pea-soup-finalThe holiday trimmings are all packed up, the deep fryer is clean and up on the high shelf of the pantry, and any sweet has been devoured.  Things are back to the dull roar of life, and the house seems lighter and breezy.  My wallet is also feeling lighter, but my butt is heavier.  So it is time to put a lid on all unnecessary spending and indulgences.  Fair well, oh luscious garlic mayonnaise, good bye cream puffs, au revoir pommes frites.  Hello 2010 and austerity.

Well, that is not exactly going to work well with me.  The reality is to find economic meals that are “planet-sustainable” (that’s my kids talking) and delicious.  Which brings me to soups: split pea soup in particular.

What I like about thick soups is that they can become an easy meal, especially if you have made the soup ahead of time and have freeze it.   With my split pea soup (which I turn into a concentrate by reducing the liquid) I have had enough soup for 11 -12 servings.  Delicious, filling and low in calories, it is a perfect lunch for me.  And if you don’t think that it, along with fruit and a beverage, will be enough to get you through the day, add a spoonful of oat bran and flaxseed just before serving and mix well.

HEAVENLY SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 ham bone or ham hock

2 packets of dried green peas – approx. 2 lbs.

1 onion sliced finely

3 peeled potatoes,  rough chopped or sliced

3 peeled and chopped carrots

6 cups of water

6 cups of chicken stock, bouillon or broth

Salt and Pepper to taste

Oat Bran and Flax seed optional

DIRECTIONS:  Prep – 10 minutes, Cooking Time 1 ½ hours

In a large pot add water, chicken stock, peas, ham, onions, carrots, and potatoes. Using a medium setting,  cover and boil for ½ hour, then reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour.  Before serving either use a potato masher (easy to clean) or an immersion stick blender just enough to mash up the potatoes, however leaving some texture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you want more fiber, add 1 teaspoon of oat bran and fax seed. Serve hot with croutons or oyster crackers (unless you’re on a diet, like me).  Give the dog the ham bone or strip the hock of the fat and give Fido the remains.  Woof, woof!

pea-soup-1pea-soup-2

Keep soup on simmer for another hour.  Soap will get very thick.  Cool down and place thicken mixture in plastic container.  Refrigerate or freeze.  To make a bowlful of soup, get approx. 1 – ½ cups of refrigerated split pea mixture and mix in ½ cup (approx) of chicken broth, bouillon or stock.  Microwave for 2 ½ minutes. Again season to taste, and for more fiber, add oatbran and flaxseed.

Here is another southwestern rendition of ranch dressing, this time with chipotles, limes and cilantro. Has a delightful clean fresh taste and it’s great as a dressing or a dip.

INGREDIENTS

Mayonnaise

Buttermilk or sour cream

4 large spoonfuls of parmesan cheese

4 large spoonfuls of lime juice

4 large spoonfuls of pureed chipotle peppers

1 large spoonful of cilentro

1 spoonful of minced dried onion

1 spoonful of cumin

1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced

2 dashes of salt

1 dash of cayenne

DIRECTIONS

Mayonnaise to the ½ blue marks on the SaladSuccess Shaker

Buttermilk or sour cream to the top of the blue vinegar line

Add the rest of the ingredients

Shake vigorously and chill for ½ hour or more.

Reshake before serving

Once again, don’t squeeze out the dressing through the poppet top; just unscrew the top and pour over your salad.

Well, let’s turn up the heat.  And the spices.  You can use any taco seasoning with this recipe.  I myself have a large bottle of McCormick Taco Seasoning that I bought at Costco, but the best I found was Chef Andrew Cohen’s Southwest Spice Seasoning.  Give a call at Malabar Trading Company at 831-469-8233 to order.  Warning, these packets are small so order enough.  This dressing is not only great while eating chicken wings, but also on a green salad with jicama, cheddar cheese, sweet red peppers and of course, avocado slices.

INGREDIENTS

Mayonnaise

Buttermilk or Sour Cream

4 large spoonfuls of taco seasoning

1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced

2 dashes of salt

2 dash of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Mayonnaise to the ½ blue mark on the SaladSuccess Shaker

Buttermilk/sour cream to the top of the blue vinegar line

Add taco seasoning, garlic, salt & cayenne pepper

Shake vigorously and chill for ½ hour.

Reshake before serving

Once again, don’t squeeze out the dressing through the poppet top; just unscrew the top and pour over your salad .

Fried Chicken with Ranch Dressing, it’s an American classic.  Here is a simple and wonderful way to make Ranch Dressing for chicken or for a mixed salad.  I especially love it over beets.  If you want it with a  richer taste, then replace the buttermilk with sour cream.  Delightful, either way.

INGREDIENTS

Mayonnaise

Buttermilk

4 large spoonfuls of Parmesan cheese

2 large spoonfuls of dried parsley

1 spoonful of minced dried onion

1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced

2 dashes of salt

1 dash of pepper

DIRECTIONS

Mayonnaise to the ½ blue mark on the SaladSuccess Shaker

Buttermilk to the top of the blue vinegar line

Add Parmesan cheese, dry parsley, minced dry onion, garlic, salt & pepper

Shake vigorously and chill for ½ hour.

Reshake before serving

Once again, don’t squeeze out the dressing through the poppet top; just unscrew the top and pour over your salad.

Vinegared dishes in Japan are called sunomono as su means vinegar in Japanese. Sunomono has a light, clean taste and goes with many types of dishes. Try this dressing on finely sliced cucumbers (get out the mandoline), a bit of daikon (Japanese radish), scallions and carrots.  If you want to be adventurous, put few tiny raw scallops and a slice of raw salmon, along with a little dollop of crab meat (steam these if you’re squeamish). Then sprinkle with sesame seeds.  This recipe is from a fabulous web site, www.edibleparadise.com and was contributed by Chef Andrew Cohen, Chef in Residence, Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets.
INGREDIENTS
Rice vinegar
Dashi (see below)
5 large spoonfuls of sugar
DIRECTIONS
Rice vinegar to the ½ blue mark on the SaladSuccess Shaker
Dashi to the top  vinegar line
Add sugar
Shake vigorously in the SaladSuccess Shaker
Pour over salad
In small bowl, whisk all ingredients vigorously until sugar goes into suspension.

Chef Andrew has provided a dashi recipe at Edible Paradise.  Dashi is the stock used in Japanese cuisine.  It’s made with kelp and bonito flakes, all available at Asian markets. Instant dashi powder is also available at stores. Use it if you are time-limited. Usually, about 1 tsp of dashi powder is used for 3 to 5 cups of water. Just follow the instructions on the package.

I love poppy seed dressing over tart apples such as Pippin or Granny Smith, various finely sliced cabbages, and a couple handfuls of chopped walnuts.  However you might try it on baby spinach leaves, paper-thin slices of red onion, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries and almond slivers.  It’s that sweet/sour mix that is so exciting for our palates

INGREDIENTS

Oil – canola or vegetable

White wine vinegar

4 large spoonfuls of honey or sugar

2 spoonfuls dry mustard
2 large spoonfuls poppy seeds

A dash or two of salt

DIRECTIONS

Oil to the ½ blue mark of the SaladSuccess shaker

White wine vinegar to the ¾ blue oil mark

Add honey or sugar, dry mustard, poppy seeds and salt

Shake vigorously in SaladSuccess shaker

Chill and shake again before serving (you’ll need to open the top or else the poppy seeds with clog the poppet top)

This anti-oxidant salad dressing recipe comes from my dear friend Annaliese Keller, proprietress of Malabar Trading Company, world’s best teas. She suggests getting a large bowl with mixed salad greens, baby spinach leaves, a handful of dried cranberries, ½ red onion (thinly sliced) and a topping of chopped walnuts.
INGREDIENTS
Fresh oranges (strained) or orange juice concentrate, thawed
Rice vinegar
4 large spoonfuls flax seed oil
4 large spoonfuls sesame oil
4 large spoonfuls walnut oil
Several pinches of cayenne
Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS

Orange juice to the blue ½ line of SaladSuccess shaker

Rice vinegar to the orange 2/3 line

Add flax seed oil, sesame seed oil, walnut oil, cayenne, salt & pepper.

Shake vigorously in SaladSuccess shaker.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss.

This dressing is wonderful on spinach greens with scallions cucumbers and shrimp.  I especially like it for an asian cole slaw with scallions, cilantro, shredded carrots, cabbage. Sometimes I’ll add chicken, tuna or shrimp and turn it into a meal.

INGREDIENTS
3 large spoonfuls of light miso
Fresh ginger – use your peeler and get 6 nice peelings
4 large spoonfuls of cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 large spoonfuls of dark sesame oil
Peanut or vegetable oil

Water

DIRECTIONS
Miso, ginger, lemon or cider vinegar  and sesame oil.  Shake vigorously in SaladSuccess shaker until smooth.

Add oil to ¾ blue oil lineShake vigorously

Then add water to top blue line and shake until thick and creamy. Add more miso for a richer flavor.

I was looking thru my Bon Appetit magazines for a dessert, and came up with this dressing.  Little more work than usual since you have to boil and reduce the pineapple and apple juice, but absolutely worth it.  Use it on a Waldorf Salad – apples, chicken, celery, seedless grapes, onions, walnuts and soft green lettuces.

INGREDIENTS

Apple juice

Pineapple juice

Olive Oil

3 large spoonfuls Mayonnaise

2 spoonfuls of Honey

1 heaping spoonful of Dijon Mustard

½ spoonful of

Tumeric or cumin (sometimes I’ll add a little curry)

DIRECTIONS

Apple juice to the 1/3 orange line

Pineapple to the 2/3 orange line

Mix in the SaladSuccess Shaker and pour into a heavy medium sauce pan.

Boil for 10 minutes – Mixture should coat the back of a spoon

Cool completely

Olive oil to the 1/3 orange line

Add honey, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and spice

Shake vigorously in Salad Success Shaker

Add cool juice mixture

Shake again vigorously in Salad Success Shaker

From Bon Appetit December 2007 edition, page 50.  Originally from Crew Restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ.

To dress up this salad, don’t forget to put crispy Chinese noodles.  This dressing is great over chicken with chopped white cabbage, jicama and scallions. If you don’t like a “hot” dressing, tone down the Chinese mustard.

INGREDIENTS

Rice Wine Vinegar

Peanut or vegetable oil

6 tablespoons of Chinese mustard

6 tablespoons of Honey

Salt & Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Rice Vinegar to the 2/3 orange line of the SaladSuccess Shaker

Peanut Oil to the top orange line

Add Chinese mustard and honey

Salt & Pepper to taste

Shake vigorously in the SaladSuccess Shaker

Arrange salad, pour dressing on the greens, and arrange crispy  noodles.