May SOS Kitchen Challenge Reveal: Spinach! And a recipe for Creamy Spinach & Celeriac Soup.

Now that May has arrived, it's time for the second SOS Kitchen Challenge from Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and me!  Thanks, again, to everyone who participated last time.  You helped to make the inaugural event a huge success!

This month, Ricki and I decided to go with another versatile vegetable that can be used in a host of different ways.  Are you ready to exercise your kitchen creativity and cook up some Sweet or Savory dishes that contain. . .

SPINACH!?

Popeye's favorite green leafy vegetable is our star for the month. Not only is spinach nutritious, it is also a lovely shade of green! Why do I like that?  It ties in nicely with my focus this month on Lyme disease (it's Lyme Awareness month) and my snazzy "lyme" green logo.  I also like spinach because spinach is not an artichoke.  After last week's Blogger Secret Ingredient event and four posts featuring artichokes, I'm a bit burned out on the subject!

Ricki, my SOS challenge collaborator, is hosting this month's challenge.  So, bop on over to her site to read up on all the great nutrition spinach has to offer and her great spinach recipe suggestions for inspiration!  Her kick off recipe looks absolutely delish. Last month's inaugural challenge with beets had a whopping 24 entries, and we'd love to see just as many, if not more, this time with spinach!   There are lots of great obvious savory choices, but how will you make spinach sweet?  Come on. You have until May 20 to bring it.  

To enter the challenge, simply create and post a recipe using spinach before the deadline of midnight CST, May  20, 2010 and send it to me at soskitchenchallengeATgmailDOTcom.  (For full details on what kinds of ingredients to use and how to enter the challenge, see this page).  I'll post the roundup (as will Ricki, on her blog) a week after that so you can take your time browsing through the amazing collection of recipes before the next challenge! 

As for me? Well darlings, I'm starting savory. 

Creamy Spinach & Celeriac Soup

My dreams of spinach chocolate brownies and spinach tarts and eggless spinach quiche (!!!) and rich, creamy spinach dip are being put on the back burner.  Why?  Because my digestive system is in crisis mode, I'm having a Candida flare up, and my joint pain is back in full force.  I've been kind of a mess the last week.  I gave in to making blueberry coffee cake for a brunch on Sunday, and that was the final straw. Not good. I need to keep it simple or I might just die.  Okay, okay, that's a little (a lot) dramatic, and thankfully, I'm at no risk of losing my life over this bout of symptoms. But I am uncomfortable, and put simply, this is not the time for experimenting.  Argh.  I hate being so darn fragile.

And while I detest IBS, Lyme, and Candida, I positively adore spinach.  And I positively adore soup even more.  Soup is my standby meal decision when my digestion is being touchy.  No frills, nothing crazy, just a delicious, creamy, easy-to-digest, simple food.  This soup is perfect for spring, a lovely mix of spinach, celeriac, celery, and herbs. It is good warm and it is also good chilled, and would be wonderful served with my Pumpkinseed-Teff Bread! Better yet, it is about as mild and allergy-friendly as you can get.  Take that, troubled tummy!  This soup is good.  

Creamy Spinach & Celeriac Soup

yield: approx 7 cups soup 

2 cups packed baby spinach

1 large or 2 small celeriac bulb, diced

3 large celery stalks, chopped

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped

1/2 tsp dry thyme

4 cups broth/stock (or water + 2 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon) 

2 Tbsp olive oil 

1/2 tsp salt or Herbamare

1/8 tsp vitamin C crystals or 2 tsp lemon juice 

fresh chives for garnish 

Heat oil in a large stockpot, and saute garlic and shallots a few minutes until fragrant and soft. Add celery, celeriac cubes and thyme, saute a couple minutes, then add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook about 10 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.  Add spinach and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until softened.  Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, or blend with an immersion blender, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and adding vitamin C crystals/lemon.  Transfer back into pot to reheat slightly if needed, or place in a large bowl and chill to serve cold.

Serve with minced fresh chives. Would be delicious with a swirl of nut or seed "cream" or "yogurt", or the real stuff if you can tolerate dairy.

Send your sweet or savory spinach recipes to soskitchenchallenge@gmail.com by midnight CST May 20, 2010!

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