Thursday, April 2, 2015

Flying High Now - The Original Split Pea Soup

Wednesday, Day 21 - Stick a fork in me, the Do Over is Done. Many thanks to my son, who got me there, and back, and there again, and back ... finally to have my first cup of decent coffee in three days, accompanied by one of those cute chocolate mini-scones, I had picked up at Whole Foods for that express purpose.

Of course after the anesthesia, I wasn't as steady on my feet as I had hoped, and I was more than happy to take my coffee and my Yorkies and head upstairs for a while.  With my feet back up on the bed, I wasn't doing much better than yesterday, and I guess Chelsea must have known that, because she decided to walk across the iPad keyboard and turn on the music.

Smart little girl.  The "Theme from Rocky" always lifts my spirits.  I'm not sure how she learned that little trick; I think it must have been Anakin who showed her the way (that's not a Peter Frampton reference, by the way.)  But it worked, as I am giving serious thought to heading over to Publix to pick up this and that, and then taking on some of the cooking I had to put off.

Bad idea.  Which did not stop me from food shopping, but I should have stayed home.  My digestive system is still complaining about the three-day assault, and I should have shown it a bit more respect. Not only that, but having driven to Publix, I was more than a bit frustrated that they had nary a Passover shelf to be found.  Oh, they had boxes of matzo in the regular Jewish section, but not one was for Passover use.  No matzo farfel, no matzo meal, no cake meal nor potato starch.  Not even a container of overly-sweet coconut macaroons.  How am I supposed to make farfel stuffing without farfel?

We'll talk about that tomorrow.  Today is the day I am making my split pea soup, based on the split pea soup recipe I submitted to the Sisterhood of Congregation Shalom Aleichem cookbook in the mid-nineties.  Today I have made a few small changes - I am using smoked meat (neck bones) instead of a milder ham bone, and so I added an extra quart of water and some sugar.  As I sit here now, I hope I did not misjudge the amount of neck bone I added to the soup.  I also threw in 2 cloves of garlic with the caramelizing onions, and some black pepper along with the salt and basil.

I gave in to my paranoia and removed one of the neck bones while the soup still had another hour to cook.

Oh hell, I just lost two full paragraphs ... I know it had something to do with chopped herring ... no, I am not making that up.  I was planning a luncheon, and I had a theme, and a menu and I'd even designed an invitation.  It was witty culinary repartee and now it's lost.  Nuts.

Well, at least I didn't lose the recipe, which I got from my grandmother-who-raised-me many years ago.  That woman had a way with onions, and I can't deny ...

The Original Split Pea Soup

1 pound split green peas, rinsed under cool water (don't skip this)
2 large grated carrots (yes grated, not sliced, diced, chopped or minced.  Oh, and grate them yourself)
3 stalks chopped celery
3 onions, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds beef, ham, or pork bones, optional
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
black pepper, to taste
2 quarts water
3-4 kosher frankfurters, sliced

Melt the butter in a large deep pot on medium high.  Add 2 of the chopped onions, and sauté until golden brown.  This should take awhile to get the right degree of caramelization, and lower the heat as needed to avoid burning the onions.  Add the water, and then all the remaining ingredients except the frankfurters.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove the meat bones from the soup, remove the meat from the bones and return it to the soup.  Add the sliced frankfurters and simmer another 10 minutes, uncovered.  Stir well to break up the peas.

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