Tag Archives: butternut squash

Pea Soup Andersen’s Inspired Slow Cooker Pea Soup


It’s getting colder each day here in New York — you know what that means:  Perfect soup weather!  It’s our favorite thing to eat this time of year.

Jamie’s favorite soup – vegetable soup with alphabet pasta – inspired me to write and illustrate Soup Day.

The recipe is at the end of the story.

Other tasty soups to warm you in cold weather:

French Onion Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup

Creamy Green Soup

Butternut Squash Harvest Soup

Last week I was going through our pantry to collect food to donate to areas in our neighborhood which had been had been hit hard by the hurricane.  Among the things I came across was a half filled container of dried peas. I had no idea which presidential administration they were from– perhaps the Clinton era?  I decided to risk it and try to make some pea soup in my slow cooker.
A lot of recipes I came across called for a ham hock thrown in, but I was too busy to go on a hunt for one, so I used 1/2 cup chopped apple smoked cured nitrite free bacon from Trader Joe’s.  It was about 4 slices, and I trimmed off the excess fat.

I based my recipe on this one, because it mentioned Pea Soup Andersen’s – a beloved roadside restaurant in the Central Coast of California where I am from.

Jamie and I posing as Happea and Pea-wee in the parking lot.

It didn’t call for ham hock or bacon, but I decided to throw in some bacon just the same.  I also used 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water instead of all water, and I decided to cook it in my slow cooker instead of on the stove.

The resulting soup was smoky, flavorful, and creamy — just as good as its inspiration!  The amount of dried peas I used cost about $.75, so the whole batch cost about $3.25!  It made about ten generous portions, half of which I have stored in our freezer for future winter days.

If you are ever on the Central Coast, though, tootling along the 101, do stop by and check out Pea Soup Andersen’s.  It’s not just the soup and sharp cheddar sold there that are  great — the whole atmosphere of the restaurant and gift shop is unique.  Just a few miles away is Solvang, a town filled with restaurants, toy stores, bakeries, and gift shops built in the traditional Danish style of architecture.  It is kind of like walking into part of an amusement park–kitschy but cute.  (I think it is the reason why I never had a phobia of dentists — my childhood dentist had a practice there and I loved visiting all the gift stores and eating Ebleskevers afterwards!)  🙂


Pea Soup Andersen’s Inspired Slow Cooker Pea Soup

4 slices smoked bacon trimmed of fat and chopped up, about ½ cup

2 cups dried peas, rinsed and cleared of debris

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 celery rib, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

¼  teaspoon dried thyme

salt

pepper to taste

  1. Pour everything into slow cooker.  Cook on low for about 8-10 hours or high for about 6-8 hours.  Check to see how soft the peas are.  I cooked mine for low on 2 hours, but they didn’t seem to be getting soft and I knew they were really old!  So I cooked them on high for the next 4 hours.
  2. Remove bay leaf.  Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth (only fill blender half-way and leave an open vent at the top, either covering with a towel or using a lid with a vent – alternatively, use an immersion blender instead!).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Reheat and serve.

Makes at least 10 generous servings.
// <![CDATA[

// ]]>

Advertisements

18 Comments

Filed under Soup, Soup, Travel

Low Carb “Veggie Crusts and Shells”


I love breads, cereals, rice, grains of any kind– I am not a carb hater.  But I find my body is happiest when eating those things in moderation.   When a friend of mine announced she was going “breadless” for awhile, I started thinking of all the yummy things she could eat in place of bread.

I’ve used shredded zucchini in the past as a base of a pizza crust during Passover.


Another versatile vegetable is cauliflower.  Pureed with a bit of cooking water, butter, cream, and salt, it makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes.  Processed in a food processor until crumbly and then steamed for four minutes, it is also a great substitute for rice (though for me, I would not use it in place of Japanese rice).

You can process it until it has the consistency of rice.

I’ve eaten it as a sort of pilaf/couscous with butter, salt, toasted almonds and dried cranberries:

I’ve also seen it various places used in a pizza crust.  I’ve fiddled with the recipe and came up with one I use all the time as a single serving sans all the cheese.  I mix my steamed cauliflower (I nuke it for four minutes without water, just covered with saran) with 2 tablespoons egg white (about one), 1 teaspoon grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon any kind of flour (wheat, soy, almond, chickpea, coconut, etc.) or matzo meal, and seasonings.

It has a texture similar to polenta.

Shape into a crust. I like to do it  on parchment so it doesn’t stick.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Place another piece of parchment on top, flip over onto baking sheet, then peel the top piece of parchment off the browned side.  Bake another 5-10 minutes.

Top with whatever you like.  I’ve used it as a pizza crust, as mentioned before:

Cauliflower pizza with sausage and caramelized onions and mozzarella.

And I’ve also used it as a tostada “shell”:

With refried beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and plain Greek yogurt.

Recently, I tried shredded butternut squash (because I discovered I was out of zucchini) and it was fantastic!

Raw

Cooked

The texture was not as crunchy or crispy as the zucchini, but perhaps this could change if I used a bit less egg white and matzo meal instead of soy flour. I’m still experimenting.  The flavor was great though!  Now I’m also thinking of other combinations — shredded carrot and zucchini might be good… I’d love to hear if you try any of these, or come up with your own creations!

Butternut squash used as a tostada “shell” with refried beans, grilled veggies, lettuce, cheese, and Green yogurt.

Individual Veggie Crust

1 cup of shredded vegetable of choice (if using cauliflower, process  and steam for 4 minutes)

1 tablespoon any kind of flour or matzo meal

1 teaspoon or so of parmesan or more if you like

2-3 tablespoons liquid egg whites or 1 egg white (depending on how crunchy you want the crust to be)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I use a toaster oven).

2.  Mix ingredients together in bowl.

3.  Shape crust into a 1/4 inch layer on parchment paper on baking sheet.

4.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Place another piece of parchment on top, flip crust, and peel top sheet off of browned side.

5.  Bake for another 5-10 minutes until desired browning is achieved.

6.  Use as a pizza crust or tostada shell and top with toppings of your choice.

17 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Vegetables

Fall Harvest Soup Revisted

Click to see larger version

Awhile ago I did a post on this yummy fall soup.  It’s great in winter too!
I recently redid the illustration which now appears on theydrawandcook.com which is a wonderful website devoted to delicious recipes and beautiful artwork!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

ooxx Melissa

3 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Soup, Vegetables