Julia Child’s 100th birthday

August 15, 2012 marks what would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. There are events going on throughout the country to honor her legacy, from special menus at restaurants to dedicated television programs.  I hope you enjoy this honorary post in her honor. Happy birthday to you Julia! 🙂

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
―    Julia Child

“Upon reflection, I decided I had three main weaknesses: I was confused (evidenced by a lack of facts, an inability to coordinate my thoughts, and an inability to verbalize my ideas); I had a lack of confidence, which cause me to back down from forcefully stated positions; and I was overly emotional at the expense of careful, ‘scientific’ though. I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was.”
―    Julia Child,    My Life in France

Julia Child’s Split Pea Soup

Julia Child’s Split Pea Soup is like most other split pea soups in regards to it’s stick-to-your-ribs goodness. The mere thought of split pea soup conjures images of log cabins and roaring fires for me. You can eat this in a log cabin, or in your 25th floor urban flat, and it will still be delicious. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (2 1/4 cups) green split peas
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, halved
  • 1 herb bouquet*
  • 2 well-rinsed ham hocks or smoked turkey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional garnish – small toasted croutons, chopped parsley or chives

Directions:

*Herb Bouquet:  Tie 3 cloves garlic, 4 allspice berries, 2 bay leaves, 1  teaspoon thyme, 8 sprigs parsley in rinsed cheesecloth or place in  bouquet garni muslin bag.

Rinse and strain the peas, making sure to remove any pebbles or other non-pea materials from them. Get a 4 quart sauce pan and add the vegetables, herb bouquet, Smoked turkey or ham hocks, and 2 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. You’ll notice that some scum starts to form at the top of the water. Skim this stuff off for a few minutes until it stops appearing. Cover loosely and simmer for around 1 1/2 hours, stirring every once in awhile.

Remove the herb bouquet and turkey/ham from the soup. You now need to blend the soup. You can use an immersion blender , or a regular blender for this step. Make sure to take care, as the soup will still be hot. If you’re using a regular blender, be sure to only fill it half full, and cover the lid with a towel. Hold the lid down while blending.

Return the soup to the pot and heat to desired serving temperature, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in hot bowls, garnished with your garnish of choice.

Some people enjoy the meat from the ham hocks. If you are such a person, then remove the skin and add the ham hock meat to the soup before serving. I personally don’t like the ham hock meat because it’s rather fatty. I will usually add some sauteed smoked turkey cubes to my split pea soup. Feel free to do what ever fits your tastes the best.

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

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