So far, I can't take an ounce of credit for any of the recipes, except perhaps, in being able to spot a good one when I see it. And time and time again, I find that Deborah Madison never fails me.
Last night I made her recipe for Yellow Split Pea and Coconut Milk Soup w/ Spinach, Rice and Spiced Yogurt, which you can find on this fine blog. I followed the recipe almost to the letter, except that I used only half a can of coconut milk instead of the full amount, and it was divine. The blend of spices includes ground cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, and crushed red pepper in the soup, and paprika, cumin, turmeric and black pepper in the spiced yogurt. The end result is warm, tangy, and so completely comforting. I think this might be my new favorite.
If yellow split peas aren't your thing, Deborah has you covered. You can't go wrong with her recipe for classic Split Pea Soup in her cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Here again, a little paprika is used to add a hint of smokiness to the soup, and it works beautifully. That particular recipe uses a nice variety of dried and fresh herbs too. I know I'll be making this one again as the weather grows chillier.
I also stocked up on black-eyed peas recently, and, at the risk of sounding like some kind of deranged chef stalker, once again, Deborah Madison's recipe for Southern Black-Eyed peas, in the same cookbook referenced above, is a keeper. That woman knows how to create spice combinations, and how. This recipe uses ground allspice and chipotle powder. It's dynamite. I can't recommend Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone highly enough.
I'm sure that one day I'll find myself inspired to create my own recipes again, but for now, I'm thoroughly enjoying the recipes that have been created and tested by the pros.