I added a few photos before we left Seattle and saved them so that I could show you what I have been making! That's how much I care.
In order to make this soup - Split Pea - I had to get smoked ham shanks. Of course, Uwajimaya has them ... because they have everything under the sun, in terms of meat cuts, as I have previously discussed. Wait. I could not find bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts when I was looking for them. In truth, I didn't ask. I bet, had I asked, I could have witnessed them killing, defeathering, and fabricating a chicken right then and there. I didn't ask. I went to Safeway.
Split pea is quite easy and quick. I don't have the recipe in front of me, but it goes something like this: saute a mire poix (2:1:1 - onion, celery, carrot), add your herbs (dried marjoram, here), split peas (a bag) and your liquid of choice. I used half chicken broth and half water, and just filled it until it looked good. Nestle the pork in, bring up to a bubble, then let simmer for 30 minutes. The peas should be nice and tender; some will be falling apart. Remove the pork to cool, and take a stick blender to the split peas, et. al. I blended the whole thing because that is how I like my soup, but you can leave it chunky. Cut the pork up, or shred it, or whatever, and add it back. Voila! Smoky, delicious goodness.
I did not tidy the bowl for this shot. The problem with a food blog is that I am often taking snapshots of dinner ... at 8pm ... when Josh and I are ravenous. So I don't have the patience to set myself up for the beauty shots. When you have a toddler you are faced with a unique conundrum: Do we eat with the child or after the child goes to bed? Each option has its challenges. Jacques Pepin once said that he never made "special meals" for his daughter. She ate what the adults were eating. This teaches children how to eat, that eating is social, what goes on at the table, and countless other things about culture and food and that you are not a god in this house and you have to eat what is in front of you, gosh darnit! And that's great. Compare that to my working memory of different meals for my siblings and I. I recall the classic tater tots, chicken nuggets, and carrot sticks. My mother swears that some nights we three children had three different meals, and then Mom and Dad sat down for theirs. It's possible. Sometimes Sam has what we have, but usually it is something unique because, and I have said this before, you are sitting there thinking that there is no way this tiny person has consumed enough calories to make it through the night and there is no way I am waking up at 3am because the kid is hungry. So, if he wants Cheerios, fine! Eating as a family is super and all, but that means Junior has to actually allow me a certain amount of time in the kitchen. Ha. It also means that Josh gets home at toddler dinner hour, i.e. 5:30 or 6pm. Double ha. So, Sam eats alone (read: while Mommy drinks) and Mommy and Daddy eat separately. The easiest. When Josh comes home I can either get cracking, or continue what I started in the kitchen in order to have dinner on the table when Josh walks out of Sam's bedroom around 7:45, having put the boy to sleep. The table being the coffee table, at which we sit cross-legged to watch what we TiVo. How was your day? Fine. Fine. What do we have on TiVo, pass the wine.
I made oven fries to go with the soup. I love this recipe.
Get yourself 3-4 russets and slice into wedges. Put the wedges into a bowl of hot water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes. This step is to leach out some of the starch, which enables these to become "fries" and not just wedged baked potatoes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 475 and prepare your baking sheet with 3-4T peanut oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Yes, you in fat sprinkle the pan with those seasonings. Drain and rinse the potatoes, then lay them out to dry. If you want to help the process along with paper towels, go right ahead. Toss the wedges with 1T peanut oil and then lay them out - in one layer and not too crowded! - on the sheet pan. Cover the pan with heavy duty foil and bake for five minutes. Oh, the rack should be on the lowest rung in the oven. Remove the foil, then bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Flip the wedges, and bake for 7-15 more minutes until GBD. That's "golden-brown and delicious." I have tossed my fries with minced garlic, butter, and parsley at this point, and have enjoyed the results. I have also simply dipped them in ketchup or BBQ sauce.