I sit here in the shadows just out of sight like my mother did before me. There but not there. Still needed but not seen.
Watching you with your friends. Linking hands with these friends as you jump unabashedly into the water. Holding handstand competitions.
Saddling up to these friends on the chair lift. Laughing and singing and bumping each other before the ride is over and you’re off down the slopes again.
Watching you from the kitchen window as you ride your bike…still with training wheels…down the street. Dragging your feet to slow you down as the pavement dips a little. Around the neighbor’s driveway and then confidently back up the street.
You glance at the kitchen window hoping I’m there. I am. You give me a nod, a smile and you’re off again.
Standing near you as you chop your carrots, your leeks, your potatoes. Teaching you but not watching you as you put your vegetables into the pot. Pour in the stock. Stir it around. Smelling your creation. Feeling a wave of confidence as those first tantalizing smells waft up toward you.
Laughing with you as you question my dinner-making music, “Oh no, Mom. Is this Norah Jones again?”
Sitting near you at the table as we toast you…the chef.
And I know you won’t remember that I was there.
You’ll remember that you swam and you skiied, you rode your bike and you cooked but you won’t remember that I was sitting there off to the side…just like my mother did for me.
But someday when you’re a parent you’ll do the same thing.
Watching from the shadows as your children grow up.
Peas and Carrots, Carrots and Peas Spring Soup
I have spent the past month making pea soup in all various forms. I think you know by now that I have a soup fetish. Can’t help it. Besides being “delicious and nutritious” it makes for easy clean-up…one pot…and it sits so nicely on the stove over low heat waiting for family members to come home at various times, ladle it up without any help from me and taste its glory. Now, while my daughter and myself enjoyed all the different pea soups that I concocted (we’re easy to please seeing as there’s not much we don’t like) and the Rooster and my littlest one at least finished their bowls, I couldn’t get a pea soup past the 11-year old. So, I employed the old “They tend to eat what they make” trick and dragged him into the kitchen with me. Here’s what we came up with….which he devoured with flourish.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 med/large carrots, peeled and diced
couple pinches of kosher salt (1/2 tsp each)
few cracks of black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 qts chicken broth
1 tsp Herbes de Provence (Italian seasoning will work too.)
4 medium potatoes, thin or thick skinned, cubed. If thick skinned, make sure to peel them.
a bit of parmesan cheese rind (If you don’t have this, not to worry, just skip it.)
2 c fresh or frozen peas
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Chopped chives, basil, Italian parsley or any other fresh herb you enjoy
Grated parmesan cheese
In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat your olive oil. Add in your chopped leeks, the pinch of salt and cracks of black pepper. Give it a stir and begin to sauté on low heat. Peel and dice up your carrots then add them to the pot. Give it another stir and sauté the whole works for about 5-8 minutes or until the leeks and carrots are beginning to soften.
Add in your garlic. Give them a whirl and sauté for another minute or so.
Pour in your chicken broth. Sprinkle in your herbs. Plop in your potatoes. Add another pinch of salt and couple of cracks of black pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until your potatoes are softened) with the lid askew.
If using frozen peas, add them in when the potatoes have been cooking for 10 minutes. If using fresh peas, add them in when the potatoes have been cooking for 15 minutes.
Set out the delicious toppings and let your family, your guests, yourself spoon the fragrant spring soup into bowls and sprinkle on the toppings like it’s an ice cream sundae bar.
I put out a crusty loaf of bread, a ramekin full of Goat Cheese Love, some sliced up Opal apples and called it dinner.
Yield: One big pot-full
PS: A little note about the peas. I know that some of you…even some of my dearest, closest friends…do not like peas. I cannot understand this as I can’t get enough of them but if you are the type who does not care for the little green orbs this soup is still delicious without them. Just leave them out. You could toss in a handful of orzo pasta the last 10 minutes of cooking instead…or not.
Peas, Peas and More Peas, Please
More pea recipes here on La Pomme de Portland… Peas and Pancetta, Spring Birthday Soup
A round up of kid-friendly Pea Recipes over on Babble. Personally, I’m looking forward to trying the Spring Pea & Parmesan Risotto recipe.
And lo and behold a Spring Sweet Pea and Asparagus Pickling recipe from White On Rice Couple.
Speaking of Peas and Carrots
Love these particular Peas and Carrots from Williams-Sonoma.
The Organizing Project
Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles!! I have officially finished organizing the legos, the toy closet and the under-the-stairs closet. It only took me 3 months but hey, I did it!! I cannot tell you how amazing this feels. I thought I would share a few before and after photos for your viewing pleasure.
Next up, the 6-year old’s closet and dress-up drawer. (BTW, he’s no longer the 5-year old since we celebrated his birthday over spring break. So bittersweet….)
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2011