Split Pea and Barley Soup

Wow, have I been busy in the kitchen this weekend! I’m not someone who ordinarily slows down as far as cooking goes during the summer; Mark runs the air conditioner constantly, so it’s usually not too hot for me to cook. So I don’t know if it’s just coincidence that Hurricane Earl brought us a cool Labor Day weekend – an upper 70s reprieve (and very sunny skies! no hurricane here; the weather is amazing!) from the summer-long near-100-degree days – and I ended up cooking even more than usual or if cooler temperatures were somehow responsible. Yesterday I made sauerkraut and kimchi, and for dinner, seitan ham, cooked fresh lima beans, and barley. Today I’m making pain au levain and I made tofu for the first time in months (it didn’t turn out very well; I guess I need to get back into the swing of it), and I even saved the okara to make Zoa’s chicken-style okara seitan. This morning I also made split pea soup; the great thing about which being I used up a bunch of leftovers doing so.

Split Pea and Barley Soup

1 onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lima beans
7 cups broth, chickpea cooking water, or a combination of both (I had saved the water leftover from cooking chickpeas a couple of days ago)
2 cups green split peas
1 cup diced vegan “ham”
several splashes liquid smoke
1 cup cooked barley, or 1/3 cup uncooked
1 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, saute the onion in some olive oil until translucent.

Add the carrots and garlic; saute for another 3 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the barley if cooked, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, until peas are done. If using cooked barley, add it 5 to 10 minutes before the soup is ready.


This was my lunch today.

So as not to drive Zoa insane with curiosity, the book is Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. The bread is a baguette from the farmer’s market, sold by a real live Frenchman, who spoke French at me for a full three minutes and made me feel bad about myself – after feeling good that I’ve been understanding Josiane’s French tweets – because I only understood a single word (“français”). Le sigh. I don’t buy much bread because I bake my own, but since I usually bake on Sundays, I’ve been picking up a baguette on Saturday mornings to tide us over. I’ve been taking one of my baguette bags so my Frenchman doesn’t need to put it in a paper bag – another great use for the bread bags! (I got a lot of compliments on the baguette bag yesterday. The Frenchman also commented on it, but I don’t know what he said. What did those five years of high school and college French get me?!?)

Also pictured above is my first batch of water kefir. Actually, I’ve made it before but didn’t keep up with it, but I got more grains this week and am going to try to maintain it better this time. So far so good; it tastes great! I made the mistake(?) of telling Mark it was probiotic when he asked what it was, so he refuses to drink it. More for me! I also found this great water bottle in my favorite antique store. It’s the perfect size for chilling my quart of water kefir, and it has this awesome valve lid that is shut when it sits upright and opens when you tilt the bottle to pour. I love it!

The cool weather is energizing the kittens; they – well, mostly Torticia – have been getting into trouble this weekend. Here she is attacking Hamelman’s Bread book.

She’s not the only one who likes cookbooks a little to much; earlier in the week Gomez was lounging on Veganomicon

… until he decided to eat the cheesecloth covering some fermenting pickles.

But then they do this. I love them.


  1. kibbles Said,

    September 5, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    Cuddling makes everything better, especially when it’s kittens!

  2. Zoa Said,

    September 5, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    God bless you for being so considerate. Your book was so out of focus, you are right, I would have had no possibility of even guessing…sounds like a busy long weekend to me (at least I hope you get a long weekend; we in Canada do). Split pea and barley is a combination that would never have occurred to me, but now that you’ve done it it sounds brilliant and delicious. And your kittens are so freaking adorable…I’m going out of town next weekend, so *I* spent the weekend cleaning out closets and drawers so that I shall have nothing to feel ashamed about when my cat sitter looks through them (I don’t blame her; I’m awful about looking through other people’s stuff whenever I get the chance…ahem, as I guess you’ve already gathered). I’ll be very very curious to know how you like the seitan. If you hate it, you can still email me at zoa@shaw.ca

  3. allularpunk Said,

    September 5, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

    squeeee your kitties! they effectively distracted me from how awesome your soup looks!

  4. Josiane Said,

    September 5, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

    Oh, it’s so cool that you can make sense of my tweets in French! I love knowing that you’re there reading them, and I’m really glad that it boosted your confidence in your ability to understand French. I’m so sorry that your encounter with that French man shattered some of it and made you feel bad… Reassurance time: I’m sure your French is much better than you felt it was after that episode. Live conversations are really challenging, and even more so when they happen after a long period during which you didn’t get many opportunities to hear and practice the language in question (as I was painfully reminded a few days ago when I tried to speak a tiny little bit of Farsi with one of my former Farsi teachers…).

    I’d be interested in knowing more about your water kefir, if ever you’re looking for a post subject. *hint, hint* 🙂

    Those cuddling kitties pics are so sweet! Such cuteness…

  5. Jes Said,

    September 6, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    Hurray for Hurricane Earl! It made it so awesome out here too. And cute tort overload–love the book-attack pictures.

    The soup sounds great: I had actually been thinking about combining barley with split peas so you took all the guess work out of it! awesome!

  6. Tiana Said,

    September 6, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    What recipe do you use for seitan ham? I’ve been looking for one for awhile!

    The last picture of the kitties is my favorite. They look like they are really enjoying each others company.

  7. Ksenia Said,

    September 7, 2010 @ 4:21 am

    We only have air conditioner in the living room (which is great, since I sleep there) but that means that the kitchen is hot as hell even if it is running >.< So I try to avoid desesperately the kitchen's stove in summer.
    When I was little I used to hate split pea (although I hated a lot of foods) but now I love it 😀

    Taking in account the way your cats are resting over your cookbooks(and munching them), I think they give them their approval 😉

    My mum has been making kefir for years, although hers is made from milk. I tried to make water kefir a few times, but since I was the only one who drank it, I didn't last too much. Maybe I'll try again.

  8. renae Said,

    September 7, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    Zoa, the seitan turned out great. I was surprised by the flavor just nibbling on it after it was steamed. Now, what to do with it all?

    Josiane, it certainly is easier to read than hear a foreign language. Maybe I’ll play deaf next time and ask the Frenchman to write down what he’s saying! My French really is terrible, though. As for the water kefir, if I manage to maintain it, I’ll do a post once I’m actually comfortable giving advice about it – I’m a complete novice right now.

    Tiana, I just made something up for the seitan ham. I probably should have written it down because it was pretty good, although I don’t know how hammy it was. I’ve done posts on it before, although I’ve never really replicated the flavor of ham too convincingly.

    Ksenia, apparently I’ll be the only one drinking the water kefir in this household as well, but I’ve found that it’s so easy to drink that a quart every other day is almost not enough. However, I don’t know how easy it would be to remember to keep up with it if you’re busy with school, which I believe you will be very soon!

  9. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    September 10, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

    So we adopted a fourth cat last Sunday – a kitten (4 months old). We’re working through names and none have stuck thusfar. We’ve gone thru “Jinx” (as in hijinks), “Laser”, “Murdock” (courtesy of the A team), Teeny Tiny, and a handful of other tries.

    So the ACTUAL reason I am posting is to give you this NY Times link from 9/7


    It is such a great article and I thought of you. Be well.

  10. zahra Said,

    September 12, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

    hi. I find your web site just right now and I’m glad about it.
    I really like cooking. I also have a web site and I’m goin to translate in english.
    I’ll try to read your post (I’m not very good in english but I’ll try).

  11. Mark Said,

    September 13, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    Zahra, you should download a copy of Google Chrome (a browser). It has a built-in language translator and works very very well.

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