A couple of days ago I came across an episode of Popeye the Sailor Man (thank you, YouTube, for your recommendations;)) where he was fighting termites in his house. I find this cartoon pretty funny and informative too: I mean after 5 minutes the kids who are watching the cartoon know who termites are, what they eat and why and how Popeye defeated them - he was strong because he ate spinach! I remember reading somewhere that the spinach sales skyrocketed in the 40's because of the cartoon. There was a lot of discussion about the creators' concept of "consuming spinach leads to physical strength". Some were saying it was based on the misleading information regarding spinach's iron content (10 times more than it really is), some said that Vitamin A was the reason this leafy vegetable was chosen for the cartoon. I think in the end it doesn't really matter. What's incredible is the whole idea that the spinach sales went up because of some cartoon! That proves that we can change our kids' perception on what is a good snack and what is not by just creating more cartoons that praise veggies and fruit and decreasing the number of commercials with cartoonish characters showing how good hamburgers and chips are.
I am not going to sit here and say that I really enjoy eating spinach. I guess my sense of responsibility for my family's well being makes me add a little bit of spinach here, a little bit there;) I'll add some fresh spinach to a salad, make spinach and ricotta filling for crepes or mix some spinach in a mushroom soup.
I cannot not mention the use of wine in this recipe, as it plays a big role in making this soup aromatic and rather intriguing without any spices. But I feel it's wrong to express how I support using wine in cooking after talking so much about spinach (from cartoons to wine...yeah) Maybe next time:)
1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
a handful of dry crimini mushrooms
1 bunch of fresh spinach, roughly cut, stems removed
1 1/2 qt (6 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
parsley, finely chopped
In a small bowl cover crimini mushrooms with hot water for approx. 5 minutes. Drain them.
Add enough oil to a large frying pan to cover the bottom and heat it up on a high heat setting. Add white and crimini mushrooms and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Mix in spinach and cook for 4 more minutes. Pour in wine and let it evaporate, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid is gone (8-10 minutes), turn off the heat and add parsley to the pan.
Bring your stock to boil, add the mixture from the pan and cook for 8 minutes on a medium heat setting. Season with salt and pepper.