Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Lovely Lunch

Yesterday I prepared lunch for some friends, in exchange for some advice and help with this blogging thing. I am not going to try to make myself out to be savvier than I am. After about 5 minutes of tech talk, my eyes glazed over and I went to my happy place: A green hillside covered in red and purple flowers. Butterflies fluttering about in the cool breeze, blue sky with big puffy, fluffy clouds...I forced myself back to reality to focus. When I arrived, I realized as I viewed other food blogs on my friend's lap top, my blog layout sucks! How amateur is it that my pictures are taken with my camera phone? Who do I think I am? I am not nearly as cool as I thought.

I quickly switched gears and was pleased with what I had prepared because my friends' enjoyment of the meal, matches the amount of help I am going to need...A lot!

Prosciutto and Plugra butter sandwiches on French Baguette, Fresh (frozen) Pea soup and Avocado and Blood Orange salad.

The sandwich and salad are pretty straight forward. If you cannot find Plugra butter, use any European unsalted sweet butter as it has a higher fat content and is divine! I used red leaf lettuce from our local organic farm and dressed the greens with olive oil, blood orange juice and a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

But the soup stole the show!
Saute 1 cup diced onions and 2 teaspoons minced garlic in 2 Tablespoon butter in a medium pot. Cook them until translucent. Then add 1 1/2 pounds frozen sweet peas and enough chicken broth just to cover them. Over high heat bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium low. Cook just until the peas are tender, maybe 10 minutes or so. You don't want to over cook this soup because then it will turn that unappealing brown green color. Turn off the heat and let your soup cool a bit. During this time set up a blender. Carefully pour your soup with 1/4 cup heavy cream into the blender and puree until smooth. At this time, you can add some chopped mint, chervil or Italian parsley. Season with salt, pepper and if you wish, a bit of nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon. For me the trick with seasoning savory dishes with nutmeg is you want to add just enough so you taste something, but not so much that you can discern what it is! If you are serving right away, return to your pot and reheat, or if serving later cool and store in the fridge.

Some garnishes that would be nice are, crumbled bacon, caramelized shallots, a dollop of creme fraiche or a fried sage leaf.
This soup is delicious hot or cold. Enjoy!

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