Kelsey Nixon's pea soup in her new cookbook, Kitchen Confidence, is a perfect example of resourceful pantry cooking. If you keep frozen peas in stock (which, really, you should), you'll likely only need to grab a couple of basics—scallions and chicken broth—and you'll have this bright, zippy soup ready to eat in 30 minutes. Sure, you can get fancy with your toppings by adding crème fraîche and a few sprigs of tender pea shoots to the serving bowls. At its heart, though, Nixon's soup celebrates the simple, pure sweetness of baby peas adorned only with a bit of cream and butter.
Why I picked this recipe: Frozen peas have always been one of my favorite pantry ingredients, so it didn't take any convincing for me to make this soup.
What worked: Dead simple and super tasty, this soup was a breeze to make and a joy to eat.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: Yogurt or sour cream will work as a garnish if you can't find creme fraiche. Garnishing the soup with just the scallion greens is a great solution if you can't find pea shoots. If you want to make the soup dairy-free, you could sauté the scallions in olive oil or coconut oil. Coconut milk would make a lovely substitute for the cream, but you could also leave it out entirely.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.