Owen and I are on spring break. See, a few weeks ago, I found round trip tickets to Chicago (which isn’t too far from my family) for only $70…so I jumped on those tickets, because driving eight hours, by myself, with a sometimes-screechy baby in the back seat? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Plus, Eric’s up to his neck with a freelance deadline, and getting out of the house for a few days will allow him to work without my constant wheedling to just stop for the day and come outside for a while. #weneedasoundproofhomeoffice
I’ll be honest. I was pretty nervous about flying by myself with Owen. Because even though he’s pretty curious, likes to be around people, and is obsessed wtih loud engines, he can also screech like a falcon if things aren’t going his way, and I was a little afraid, that confined to my lap, he’d spaz out, and that the other passengers would unanimously vote us off the plane.
But he was a superstar. He spent about forty minutes gumming up the floor-to-ceiling windows of the airport, gleefully shouting highly-aspirated “Bah”s into the air, at every passing, truck, bus, and festively colored Southwest plane that taxied by.
Once we boarded the plane, I found answered prayers in the following:
-We had an empty seat next to us and spread the massive contents of my bag of tricks (books, toys, and snacks) with ease.
-Next to the empty seat was a kind man who has often flown with his two-year-old daughter; he probably picked up a toy off the floor about 72 times in 45 minutes.
-There were two babies in the rows next to and behind us that played peek-a-boo with Owen and got him laughing.
-My plan of getting his ears to pop during takeoff and landing, by offering, for the first time in his life, undiluted apple juice, worked like a charm, and he sucked that juice down in a way that would have made Buster Bluth proud.
And here we are. Planning to go to the beach I grew up on today, with plenty of arms that want to hold this boy and let his Mama finally get to her Mother’s Day gift. Plus, he seems to be having a pretty good time himself, crawling around on the vast exanse of carpeted floor at my parents’ house and riding around on lawn mowers with his cousin Josh.
But even though we’re on spring break, I didn’t want to leave you high and dry. After all, spinach is here and it is fabulous! And it’s featured in this very springalicious soup. I mean, look at that color! That is spring green at its finest, folks.
I Thai-ified this soup friends, adding ginger and lime to the coconut milk and curry. But something about this soup is just really light and delicate – like a spring soup should be. This soup is the perfect transition from still chilly spring days to full-blow spring. Enjoy!
(recipe adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison ) (yields 6 servings) This simple pea and spinach soup screams spring with its bright green color and delicate Thai flavors brought by the coconut milk, ginger, curry, cilantro, and lime. I adapted the recipe by using frozen peas (that I thawed) in place of sugar snap since they're not at our farmers market yet. I also used jasmine rice instead of basmati, and added the ginger and lime for more of a Thai taste.
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. white jasmine or basmati rice
2 c. thinly sliced sweet onions (leeks, yellow, or sweet white)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 tsp. mild curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. sugar snap pea pods OR 1 1/4 lbs. frozen peas, thawed
4 c. spinach, chopped
1 qt. vegetable or chicken stock, or water
3/4 c. coconut milk**
juice of a 1/4 lime (plus lime wedges for serving)
salt and white pepper to taste**
Chopped cilantro for serving
*You can freeze the remaining coconut milk from the can. It will take forever to thaw, but is great to use in other soups or smoothies!
**Black pepper is okay, but white pepper was made for this soup!
Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the rice, onions, ginger, curry, salt and cilantro. Simmer. uncoverd, over med-low heat until rice is cooked and water is evaporated (about 12 minutes). You may need to add a few extra tablespoons of water to keep the rice from sticking.
Meanwhile, chop your spinach and shuck your peas (or thaw frozen peas if using). Add both vegetables to the pot with the stock; bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat; stir in the lime juice and coconut milk and taste for salt and white pepper.
You can leave the soup chunky, puree a portion of it (we did 2 c.), or puree all of it - whatever your preference. Serve with extra chopped cilantro and lime wedges so people can add more lime as preferred.