Tonight my dinner goal was to make something that would use up things I already had on hand, and that would be nourishing, yet comforting at the same time. I believe I accomplished that, and will definitely be repeating this combo again.
I made vegetarian pea soup using a cookbook I have owned for many years. We had a big bag of peas in the freezer to start from, and the only ingredient that I actually did have to pick up was the celery. I love the ease of roasted veggies, and we had some carrots, so I chopped those up to roast as a side. Then, I thought to myself, nothing goes better with soup than really good, crusty bread. While at the store for the celery, Simon and I poured over the artisan bread display, and a loaf with garlic cloves baked right inside caught my eye. (Let me repeat that: garlic. cloves. baked right inside!)
Back at home, Simon supervised me while I did all of the chopping and prep work (even sitting in the chair next to me to watch), and then took a perfectly timed afternoon nap while I did the actual cooking. Everything came together very nicely, the only hiccup being when I foolishly grabbed a hot pan and burned myself.
Here is how to make everything, in case you want to try this meal, and I really think you should. It hit the spot!
Wash and then cut carrots up into pieces all the same size. Place in a single layer into a baking dish. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and then sprinkle with whatever seasonings you like. I used a little salt, a little pepper, and then a heavy sprinkling of a certain garlic and herb blend I buy. Pop into a 400 degree oven and roast until fork tender.
Lay bread slices onto cooking sheet and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle on any seasonings you like. I used the above mentioned garlic and herb blend. (Basil or oregano would be terrific here.) Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella, then a little bit of chopped tomato. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted.
Quick Pea Soup, Rewritten from The 15-Minute Gourmet: Vegetarian by Paulette Mitchell
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 16oz. bag frozen peas (preferably baby peas), thawed
Dash of ground white pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup skim milk (I used plain almond milk)
Dash of nutmeg
Melt butter in a dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the vegetable stock, peas, and white pepper. Reduce the heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Return the mixture to the pan; add the milk and nutmeg. Stir until heated through and adjust seasoning to taste.