The other night my friend Gary was staying over, I was in the mood to cook so while we usually run out to eat when he comes in, I decided to cook.
It was a slightly chilly day, one might even call it autumnal (which is saying something in these days of global warming). I decided to make soup. A thick, hearty split pea soup. To celebrate the fact that this was one of the very rare times my kitchen table was clear, instead of being used as a catchall, I decided to make this simple soup dinner a little more special.
I have four vases (they are actually recycled mini soda bottles) set up in my bathroom* with happy orange and yellow flowers, so I grabbed one of them and put it on the table with my fancy-schmancy leopard plates and matching votives. Voila! A special table with no effort whatsoever!
The soup was just the basic recipe from the back of the Goya beans package (minus the suggested pork products) - it's so easy. An onion, some garlic, a carrot, veggie broth and the split peas. Cook until soft. Simple. With split pea soup I also like to pour half of it into a blender and really smooth it out, it helps thicken the soup and I LOVE really thick pea soup. Making soup is so easy and stressless because you basically throw stuff in a pot, let it simmer forever and you don't have to keep an eye on it the whole time or worry that it will overcook, and you almost always have leftovers.
I just served it with some rye bread and Earth Balance margarine. The sweetness of the soup worked really well with the sourness of the bread.
It was just soup and bread and yet it was filling, and cozy.
*yes, that's an action figure of Norman Bates dressed as his mother from Psycho. Of course it belongs in the bathroom, where else?!