Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fresh Pea Soup and The Garden of Talking Flowers

No, not really...I just like the sound of the talking flowers part; I thought it would reel you in. I wish my flowers could talk though.

Here's a summer soup from the garden. Peas were late this are most things this season in our part of the world. Over the last week,  I got my first harvest of peas and fava beans. (If you think it's crazy that I'm only now harvesting peas and favas...don't hold your breath for the tomatoes!)

Hmm, what to do with the first fresh peas of the season?...They're good just raw in salads, so sweet with a light crunch. This neon-hued fresh pea soup is nice too, brighter and lighter than the regular old split pea variety. Mint is often used in fresh pea soup, and I was thinking of going that route, then I pondered basil...and then tarragon. In the end, I kept it plain and garnished it with chives.


1 lb shelled fresh peas (save the pods for broth or stir fry etc. / See note)
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 large leek, sliced
3-4 cups veggie broth
fresh herbs of choice, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Note: If the peas are fresh and tender (and preferably organic), you can also leave the peas in the shell  and just chop up the pods; I'd take the stringy bit along the seam out first though.

Sweat off the leek and potato in a tablespoon of olive oil until they are tender. Add the veggie broth, bring to a simmer, then add the fresh peas and simmer gently for 5 minutes...just until they begin to become tender. Blend in food processor and serve garnished with finely chopped fresh herbs of choice. 
Makes roughly 4 servings.

Here's some other fun flora from the garden at the moment:

Hens and chicks in bloom...sort of Seuss-y, they're just cute no matter what they do.

My sis-in-law gave us this Thompson's Flowering Maple at Easter, which is a bit more exotic and interesting than the usual suspects in my garden:

Its leaves look like maple leaves, but it's not related to Maple trees at all.  Apparently, this little guy is cultivated from a Brazilian shrub. We're really enjoying the blooms; thanks Linda!

I really like this Picasso Petunia with its lime-green petal tips. I saw it for the first time last summer, so I knew I wanted some in the garden this year.

Some borage:

Marigolds are sort of a plain jane flower, but they add cheer. I love the rich orange and gold of these: 

My favorite flowering pot at the moment:

I get most of my flowering annuals at the local garden center. Early in the season, I can usually buy them in sets of 6 starts for 1.50 each, so I go crazy.  This pot is the result of one of those splurges.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. It's sunny and warm here today...I think I hear the lake calling my name! 
Rose Tobin Seattle
Roseann Marie LaPonte
Rosanne Tobin


  1. Hi Rose - these are all beautiful flowers, especially the maple ones and the ones by your pea soup!
    I'm a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, and I do sometimes wish flowers could talk. But it would probably just freak me out.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the lake!

  2. Like Jessica, your Garden of Talking Flowers brought Alice in Wonderland immediately to mind! So far we've got three big AIW fans here, maybe we can get a quorum. :-) As I recall, some of the talking flowers in Alice were pretty snarky! I'm sure that not only are yours talking (you just haven't heard them yet, 'cause they only do it when you're asleep or at the lake), when they do they only say the sweetest things. :-)

    Your soup is so pretty! I've not only never had fresh pea soup, I've never even considered it! I love fresh peas in salads, and this soup sounds easy-peasy (harhar) and delicious. Now I just need to find some fresh peas! I hear our local Farmer's Market doesn't have squat yet. Very late season here, too. Our zucchini are at least two weeks away from harvestable size, our poblanos are about 1/3 the size they need to be, and our butternut squash are still in the green blossom stage.

    Your flowers look so gorgeous! I especially love the borage. Our fleurs looked great for a couple of weeks, but despite being shaded during the hot part of the day the scorching temps we've had off and on apparently gave them the vapors. Tomorrow is supposed to hit 97º, so I don't expect them to improve. The wildflowers seem to be able to handle it though, and they're in full sun all day! Maybe I'll just let Mother Nature do all our landscaping from now on. :-)

    Thanks for another fun recipe, and another gorgeous post. Hope you're enjoying the lake!

  3. The talking flowers part definitely reeled me in! They're all so gorgeous that I can't decide which ones I like the most.....

    That first picture of the soup with the flowers is so perfect. It's magazine worthy!

  4. I had no idea that Hen & Chicks ever bloomed.

    I need to investigate this Borage plant that you & Alesandra have been showing. Very beautiful.

    Agree with Molly, another magazine cover shot of the Pea Soup! If Gourmet or Bon Appetite hired you, their circulation would definitely increase substantially.

  5. Rose -- Ahh, the pea soup looks scrumptious. I would love to make it but fresh peas are not to be found in this area. I wonder if organic frozen might do the trick. Nothing like trying it that way. Your containers are so healthy! I must admit I almost flunked container school. -- barbara

  6. These are great pics. Coincidentally, I have peas and a flowering maple plant in my garden right now as well!

  7. The pea soup looks beautiful! Colorful and smooth to boot. The shots of the flowers are also appreciated - we don't have enough of them within reach here and my mom doesn't seem to quite have the green thumb.

  8. That soup looks like a perfect summer treat! Your flowers are lovely!

  9. Hi Jessica:

    Me too. Alice in Wonderland is one if not my all-time favorite book. That's totally what I was thinking of! Like Laurie mentions, I have a feeling that some flowers would be a bit it might be a little freaky to talk with them...but might be fun if you were in the mood for a bit of debate.:)


    I'm all for a AiW quorum. :) Yeah, some of those flowers were a bit snooty. And, because you mentioned it, I was trying to think of what types of personalities these flowers might have based on their appearance. The Hens and Chicks would be quirky and eclectic, while I think the Thompson's Maple would be a motherly type. The borage would be hard-nosed and practical, and the pot of petunias and snap dragons and phlox would be the lovey-dovey crowd.

    Poblanos at 1/3 the size is better than what we've got...mine are like 1/30th harvestable size!

    And aren't wildflowers amazing? Wild plants in general...they're tough, not all molly coddled, like the cultivated ones...falling asleep in soft beds! :D

    Thanks Molly!


    This is the first time this particular set of hens and chicks has bloomed, wild huh? Succulents always seem to have far out flowers.

    Borage is easy and once you have it, you'll never need to buy more because it resows itself. The flowers taste like cucumber.

    That's sweet of you to say about the magazines! I'd have to convert them all to vegans though, lest I have to take horrendous photos of unmentionables.


    Frozen peas work perfectly; I've used them before...because they're already soft, you can blend them right into the broth. The thing with containers is they have me scrambling to keep them watered this time of year, they dry out so fast.


    This is the first time I've had the flowering maple; so pretty. I hope I can overwinter it. Do you have any tips?


    Glad you enjoyed the flowers. Two things I'd recommend with extending annuals is fertilize them and then pick of any of the faded blooms before they start forming the seed pod. That way, they'll keep producing new buds. Just some advice you didn't ask for...:D

  10. Jennifer:

    Thanks, not nearly as lovely as your artistic flower shots though! Hope you're having a good weekend.

  11. oh how pretty! the soup and the flowers:) pea soup is so good, i cannot imagine how great it would be fresh. im also imagining how much fun that would be to go out to a garden and pick your dinner. glad you are having fun with it. do the ratties help eat all the shells?

    michelle at dirty duck

  12. Michelle:

    Oh yes, the rats love them. I usually give them a whole pod, peas and all...they like munching on it and finding the peas inside as a bonus.

  13. Hey Rose-
    Confessing it was the pea soup that caught my eye, not the talking plants. I was just thinking of traditional pea soup the other day-odd thought in summer.
    Fresh sweet peas-that's a vegetable I actaully like (the list is short) and that soup has ingredients I can handle. I think I'll have to try it. Thanks for the recipe....and for your recent visit to my blog.

  14. Hi Rose...those flowers are beautiful...Millie

  15. I think if the flowers could talk, they'd say, "What a pretty soup!" :)

  16. Hey Rose, here in Canada I had to bring it (the flowering maple) inside, but in a sunny window it did really well last winter. It kept blooming throughout.

  17. Susan:

    I agree that pea soup doesn't seem very summery, but still get hankerings for it! If you try the soup, I hope you like it!

    Thanks Millie and VegSpinz!


    Thanks for the info, I think I'll bring inside here too, and see how it goes.

  18. What a beautiful bowl of pea soup! It looks so yummy! I agree with Molly too...a magazine cover shot for sure!
    I love all the flowers. I would never come inside if I had pretty flowers like that to look at all the time. :o)

  19. That soup is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. :)

  20. Super fabulous and orgasmic looking soup. I love the green-ness in it.

    xxx from Vienna

  21. Your garden is so beautiful!!! And that soup! What a fantastic colour! Brava!


  22. Michelle, Kelly, Rika, and Alessandra:

    Thanks, as always, for your positive words! :)


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