Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pea Soup And A Bargain

I went out shopping for milk and chili powder this morning. The milk I got at Trader Joe's, such a deal, only 99 cents for a quart. By far the lowest price in the neighborhood. But, Trader Joe's being Trader Joe's, their selection of goods is, well, limited. I looked for chili powder but they didn't have any. In fact they had almost no spices at all.

I was resigned to heading back to Key Food and pay $1.79 for 1.14 ounces of McCormick's Chili Powder (it was too cold and nasty to walk all the way to Met) but, as I was passing Rite Aide I couldn't help but notice that their sign said something like Pharmacy and Groceries. I will have to take another look to get it right. Anyway, in I went and, lo and behold, they had chili powder for only 99 cents for 2.87 ounces (or 81 grams). Even better, it was on sale for only 79 cents. What a deal. It pays to shop around.

After coming home I had a nice bowl of oatmeal to warm up.

The Usual Ingredients


And The Finished Product



The idea of making a sandwich with the left over sweet potato and banana mixture was still in my head, so for lunch I decided to give it a try. First I toasted two slices of bread and spread them liberally (in honor of Al Franken finally, maybe, winning the Minnesota Senate Race) with crunchy peanut butter.

The Al Franken Spread


Next, I spread on the sweet potato and banana mixture, that I had heated up in the microwave, on one piece of the toast.

Looks Kind Of Gross



Next step was to put it all together, cut it in half, and take a bite out of it.

Not Too Bad


I got an occasional bite of the ginger but, to be frank (get it, be frank, Al Franken, gosh I am subtle) the peanut butter kind of dominated everything. Next time I will do a more conservative spread, particularly if I am in a rush (please, don't make me explain that one).

For dinner I was bound and determined to make my pea soup, and so I did. Again, loosely following a recipe from good old Emeril.

I started out by chopping up two cups of onions.

Chop Chop, And No Crying


Emeril only calls for one tablespoon of chopped garlic, but I do like my garlic.

Dan's Recommended Dosage


Another variation, I took some of the skin leftover after I had made the stock and chopped it up and threw it in with the garlic and onions to cook up a bit.

Waste Not, Want Not


I threw it all into a big pot with a bit of olive oil and then added about a tablespoon of salt and about half a tablespoon of black pepper. Emeril also calls for some red pepper flakes but, alas, I didn't have any. Well, actually, I did, but I didn't buy them with my food stamp money so it wouldn't be fair to use them. I did, however, have 2.87 ounces or 81 grams of newly purchased chili powder, though. I just threw in half a tablespoon of that.

Everything In The Pot


You just stir this all around over a low heat with some olive oil until the onions and garlic are translucent, then you throw in the peas.

Peas Into The Mix


You then stir up the peas with the other ingredients for a couple of minutes and add eight cups of the pork stock.

Starting To Look Like Soup


After adding the eight cups of stock I still had another eight cups left over that I might use if I actually get around to making chili. I probably will, but right now I am looking at a lot of pea soup.

My Leftover Stock


I brought the whole mixture to a boil and then reduced the heat to low and let it simmer for about forty-five minutes until the peas had gotten tender, but not mushy. It probably wouldn't make any difference if you over-cooked them though, given what happens next. I turned off the heat and added one cup of milk.

Then I broke out one of my most useful kitchen appliances. I don't use it all that often, but when I do it is the best at what it does.

My Immersion Blender


Before I got this baby I would have to put the soup into my blender one small batch at a time. This is not only more time consuming, but makes even more of a mess than I make now. The Mysterious Chinese Woman would not be amused.

Immersing The Immersion Blender


After about five minutes of blending, the soup actually looks like pea soup.

Suitable For Linda Blair's Closeup


Now, my final addition was to throw in the leftover pork shoulder that I had. No need to cook it, I just threw it into the still hot soup and let it warm up in there.

The Leftover Pork


All that was left to do was dish up a bowl and sit down for my supper.

Peas Porridge Hot


And, as you can imagine, I had plenty left over. Four containers each of which is more than enough for a full meal, either a dinner or a very hearty lunch.

Four More Days Worth


I stuck one in the refrigerator for lunch tomorrow and stuck the other three in the freezer for some time in the near future. I also took out a chicken leg and thigh and stuck it in the refrigerator to thaw. I plan on having it with pasta tomorrow night.

Two weeks down and I am in very good shape both in terms of my budget and, I think, in terms of my diet. Certainly no hunger pangs. I haven't had any cravings for between meal or after dinner snacks. On a rare occasion I will have a carrot, and I do need to hit the grapefruits that I have sitting on the table. Can't let them go to waste. My remaining carrots are starting to grow little hairs on them, but the are still fairly firm. The broccoli refuses to go bad. In fact it seems to just get greener as time goes by. Kind of spooky.

In terms of my budget, after today's purchases I have spent a total of $114.75 with no major purchases looming in the distance. I might spend another five dollars or so over the next week on fruit, but that really should be about it. I only used a cup of the milk I bought, so I don't know what I will do with the rest of that. I am moderately lactose intolerant. Not to the point where I can't eat cheese or ice cream, but drinking a glass of milk would give me an upset stomach and pretty much clear the room. Unless I mixed it with Scotch. Not a bad drink, but Scotch isn't in my budget, so that isn't an option.