This past Saturday morning was spent at the annual Webster Groves Herb Society's Spring Sale. This day I look forward to all year and once again, the experience did not disappoint. The selection is always overwhelming and you just want to try it all. The only way to do it is to zero in on a subject and then attack; I spent a long time in the lavender aisle seeking council on varieties for culinary use versus varieties for fragrance. I then hopped over to the basil area and was grateful to grab several of the last Lemon Basil plants.
My years of herb gardening have been a roller coaster adventure with a few mistakes but many more successes. Even the mistakes seem to have a happy ending. There's the year I wanted plenty of basil for pesto so planted a more than dozen plants around a fountain. Plenty of basil dwarfing the fountain resulted; by July I had a fortune in basil --far beyond what I could possibly use for pesto-- which was happily given away. The next year I switch to the more dramatic looking Mexican bush sage around the fountain. I learned that according to lore the plant brings luck. My husband put spikes of it it under home plate for his softball games and sure enough the agency team won the championship that year. (And only that year.) After a hard winter losing a long, hedge of boxwood I discovered Germander is used in traditional English herb gardens. It gets "boxed" just like Boxwood and is lower to the ground, so compartments of Germander replaced the boxwood and more herbs filled the inside.
So now my herbs from this year's outing await planting, pinches already taken for use in today's soup,
Not Your Mother's Pea Soup. This is a simple everyday recipe for spring and a way to use your favorite herbs from the garden. If you have no fresh herbs, that's just fine. A handful of fresh parsley from the grocery store and dried herbs work very well. Parsley is the one fresh herb we list on the
SimplyCooking® Pantry. It's abundant, cheap, versatile and healthful. We use copious amounts - stems too - in many SimplyCooking® recipes. As for the pea soup, this version is vibrant and fresh, it is made with frozen peas, lots of onion, green onion, vegetable broth, fresh lettuce and fresh herbs. It's creamy, without using cream, and flavorful without using salt. Because fresh parsley is on the SimplyCooking® Pantry, the recipe indicates that, but feel free to mix in or substitute fresh mint, rosemary, thyme or basil. I'm enjoying my new Lemon Basil in today's batch.
not your mother's pea soup
3 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
4 green onions, sliced (use the white and only part of the green)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 cups vegetable broth
6 cups frozen peas
1 handful fresh parsley
2 large leaves romaine lettuce
In a soup pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and green onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add the dried rosemary and cook a few minutes longer. Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Add the frozen peas. Reduce the heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are bright green and tender. Turn off the heat and let cool a few minutes. Place half the peas and broth in a blender and puree. Pour into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining peas and broth. Add the parsley and lettuce and puree again until smooth. Return the herbed puree to the soup pot and then add the plain puree from the bowl. Heat over low heat until just pleasingly warmed.
Fresh mint, rosemary, thyme or basil may be substituted for or used along with the fresh parsley. Depending on what you choose, you may want to omit the dried rosemary.