From the laurel tree
You may be familiar with the bay leaf, a long, pointy leaf of the laurel tree that is used to flavor soups and stews. This small leaf is popular in Mediterranean cooking, and has a sharp, bitter taste.
*Use in homemade tomato-based sauces, such as pasta sauce and pizza sauce.
*Add to soups and stews for extra flavor.
SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced* (optional)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup split peas, rinsed and sorted
5 cups water
2 teaspoons good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add water and bring to a boil. Add split peas and simmer until slit peas form a smooth soup. Add salt, bayleaf and basil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bayleaf and serve.
Add 1/2 to 1 cup evaporated milk to finished soup.
Add chopped carrots and celery to soup with the seasonings and simmer until vegetables are lightly cooked, but still crisp.
Add 1/2 cup brown rice to the boiling water first, then after 1/2 hour add split peas and cook until peas are tender or form a smooth soup. Add seasonings and simmer for 10 minutes. (Note: The brown rice completes the protein of the legumes.)
*A head or bulb of garlic usually contains about 10 cloves. 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic juice
As always, to get the most benefit in both taste and nutrition, be sure your spices are fresh and, whenever possible, use fresh herbs rather than the dried versions.