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    Entries in fresh is best (23)


    Pea Soup... It's Green!

    In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make something green this week.  Now if you’re anything like me, when you hear the words pea soup, you automatically think of split peas.  Well, pea soup can be made with fresh peas and it’s a nice, vibrant green with the sweet flavor of fresh peas.  I used frozen peas, but with spring on its way, take advantage of the season and use some fresh from the farm or your own garden. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    1 lb. of peas, frozen or fresh will work
    2 – 2 ½ cups chicken stock
    1 medium onion
    3 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon cumin
    ½ teaspoon dried dill
    Juice of half a lime
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    As good as this soup is, it’s even better with homemade croutons, so I’ll show you how to make those first.  They’re so easy and delicious, you might never go back to store bought croutons again.  Start with some good bread, a baguette or some ciabatta work well.

    Cut the bread into bite size pieces. 

    I had about 4 cups or so of bread cubes.  In a large ziplock bag, put 3 tablespoons of olive oil. 

    Sprinkle in ¼ teaspoon or so each of cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Feel free to change this up with whatever spices you like.  Mix the spices into the oil and add the bread cubes. 

    Seal the bag and shake until everything is pretty evenly coated, then dump them onto a sheet pan. 

    Place the pan into a 225° oven.  If you didn’t preheat, that’s not a big deal this time.  Just turn the oven on and put the pan in anyway.  You don’t want to cook the bread cubes, we’re just trying to dry them out so they’re crunchy.  It took mine about 30 minutes.  When they’re crunchy, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the pan. 

    I told you they were easy.  Now let’s return to the soup.  Dice your onion and put it, with a tablespoon of olive oil, in a saucepan over medium heat. 

    Sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and stir it around, allowing it to sweat for about five minutes.  When the onions are translucent, add the minced garlic. 

    Cook that, stirring frequently, for another two minutes then sprinkle on the cumin. 

    Stir and cook that for one minute then add the dill. 

    And finally, pour in two cups of chicken stock. 

    Bring that to a boil and simmer for five minutes, then pour in your peas. 

    As you can see, mine were still frozen.  Either way is fine.  Bring it back to a boil and cook the peas just long enough to heat them… about two minutes.  Turn the heat to low and squeeze in the juice of half a lime. 

    You could pour it into a food processor or blender at this point, or even eat is as is.  I pulled out my new immersion blender and went to town. 

    Once it’s pureed, it’ll probably be a bit on the thick side. 

    Stir in enough chicken stock to get the consistency you like.  See?  It’s green! 

    Top it with a few of your delicious croutons and enjoy! 

    What’s your favorite green food?   



    It's Tuesday?

    So, Taneasha tells me that today is Tuesday and I was supposed to have some kind of post up. Um. Really? Okay.



    Well, I've had a houseguest for the last week or so, and it's "Reading Week" (aka midwinter break so university students won't kill themselves) so I've kinda lost track of a few things. Not the least of which is half my socks. Seriously, I've been wearing mismatches for the last few days because I seem to only have singles.

    Fortunately, I have Recipe Guy handy. And he's good for more than just smart assed comments in the comments section.

    Over the past summer Texas had one hell of a drought. Recipe Guy lost nearly his entire garden and had almost completely given up on home grown fresh veggies when he noticed something growing that he hadn't planted.

    Looks kinda like a green bean, doesn't it?

    Well, it kinda is.

    Strophostyles helvola is a wild bean native to the southern US, and actually edible. Apparently these extremely drought tolerant plants were able to find a niche in his garden where everything else had died of sunstroke and heat exhaustion.

    After a whole bunch of research and some test beans (Recipe Guy geeking out on food? who him? never. lol)

    he harvested a bunch of them, parboiled and froze them.

    Oops. Resized an already resized picture.

    I know a few of you freaked out a bit when we harvested wild onions for our bread pudding, but really, there is food everywhere if you know where to look. We've also picked wild berries on the side of the road, culled rose hips from wild rose plants, scoped out wild grapes and chantrelle mushrooms; and when I was on the island I harvested wild chamomile almost daily.

    I don't know about you, but when the zombie apocalypse happens, I'm going to be well fed, and it won't be with freeze dried army rations. 

    The green beans froze quite well. We tossed them into a stir fry with some pea pods and pork.

    Since it was his first harvest, a few of them had made it past their prime and were a bit stringy, but overall, they were just like the green beans you get at the grocery.

    What have you eaten wild?