Thai Fresh Pea Soup

Like your average guy’s 30th birthday celebration, there was a gift and some celebratory drinks involved. But in Kyle’s case, the gift was a trip to New York City to take a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and the celebratory drinks were some of the best we’ve ever had at the (then) recently opened speakeasy lounge Raines Law Room.

But one of our most memorable moments happened while at dinner at one of Kyle’s favorite restaurants, Mesa Grill.

“It’s him. I see the red hair. It’s really him back there cooking tonight!”

We were seated at a table right near the kitchen, and Bobby Flay was working in the kitchen that Saturday night.

To offer some perspective on the magnitude of this sighting for Kyle, Bobby Flay has been one of his cooking idols for a very long time. Bobby Flay cookbooks line the shelves in our kitchen, and Kyle loves to try recipes from them (like these amazing roasted yellow pepper grits). And Bobby never disappoints, as everything we’ve tried of his has been a homerun.

Bobby didn’t disappoint in person either. Not only was everything we tried cooked to perfection, but he took the time to come out of the kitchen to pose for pictures and talk to people. Never one to be shy, Kyle marched right up to the hostess stand to buy a copy of his Mesa Grill cookbook and waited in line to greet him. Bobby Flay couldn’t have been more gracious, and he was more quiet and reserved than you would expect from watching his demeanor on one of his bajillion Food Network shows.

One Bobby Flay autographed cookbook and a chance meeting with your favorite chef later, that dinner goes down as one of the all-time best we’ve ever had.

Recipe adapted from cookbook Kyle received as part of his cooking class at the CIA, The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes cookbook.

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1 cup onions, diced
• 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
• 2 teaspoons green curry paste (look for this in the international aisle of your grocery store)
• 1 ½ quarts vegetable broth
• 2 ½ pounds shelled peas (thawed, if frozen)
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, lightly toasted
• ¼ cup mint, chopped

What to note before tackling the recipe:

• Don’t puree the soup with a handheld blender. Use a food processor or countertop blender instead.
• You can go without the lightly toasted mustard seeds, if you like. We tried the soup with and without and didn’t notice a considerable taste difference.

Instructions:
Sweat the onions, garlic, curry paste and a small amount of the broth in a soup pot over medium heat, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the remaining broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the peas, cover the soup and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or countertop blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and reheat the soup if necessary.

Sprinkle the toasted mustard seeds over the finished soup before serving and garnish with chopped mint.

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