Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Split Pea soup

When the forecast for this week revealed a major snow storm, I knew immediately that I wanted to add soup to my menu.  That's the proper way to spend a snow day, right?!  Thankfully the storm wasn't as bad as predicted (we got 6 or so inches, not the predicted 2'+) but it was the perfect amount of snow to cause a snow day for my husband, we didn't have to worry about losing power, and we were able to get out and go sledding in the afternoon!

My husband's favorite soup is split pea.  But he can't order it many places, as a lot of restaurants put ham in it.  When I originally had the idea to make this soup for him a few months ago, I found this one from The Inventive Vegetarian, a site I've used before, so I trusted it would be good.  I made one or two slight changes to make it more to my liking, but otherwise this was the perfect recipe!  The soup itself is parve, though we added sourdough parmesan croutons which made this batch dairy once it was served.

I will advise to get the carrots, celery and parsley chopped first and put aside (they are added all at once so you can put them all together in a bowl) and not rinse the peas until just before putting them into the pot, as they will harden and become one big split pea clump if they have time to dry after rinsing.

This was a nice, cozy lunch that we ate while we looked out on the winter wonderland outside.

Split Pea Soup (slightly adapted from The Inventive Vegetarian)

1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
3 small (or 2 medium/large) garlic cloves, diced
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery
1 lb (2.5 cups) dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed
8 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 bunch parsley, rough chopped
salt & pepper to taste
croutons, for garnish (optional)

- Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion to the hot oil and saute for a few minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add garlic and saute for another minute.
- Add the carrots, celery, peas, herbs, stock, and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Stirring occasionally, let it simmer for 90 minutes, partially covered.
- Salt & pepper to taste (keep in mind how salty the croutons you might be adding are).  Remove the bay leaves.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until well combined but still a little chunky.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons, if desired.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Salmon-Tuna Twists

When guests over for lunch I am usually not creative and end up serving deli sandwiches or tuna fish.  For some reason I just don't want to be bothered with preparing a meal in the middle of the day.  But when I invited my parents over a few weeks ago I decided to not slack off and actually make something for them (though, admittedly, I did serve them prepared leftovers as a side to this meal).

I recently rediscovered The Kosher Palette, so I looked there to find something simple but delicious to make.  I came across a recipe that intrigued me:  Salmon-Tuna Twists.  It uses canned fish and while my go to sushi order usually includes salmon rolls and tuna rolls, I never thought to combine the fishes in one dish, especially not combining them in canned form, which I use separately ALL. THE. TIME.  After looking over their recipe I decided to experiment with it a little bit.  For starters, they only used 3oz of each fish, but the cans are 6oz and what was I going to do with the half cans left?!  I played with the other ingredients and added an idea or two of my own and am very happy with the results.

The best part is, these can either be large enough to be a main dish, or they can be served as part of a meal (such as brunch or as an appetizer) in smaller form.  When I hosted my in-laws for brunch a week after making this for my own parents I made these again slightly smaller and again it went over very well.

Salmon-Tuna Twists (adapted from The Kosher Palette)

6oz can of tuna in water, drained
6oz can of salmon, drained
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp white horseradish, drained
1 tsp paprika
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In medium mixing bowl, combine tuna and salmon.  Chop with fork until large chunks are all broken down.
- Add mayonnaise, onion garlic, lemon juice, horseradish, and paprika.  Stir until well combined.
- On lightly floured surface, roll pastry sheet.  Cut to desired size (for larger twists, cut each sheet into quarters, for smaller twists cut into eighths).
- Spoon salmon-tuna mixture into center of each square.  fold two diagonal corners into center and press together.
- Place twists on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes (the larger twists will need longer than smaller twists).