I sorta love vanity plates. I was driving a ton for a job – with a colleague/friend – up and down the west coast training people to sell fragrance. The countless hours in the car led to some in depth conversations….But, by about week 2, we already knew pretty much everything about each other, each other’s families, lives, histories, first loves, last loves, secret loves etc.
So we needed another way to pass the time. And, we were in California – land of the vanity plate. Coming from NYC and without a car of my own at the time, I hadn’t had a lot of experience with deciphering vanity plates. So, this became one of our favorite driving games. It’s like figuring out what text abbreviations mean now.
On our journey, we ran into some great plates including:
LXN1RLND: Owned by my friend, Alex, who lived on Wonderland Drive
NA HE DNT: no explanation needed
8MPG: A Hummer owner making no excuses
L8ASUSL: For the terminally tardy
4RCEBWU: For the Star Wars junkie
One of my favorites, though, read simply ‘NOPCME’. Nopcahmah? Nopchemey? We spotted this one in the parking lot of a hotel and struggled to determine what it meant. And, then we found out that the owner was a urologist….And, his license plate advertised his business: No Pee? See Me!
So I thought about making Pea Soup…and realized that I had a ton of other vegetables that needed using. And I made…
Peas and More Pea Soup (Serves 6-8)
2 slices of Bacon cut into small pieces
- 2 Cups Chopped Leeks – 2 leeks, whites and light green parts – they’re usually pretty gritty, so wash them well
- 1 Cup Chopped Onion
- 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped small
- 1 Sweet Potato – peeled, chopped and roasted until soft (see below)
- 2 10oz packages of Birdseye or 365 Brand Frozen Peas – I used a combo of both
- 5 Cups of Chicken Stock- I use Whole Foods 365 brand, it’s very well priced, rich and delicious
- 1 TSP fresh Thyme leaves
- 1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
- Olive Oil
- A tad of Gindo’s Spice of Life Fresh and Spicy Pepper Sauce – to taste
- Creme Fraiche for garnish
Sweet Potato Prep:
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with Reynold’s Wrap Pan Lining paper – parchment side up
- Spread the Sweet potato dices in a single layer on the parchment and gently sprinkle with Olive Oil – do not salt!
- Bake for :08 mins, then toss and bake an additional :07-:08 mins until softened but not browned
- Remove from the baking sheet and set aside
1. In the bottom of a large heavy bottomed pot (my 6qt Le Creuset, for example), heat 1 TBSP of Olive Oil over medium heat
2. Add the bacon pieces and render until crispy
3. Remove the bacon and set aside
4. To the bacon fat add a TBSP of olive oil and then add the carrots and stir – about :04 mins.
NOTE: You want to add the carrots first because they take longer to soften
5. Add the leeks and onion to the carrots and cook until softened – about :10-:12 mins stirring occasionally
6. Add the chicken stock, sweet potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil
7. Reduce to a simmer and add the frozen peas
8. Simmer until the peas are softened – about :04 mins
9. Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool – while it’s cooling, you can wash all of the prep bowls, knives and cutting boards you may have used
10. Set up a Puree Station: In my case…A KitchenAid blender and a second empty heavy bottomed pot on low
11. Transfer a few ladles of the soup to the blender and puree
12. Pour the pureed soup into the second pot and repeat until all of the soup is pureed
13. Serve with a garnish of Creme Fraiche and Crispy Bacon Bits
NOTE: Making your own Creme Fraiche is super easy – mix equal parts heavy cream and sour cream in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out on a counter over night. In the morning, put it in the fridge and chill for about 4 hours. Done and done.
Years later, I do now have a car…But, no vanity plates. Instead, I allow the DMV to assign me a plate and then I make up a meaning for the letters I get. My first license plates read:
911 URE = Emergency! You Are Excellent.
My next was:
411 XPC = For Your Information. You’re Extra Pretty-Cute.
You can really interpret them anyway you want. Maybe, on my car NOPCME would mean: Numerous Organic Produce Creates More Elegance…in a Peas and More Pea Soup.