This past Christmas was, by far, the most travel-intensive one I've celebrated. Our travels included almost a full week in Tennessee with my in-laws and two different day-trips to visit my parents and siblings in the area. While I'm awfully thankful for all of my fabulous gifts, I'm still giddy about the massive stack of cookbooks and the empire red stand mixer I received.
The night I came home from my first date with Adam, my momma took one look at my (dare I say smitten) face and told me I better learn how to cook. Now, she isn't too terribly "old fashioned," but the woman is wise and I figured it might be in my best interest to heed her advice on this one. I spent my second date trying to cook my first meal that didn't come in a package, only to discover that I spent nearly three hours making a chicken and white wine sauce without a single side, appetizer or dessert. [Hangs head in shame.] Since that night, I've made it a mission to be a better, ideally good, cook.
I digress. By the time my husband and I returned home from the holidays, all I wanted was to sleep in my bed. And then cook myself silly. I started with "Nightly Specials: 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at Home" by Michael Lomonaco and Andrew Friedman. This has, in the two months I've had it, become my go-to cookbook for soups. My first soup from here was the Cuban-style Black Bean Soup and man-oh-man was it DE-LISH. I'll be certain to post this here for you to try. The second soup I tried was the Curried Pea Soup. This has got to be one of the easiest dishes to prepare. It made enough for four large bowls or six appetizer-sized ones. It was smooth, creamy and filling and is a tasty way to get your veggie count up.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tsp curry powder
2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
Herb sachet of 2 bay leaves and 4 thyme sprigs, tied in cheesecloth
3 cups peas
1 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream) + extra if you want to drizzle a design
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and season with salt and pepper. Saute the veggies until they're soft ( ~ 5 minutes). Add the curry powder, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Add the stock and herb sachet to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the veggies are completely soft ( ~ 11 minutes). Add the peas and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Use tongs to remove and discard herb sachet.
4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. Side note: I never recommend using a standing blender for boiling hot soup. After seeing my brother-in-law's blender catastrophe burn [which I will refrain from describing], I'll keep to my Cuisinart Hand Stick Blender:
5. Stir in the creme fraiche (or sour cream), making sure the soup doesn't boil.
6. Divide the soup among individual bowls and serve at once. Drizzle with extra cream if you want to jazz it up.