While I was on my jaunt down to the middle of California I grew a large quantity of freckles, ate an unconscionable quantity of beef jerky, hardboiled eggs and Romaine lettuce, drove 3494 miles in bare feet, became several shades blonder, spent hours lying upside-down on the streets of Solvang, washed my car!, shot 1053 images, discovered that imposing limitations makes you super creative, drove through an oil field, watched a poppy bud shed it’s casing, and only got stopped by the police once. Same old, same old.
Now I’m back and I am just tickled pink to see that Spring has already moved in, even though March has just barely got off the starting blocks. The days are getting longer, there’s teeny-weeny new shoots on my rose bush, tiny buds sprouting on my clematis, the daffys are pushing their way skyward, and yesterday I heard someone mowing. Mowing, I tell you!! In March!! Spring has sprung around here for sure. HURRAH!
This year is just clipping along at such a pace I can hardly keep up. My road trip down south that seemed to take forever to get here is now receding rapidly into the fading memories of my mind. The upcoming trip to New Orleans – for which I am completely unprepared – is hurtling towards me faster than a smoothie in a Vitamix. And all I wanted to do was talk to you about peas. I love peas. I’ll often eat a pound of peas for dinner. Just peas. With a dollop of butter and a quick shake of lemon pepper. Magical. Not a very balanced meal I admit, but if you’re exhausted and have 2 seconds to eat, go with green veggies.
Pea soup, on the other hand, brings to my mind a couple of things:
1. Fog so thick you cannot see your hand in front of your face. We call them “pea-soupers” in England, and they were a fairly regular occurence during my childhood. Driving in pea-soupers was when I learnt that using your high beam lights is not always the best course of action. When the fog is so thick that it just bounces any light right back at you, using your high beams cuts your visibility to even less. I always marvelled at how my father drove through pea-soupers. I swear I did most of my Drivers Ed in the back seat of the family car, watching him drive.
2. Thick, musty green, grainy sludge.
I want to reassure you that this Sautéed Pea Soup bears absolutely no resemblance to 2) above. It would, however, be a great way to warm up after traversing through 1). Having just been on a short rendezvous through Fog City – although there was not one single puff of fog the day I was there – it seemed only fitting to share this particular soup. In fact, it was so clear in San Francisco last weekend I was able to get this shot of Alcatraz while standing on Fishermans Wharf. I wonder if they served something akin to 2) above while it was being used as a prison?
Enough of all this fog talk. Let’s get back to the peas, people.
This SANE pea soup is something else entirely to the pea soup of my youth. It is smooth, creamy, and bright. Not to mention fast, easy and terribly tasty.
Peas are fabulously full of fiber. Add to that the cucumbers and spinach and you have a whole bunch of green goodness going on in your bowl.
Make a big batch and freeze it in portions, ready to warm and serve in a hurry; but you don’t have to wait for fog to whip this up – it’s also delicious cold, and would make a delightful SANE supper on a hot summer evening.
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 lb / 450g frozen peas
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 lb 11 oz. / 760g English cucumbers, cut roughly into chunks
- 1 cup / 8 fl oz. unsweetened thin coconut milk
- 10 oz / 280g onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 oz / 28g butter
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 TBSP heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 2 oz. / 55g fresh spinach
- In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the coconut oil.
- Add the frozen peas and saute for 4 minutes on high heat.
- Add the salt, chopped cucumbers coconut milk and onion to the pan and simmer until cucumber and onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
- In batches, blend the vegetables in a blender. Transfer each batch to a large bowl or saucepan.
- To the last batch of vegetables in the blender, add the butter, heavy cream, basil, and mint.
- While blending remove the center of the blender lid and carefully shake in the xanthan gum and blend for 10 seconds.
- Turn the blender off and add the fresh spinach.
- Blend just until the spinach has completely disappeared.
- Stir into the rest of the soup and reheat if necessary before serving.