May 19, 2011 § 12 Comments
Alright, so since we’re talking about favorite children’s books (or at least, I am, and I really do think you should be too), let’s talk about peas shall we? If there is any better vegetable for a snippet of action in a children’s book to center around, I’m sure I can’t tell you what it is. Peas have it all. They have a funny name. They look funny, all green and rotund. They come in pods…It’s the ultimate trifecta of catchy vegetable characteristics! Of course, mostly peas are the subject of disgust in children’s books, especially if they’re in soup form. Though, I distinctly recall that the girls in the Little House books loved peas porridge (hot or cold!).
But, when I think of fresh spring peas, I think of a scene from one of my all time favorite books, The Ordinary Princess. In this scene, having run away because she hated how boringly proper she had to be as a princess, Princess Amy is hiding and has gotten work as an assistant kitchen maid in the kitchen of the royal palace of the neighboring kingdom. Amy and her friend Belinda (who really is a kitchen maid – rather than a princess pretending to be a kitchen maid, you see) are sitting shelling peas for a royal banquet and discussing what it might be like to be a princess. Wonderful situational irony. All the while Belinda keeps absent-mindedly popping peas into her mouth as they shell them and talking in a thick dialect. When she gets excited, she drops her Hs.
Anyway, it was this jolly image that I had in my mind as I prepared the peas for this soup, listening to the pop, pop, plop, plop of them tumbling into a bowl. I had peas leftover from making my spring vegetable jumble, and I had quite simply fixated on making a soup of them. I wanted to keep it light and fresh and was at first planning to let the flavor of the little peas carry the dish. But, then I remembered that I had some leftover coconut milk from the sauce for the lamb. Waste not, want not! Why shouldn’t this work just as well as cream for stirring into the soup for body and depth and, well, creaminess?
The coconut milk then compelled me (perhaps compelled is a bit strong, but it did drop a rather strong hint) to grate in just a little gnarly knob of ginger to tie the pea and coconut flavors together.