Thursday, January 28, 2010

Split Pea and Green Pea Soup with Fresh Dill: The recipe that made me buy the book

I study the shiny green cover with an attentive eye – scrutinizing it like it’s a piece of chocolate I’m about to devour.

Is it worth it? I wonder. Worth the $27 and wait in the 10-person long line?

I flip through the pages again – trying to gauge whether I will actually make any of the “1,100 quick dishes for everynight cooking” in bon appétit’s fast easy fresh cookbook. I think back to Mark Bittman’s epic How to Cook Everything that a former roommate bequeathed to me nearly a year ago. At the time, I was ecstatic – Mark Bittman! – and had eagerly accepted the 960 page volume from her outstretched hands.

Of course I would use the cookbook all the time! I assured her. He’s one of my epicurean heroes – and he’s a runner! I’d forever be consulting the book for soups and polenta and that pizza I’m going to make from scratch. Some day.

Nine months later, I’ve yet to crack the cover.

I sigh. Do I really need the bon appétit cookbook? I know I can find most, if not all, the recipes on line. Plus, there aren’t nearly enough pictures.

I need pictures.

How else will I know if a recipe is going to taste good? It’s how I decide which dishes to click on TasteSpotting!

I start to put it down. I need to be practical. To not make impulse purchases that I don’t really need and probably won’t even use. I’m halfway to the exit when I remember the worn, stained, barely legible cookbooks that line the shelves in my parents’ kitchen. I think of the handwritten notes next to my mom’s favorite recipes – “More pepper” on one, “Double the sauce” on another, “Diana likes!” next to the one dish I actually ate when I was an impossibly picky child.

I want that – the torn, worn and tattered cookbooks that my future children will make fun of.

I turn through the pages again. I’d make Wisconsin mac & cheese, I’d make celery root risotto and pesto, and I know I’d make the split pea and green pea soup with fresh dill. It’s the last recipe that seals the deal – it makes me want to go straight to Whole Foods so I can cook it now.

Instead, I head straight for the now twelve person-long line, no longer fettered with indecision.

Two weeks later, after the holiday rush has ended and I’m no longer subsisting on a mostly cookie diet, I make the soup that convinced me to buy the bright green cookbook. It’s just as good as I’d hope it would be when I was hemming and hawing at Borders. I scrape up every dill-infused bite and then make my first note in the book.

“Diana likes.”

Split Pea and Green Pea Soup with Fresh Dill

Recipe from bon appétit’s fast easy fresh cookbook
Serves 2

1 small leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped (about ¾ cup)
1 small bay leaf
1/2 cup green split peas, rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
Olive oil
Salt, pepper to tast

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add leek and bay leaf. Sauté until leek wilts, about 3 minutes. Add split peas and stir to coat. Add 2 1/4 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until split peas are just tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer 1/2 cup soup solids, bay leaf, and remaining 1/4 cup broth to blender. Add peas and 2 tablespoons dill. Puree until smooth. Return puree to soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining dill.


Anna A. said...

Whoa, hello green! No buyers remorse on that purchase. Soup looks hawt and can't wait to hear/read/see about that Wisconsin mac n cheese you speak of.

Marie said...

Awww. I haven't thought about having cookbooks about to scribble such notes in. Sounds lovely, though. Bookmarked or printed out recipes just aren't the same to flip through!

Diana said...

Anna - I can't wait to make/eat/write about that Wisconsin mac n cheese! I've never made mac n cheese from scratch before!

Marie - They really aren't! I'm pleased as punch with my purchase!

yutjangsah said...

Diana likes? I bet yutjangsah likes too then!

Alessandra said...

Ali likes!

Kung Food Panda said...

Looks great D! I think that soup would been great during the rainy weather last week!

Gastronomer said...

That was such a cute post, D. I likes that Diana likes!

The Duo Dishes said...

It's a great find to pick up a cookbook that you can love. There are too many good cookbooks out there that aren't getting love!