Tag Archives: ham

Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham

Seasoned to Taste - Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham

Grant and I are spending the day “de-cluttering” – cleaning out closets, making trips to the dump and painting the stairwell. While it is sunny and mild in our neck of North Carolina today, I hear our friends to the north are getting quite the snow storm that is keeping folks homebound.

Thick soups are perfect for those surprise snowy days, when all you want to hear is the hiss of your radiator and blips of soup bubbles working on the stove. I made this soup in an effort to use some leftover smoked Virginia ham … and try out the new immersion blender that my mom gave me! So excited. And it was splendid.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, but I added the meat – seems wrong to have split pea soup without some sort of ham. While I didn’t use a ham hock as is traditional, I think the Virginia ham offered a comparable flavor with plenty of meat (something a ham hock lacks).

I have reduced the amount of rosemary because I found it overpowering – add more if you love it.

Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham


  • 1 1/2 c. dried split peas
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 c. chopped onion (one large, I used sweet onion)
  • 1 c. diced carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T soy sauce (for salt)
  • 4 c. water or chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1 pound diced smoked ham (or substitute)

Wash beans. Cover with water and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot and bay leaf, saute 5 min. Add garlic, rosemary, paprika and pepper, stirring, and cook 3 min. Add tomato paste and soy sauce; cook until liquid evaporates, scraping bottom of the pan to deglaze.

Drain peas. Add peas to Dutch oven, along with water/stock. Bring to a boil, adding another cup of water if needed to thin it. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 1 hour, stirring often. Discard bay leaf. Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend soup until pureed to your desired consistency – I didn’t want baby food.

Return Dutch oven to medium heat and add ham to warm through. Taste for seasonings.

To serve, spoon soup into big bowls and finish with a grating of Parm cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Seasoned to Taste - Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham

Goes very well with crusty bread and a simple oil-vinegar salad.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Sweet Potato Biscuits

Seasoned to Taste - Sweet Potato Biscuits

Happy Birthday to me! As has become tradition, I celebrated my birthday ( and entry into a new decade) this month with a Birthday Brunch for a bunch of girlfriends. I give guests a strictly enforced dress code (cute; on-trend; Instagram-ready) and expectations for a filling morning of heavy snacks and cool drinks.

Two must-haves for any party: fresh flowers and lots of candles. I bought a pretty bouquet from Trader Joe’s, which I split apart and used to fill a dozen white milk glass vases around the house. Many of my wedding gifts came out as I needed all the platters and serving dishes I could find: Fresh fruit salad with limoncello, phyllo-baked brie with almonds and apricots, curried chicken strudels, soppressata and Gruyere puffs, edamame hummus, lox with cream cheese and capers, salsa fresca, guacamole and the centerpiece: mango-ginger glazed ham sliders with cheddar & chive biscuits and sweet potato biscuits. Check my Instagram feed (@thewritegal) for more pics.

Finding a smoked spiral-sliced ham proved difficult in this holiday off-season, but I won’t bore you with the details. The net result is I got my ham, and now have plenty for leftovers (split-pea soup with ham is simmering on the stove as we speak!)

The cheddar and chive biscuits will be featured on a future post, but I want to highlight these sweet potato biscuits, the recipe for which my friend and neighbor Molly gave me. It’s a simple biscuit recipe with cooked sweet potatoes providing much of the “wet” ingredients. I served the biscuits with Dijon mustard and a sweet cinnamon butter that I whipped up. My favorite combination was the sweet potato biscuit with cinnamon butter and smoked ham. Yum!

These are an obvious choice for brunch, or really any breakfast. I love the sweet biscuits with the salty/smoky ham. They are also good alone, with honey butter or cinnamon butter.

Seasoned to Taste - Sweet Potato Biscuits

Thanks for the recipe, Molly!

Sweet Potato Biscuits


  • 2 cups flour
  • Heaping 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp chilled shortening
  • 1/2 – 1 cup thoroughly mashed, riced, or pureed cold, cooked sweet potato (two medium sweet potatoes for me, which I cooked in the microwave and scooped out)

Preheat oven to 500.

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add in the shortening, cutting it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or your fingers. Add in your mashed sweet potato and just enough cold milk to get the dough to the right consistency (mine was roughly 1/4-1/2 c. milk). Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly, about 10 strokes. Roll out dough to about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes, until golden. The dough can get very heavy when re-rolled, so work scraps as little as possible.

Once baked, slice in half with a serrated knife if you are making sliders.

Best served warm, or cool completely and store in air-tight container.

Season to Taste - Sweet Potato Biscuits

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Ham and Asparagus Toasts

Happy Easter! Just kidding – I made these last spring and then totally forgot about blogging. Even though asparagus is seasonal, you could still splurge on a little late-season veggies to make these fun little toasts that include the winning combination or Dijon mustard, ham, asparagus and fontina cheese.

I like to pull these toasts out when I attend a spring brunch or any kind of Easter-themed potluck. Grant and I also have had them by themselves as a nice lunch or light dinner, no matter the season.

My own spin on an old Rachael Ray recipe…

Ham and Asparagus Toasts


  • 6 slices of crusty bread of your choice (I always choose sourdough)
  • 1 lb. hamsteak (just buy thick-sliced cured ham that looks like it will be enough to fit on one slice of bread)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 c. fontina cheese, shredded
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cracked black pepper

Heat broiler and place oven rack in center position. Spread 1 T dijon (or less) on each slice of bread and place on baking sheet. Set aside.

Cut asparagus into 4-inch pieces and blanch in salted boiling water for 3-4 min, until tender but still firm in the middle. Shock in ice water. Set aside.

Heat medium skillet over medium-high heat and sear ham on both sides until you get a nice browning in spots. Five min. per side. Set aside.

To assemble, place 1 piece of ham on each slice of bread, then a few pieces of asparagus and finish with sprinkling of fontina cheese. Finish with a few cracks of black pepper, then slide into the oven.

Broil until the cheese is all bubbly on top, 5-7 min (watch them!).

The fontina cheese is really warm and nutty tasting, yummy with the peppery mustard, salty ham and sweet asparagus.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo