Filled with an overwhelming hunger when I escaped from work, I set about assessing the food situation. To begin with, I am utterly poor until payday and thus eating at my favourite restaurant in the world was not an option. Which is a pity because it sure smelled good. But what might lurk in my cupboards?
The ingredients for Thai-ish split pea soup, it turns out. The thing is, I haven’t been to Harvest in about a week and a half so I have a bunch of staple ingredients and some questionable tupperware and that’s about it. So I went through the questionable tupperware, determined that the contents were inedible, and wondered what I could do with split peas, an onion, a handful of tomatoes, garlic, and some staple sauces.
Place in a large stockpot two cups of split peas. In an ideal world, you simmer these in your own stock. In my world, you pour in enough water to cover the peas in about two inches of water (you will probably need to add more, at some point. We are not long on precision in this household.) If simmering in your own stock, bully for you. If not, add a few cubes of bouillon. This soup is actually vegan if you use vegan bouillon, if you are into that kind of thing. If not here’s the point where you might want to add some meaty goodness. Remember to wash those little peas before you cook them. Cook for about forty five minutes, and while you do that…
Get a large skillet (like a 12″). Heat on a medium setting with some oily goodness. Chop approximately eight cloves of garlic finely. If you have ginger, chop up about two tablespoons of that. Chop up two carrots into thin rounds, dice the onion. Fry all this shit up together. You’re going for a carmelized effect. You might fail. It’s ok. (I start with the garlic, add the carrots and cook for about ten minutes, then add the onion. Your times may vary.) Dice up four small tomatoes (I happened to have Romas around). Add those to the onion/carrot mixture once it is pretty much cooked, ambery and delicious, and cook some more. When everything’s looking all cooked and happy, add eight ounces of coconut milk, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and two tablespoons red curry paste. (I find that it helps to mix the peanut butter, curry paste, and a bit of coconut milk in a bowl before hand, rather than trying to mash it all together in the skillet.) You may want to add more curry paste. This mixture should taste too peanuty and too spicy because you are adding it to the soup, which will thin the flavour. Simmer all of this stuff together on low. Salt that puppy. Turn it off.
Watch the split peas cook for awhile. Change the cat litter, if you haven’t done that yet today. Read the Chronicle, if you haven’t done that yet either. When the peas are cooked (and do check on them now and then to make sure they have enough water and aren’t boiling over, kids) and make sure to cook them well because if you don’t you will fart*, mix your coconut milk mixture in with the peas. Stir. Simmer together for five minutes. Eat. Put the leftovers in the fridge to turn into questionable tupperware of their own.
I should warn you that this soup turns out looking alarmingly like vomit. For that reason, I would recommend blending it. And then you can call it a “creamy Thai-inspired split pea soup.” If, however, you don’t have a blender, like yours truly, then enjoy your bowls of vomity goodness, and think fondly of the day when people will get you things you actually want for Christmas.
Suggestions for serving:
Put soup in a bowl. Toast some coconut shreds or flakes and scatter artfully on top. Likewise for chopped toasted peanuts. If you have fresh coriander, chop that finely and sprinkle on top also. I guess you could swirl some yuppie shit in there too but enough is enough people, it’s just use it up cupboard soup and it’s raining out, it doesn’t need to be a goddamn work of art.
*Like Theresa Simon did after eating dinner at our house when I was in the fourth grade only she had to read on KZYX that night and so she was farting all the way through the whole broadcast and I almost peed my pants laughing. Best broadcast KZYX ever had–it’s all gone downhill from there. I hate crappy local radio stations. They give us all a bad name. I listen to JPR which is the closest local good station and they are in Oregon. (Sorry Kate. I just don’t like the kind of music KOZT plays. And your syndicated news. But you are my non-stop shop for emergency coverage. I swear.)