Friday, October 16, 2009

Peas by Deborah Madison

Lately I can't stop thinking about soup, and I've been making quite a lot of it. This blog DOES have soup in the name, after all.

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.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Radish is Born


Days, weeks, months pass. I keep thinking I should write something. Not just thinking I should, but really wanting to. And yet, summer has turned to fall and soon enough it will be winter, but again and again I find myself staring at the blank page, thinking about things, but not really moved to write.

The cooking has ebbed and flowed. Some nights it's been tacos to go, other nights it's been home baked bread, black eyed peas and slow-cooked greens. It's all been perfect in its own way, but I haven't felt inspired to write about any of it.

There has been a crazy amount of zucchini and gorgeous tomatoes from the garden. One of the coolest things I have experienced in a long time has been growing my own food, and doing it with the one I love. It seems like a simple thing but it feels pretty monumental. The simple and yet monumental experience of growing food and enjoying it and sharing it is what has been getting me through all the things that I don't feel like writing about.

A couple of nights ago, these radishes that were climbing out of the soil felt like salvation.

I don't know what tomorrow will hold or when I will kick my own ass into movement again, and I hate how whiny I sound, but there it is. Fortunately, the garden still grows no matter how uninspired I feel, because I haven't gotten so out of touch that I fail to pay attention to it. The radishes are still growing and so is the chard and the beets and the carrots, and for now, that's enough for me.