Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Split Pea Soup and NEWS!

News first!!

Today is the official release day for Krista's newest book - THE DIVA PAINTS THE TOWN. I know I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I love this series!

I know Krista will be talking about it a bit more on Saturday, but I didn't want the day to pass without acknowledgment!

Congrats Krista!

My family loves split pea soup. I started the girls on it very young before they were old enough to think that eating something green was yucky. It worked for broccoli, salads, and other good-for-you foods, and now my daughters are all happy veggie eaters and they all love split pea soup. My youngest, the vegetarian, has been after me to come up with a version that doesn't use a hambone as its base, but I haven't managed that yet. Soon, I hope. And if it's a success, I'll post it here. But I can't imagine a great pea soup without delicious ham undertones....

Anyway, my mom was the one who first suggested I make this. I had no idea how. She told me to buy Jack Rabbit brand peas, and just follow the recipe on the back of the bag because it was the best. There was no way I believed that a recipe from the back of a cellophane bag would be any good, but it was fabulous. I've modified it a bit since then, but the Jack Rabbit recipe is still pretty excellent. If you need peas, pick up a bag of that brand and follow it to the letter. You won't be disappointed.

Here, however, is my modified version. I've added a bit more water, simmered a bit less time, eliminated an ingredient or two and traded garlic powder for fresh minced garlic.

Personally, I think this is the best pea soup on the planet. Perfect for this weather, perfect to serve at SuperBowl parties ("Soup"-erbowl ... get it?), and just great for bringing back that great feeling of home and warmth and comfort.

Split Pea Soup

16 oz bag of peas
2 chicken bouillon cubes
4 quarts water
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed, minced
1 ham shank (or butt, if that's what you have)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
Carrots (I like the baby carrots that come cleaned and pre-peeled)

Wash peas and pick out any bad ones.
Combine peas, water, ham shank, onions, bouillon, oregano, pepper, bay leaf, and garlic in a deep soup pot. Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer for about an hour or so. Remove shank and trim any meat off (this is a great time to snack!). Cut this meat into bite-size pieces and return to the pot. Add carrots. Simmer again, uncovered, for about another hour and a half. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

I used to simmer it for 2 and a half hours the second time, but then the soup gets really, really thick. I like thick, but, this was a bit too much. Keep an eye on the pot after an hour and judge appropriate simmer time for yourself.


Enjoy! This is a great soup to sip while reading mysteries. Trust me!


* * *
I'll bet you thought I forgot about the truth and lies.... and I almost did! Here's a reminder of what my "claims" were:

1 - FALSE - although I did buy a goldfish for my fraternity initiation, I did not have to swallow it! Whew!!
2 - TRUE - I have Synesthesia. My youngest shares this "affliction," but I wouldn't trade it away even if I could. Life is so colorful this way ;-)
3 - FALSE - Never met Christian Bale. Never tried to be an extra in Batman. But a lot of folks around here did try to get in and we know a few who succeeded.

Hope you're enjoying our "tall tales"!


  1. Synesthesia sounds really cool! I wasn't familiar with the condition before you mentioned it. Wow!

    We're fans of split pea, but I usually get it from the deli. Now I've got a recipe to try myself! Thanks.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Hi E -
    Synesthesia is cool. I remember being very young and trying to explain how certain words = certain colors and everybody, including my family thought I was weird. I spent my entire life thinking it was just me, until my youngest was little. and she started the same conversation. Turns out we're synesthetes. But we rarely agree on which color fits where ;-)

  3. I never heard of synesthesia. Very interesting! And, I'm glad your daughter had someone who understands her.

    And, congratulations to Krista! I have The Diva Paints the Town, and I'll be getting to it shortly. Enjoy launch day!

    Lesa - www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com

  4. Like Avery, you got me! Great red herrings, Julie!

    I learned about Synesthesia when I wrote an article about it (in the most basic terms) for a hi-low children's mag, and I remember thinking that anyone who has this condition would be an extremely creative painter or writer, able to find imagery and make connections that are truly unique. I am blown away that you have this! (Never met anyone who did!) Do you find it helpful in your creative writing? Or am I wrong in my assumption...can it be problematic?


  5. Hi Lesa - interestingly, my daughter and I didn't realize the condition had a name until her sophomore year in high school when the marching band (we're band nerds) featured compositions by a known synesthete, Michael Torke. The director explained it all to the group at the beginning of the season and my daughter and I recognized ourselves in his descriptions. We've since done more homework to learn more. It's pretty cool.

    Hi Cleo - I'd have to say I find it more helpful than a hindrance. It's sometimes hard to describe, but words not only have to work together logically, they have to blend together in a way I can't explain except to say that I *see* and *feel* them working. I am so thrilled to have my daughter as a fellow synesthete because we can talk about it and share experiences. There are degrees of "affliction." We're probably considered fairly light. We don't get physically ill if something doesn't look right. But if colors are off, it can be uncomfortable. ;-)

  6. I learn such interesting thing on this blog. I've never tried to make Split Pea Soup, but I might give it a try after this. Sounds delicious.

    CONGRATULATIONS to Krista on the release of the latest "Diva" book. Can't wait to read it. I'm off to B& N today hoping they've got it in stock.

  7. By the way, Mason Canyon has most generously invited me to guest at her blog: Thoughts in Progress. Please stop by!


  8. Congrats to Krista. Already have my copy.
    Julie, I'm enjoying "Eggsecutive Order!"
    And I guessed the Synesthesia because it's such an unusual thing to have and you knew so much about it. But Christian Bale was second on the list.

  9. Wow, Julie! Glad to see that you and your daughter just accept and even enjoy the synethesis. It's a very unique way of looking at things.

  10. Julie, thanks for announcing my big news! That was very sweet of you.

    I have to say that I would have gone with choice number 3, but since I've never heard of Synesthesia, I was suspicious about that one! I wonder if more writers have it than people who choose other fields.

    It's snowing here again, so your split pea soup would hit the spot. Hmm, I happen to have bought some dried peas for soup . . .

    ~ Krista

  11. Split pea is really good... Great recipe

  12. Avery - you're a good guesser! Thanks for reading Eggsecutive Orders! You're a doll!

    Janel - it is a unique way of looking at things ... literally. But I wouldn't give it up. For me, Monday is red, but for others, it may be a different color completely.

    Krista - Congrats on Release Day!! I just got back from my local bookstore and I have a copy of the new DIVA in my hot little hands! Very excited for you!

    Dave -pea soup is pretty great, isn't it? Thanks! ;-)