Peas and poetry

I saw what looked like an irresitable recipe for fresh pea soup on jfeldt’s blog, Progress and Procrastination. As it’s the season of fresh peas, I decided to try it with excellent results.  It turned out every bit as enchanting a green the original. I made a few modifications to the recipe, so repeat it below. The virtues of this recipe include:

  • takes about 10 minutes start to finish (not counting shelling the peas)
  • is a delectable green color
  • tastes fabulous and is relatively low calorie

Fresh Pea Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic or ½ a green garlic head, crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 3/4 Cups fresh peas (you can use frozen)
small handful of herbs (I used thyme, lemon verbena and garlic chives)
1 avocado
1 Cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Put the olive oil in a saucepan and heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook gently till softened but not brown (2-3 minutes) Place frozen peas in on top of the onion and garlic, add herbs, and just cover with water. (I didn’t use vegetable stock because I thought it might ruin the green color.) Bring to a boil until peas are bright green and al dente (about 5 minutes).

Add all to blender with the avocado and 1 cup of water and liquefy. Return puree saucepan and add salt, pepper, cayenne, and lemon juice. Stir constantly until just boiling. Serve warm.   I put a mint leaf on top just for fun. Mint might be a good addition.

Several years ago, I heard an NPR broadcast about Gregor Mendel and wrote this poem about him and his peas and his bees. It occurs to me that I now also have both bees and peas, though not with the same objectives!

Sexing the Pea

Mendel in his monk’s robes strolled
amid hermaphroditic peas, tweezed open
each pea flower keel, snipped filament and anther
and shoved the pollen deep into the womb
of his pocket.  Then, bending to the female
flower parts—not yet sticky, immature—
he twisted over stigma, style and ovary
a calico cap, to protect the pea’s virginity.

Pudgy, stooped above his flowery flock,
he chose the moment and the father strain
for each sweet pea. He touched
each fragile, trembling pistil
with his tiny brush. When the flowers
turned to fruit, he sorted out
three hundred thousand peas.

His single published text, eye-crossed
with figures, was ignored for almost forty years.
But Mendel spent his sun-blessed days
amid the odor of pea blossom,
deep in the unembarrassed sex of flower and bee,
and puzzled out the logic of genetics,
before we had the word for gene.

Meryl Natchez