Friday, February 22, 2013

Someone Wants a Split Pea and Ham Soup

I have never made split pea soup until this winter. I must admit that recently I am cooking more of things that resemble baby food. It sounds so idyllic to have a family gathered around the table - parents and a child - they share a meal together. In real life child seems to eat first and then parents. Back to the soup. It is actually quite easy to make and does come out tasty and comforting on a chilly, rainy and windy Seattle day.


2 cups of dry split peas, well rinsed
8 cups of water (ratio of peas to water is 1 to 4)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 lb of smoked ham shank (I buy Beelers brand)
Olive Oil


Pour 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large soup pot and on medium heat saute carrots, celery and onion for about 5 minutes until translucent and a little brown. Add ham shank and saute with vegetables for another 2 minutes. Then add peas, water and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium low (or low), cover and let cook for 90 minutes. Stir few times while cooking. Take the bone out, cut the meat off the bone into small pieces and add back to the soup. Stir and serve. Be careful with salt - ham shank has plenty of salt. You can always add it later. I did not need any salt. I did, however, add fresh parsley leaves and fresh cracked black pepper to my soup.

Lamb Meatballs

One day I really wanted some lamb meatballs and so I decided to make them. Using just lamb makes the meatballs very rich and moist. They came out very good and even received an approval from my 1-year old food critic. Here is the recipe:


3/4-1 lb of ground lamb
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil


1. In a large bowl mix together lamb, herbs, breadcrumbs and shallot. Salt and pepper to taste. Make 2-inch diameter meatballs.

2. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and on medium high heat fry meatballs on each side until nice brown color (about 2-3 minutes). Cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low and let cook for another 10 minutes. I served them with polenta and steamed broccolini. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


This is another PCC Natural Markets salad that I tried to recreate at home. I must admit I use less dressing than they do to save on calories. My guess most of calories in this salad are from the dressing. Plus orange bell pepper adds some color. Here is how I make it.


1/2 bunch of green kale, stems removed and chopped
1/2 bunch of rainbow chard, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped into small cubes
4 tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons of Caesar salad dressing (I use Drew's)


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add more dressing if needed. Enjoy. I also tried adding avocado, which gives the salad more richness.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Watermelon Radish Orange and Fennel Salad

This is a new salad that I have been making recently. Watermelon radish and orange give it a festive look. What I like about this combination of ingredients is how fresh the salad tastes.

To make the salad combine baby salad greens with few thin slices of watermelon radish, regular radish slices, orange slices without skin, and shave some fresh fennel on top. I use champagne honey vinaigrette for the dressing. You can find the recipe for it here.

Tip for shaving fennel: Use your vegetable peeler. I like my OXO peeler. It is the best peeler I have ever had.