias, yielding four slices
2 ounces gruyere cheese, grated fine (this is best done with a microplane)
2 teaspoons English (Coleman’s) mustard

Rinse the spinach and drain but leave a bit damp.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the potato for about five minutes, until soft. It will totally stick to the bottom and brown, so if your pot is non-stick, all the better. If not, just scrape it up as best you can.

Add the spinach and stir until well wilted.

Add 4 cups water, salt and nutmeg to taste. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.

While it is simmering, smear the baguette slices with some mustard. Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and add four small piles of the cheese (in roughly the same shape as the slices of bread) then immediately top with a slice of the bread (mustard side down.) and let cook until the cheese is just browned. Flip the bread over and let toast a bit more, then remove.

Ladle the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth, then return it to the pot.

Stir in the cream and slowly bring to a boil. Adjust the seasonings. Simmer for a minute or two.

Ladle the soup into shallow bowls over a small pile of spinach leaves that you have chiffonaded and serve immediately with gruyere toasts.

Serves four as a first course.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


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I based this recipe on one by Gordon Ramsay. Its pretty different, but still, I thought I would mention it. His is called Spinach Veloute with Goat Cheese Quenelles.

Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 % it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days. – Mark Bittman, NYTimes

The ladies of the French court of Louis XI subsisted mainly on soup because they believed that chewing would cause them to develop facial wrinkles.

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And I only realized it was St. Patrick's Day when I got to work.
That looks so beautiful.
I have no idea what makes a man's heart throb. But this soup makes my mouth water! I'm loving the whole idea of it, and I'm sure it tastes even better than it looks.
AT - You will have to try it then!

Papin - I know, me either!

Anon- Thanks.
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