a taste of home

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My motto this week has (very fittingly) been “don’t cry over spilled milk.”  From poster mishaps to broken glass to flat tires.  I’ve convinced myself that none of these things really matter.

What matters is Pepere coming to the rescue, and having him tell me to call him anytime in such “emergencies.”  What matters is sitting down to a bowl of split pea soup at the end of a long day, with the family and the muffled sounds of country music playing over the radio.  Yes.  What matters is family.  What matters is laughing and being silly and embracing each moment as it comes, day by day.  Moment by moment.

What matters is having fun in the kitchen, cooking for the people I love the most.  That is what matters.

And so, tonight I decided to make a big batch of split pea soup.

Split pea soup has long been a favorite of mine.  It all started on a chilly winter’s night over my sister’s house.  Nicole had just moved into her new place and called me over for dinner, dessert and a movie.

She whisked around the kitchen—talking with her usual enthusiasm and spice—serving her husband and I big round bowls of the soup with hunks of warm foccaccia bread.  “Wait!”  I stammered, my mouth still full with soup.  Nicole paused mid-sentence before asking, “is it okay?”  “Oh my word,” I stammered.  “This is amazing!”  She smiled.  She popped dessert in the oven.  And then we kept on chattering, as we always do when there’s dinner, dessert and shopping involved.

Ever since, I have had quite the little love affair with split pea soup.  I don’t admit this to many people.  Split pea soup, as you know, has horrible connotations.

“This weather is as thick as pea soup!”

“The color looks like pea soup!” <—and this is really not a good thing, in case you were ever wondering

And yet, when I want to taste “home,” I want to taste split pea soup.  I find the texture to be absolutely irresistible, and I find the flavors to be so simple but grand all at the same time.  It’s not at all a show off like some of those other soups out there.  It carries a level of quiet confidence.

Split pea soup is humble and mellow and really quite simple.  I like that about split pea soup.

Split Pea Soup—as seen in Moosewood Cookbook and on this website

There are all kinds of split pea soups out there.  Many call for ham.  Some call for bacon.  I’ve even seen some include such ingredients as sweet potatoes, raisins, and parsnips.  But when it comes right down to it, I like to keep things pure and simple.

There’s nothing fancy about this recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, but that’s what makes it so special.  You can cook a batch any time you please.  It freezes well, makes an ideal sandwich companion at lunch, and is super healthy to boot.  What’s not to love?

  • 3 cups dry split peas
  • 7 cups water or veggie stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 4-5 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
  • 1 small potato, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • lots of fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbls red wine vinegar
  1. Place split peas, water or stock, bay leaf and dry mustard in a large soup kettle.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered.
  2. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and potato. Partially cover and simmer for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add pepper, vinegar, and salt if desired. Serve topped with fresh tomato and/or minced parsley.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is your favorite kind of soup?

 

 

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