Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome to the blog!

I think I've started writing this first post at least a handful of times, which resulted in zero content that I actually wanted to appear on the web.  Oh, the trials and tribulations of an obsessive person!  In any case, I've realized that I need to bite the bullet and just get the first entry out of the way, so here goes!

A few months ago, thanks to a generous and totally awesome gift from my parents-in-law, I was able to take a food photography course at Kitchen Conservatory.  This was such an amazing opportunity since my two biggest extracurricular interests are photography and food (making it, eating it, talking about it, looking at pictures of it...).  Though I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating the delicious dishes featured during the class, the food photography lesson was what really spoke to me.  I learned so much from the instructor (who, after four years in food photography, is a main contributor to foodie mags in St. Louis) and left the class with a newfound drive to practice my photography, specifically with food!

Since taking the course this fall, I have tried to take photos of nearly everything I've baked or cooked.  The accumulation of photos was really the catalyst for starting this blog, I wanted a way to document my photography over time so that I can watch my (hopeful) progress.  I don't want to be too presumptious and assume that others will be interested in the same things that I'm interested in, but a blog was my forum of choice because in addition to capturing my images over time I can also share my photos (and recipes!) with my family and friends.  In addition to sharing my food photos, I plan on including other photos and stories of where life has taken Jim and me.  I don't anticipate every entry to be interesting to everyone, but maybe it'll at least give someone a few minutes of entertainment when a break from work is needed (I mean, if you're the type that looks at non-work webpages while at work, which is totally not me.  I'm also not sarcastic.  Ever.)

So, now that the introduction is out of the way, here is the real first blog post.  Congratulations to Split Pea Soup, it has won the honor of first post!

Split Pea Soup, adapted from a recipe in Williams-Sonoma "Soup"
Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, I was able to try this recipe for Split Pea Soup.  My venture into soups is fairly new and this is definitely the first time that I've made split pea soup.  I took a few liberties with the recipe (e.g. Williams-Sonoma is too fancy to include baby carrots in their recipe, but that's what I had so that's what I used), but the final result fortunately passed the "Should I make it again sometime?" test!

Split Pea Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small/medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)
8-9 baby carrots, thinly sliced (again, mandolin slicer)
1 cup (7 oz) dried green split peas, rinsed and drained
5-6 cups (40-48 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
6 slices bacon
2 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

Warm oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add onion to pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes.  Add celery and carrots and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.

Add split peas, 4 cups (32 oz) stock, 2 slices of uncooked bacon, parsley, marjoram and thyme to pan.  Reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer.  Cover partially and cook until peas are tender, about 50-60 minutes.  While soup is cooking, fry remaining bacon until crisp, drain and cool.  When cool, crumble and set aside.

When peas are tender, remove 2 cups of the soup (include both strips of bacon) and purée in a blender or food processor with remaining 1-2 cups of stock (depending on how "soupy" you want it to be).  Return puréed soup to saucepan, season with salt and pepper, return to medium heat and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Serve garnished with crumbled bacon and crusty french bread (no need to be fancy though, I made Pillsbury french bread!).

Makes 4 servings, approximately 300 calories per serving (by my best calculation)

I think the next time I make this I'll adjust the soupiness by adding a bit more stock (I added 1 cup during blending) because this was a little too baby-food-consistency for me.  I also might try using ham instead of bacon, though bacon was quite delicious.

Hope you enjoyed this entry, feel free to check back for more photos/recipes, including Tofu Satay Stir Fry, Shrimp with Lemon Saffron Rice, Spaghetti Pie, and more!


  1. Looks tasty, Ashley! Congrats on your first post-I will enjoy your recipes

  2. Made some split pea soup. Love it and the blog. The pictures make me hungry.


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