Welcome to my blog

Hello visitors. On my blog I'm talking about my books, but also about what I'm currently working on and, maybe, some other stuff. Browse through my posts and don't forget to check out my older posts in the archives. If you are interested in my books, please, visit my website Fictitious Tales for more information and a few excerpts. You'll find more excerpts in my old website Herbert's World. Also, take a look at my second blog Herbert Grosshans, where I talk about fun-stuff and things that concern me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Split Pea Soup

I love soups. I love to make them and to eat them. All my soups taste the same because all the vegetable ingredients are the same. The only thing that changes is the meat. I make Chicken soup, Turkey soup, and Beef soup.
I decided to branch out and make split pea soup. I soaked the peas overnight (My wife’s suggestion. She is usually the cook in our household. She is a great cook. I just make soups. She tolerates my little ‘hobby’).
Anyway, after soaking the peas overnight I put all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and cooked them for 8 hours. By this time, it was 6 pm, time to eat. Unfortunately, the soup wasn’t ready. The peas were hard. We had to eat something else. I cooked the soup for another 3 hours. And another 2 hours the next day. That still didn’t help. So we boiled them for an hour in a different pot. That did the trick and the soup tasted delicious. The peas were soft.
What went wrong? I checked some sources on the internet and found that other people had the same problem with peas, beans, and lentils. Some suggested the peas might have been old, they’ll never get soft, no matter how long you cook them. Well, I found that is not exactly true. The boiling in the pot made them soft. I figure, doing them in a slow cooker is probably not the right thing because it doesn’t get hot enough.
Maybe I’ll try something different next time.
Here is the recipe for anyone who wants to try it. The soup tastes yummy.
2 cups dried split peas
2 cups chopped onions
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 tsp. each dried oregano, basil, rosemary (crumbled)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 can (355 ml) chicken broth
5 cups boiling water
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 or 2 cups chopped ham (a smoked ham bone adds great flavor)

I used a frying pan to sauté the garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil, then I added the chopped onions and sautéed them also until they glazed over. (Don’t let the garlic turn dark. It will get bitter). Then I put everything into the slow cooker. If you want to forget about the slow cooker and cook the soup in a large pot, then you have to boil everything for about 3 hours, until the peas are soft. (Maybe even longer!) You want them mushy. The soup will look green. If the peas are really fresh then it may not take this long.
If you use a whole bay leaf, take it out before serving, because if accidentally swallowed it could cut a person’s throat. Bay leaves don't get soft. They can also be crushed or even ground before put into food. Apparently, a crushed bay leave imparts more of its flavor than a whole leaf. Bay leaves are not poisonous when eaten, as some people believe.
One thing that I always wondered about. Why doesn’t anyone ever mention soaking beans and peas in their recipes? Apparently, lentils don’t need to be soaked.

Now to some other stuff. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked Fictionwise to find ‘Seeds of Chaos, book One’ at number 3 position. Book Two at number 9 and ‘Stardogs, Book One’ at number 6. The three Xandra books are at number 14, 16, and 18. Wow! Six of my books in the top twenty position. That is wonderful. I can’t wait until ‘Stardogs, Book Two’ is coming out to see what it does to my sales.

I crossed the 130,000-word mark with my novel ‘Tarnished Valor’. I’ve got the next chapters sort of mapped out, but as I’m writing, new ideas pop into my head. Now it’s just a matter of bringing everything together and wrap up the story. After that comes the real job. Editing.

Happy Valentine’s Day to anyone reading this blog. Buy a book for the person you love.
Check out http://www.midnightshowcase.com/ or go to http://www.fictionwise.com/

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