Monday, March 10, 2014

spring things

It's not spring....
I have to keep telling myself that.
But that's so hard to do when it FEELS like spring. No snow. Sunshine. Long hours after school spent outside in the grass. "Mom it's blazing hot outside", and "why don't we have any popsicles?!!". 
Yeah, it's been in the 50s. 
We've been running around barefoot and digging in the dirt.
 But I know we will get hit hard with winter again at least one more time this I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

but really. look at this.
Even with the longer days and warmer temperatures, we are still very much in soup mode around here. 
This soup is a new favorite. It's from the Williams Sonoma Slow Cooker Cookbook. It was so easy to make and everyone loved it. 
And even though the fennel salad is "optional", MAKE IT--I love what it added to the soup.
SPLIT PEA SOUP // the little red house
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine ( I substituted apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 1/4 cups (1 lb.) green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 smoked ham hock, about 1 1/2 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the fennel-bacon salad (optional):

  • 4 to 6 thick-cut bacon slices
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon


In a heavy fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker. Add the split peas, stock and ham hock. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the split peas are very tender, about 9 hours.

Remove the ham hock, pull off the meat, and discard the skin, bone and cartilage. Shred the meat and set aside.Transfer about one-third of the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Return the soup to the slow cooker, add the reserved meat and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Rewarm the soup on the low setting.Meanwhile, make the fennel-bacon salad: In a fry pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. Cut off the stem and feathery tops and any bruised outer parts from the fennel bulb. Coarsely chop the feathery tops to yield 2 Tbs. and set aside. Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise, then core and cut crosswise into paper-thin slices. In a bowl, combine the fennel slices, reserved fennel tops, bacon and lemon zest. Toss to mix wellLadle the soup into warmed bowls and top with the fennel-bacon salad. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

I have made this cake every year in March for the past 3-4 years (and made it in a different pan every time!) It's so flavorful and just tastes like spring to me. 
LEMON CAKE // the little red house

Lemon Yogurt Cake
Ina Garten's recipe. The only thing I changed was using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and using a bundt  pan instead of a loaf pan. This makes a very shallow bundt cake--it's a small recipe. To make it in a round pan see HERE.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt 
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided 
3 extra-large eggs 
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons) 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze: 
1 cup confectioners' sugar 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Grease a bundt pan. 

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. 
In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the coconut oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. 
Remove cake from oven and while the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool almost completely and turn over onto cooling rack. 
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the cake when completely cooled. 


What spring things have you been up to?


alicia said...

WOW!!!! Can't wait try that lemon yogurt cake. Looks too good!!

Caitlin said...

The spring sunshine looks glorious :)

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

lovely!!! i'm craving lemon!

Unknown said...

that first picture is stunning. i miss the mountains and seeing them in that image make my heart swell. lovely caputre of early spring.

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Anonymous said...

I'm confused. The recipe says "for the glaze: 1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice"
But later you say, "Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup..."
How much are we supposed to use for the glaze?

etta said...

I made this cake when we were invited over to a friends house- IT. IS. SO. GOOD! I passed along your blog so they could look it up- thank you for sharing- this will be a permanent recipe in my cookbook now:)

Meghan said...

I made this cake for a baby shower this weekend and it was delicious! It was easy to prepare and came out perfect! Thank you!

Indu said...

Hi, can we use olive or vegetable oil instead of coconut?

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Eli Joseph said...

Wow, it looks great. I love this soup and will definitely try it at home. I love healthy eating and just made a new diet plan. I will start my mornings with Green energy drinks and will eat less calorie food whole day for three months. I hope it’ll help me to lose good amount of weight.