Photos by Christine Lim.
So I'm loving our new kitchen. Actually, our new house in Toronto is all around amazing. We have a few more things to do before the kitchen is 'fully functional', but I am settling nicely into it. It feels so good! I have mentioned in previous posts that I am back to my 'nursing life', and have returned full time to the job I held before spending some time with Remco in California. I had forgotten how busy it can be juggling work, husband, family, friends, food, sleep, and anything else in between. Remco and I have been discussing fitting more physical activity into our schedule, and have concluded that 6am is the best time to do it. Ouch!
Weekday meals definitely take some creative thinking, especially after working all day and coming home on an empty stomach. I suppose a snack routine is in order. Lately I have been trying to challenge myself to make more creative vegetarian options. To be honest, I didn't grow up vegetarian, and I still wouldn't consider myself as one. However, Remco and I do eat mostly meat-free meals at home, and usually only choose meat on special occasions or if we are out for dinner. I find having a meal comprised completely of vegetables and legumes is a style of cooking I am slowly adapting to. My challenge is not with preference or flavour - I find the lightness of vegetarian cuisine so appealing, and I feel so much better physically when I avoid meat. Creativity and variety is where I struggle. If anyone has any vegetarian or vegan favourites, feel free to pass them along! I do feel that the struggle motivates me to continue and learn and grow, and I am excited to become more confident in my selections.
In other news, my good friend Christine and I (who shot our wedding) will be spending some more time together working collaboratively - I cook, she captures. I'm super excited about this, as it means not only do I get to spend more time with her, but I can also have some more photo content to use for recipes. At times I find it difficult to focus on a creative direction with my food photography while trying to focus on the food itself. Perfect match, I think!
Our first project together is this pea soup. It's a wonderful spring and summer recipe, despite summer being an unconventional time to prepare and eat soup. The fresh flavours make it light, unlike a hearty winter soup. It can also be served chilled as an addition to a brunch menu. The yogurt can be swapped with a coconut-based yogurt, or omitted altogether, however I love the fresh tang that it provides the soup. A squirt of lemon juice for serving really brightens up the flavours - don't skip it!
Fresh Pea Soup With Yogurt & Mint
- 2 medium leeks, green parts removed, chopped
- 1 medium onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 5 cups green peas (frozen is fine if you can't find fresh)
- 1/3 cup mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- yogurt to serve (I used goat yogurt)
- lemon to serve
Warm some coconut or grape seed oil in a large pot. Add leek, onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add vegetable stock and bring up to a boil.
Add peas. Cook for 10 minutes until all vegetables cooked through. Add parsley, and puree with immersion blender (or regular blender**) until smooth.
Serve with a spoonful of yogurt and top with ribboned mint and a squirt of lemon.
Adapted from Ina Garten.