The Best Soup of 2011

I’ll give you that it’s 2012 already.  But when this soup showed up on 101 Cookbooks recently, it reminded me of how much we loved it last year.  Friends came over for dinner and I made a few little things to go along with it, too.

First, Nash’s Field Pea or (if you don’t have Nash’s Field Peas, poor you) Split Pea Soup with Curried Brown Butter: I, myself, like to make a big pot of soup–enough to serve unexpected company or to have leftovers for the freezer.   So you could scale this down if you prefer a smaller quantity.  Saute 2 big onions, 6 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes in a knob of butter.  When soft, add 3 c. field peas (well sorted and washed and soaked overnight)–or, once the field peas run out, green split peas.  Add 3 quarts water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft.  If you’re using split peas or lentils this might take 30-60 minutes.  If you’re using last year’s field peas from Nash’s, it might take all day.  When the peas are soft, mix in 2 tsp. salt and 1 can light coconut milk.  Puree well, then add additional salt to taste.  In a separate pan, brown 1/4 c. butter, then sizzle in 4 tsp. Indian curry powder for one minute.  Mix most of the curried brown butter into the soup, then serve bowls drizzled with the remaining curried butter and chopped chives.

This Easy Little Bread is just as its name implies and goes great with (butter or cheese and) soup.  Dissolve 2 tsp. yeast in 1 1/4 c. warm water, then mix in 1 Tb. honey.  Meanwhile, mix 1 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, 1 c. oats and 1 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl.  Mix wet ingredients into dry until well combined, then scoop dough into a buttered loaf pan.  Let rise for 30 minutes, then bake for about 40 minutes at 350.  Cool on a cooling rack.

A Lemony Kale Salad kept the meal from being too brown: Chop 1 washed, stemmed bunch of kale to smithereens in a food processor.  Toss in a handful of currants and a handful of toasted pine nuts.  Mix up a dressing of 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. microplaned parmesan, a minced small clove of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss it all together with more parmesan.

And finally, a Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake, made from lemons we picked from the tree outside the window when were in California last week.  It’s from Rustic Fruit Desserts, and it’s a family favorite (we call it “glaze cake”).  First, preheat the oven to 350 and coat a 9″ cake pan with olive oil, then granulated sugar.  Beat 3 room-temperature eggs, 3/4 c. sugar, and the zest of 5 Meyer lemons at high speed for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. baking powder.  Mix 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla into the egg mixture, then add 1 c. olive oil while the mixer is running at low speed.  Add flour mixture just to combine, then scoop it into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Glaze with 3/4 c. powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice.

7 thoughts on “The Best Soup of 2011

  1. filingawaycupcakes

    I may just give this cake a try! I think I am going to see if I can find a blood orange olive oil recipe. My mom has good things like that. Nice to use the citrus in our area:] Bravo!


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