Friday, March 26, 2010

A Recommendation and Sweet Pea Soup

I collect cookbooks.
All types of cookbooks; I especially like old, heritage books that feature REAL food. You know, the stuff your grandmother made.

TBHITW is going to sigh and say, "another cookbook?" when this one reaches my mailbox, but I just can't resist. Seasonal, local, sustainable food. What more can a cook (and an eater) ask for?

From Tasting Table: (a free national AND local email highlighting the new, the tasty and the trendy in your area)

Local Boy Makes Good
Changing our food systems--and your dinner--for the better
Sustainably Delicious
Photo: Andre Baranowski
Michel Nischan is always a step ahead.

Years before urban farming became a movement, the Connecticut-based chef had turned his backyard into a
vast garden that feeds his family of seven.

And long before area restaurants figured out how to support local farms, Nischan laid the groundwork at restaurants like
Heartbeat, Miche Mache and his latest venture, The Dressing Room, which he founded with the late Paul Newman.

Now, Nischan's
Wholesome Wave Foundation has launched a program thatdoubles the value of food stamps at farmers' markets across the country.

And the guy still finds time to write excellent cookbooks. His latest,
Sustainably Delicious, which draws on his expertise and experience from his long career as a sustainable-food pioneer, contains 100 recipes and a wealth of advice for the eco-minded home cook.

Nischan's recipes are as practical as they are personal, emphasizing everyday ingredients and seasonality over chef-y flourishes and exhaustive preparations.

BUYSustainably Delicious Online

Sweet Pea Soup

Recipe adapted from Sustainably Delicious

Makes 4 to 6 servings

½ pound Yukon gold potatoes (1 or 2 potatoes)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 cup diced onion

4 cups shelled sweet peas ( about 4 pounds in the pod),

or frozen organic peas

6 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade

2 to 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint or Thai basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer to chill. In a

saucepan, cover the potatoes with a generous amount of

water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then

reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20

minutes, or until the potatoes are tender but not mushy.

Drain the potatoes; when they’re cool enough to handle,

peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. (You should

have about 1 cup of cubed potatoes.) Set the potatoes


2. Meanwhile, heat the oil and onion in a large skillet over

medium heat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the

onions are lightly caramelized. Add the fresh peas and

cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just cooked through. (If

using frozen peas, heat them just until they get hot.)

Immediately transfer the onion and peas to the chilled

baking sheet and place them in the freezer for 8 to 10

minutes, or until the peas are cold.

3. In a 3-quart or larger saucepan, bring the stock to a

simmer over medium-high heat. Add the cold onion and

peas and the cubed potatoes to the hot stock. Bring the

soup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Working in

batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process until

very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add the

mint or basil. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the

butter. For a more refined soup, strain through a fine-

mesh sieve. Garnish with additional mint or basil leaves

and serve immediately.

A Cook's Notes: Tasting Table and/or Michel Nischan have never heard of me. They didn't ask me to hype their site or the cookbook. I just happen to like Tasting Table AND sustainable, local food.


  1. Love pea soup and cook books! Had to give up some of my books, though, when we moved. I find myself going on-line (and your blog) for recipes now-a-days. But I still have the old cook book of my mothers that I learned to cook with.

  2. Aren't old cookbooks wonderful!!My 92 year old aunt wanted some of my favorite recipes so I grabbed my favorites from my 45 year old cook book collection. I made a booklet of those recipes(with citations), and I combined it with clip art and jokes which I had bound at Staples as a gift for her. It is saved on CD so I make additional copies and sometimes give them as hostess or friendship gifts.

  3. That soup sounds absolutely yummy - and the book sounds interesting, too :)

  4. Kathy - I will probably have to get rid of some of my books when me move but there are some (like your mother's book) that I will NEVER give up!

    R.J. - What a wonderful idea!! I have 3 ring binders with magazine recipes but never thought to do it with the books - they being sacred and all. I may have to consolodate some when we move.

    Rachel - Peas are the best in spring - that what makes this recipe so wonderful.

  5. This soup sounds great. I'm like you. I have a total cookbook addiction!!!

  6. I REALLY REALLY love pea soup!

  7. Sounds fantastic (of course). I tend to go online more often than not these days but do have a few cookbooks that I can't imagine getting rid of. I also have a binder where I keep the recipes I've tried and want to repeat.

    Here's a question for you. I am planning on cooking fresh salmon for a group of people. I'm planning on grilling it, weather permitting, but need to be able to stick it in the oven if it's dumping rain. Any flavoring/marinade tips? I often just do a bit of tarragon when it's just me (my husband won't touch it).

  8. Kathleen - I will post other recipes from the book. Spring! New Food, Yeah!!

    Otin - Me too!

    Whitney - Binders are great. I also write in my books - notes about the food, any changes I make. Now for the salmon, which is one of my favorite dishes.

    The most flavor transfer occurs in the first 45 minutes of marinating. With fish, 30 minutes, so don't over due the marinade time.

    i like:
    1. Brown sugar dissolved in warm (not hot water) with a small amount of salt, marinade for 30 minutes, then pat dry and proceed on the grill.
    2. Maple syrup brushed on while grilling. This is delicious with a sweet potato mash on the side.
    3. Butter and tarragon sounds heavenly.
    4. Garlic and butter brushed on, then a light hollandaise on the side.
    5. Dijon mustard smeared on the salmon, then topped with a handful of panko and a few dabs of butter, then baked is lovely.
    6. Cedar planked (after marinading in brown sugar mixture) is very flavorful - if you don't have a plank, a few cedar chips thrown on the hot coals will smoke up and flavor the fish

    You can bake the salmon at 400 degrees OR pan sear it - on one side, flip it and then put it in the oven to finish.

    Since you are serving guests you want to choose the method that will allow you to be with your guests rather than standing over a grill or stove.

    I guess I'm going to have to do a post on salmon! Whatever method and flavorings you choose, have fun!

  9. I want YOUR cookbook :0)

  10. I don't think I've ever had sweet pea soup. I should tell my husband about Tasting Table.

  11. I am Dutch in all things, but I can't handle the most famous Dutch dish there is..Split pea soup mit Mettwurst!

  12. This Sweet Pea soup sounds divine and the cookbook looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing! Have a fun Sunday!

  13. Eternally - I'm working on it. Give me another 6 months!

    Unknown - I have found some great, little known restaurants through the site. Bon Appetit!

    Buffalo - I don't like split pea soup - but fresh, with mint? A whole different ball game!

    Marguerite - You are welcome!

  14. Your soup sounds very good! I will be checking out the cookbook. I'm a cookbook addict and they're like shows, you can never have too many!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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