I was having a conversation with one of my new favorite women I’ve recently met about one of my favorite subjects – food. At first we began swapping recipes, learning how we individually created a particular dish or two then we compared notes on how underwhelmed we both were about certain eating establishments that have great reputations in the neighborhood. I asked if she could recommend some of her favorite restaurants in the surrounding area and, I must say, her response to this question made me like her even more. “Hmmmm”, she said. “To most people I’m sure the restaurants around here would be fine but for me I’m not impressed. I guess my standards are too high.” To which I then responded, “Not at all. I’m a snobby bitch too.” We both shared a laugh and acknowledged our budding friendship. Kismet.
I think I’ve always had this snobbery about food. I’ve been known as being “difficult” or “hard to please” when it comes to eating out. I’m not saying I want to eat fussy 5 star food. Quite the opposite actually. I desire tasty simple fresh inspired healthful and flavorful dishes in and out of a restaurant. And when I don’t receive that, I express my opinion. I guess, what it really comes down to is that I’m honestly always pissed off when I dine and pay for a completely mediocre meal. Especially when it’s at some supposed fabulous restaurant. Now, there are some people who can be dissatisfied by a particular dish or beverage they receive in a restaurant silently – not wanting to rustle anybody’s feathers. I am, as you may have guessed, the complete opposite. I am one of those customers who can’t help expressing my dissatisfaction.
The other night I ordered a freshly squeezed lemonade at one of our local restaurant but after taking my first sip, it was very obvious to me that it had no business being called “freshly squeezed”. (I’m not even gonna go into my boring bland grass fed “food and wine mag voted best burger in U.S.” burger I had for dinner. Blech.) Anyway, I asked the waiter and he said, “Yes it’s fresh squeezed lemon juice in a bottle…” Oh come on – I’m sure it takes about the same amount of time to cut and squeeze a fresh lemon as it does to get a pasteurized bottle of lemon juice out of the fridge! SO I asked if the bartender had any fresh lemons and if he could make it over using the actual juice of a lemon. Lo and behold, he made it and it was wonderful. Some of you may think I am too much. But damn, why not ask for what you want?! You’re paying for it!
I would say, for the most part, I prefer the ingredients that I eat to be fresh and seasonal. But there are some things that still taste great that aren’t. And yes, even though it is the season for peas, sometimes you just don’t have time or patience or availability to shell a bunch of fresh pea pods to make them into a delicious pea soup. Using a few frozen bags conveniently placed in your freezer, works great and doesn’t compromise on the flavor. You can, of course, use fresh ones in exchange if you have the time. Ah, to have extra time and energy to shell some peas. I think I can remember when I had that in my life. Kinda. Right now though, I guess I’m just a tired snobby bitch. Hollah!
Sweet Pea Soup
2 TB extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 medium Japanese sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 1/2 10 ounce bags frozen organic sweet peas, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bay leaf
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
In a medium pot, over a medium flame, heat oil or butter then add onions, celery, a nice pinch of sea salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato and cover vegetables with about 5 cups boiling filtered water. Add bay leaf and bring to light boil then turn down heat for about 10 minutes or until potato is soft.
Add 2 bags of frozen peas or fresh peas, saving the other 1/2 bag for later. Cook for about 2 minutes then turn off heat and let stand for about 5 minutes. Note: the less you cook the peas the greener color they remain. Cool a bit before carefully transferring, in batches, to a high speed blender and blend throughly. Pour back into pot and turn heat to simmer. Add the 1/2 bag of peas, 1 tsp sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary. You can serve this soup hot or cold. When I serve this cold, I like to add a few dollops of plain sheep milk yogurt and some freshly chopped mint scattered on top.