Post-Yoga Mushroom & Spinach Soup

Just after camel pose in Bikram yoga class on Saturday, I began to think of what I would make for dinner. Visions of juicy steak, topped with delicate scallops, maybe a side of seared tuna, and a fat poached salmon fillet plated themselves in my head. I've come out of this pose, in the past, feeling energized and appropriately dreaming of greek yogurt mixed with applesauce, but this was not one of those days.

In Bikram's school of thought, your body tells you what it needs as you continue your practice. Your cravings will naturally become appropriate for your health and well-being. If I listen to those cravings, and eat all those delicious items, I should think I'd become one heck of a fatty-fat-fatso.

My husband usually stops at Garden of Eden to buy some berries or oranges on the way home from yoga. This time he was attracted to the mountain of O.N.E. Acai juice near the door, while I b-lined for the back to find me a big pink fish. As I passed the bins of over-priced mushrooms, I realized that my yearning to gnaw on large cuts of meat was really just a craving for protein, and maybe salt. I grabbed about a pound of the interesting 'shrooms (anything but cremini and button), but I still got the salmon, as well.

The soup and salmon made a nice late lunch / early-bird dinner for a Saturday. There was enough for leftovers, too - mushroom soup always gets better after a day or two as the flavors blend together. The mushrooms were chewy and meaty, as I wished for, and the potatoes added some weight. Spinach tricked us into eating our vegetables, but also went well with the hint of Asian flavor I added with the soy sauce and sesame oil. I topped the soup with some poached salmon for extra protein.

Mushroom and Spinach Soup
6 servings
1 T olive oil + 1 T unsalted butter (omit for vegan)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/2 C potato, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
5-6 C vegetable stock or water
½ lb Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into pieces
½ lb Oyster mushrooms, thick stems sliced, caps torn into smaller pieces
2-3 C fresh baby spinach
2 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
sea salt, pepper & red pepper flakes to taste

1. In a stock pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions and slowly sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes.

2. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and cover, cooking about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

3. Toss in baby spinach leaves, stirring in until they wilt. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

4. Serve with crusty bread, over rice noodles, or topped with salmon or chicken.
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