Michael is the son of my cousin, Peggy. He is an artist as you'll see if you follow that link, or catch him on facebook at: I Am An Artist. Yes, he's very talented, and he took me up on my offer of a guest post, so I'm thrilled to be introducing both his artistic and culinary talent to you.
(Disclaimer: Photo was pinched from Michael's facebook fan page)
We arrived back home in the Berkshires an hour before the snow hit. The house was cold, we were cold, Becca curled up on the couch and I set to work on some cold weather comfort food. Chicken soup, pot roast or beef stew would all be fine choices, but we commandeered the ham bone from Christmas dinner on our way outta town from my parents. So, pea soup it is:
Bring 8 cups of water
2 lbs. split peas and
1 ham hock to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Scoop out all the ham you can get, and reclaim all the meat (there’ll be plenty), discard the bone and any fat left over; return the meat to the soup, along with:
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped onion
1 minced clove of garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt and
1/2 tsp pepper
Simmer for another 3 hours, stirring regularly.
It’s a thick, rib sticking kind of soup, and pairs well with some hearty Beer Bread, which I always have on hand:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a bread pan.
Mix in a bowl:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup any combination of other flours (barley, spelt, millet, oat, etc...)
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tbsp flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Pour in 1 1/2 cup (or one bottle) of beer, anything but stout will do, but I prefer a darker beer, like a lager or amber ale (I’ve never tried it with Bud Light, because Bud Light is not allowed in my house).
Mix until all the dry ingredients are coated, but don’t whip it.
Pour batter (it will be runny) into the bread pan, and sprinkle with rolled oats and honey on top. Place in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (try a few places, sometimes the honey sinks into the batter and makes an area seem unbaked...)
Remove the pan from oven, place on a cooling rack and let cool for at least 1/2 hour before removing bread from pan.
The snow hit 4" as we were tucking in to eat.