Recipe: Chilled Fresh Pea Soup

Chilled Fresh Pea Soup  (The Washington Post, April 13, 2005 )
4 servings

A surprising amount of flavor can be coaxed from spent pea pods by simmering them in water.  The soup can be served warm, room temperature or chilled.

Ingredients:
1 lb. peas in the pod, pods scrubbed
3 scallions (white and light-green parts), chopped
4 sprigs fresh parsley (optional)
1 t. salt
5 C. water
2 t. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ t. sugar
2 C. chopped tender green lettuce leaves, preferably Boston lettuce
1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream, for optional garnish
Finely torn mint leaves, for optional garnish

Directions:
Shell the peas and reserve both peas and pods. You should have at least 1 cup of peas.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the empty pea pods, scallions, parsley, ½ teaspoon of the salt and water to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer briskly for 20 minutes.  Strain the broth, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Reserve the broth; you should have at least 3 cups.

Melt the butter in the empty saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, 1/2 t. salt and the sugar.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.  Add the peas and broth; increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Simmer briskly for 3 minutes.  Add the lettuce and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth.  Serve warm or, if desired, cover and refrigerate until chilled through.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls.  If desired, top with a dollop of cream and/or scattering of mint.
Serve immediately.

“Green” Recipes: Kale & Watercress

We have planted lots more greens than the typical kale and Swiss chard and spinach.
There are Asian greens and other high powered dark leafies coming along; general rule of thumb – the darker the green, the more highly nutritious ~ there is one called vita-green!
In a few weeks you will be seeing Bok Choy and other Choy family greens with beautiful colors and textures; Yukina Savoy, Komatsuna and some with equally beautiful variety names such as Summer Fest, Black Summer, Autumn Joy and Win Win.
For the most part, the greens are great eaten fresh in a salad or also braised or in a stir fry or smoothie.  They are all also easily interchangeable in recipes calling for Swiss chard, kale and spinach. 

From member Jamie…
I found kale and watercress recipes on a website called realsimple.com.  They’re all meatless and sound pretty good.  I picked a few to share, but the website (maybe you’re familiar with it already) has lots of recipes using all kinds of good stuff! 

Quinoa with Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potatoes 

Whole-Grain Spaghetti With Garlicky Kale and Tomatoes

Kale with Roasted Peppers and Olives

Kale and White Bean Soup

Chilled Sweet Pea and Watercress Soup

Gingery Sautéed Watercress and Shiitakes

Classic Carrot Ginger Soup

The latest recipe from Chef Carol… looks good, eh? 

Classic Carrot Ginger Soup
Vegan – serves 3

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and sliced thin (add more to taste)
1 lb. carrots  sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup soy milk
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

Heat oil, onions, ginger and garlic in soup pan; sauté for a minute or two.
Add remaining broth, soy milk, pepper, honey, and carrots.
Bring to a simmer & cook until carrots are soft and will break with a fork.

If soup seems too thick, add more broth to adjust consistency.

Remove pan from heat.  Wait a minute or two for soup to cool.
Use emersion Blender until creamy.  Once all the soup is blended, re-pour into soup pan and allow to simmer until it is ready to be served.

Re-heating the soup will lead to a thinner, less airy consistency.  You may notice some “air bubbles” in the soup right after the puree.