Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Green, Green Pea Soup with Ginger and Cilantro

Spring! After a disturbingly anticlimactic winter that never quite fully arrived, the season of the long evenings is upon us. It is the best. As I've doubtless mentioned a million times, my favorite time of the week is Thursday night--everything stretched deliciously out ahead still, not one second of weekend yet passed by--which makes early spring my favorite time of the year. As soon as the trees blossom, I turn into the gloomy, dying Romantic poet version of myself: "Why hath lilac's bloom so short a moment when no sooner doth it unfurl in all its perfumed purpleness already the brown scent of decay is upon us! Oh death! Oh fleeting beauty!" And everyone has to be like, "Shut up and enjoy the fucking flowers." And I can, but only kind of. Because Ben is driving. He is practically packing up the car, waving merrily in the rear view mirror. "Bye, Ma! Thanks for the childhood!"Oh fleeting beauty! 

A dear friend of Birdy's slept over, and brought with him a dear friend of Strawberry's: Piggy the Pig-Shaped Pig.
Wait. Existential detour. Where was I headed? Pea soup. But seriously. Your kids are all driving too, doubtless, and/or turning thirteen, sixteen, bending to kiss your forehead consolingly on their way out the literal and metaphorical door. Who even knows what they're up to, these large and fragrant people. A friend and I were talking recently about our kids and sex and the internet, wondering if there was a website of kind of gentle, realistic, feminist beginner porn--more curiosity and exploration than normative grossness--you know, for the young people. (I'm reminding myself now of when the kids were little and debilitated by narrative tension, and I just wanted videos for them where nothing actually happened: like, a kid goes to a birthday party, gets a goody bag, and happily eats a piece of cake. The end.) Um, there's not. And I have regretted our Google search ever since. 

Sorry. An inside joke for longtime readers. (Ben's. . . fifth?. . . birthday pinata. It was shaped like a heart.)
Anyhoo. Pea soup. Because despite the feeling of spring, you still have to cheat on the produce for a while, unless what you're really craving is one-inch chives. That I can help you with. But otherwise, frozen peas are easy and delicious and they have a spring feeling about them, even though you can get and eat them all day long. Besides, though, some of the days are still cold and rainy--like today, for instance--and soup is a welcome thing. Especially this nice, easy one, with its velvety, aromatic deliciousness.

Green, Green Pea Soup with Ginger and Cilantro
Serves 4

Mint is the customary companion to peas, but this bright green soup is scented with ginger and cilantro instead. And a swirl of creamy-rich coconut milk boosts the yumminess even higher. Frozen peas are easy, good, and reliable.

2 tablespoons butter
1 smallish yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon each finely chopped ginger and garlic
Kosher salt
3 large sprigs cilantro (plus more for garnish)
1 fist-sized potato, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth (I like Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon cubes, the plain sea-salt kind)
1 (16-ounce) bag of frozen petite peas
1 cup coconut milk or cream, shaken (plus more for drizzling)
Lime wedges for serving

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat and sauté the onion, ginger, and garlic until the onion is just getting translucent, around 3 minutes. Add the cilantro, potato, and broth, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potato is tender, around 20 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for another 6 or 7 minutes, until the peas are bright green and tender, then stir in the coconut milk (save a few whole peas for garnish, if you like). Puree the soup with a stick blender or in batches, very carefully, in a blender (for a silky-smooth texture, you can pass it through a food mill). Taste the soup for salt and serve, garnished with the reserved peas, a few cilantro leaves and a drizzle of coconut milk. If the flavor needs punching up (it may well not), a squeeze of lime is a nice way to do it.


  1. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Yes! The boob piñata! We love that one! And your expression is priceless.
    When my children were little, I shared your wish for videos(or picture books for that matter) where nothing really happened. I remember my son saying to me once "Can we watch the Mr. Rogers video again. I like that one because I never have to be worries something bad is going to happen." --Cathy K

  2. I am skipping over discussing the teenager in my house to stop at the narrative tension comment; I think the stress of board games goes hand-in-hand with this issue for little ones. Thank you so much for your recommendation of the non-competitive Harvest Time board game. All three of the older kids--even the teenager--join in to play it with the five-year old. I think they all find it to be a peaceful break in their days.

    Also, minus the butter, dairy-free soup! Woo-hoo!

    1. @nowheymama - we are dairy free too (my 1 year old is allergic). In case you don't know this already - check the ingredients on the bouillon cubes. The ones in our store all have dairy in them. Unfortunately, My son is sensitive enough that he will react to that minuscule amount. (and side note : if you have a dairy-free bouillon cube product, please share the brand!! )

    2. And I just googled rapunzel brand bouillon. It's vegan! Hot damn ! Ignore my prior post, please. I'm off to happy dance and order a shitton of dairy-free bouillion cubes!!!!

    3. Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for thinking of us! We like Orrington Farms Bouillons, too, if you need another brand.

  3. Ah, the boob piñata! It instantly made me giggle. It seems like you were writing over on Babycenter, pregnant with Birdy and sweet little lovable toddler Ben just yesterday. I refuse to believe he's driving. #nothappening

  4. This part: "Because Ben is driving. He is practically packing up the car, waving merrily in the rear view mirror. 'Bye, Ma! Thanks for the childhood!' Oh fleeting beauty!" gave me one of those severe Combination Emotion feelings. I was recognizing the situation (I keep exclaiming about how look there's a horse!! look at that cute house!! look at those beautiful shrubs!!---now that my eldest is driving and I can SEE OUT THE WINDOWS for a change), and also Recognizing the Situation (I overheard a conversation between this same eldest child and a friend, where they were just like ITCHING to get off to college and the next stage of life), and also Struck by your phrasing/imagery ("Thanks for the childhood!" while driving off), and then completely choked up by that whole image combined with the poem segment. Ack! Emotion Attack!

  5. Oh the boobs!! How I remember the boobs! I also still always recommend pears to anyone dealing with constipation no matter the age. Also, Poet the pink monkey is not doing nearly as well as Strawberry and Piggy. She is very threadbare and not very pink anymore.

  6. Hahahahaa, I laughed out loud at the old boob pinata. For once, I happen to have all of these ingredients on hand at home so...pea soup, here we come!

  7. Jennifer5:29 PM

    I remember the boob piñata! My Ben is driving as well. Your image of your Ben driving off and saying "Thanks for the childhood!" is spot on. I know its supposed to happen, but why so quickly? Did my mother feel this way?

  8. That soup sounds delicious and just like something that I could make and eat for a week of lunches because no one else in my house likes cilantro. Yay!

    The boob piñata is a classic! My own oldest is one year ahead of Ben and the time left is achingly fleeting. How did this happen so quickly? He often talks about "when I was a kid" and I want to yell YOU STILL ARE! but I just nod my head.

  9. Boob pinata! Yay! How about Yay, it's boob pinata day boobs? Anyhoo...Ben is driving!! Yowza. I have this picture of a little sticky-fingered toddler behind the wheel saying "is this right Mama? Does the stick go here? And the big big wheel is turning?"

  10. All the Jen's came out to post - we all must be longtime readers (you know how popular that name was in the 70s) Ben can't be driving... are your laws different in MA? Ben's driving???

    One of my favorite lines from Waiting for Birdy is "Ben just gave up naps and even though Michael is patient that's a whole lotta Ben" or something close to that. I loved that line.

    Thank you for the soup and the boob piñata. Alas.. green soup will not fly in our house. <3 Enjoy the spring. ~ The other Jen D :)

  11. Quick question: Have you tried makelovenotporn.tv? Not the solution to every problem but is worth checking out for this particular one. P.S. Ben is driving?? This cannot be true. Fleeting beauty. The inexorable passage of time. Augh.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. I remember the day when I learned from my AC roommate that in Japan cherry blossoms were wept over. Made perfect sense to me. Our Ba and Huggy and Miss Mousie, threadbare though they are, still celebrate their bdays with the family and cake every year, one month before their respective teen's bday. That plus the half bdays equals a lot of cake, though I'm still tempted by your Happy Wednesday Cake cake. I feel like they're all quivering the way a car in those NASCAR races revs up before the start signal is given. Soon outta here, but still needing hugs (lucky me). Thanks for the morning wistful laugh.

  15. I have been wondering if I ought to buy a few vintage Playboys (Photoshop-free women with genuine pubic hair!) and leave them sort of sticking out between sofa cushions... Or perhaps the 70s edition of Joy of Sex that made my next door neighbors my favorite folks to babysit for back in 7th grade (so. much. hair.) -- casually stacked between the Dick Blick (heh heh) catalogues on the back of the toilet?

  16. also, re "debilitated by narrative tension" -- YES! which is how we discovered Shirley Hughes and the Alfie and Annie Rose stories.