Got a bit derailed there for a while, regarding the last several blogs… but hey – isn’t that how life goes? What fun would life be if you never derailed a bit? Good to stay on your toes and take the punches as they come… or something like that.
I am finally back to write about food/cooking after writing about my personal life, the quarantine, fictional characters by the name of Indigo, and whatever else I felt like writing about for the last several blogs.
It’s not that I haven’t been cooking – I have been… it’s just that I don’t ever use precise measurements when I cook, and so when I think about trying to transpose the recipe as into written word, it’s a bit daunting trying to mentally compute the measurements of each and every ingredient I used. In other words, I’m fucking lazy sometimes and it’s difficult to transmit what’s in my head into words after another long day of being me.
If you know me, you also probably know that I’m obsessed with soups, both making them and eating them. Split pea is one of my favorites, and the one I make is vegetarian, but would otherwise be entirely vegan, if not for the finishing touch of crème fraîche! I also want to apologize for the lack of ‘process’ photos for this – I actually made it for lunch while I was “working” (aka working from home, aka my laptop is open and minimal work is coming in)… so I failed to take or post any pics and videos for the ‘gram.
- 1 and 1/4 cups of dried, split peas
- 2 medium-sized carrots (chopped)
- 1/2 of a large white/yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
- 2 stalks of celery (diced)
- 1 medium potato (Idaho or russet)
- 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
- 4 cups (one 32 oz. carton) of vegetable stock (**can use chicken stock if you’re not opposed)
- 2-3 cups water (depends on how thick you want your soup to be!)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp granulated/powdered onion
- 1 tsp granulated/powdered garlic
- a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- YOU WILL NEED A BLENDER OR IMMERSION BLENDER FOR THIS RECIPE
TO FINISH (OPTIONAL):
- Small dollop (a generous teaspoon) of crème fraîche or sour cream
- Crackers, croutons, or a side of toasted baguette… I used the below bruschetta toasts, which I’ve really been digging lately:
- Prep the veggies – potato, carrots, celery should be washed; carrots should be chopped (relatively small pieces), onion finely chopped, garlic finely minced, potato chopped into cubes, and celery chopped.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat, add in the onions stirring occasionally and cooking over low-heat until translucent and yellow.
- Add in the garlic and continue to cook over low heat for another minute or two.
- Add in the split peas, all of the veggie stock, and a cup of water – raise temperature and bring to a gentle boil.
- Cook until the split peas are almost tender – about 25-30 minutes (I think?)… occasionally sample a pea or two to see how tender they are..
- Once the peas are almost tender, add in all of the other veggies (chopped carrots, celery, and potato), and then add in another cup of water.
- At this point, I add in my spices – add in the granulated (or powdered) onion and garlic, celery salt, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, black pepper and some salt.
- A TIP: Taste-test to see if anything more is needed spice/seasoning-wise. I honestly never measure my spices or salt/pepper when cooking – I start with a reasonable amount and add more as I go along. This way you can achieve your desired taste, spiciness, level of salt, etc…. it’s always better to start with too little than too much!
- Continue to cook over medium heat (or at a low boil) for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check to see that vegetables are thoroughly cooked (soft) by sampling. Once the potatoes, carrots, celery and split peas are all soft, it is time to blend!
- Using an immersion blender or a ladle to move soup into an actual blender, blend around 2/3 of the contents of the pot of soup. This creates a rich, thick puree, but also leaves some chunks of veggies for texture and aesthetic. When blending the split-pea soup, I try to avoid ladling the carrot pieces into the blender (some are obviously fine), in order to achieve added color and texture to the finished soup.
- Continue to keep soup over low heat once fully blended, add in more seasonings if necessary.
- Serve hot, with a small dollop of crème fraîche and some crumbled crackers/croutons/toasted bread.
And now for the pasta dish! This one was a hit – I topped with bacon for the BF and ate mine without, but it was every bit as flavorful!
- Pasta of your choice (I prefer an egg noodle fettuccine for this dish, since it is lighter and holds the sauce well)
- 3-4 strips of bacon, roughly chopped into bits (*this is optional)
- 1 bundle of asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces (make sure to chop off the ends of the stalks and discard, as the base is very woody/fibrous)
- 3 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
- 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your saute pan)
- 2 Tbs. butter (***if you opt not to use the leftover bacon grease)
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/4 cup water (*more or less depending on how thick your sauce is)
- generous pinch of grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly shaved/grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish
- For the pasta: fill a large pot with water, add a generous amount of salt, and set on high heat to bring to a boil.
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over low heat, and add in the chopped bacon. Cook over low-medium heat until desired level of crispiness. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside in separate bowl.
- You can use the bacon-grease/olive oil in the saute pan as it is, if you’re OK with eating bacon – it will add more flavor to the sauce. If you’re not OK with eating bacon, you’ll have to start with a fresh saute pan and olive oil.
- Add the chopped asparagus to the saute pan, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. You’ll want to cook the asparagus like this until it is fairly tender, but not mushy. Add in the minced garlic after the asparagus has been cooking for about 6 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Once the asparagus has cooked for about 10 minutes in the saute pan, add in the half and half and the water and bring to a low, rolling boil. Cook for an additional 10 minutes in the liquid, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is very tender.
- Add in the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Now that the asparagus is tender, you can either pour the contents of the saute pan into a blender, and blend on low, or, you can manually mash with a fork or masher (this is what I did). Mashing by hand leaves more texture and visible bits of asparagus so sauce is not a complete puree.
- Once you’ve mashed down the asparagus, you may find the sauce is too thick and you need to add a bit more water or half and half! You should also taste test to see if more seasoning is needed.
- Once you’ve achieved your desired level of thickness and taste, add in the butter, and stir until dissolved. Leave the sauce on the lowest heat setting, so that it remains warm once pasta is done.
- Once your pot of pasta water is boiling, add in pasta and cook according to time suggested on pasta box.
- Drain the pasta once finished, and add to sauce, gently stirring/tossing to thoroughly coat the noodles.
- Serve on plate with freshly grated parm, and top with bacon (if desired)
PHEW! Writing these recipes really does take a lot more brain power and work than actually cooking them!
I’m thankful that it’s Friday, so I don’t have to be on high alert watching my emails or glued to my laptop for the next couple of days. I think the rest of the weekend is going to be cold and shitty, but honestly I don’t care… I’m kind of happy. I’m definitely not feeling confident enough to wear summer clothes at this point, following almost 8 weeks of quarantine (aka binge-eating), so the cold and rain is a welcome relief… not like I could go out looking like a THOT anyhow since all bars, restaurants and clubs are still closed until further notice. You hear that? I’ve got a few more weeks to shape up… literally. LOL.
In other news, I was tired of all of the white hairs springing up around my temples, and couldn’t possibly wait another month (or longer) to have a professional cover them. I’ve never used dye at home before, and usually only get lowlights/highlights once every 4-5 months. I was really overdue for some lowlights, and couldn’t bare the sight of the whites any longer, so I took a bold step and purchased custom dye from eSalon. I was always scared to try anything with my hair at home because of lack of experience, but also I have a fear of burning off/chemically frying my hair to the point of no return. My boyfriend assisted, and the result is pretty decent, in my opinion.
What else can I say… not much is new, if you know what I mean. I’ve got my daily routine down pretty pat at this point. Work, walk, work, car ride, cook, TV time, sleep. Sometimes I’ll throw in a walk before work to spice things up, or if work is slow, cook in the middle of the day.
I hope you’re all still staying safe and sane at this point. I’m running out of inspiration for recipes since I’m kind of just over everything. If there’s anything you want to see me cook or try my hand at, feel free to email me or DM on Instagram. I’m always excited to try cooking new things (preferably without meat – but open to seafood)! #Cheers