Thursday, March 15, 2012

What is the Soup Du Jour? It's the Soup of the Day. Mmmm...That Sounds Good, I'll Have That.

Split Pea and Leek Soup, with Fennel and Chile Marinated Jicama,and Meyer Lemon and White Balsamic Foam
I wonder if this was the soup du jour that Lloyd enjoyed at the Truck Stop Cafe?? Hmmm.....

I have been waiting, waiting very patiently, for a true rainy day around here. And my time has finally come! It's beginning to look like day 3 of a real life rainy day. And that makes me a happy camper! It was bound to happen, though, because I had just washed my car the day before it started raining, which is only like a bi-annual occasion these days.

So what better to do on the perfect rainy day than to open up some windows and make a yummy hot pot of soup. And can I just say, which I have said before, but I am going to say it again. I love soup. So I went foraging through my vegetable drawer and pantry to see what we had in stock. I came up with a bag of split peas, an incredibly large leek, the always in fashion yellow onion, an on-it's-way-out bulb of fennel, some needing-to-be-used green chiles, and also some soon-to-be-expiring quite exquisite meyer lemons, and a shiny new globe of jicama.

I thought I would use the jicama to give the soup a fresh crunch, so I marinated it in some rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, ginger, toasted cumin, fennel and green chile.
Next I got started on making my vegetable stock, using up the vegetable bits I have been saving just for this very occasion. And then got started on the soup, which consisted of about half an onion, one large leek, and one bag (2 cups) of green split peas.

I was also recently gifted something brand new to me, that I have been eagerly wanting to test out. So today was the day. I was going to try out this stuff called Versa Whip, and make a foam. Oooohhhh, aaaahhhhh! What is Versa Whip? Well, I am glad you ask. It is pure enzymatically treated soy protein which can be hydrated with water and whipped to make a foam. Got it, cool, thanks. 

I wasn't too confident it was going to work because I didn't have any instructions on how to use it. So I went to the most knowledgeable guy in town (well, one of 'em), and I Googled it. Which proved to be a bit more challenging than I imagined, but I did find some good information to get started. I found a recipe for making a carrot foam, so I figured I would just sub in some meyer lemon juice in place of their carrot juice and see what happens. The recipe I found did call for 1 teaspoon of xanthum gum, which I do not have in my possession, so I would have to go without for the day.

I juiced about 4 ounces of meyer lemon juice, threw in about 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Versa Whip, and blended it up with an immersion blender. And who'd have thought....we have foam! Pretty stupid cool. I scooped a spoonful out onto a plate to test it's life span....

On the plate it lasted a good few minutes before it started popping and melting away. I think the addition of the xanthum gum will be the final glue to really make it last. And yes, it tasted tangy just like meyer lemon. In the second run of the foam, I added a dash of some white balsamic vinegar just to give it some dimension.

And let me just say, that this soup came out particularly tasty. It almost tasted as if it were made with a chicken stock. I think it was the mushrooms that I used in the vegetable stock, that gave it a very savory and earthy flavor..... I love soup. I like it, I like it ALOT.

Ok little old lady, that's all we have for today....don't you go dying on me!

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