Smooth, Homemade Split Pea & Smoked Ham Soup

Split pea with ham soupOK, second try it turned out perfect. Read on for how I did that….One of my favorite soups growing up in the Midwest was split pea with ham. My dad was a government worker so we didn’t go all out with food. Mostly the Campbell’s soups. Over the years I’ve tried numerous split pea soups beyond the condensed version. There’s some pretty good ones on the shelves these days. But not exactly what I wanted. So as I was shopping for my Bean & Ham soup, I found a bag of dried, green split peas. I thought, Wow! Now’s my chance to experiment and see what I can do with my own hearty, hammy, hot, deliciousness.

So I tried this recipe a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t quite what I wanted. Today (January 7, 2012) I tried it again. This is it! I finally got it just right. Deana even likes it, and she isn’t much of a bean/pea soup lover. The difference is the previous recipe used only water, did not have the garlic, and didn’t saute the onions, garlic & carrots first. Also, I added a little more spices like the cajun and basil/rosemary/sage mix.

It takes about 15 minutes to get everything ready, and about 1-1/2 hours to cook it all.

What You Need

1 lb. green split peas, dried Read more“Smooth, Homemade Split Pea & Smoked Ham Soup” »

My Mom’s Ham & Bean Soup

My Mom’s Northern White Ham & Bean Soup Recipe

Delicious bean soup just like my mom made! Growing up in the Midwest, winters were cold. For a long time. One of my favorite meals was my Mom’s ham & bean soup. I still love it today. I just made it again yesterday.

Take your freshly grown garden beans or dry northern white beans from the store and turn them into a delightful bean soup meal for the family.

What You Need 
1 pound navy or great northern beans Read more“My Mom’s Ham & Bean Soup” »

Truffled up

Tonight we decided to get all truffled up. We had some left over spaghetti and wanted to be a little creative. Instead of just tossing on some garlic and parmesan, we wanted to have a major truffle experience.

So, we opted for our trusty white truffle oil, a little of that powerful black truffle salt (The Meadows brand) we got at The Cured in Boulder and a little skim milk. We tossed on some parmesan and wow!

Our Thanksgiving 2011 foodie day – first stop.

continental sausage deli cherry creekContinental Deli. We took Deana’s in-laws to Cherry Creek and spent a couple hours at Continental Deli. We spent a good amount of time looking around at all the goodies. Deana’s Dad is a total sausage nut. So is she and so am I. She likes to say she comes by it naturally. We bought several imported mustards, Bison sausages, English Bangers, and Veal & Pork with Onion brats – my personal fave.

We bought German curry ketchup (wow, just had that last night with some franks – what a neat flavor!), fat free quark, and some cherry brandy chocolates. We bought some more veal/port/fine textured brats, some bison, and several other kinds to take home. This place has a great selection of cheeses, meats and cured meats, plus all the gourmet and not-so-gourmet eats and condiments. I wanted to buy some smoke paprika bacon, but we were over a hundred bucks already, so decided to do that later. Plus we had other places to go.

Then we each had a lunch plate of Thueringer Brats and an Avalanche Beer brat with their wonderful and different tasting sauerkraut which is not like anything I’ve gotten at a grocery store. We complimented the lunch plate with their borsch soup – wow, that’s is awesome! Also on the plate was some great, fresh, chunky potato salad. It was homemade, not like the over-mayonnaised/over-preservative-laced store bought stuff.

We highly recommend it.

250 Steele Street, Denver, CO 80206. They have eRetail and mail order as well.

What does local really mean to the economy?

When consumers and businesses do more business with local companies, the multiplier effect is in action. Think about buying something from Wal-mart versus buying from a local retailer. Think about buying from McDonald’s or a locally owned eatery with a greater number of locally sourced foods. Where do the profits go in each case?

Money spent or income received has a greater multiplier effect when spent with a local business.  A higher percentage of each dollar spent will turn over several times in the local economy before being lost to the external economy.

Example: If I purchase sausages produced in Denver, a higher percentage of the initial dollars spent would circulate in the local economy vs. those from buying an imported product or from some other state.  (local wages, local meats to make the sausage, local labor to grind, case and package them, local profit, local property taxes, etc.)  Source

That same study shows in Maine that for every $100 dollars spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy and an additional $8.70 is spent elsewhere in the state vs. $14 for a national chain or franchise store. The same outcome was noted in an Austin, TX study. A shift of just 10% in buying local vs. purchasing from chains keeps more money in the local economy and supports more jobs. The four largest components of this local spending were: wages and benefits paid to local employees; goods and services purchased from other local businesses; profits that accrued to local owners; and taxes paid to local and state government.

This graphic shows  how it works:

buy local graphic

A recent retail diversity study of San Francisco and three Peninsula cities found that purchasing from locally
owned stores created about 70% more local jobs, and 67% more overall local income, per dollar spent. The authors concluded that by shifting just 10% of purchases to local businesses, consumers would add nearly 1,300 new jobs and $200 million in economic activity to the cities studied.

Please try and buy more local. Always.

Buy Local Week

Buy Local Week in Denver just kicked off. I’m doing my part, are you? If we shift some spending from big box stores to neighborhood shops, we’re boosting our local economy.

Continental Sausage DeliI’m doing my share. We took a day and went to Continental Deli in Cherry Creek, bought some great food, and ate there. More on that experience later.

Then we went to the new Cured in Boulder, bought some cheeses, bacon jam (more on that later…whoa, it’s great!), and super strong truffle salt. We stopped at a Whole Foods nearby and picked up some of our favorite roasted sesame seaweed. A few little sweets such as a roasted almond and Hawaiian pink sea salt with burnt sugar carmel dark chocolate candy bar ended up in our basket. A couple cheeses went into the shopping basket, too. Okay, maybe Whole Foods is not local, but we spent 80% of our cash yesterday at local stores.

Then we headed up the Diagonal Highway to Longmont and Cheese Importers/Fromagerie. There we picked up some cheeses from Italy, Spain and Germany. Mmmmm.

That’s what I call a local shopping day.


Shop local this week, and always!