We’ve been having record lows in Sacramento recently. Last Sunday when I started my run at 9 a.m., it was 25 degrees outside!!! I know that might be normal for some of y’all, but that is NOT normal for Sacramento.
Just check out that frost. (By the end of my run the frost had thawed, and I saw that Christmas tree! Poor guy.)
So I’ve been making soup. A lot.
Need. More. Soup.
Today I made a big ol’ batch of split pea soup. Full of potatoes and yams. Some other stuff too. Warm.
I also have been seriously skimping on turning on my heater all winter, cause I’ve got all kinds of scary bills and stuff and I thought I should be eco-friendly and all that. Trying to conserve, I guess. So today I finally got my energy bill, which was massively delayed from some trouble I had when I moved into my apartment. So this bill covered a couple months. It was eighteen dollars. All those measurements that I don’t understand were pretty damn close to zero.
Seymore (kitty) and I BLASTED the heater all day. Ate soup. Drank tea. Okay, I didn’t feed him soup or tea, but I think he enjoyed the heater. Such a warm and cozy lazy Saturday afternoon.
2 T olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stem celery, chopped
1 medium yam, chopped (about 1 C of cubes)
1 small-medium Russet potato, chopped (about 3/4-1C cubes)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 C split peas
5 C vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
ground cayenne (optional if you want some heat!)
Heat olive oil in your biggest pot over medium-high heat. Add onion until it softens. I just start with the onion, and slowly add all the other veggies as I chop them (“chop ‘n’ drop” as Rachael Ray says!) Stir occasionally until all your veggies are in. Then add the split peas, veggie stock, and bay leaves. You can salt now or at the end – I like to do it at the end so I can really taste what the soup will taste like.
Simmer at medium-low heat for about 45 minutes. I like to cook mine until the split peas seriously disintegrate. Don’t forget to take out those bay leaves at the end!
Then I did something that was stupid good. I thought it was a good idea. That’s why I did it. I didn’t know just how good. I softened some Earth Balance margarine and mixed it with the adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. I spread it on hot toast. Slathered, really. Lots of it.
So simple, but this is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever done.
buttery chipotle crostini:
2 pieces whole grain toast (I love love love sprouted bread like Ezekiel 4:9 or TJ’s equivalent)
1 T Earth Balance margarine
1 t adobo sauce from a can of chipotles
Toast your bread. Soften Earth Balance. Mix margarine with adobo sauce. Spread on toast. Dunk in soup.
If you’re not a big fan of spicy foods, don’t worry – the adobo sauce is milder than the peppers, and mixing it with margarine and smearing it on toast made this pretty mild. It’s just a smoky delicious pepper flavor with a mild spice.
It’s kind of ridiculous. I may have finished off all the toast in the picture within 45 seconds of finishing my photoshoot.
Okay, now I want to take a couple minutes to talk about altering recipes. I try to add some ‘customize’ options to recipes every now and then, but I don’t really talk about it. I absolutely want to provide wonderful recipes on this blog that are good if you follow them exactly. But I want to teach other home cooks how easy and fun it is to change a recipe up! Don’t let it scare you. For me, learning to alter recipes is when cooking became really fun.
Soup like this is the perfect start. The base is simple: broth, bay leaves, split peas, S&P. Everything else in this soup you eat pretty much plain. So you can easily change it. Don’t like yams? Use something else! More white potato or butternut squash maybe. Do you looooove onions? Add twice as much. Are you scared of white potatoes? Leave them out. Add your favorite spices, add leftover veggies in your fridge.
In a recipe like this soup, even quantities don’t matter.
When I make someone else’s recipe, I just read the ingredients, paying no attention to the quantities. Onion, celery, carrots, garlic, yams, and potatoes. Then I add as much of each of those ingredients as I want. Who cares what the author initially wrote. I’m the one eating it this time.
Sure, this might be scarier with another kind of recipe where you’re really mixing things together, or baking, or making a marinade. So let’s start with simple soup. Give it a try!
If you do, let me know how it goes!
Nutrition facts per serving (soup): Calories: 282; Calories from Fat: 48; Total Fat: 5.3g; Saturated Fat: 0.8g; Sodium: 354mg; Total Carbohydrates: 47.6g; Dietary Fiber: 14.7g; Sugars: 6.7g; Protein: 13.4g
Nutrition facts per serving (toast): Calories: 133; Calories from Fat: 50; Total Fat: 5.5g; Saturated Fat: 1.5g; Sodium: 210mg; Total Carbohydrates: 14.8g; Dietary Fiber: 3.0g; Sugars: 0.7g; Protein: 4.0g