Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Purée of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps

D. and I decided to revive our supper club and, for the occasion, I thought I'd throw a Keller recipe into the menu. However, with the Chem GRE studying going on, I didn't have time for anything too time-consuming, which ruled out 99.9% of the recipes in Bouchon and The French Laundry Cookbook.

And the Keller cookbook collection is going to get bigger... my copy of the recently released Ad Hoc at Home is due to arrive tomorrow. So excited!

Anyway... right, a Keller recipe that didn't take until my 30th birthday to complete. The winner was Purée of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps. This is probably one of those times when I should be extra-happy that I live in Southern California, because they're still available. Not super-sweet, but they were pretty good. Buying the peas and truffle oil also gave me a chance to visit Specialty Produce, which is a wholesale produce playground that's open to the public.

After buying 5 pounds of peas and a bottle of white truffle oil, I came home and enlisted D.'s help in shelling them. I followed the cooking instructions to the letter, adding just enough peas to the boiling water to form a single layer. While I waited for the peas to cook, I grated Parmesan cheese finely for the Parmesan crisps. I made sure they were big enough to be a "lid" on the mugs that I would serve the soup in.


After the peas were cooked and puréed in the food processor, the recipe calls for it to be scraped through a tamis. I don't have one, so I used our fine-mesh strainer and a spatula. One note with the food processor, I had to use a little water to make the purée less pasty and easier to work with.


Ok, I understand that the fine mesh makes a smoother purée, but sheesh, this took a little time and muscle. In the end, I had a little over 3 cups of smooth purée and less than 1 cup of the larger-particled pea detritus. I saved it, hoping to use it for risotto.


Once I had the purée, it went into the blender with some vegetable broth, but it was still pretty thick. However, I didn't want to compromise the flavor with too much broth or water, so I kept it thick. On the stove it went for a gentle heating, where I seasoned with salt and white pepper. When I was ladling it into mugs for serving, I drizzled a little bit of truffle oil on top of the soup and had my guests give it a good stir. A small amount of chives for garnish and a Parmesan crisp to cover the mug.


Blasted auto-focus caught the mug and the crisp, but the soup is blurred. Ah, well... the soup was delicious, with strong pea flavor balanced out by the truffle oil and Parmesan crisp.

Check out Carol's version of the soup. I didn't look for her entry until after the dinner party and was so glad to see that I followed her footsteps with the "mugging". I'm also glad I managed to cook the peas correctly and that her soup ended up being pretty thick. I guess thinning it out is an option, but that strong, sweet pea flavor is going to fade away.

It's easy, fabulous, and the Kermit-green of the soup makes for beautiful presentation. Grab a copy of the book and see for yourself.

Monday, October 5, 2009

RSS feeds

If you're a subscriber, your feed should have transferred automatically... I think. Please let me know if there are any feed issues!

New Domain!

I decided to finally take the plunge and buy my own domain. It's going to take a little while to update everything, but please change your links and RSS feeds to www.adventuresofanamateurfoodie.com

The original link: culinarynerd.blogspot.com will redirect to the new address, but if y'all can help me get my new domain out there, it'd be great! I know it's awfully late to change the address and the address is a mouthful, but recent events have shown me that having a domain name that doesn't match my blog title isn't going to work anymore.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Breakfast Post

I woke up this morning to D. making waffles with strawberries... I knew I married him for a reason. What can I say? I'm easily impressed.

With that said, I thought I'd clean out the memory card a bit and post about some of our favorite breakfasts.

The aforementioned waffles with strawberries:

When we got married, we had a small post-wedding brunch for a handful of friends. Many of them have scattered all over the country, so reunions were infrequent. For that brunch, our best man picked up a box of Bisquick from Costco. Let's just say we have half of the box left and D. and I are looking into creative uses for it. For now, waffles work just fine. Strawberry season is ending here in Southern California, so we're enjoying whatever's left in the supermarkets.

Occasionally, on a weekend morning, we wake up and head out for breakfast. Our favorite stop is Perry's Cafe. It's the classic diner with American and Mexican-American dishes served quickly and deliciously.

I usually do something with eggs and potatoes, but this particular instance, I decided to clog my aorta with corned beef hash, hash browns, eggs, and biscuits and gravy. Trust me, I didn't eat for the rest of the day.

Perry's Cafe
4620 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92110

We live a few blocks from the North Park branch of The Mission. These pictures hail from D.'s birthday in April, when we decided to go out for breakfast on the day of his birthday. It fell on a Tuesday and it was great to grab breakfast out before work.

The pancakes are big and a bit heavy, but they're good and the berry compote swirls make great toppings.

The Mission- North Park
2801 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

And lastly, a breakfast dish I was obsessively making for a couple of months. When we were in Las Vegas, we had breakfast at the buffet at Bellagio and one of the items was French toast with Nutella and bananas. It's an indulgent meal, but so very good.

Nutella-Banana French Toast
(Inspired by The Buffet at Bellagio)

Per serving:
2 slices of slightly stale white bread
1 banana, sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices
3 tablespoons Nutella

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

Spread Nutella on 1 slice of bread and arrange bananas in a single layer. Place the other slice on top to make a sandwich. Mix egg, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Completely soak banana/Nutella sandwich, then fry on a hot pan until thoroughly toasted. Sprinkle with with powdered (confectioners') sugar.

Breakfast is clearly the most important meal of the day. You betcha.