Chilled Pea Soup with Shrimp

It’s pretty common for me to dream about food, but not all that often that I have such a vivid dream about a dish that I wake up really excited to cook it. It might be the warmer weather here, but last night I had a dream that I made a chilled pea soup topped with shrimp and diced veggies. When I woke up, one of the first things I did was head to the store to get some good produce and some really fresh Gulf shrimp, and head out to my garden to grab some herbs, tomatoes, and celery. This recipe will make 2-3 bowls (I just had the one, but there is at least one more serving left over in my fridge), and because you shock the warm soup in an ice bath, it not only doesn’t require hours of chilling time but it stays bright bright green.

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium/homemade)
1 pint heavy cream
16 oz bag frozen shelled peas, thawed
1 sprig fresh mint (I used Lebanese mint because it’s a bit milder than the peppermint I have, but any mint will do)
1 sprig fresh chamomile
2 small sprigs fennel fronds
1/2 – 1 tsp salt (depending on how much salt your stock has)
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1 stalk celery
extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large cucumber, diced (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish)
1 avocado, cut in a small dice
1/2 bell pepper, cut in small dice
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lemon
Sour cream

-Cook your shrimp as desired (I grilled mine with salt, pepper, and olive oil, but you can also saute yours). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
-Dice the onion, garlic, and celery, and set aside a little onion for the garnish. Saute the rest of the onion with the garlic and celery with some olive oil until golden.
-Add the stock and salt, and heat until simmering.
-Meanwhile, fill a very large bowl with ice cubes and nest a smaller bowl in it, making sure the ice is around the bottom and sides of this small bowl. You’ll pour the soup into this smaller bowl to ‘shock’ it. This cools it down (it is chilled soup, after all), and shocking it helps the peas keep their bright green color.
-Add the peas to the stock and cook for 2-3 minutes.
-Shock the soup by pouring it into the bowl nestled in ice.
-Pour the soup into a blender, along with the cream, cucumber, mint, fennel, and chamomile. Blend until it’s as smooth as you would like it to be.
-Pour the soup into bowls. Top with diced vegetables (make sure to squeeze the juice of half the lemon on the diced avocado right after you cut it so it doesn’t oxidize), sour cream, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. I also put a couple chamomile flowers on top!
-Eat!

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Pickled Turmeric

I got a bunch of fresh turmeric from Red Hills Online Market last week with the intention of testing it out as a pickle. The recipes I found mostly used lemon juice, but I have a ton of oranges left over for making a 60-person King Cake for a New Orleans-themed party, so I decided to use them up. Here’s the recipe that inspired me, although I’m using the juice of more pieces of citrus so the proportions are a bit different. If you want to use lemon juice or learn more about the healing properties of turmeric, check it out! Next up, I’m thinking of doing a lacto-fermented turmeric pickle. If anyone has other suggestions for fresh turmeric root, let me know!

Fresh turmeric, washed and peeled (I peel it my rubbing it with a spoon. This was about 1/2 a pound, which is the size the bags I got were).
1 1/2 tbsp salt
Juice of 3 oranges (depending on the size of your jar–I wanted my juice to cover my turmeric).

-Slice the turmeric into 1/4 inch pieces (it stains all the things, so bear that it mind before you set it on anything you don’t want stained).
-Place the turmeric into a jar.
-Add the juice and salt, put the lid on, and shake to combine.
-Pop it in the fridge and wait a few days
-Eat!

Note (aka Pickled Turmeric for the Lazy): I made some without peeling it or even seeding the oranges, and it turned out fine. Peeling it *is* a bit of a pain if you have especially knobby turmeric. The seeds of the oranges just end up in the brine, and if you decide to use the brine for something (brines are great in salad dressing…) you can always fish them out, so don’t stress yourself out about getting every single one.

Candied Violets

When I was a kid, my mom and I would candy violets every spring. We would eat them by themselves or use them as decorations (they are cute on cakes). I started some seeds a while back and just harvested a tiny handful of violets, so I decided I would candy them! Here’s how to do it:

Candied Violets
1 egg white
sugar
violets (washed and completely dried)

-Sprinkle a layer of sugar on a plate.
-(Very) carefully paint the egg white on the flowers (I usually just do the fronts, if you’re brave you do the backs too). I use my finger for this because it gives me the most control, but you could use a small paint brush too.
-Set the flower painted side down in the sugar, making sure all the painted surfaces are covered.
-Let the flowers dry.
-That’s it!