Posts tagged ‘peas’

June 19, 2013

Mushy Peas: The Best Way to Use Frozen Peas?

mushy peas

My affection for all things British runs deep.

As a kid with an excessive imagination, I found British history to be far superior to that of any other country – it was somehow more exciting and romantic to my small brain. And for most of my life, I considered British best. From classic rock bands, to history, to comedy.

London was my one and only choice of city to study abroad in, and I soaked up every bit of it I could. I walked everywhere and anywhere, became a regular at museums and pubs, and fell intensely in love with the city. Even its food.

What all of this nostalgic babbling is getting at is a little side dish called mushy peas.

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January 16, 2013

Kale, Pea and Feta Frittata

kale feta frittata #voraciousvader

Look at that.

I made you breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Eggs are my favorite cure-all any time of the day. They make a salad, a piece of toast or leftovers into a meal. In short, eggs are always appropriate. Which is, uh, more than I can say for myself.

We love a good egg around here. Cheap and wholesome, they ensure that a vegetable-based dinner will be satisfying for both Fabes and I. Best of all, a perfectly poached or over-easy egg will take a bowl of creamy polenta, pasta or risotto into decadent-town.

This frittata was a surprising hit. Garlic-y kale, salty feta and the gratifying pop of green peas is super simple, and my kind of perfect. It’s got greens, protein and some excellent flavor.

October 17, 2012

Spring Vegetable Carbonara

The other night, I found myself on the bus home from the city dreaming of this dish. I mentally went through the contents of my cabinets and fridge and began building this dinner. I was soothed (yes, soothed!) by the simplicity of it, and excited for the flavors before I even got home.

To me, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of carbs after a long day. Pasta for dinner is a total triple threat: convenient, comforting and quick.

I realized that I don’t have many pasta dishes on this blog, which I guess is because I usually make pasta for dinner (real blogger talk: that means there’s no natural light to make it look pretty!) and it usually doesn’t follow any sort of recipe. I use whatever I have on-hand — a little of this, a little of that and then it’s eaten in a flash. That’s how pasta night works.

Pasta carbonara usually is involves pancetta or bacon in some form, which I, of course, encourage. But I thought I’d give you a vegetarian option to show another possibility for a simple, eggy carbonara sauce. I was even going to go so far as to call this Primavera Carbonara, but I think that’s confusing or too Italian or has too many A’s.

It’s slightly creamy, with a serious hit of salty Parmesan and an excessive amount of fresh ground pepper, topped with fresh spring asparagus and peas. (More real talk: the peas were actually from the freezer. No one dreams about shelling fresh peas at 6pm.)

AND this whole thing comes together in 20 minutes or less. It’s kind of the perfect weeknight dinner.

Spring Vegetable Carbonara
serves 2

- 220 grams or 8 ounces of the pasta of your choice
- 1 cup asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas thawed
- olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a pinch of chili flakes
- 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk
- a big handful of Parmesan, and more for garnishing
- salt & fresh ground pepper

Set a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a generous sprinkling of salt and the pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente.

While the water is heating/pasta is cooking, get going on the vegetables.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add garlic and chili and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add asparagus and peas and cook until just tender – about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

Whisk the egg and egg white in a large bowl. Add Parmesan and lots of ground black pepper.

Once the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. It’s time to work quickly now! Pour the hot pasta in the bowl with the egg and Parmesan. Toss vigorously to coat the pasta (the heat of the pasta cooks the egg.) Add your asparagus and peas and toss again. If the sauce is a little thick, add a tablespoon of the pasta water at a time, to thin it out. (I didn’t have to do that this time.)

Serve immediately, with more Parmesan sprinkled on top, if desired.

Tips:
- Make sure the eggs are at room temperature

- Generously salt your pasta water – it gives it flavor
- Set a timer for your pasta – it may seem silly, but I love perfectly cooked pasta and hate to risk it!
- Work quickly once you drain your pasta – it has to be warm enough to partially cook the eggs, thickening them into a sauce.

July 31, 2012

Pea and Zucchini Farro Salad

There are some things that I really wish I was interested in. Like cricket, football or the stock market.

This is mostly because I like to have something to say about everything, but when these topics are brought up…I’ve got nothin’.

I also really wish I was into astrology. Like, actually believed in it.

I’ve tried…I started reading my Astrology Zone forecast at the beginning of the month and have managed to find some tenuous links between what was predicted for me and my fellow lionesses and what has actually happened. But my trusty internal skeptic is kind of a loud-mouthed biatch.

I am, however, beginning to fully buy this Mercury in retrograde business.

For the past few weeks I’ve been seriously struggling in the inspiration and writing departments. While this is probably due to a number of other, more earthly things, I’m going to go ahead and blame it on an astrological issue.

If you’re looking to make excuses for your poor communication skills over the past few weeks, read more about this MIR beast here or here.

Something good that’s come out of these chilly July days is my daily reinvention of the warm salad.

Healthy, satisfying and endlessly adaptable – it makes the perfect lunch or slack dinner if you’ve got access to a large skillet. I’ve been using lots of warm grains, wilt-able greens (like kale and spinach), and quick cooking vegetables (like corn, zucchini and snow peas.)

This salad was one of my favorites – a nod to the summer weather in the northern hemisphere with the zucchini and peas, but served on the warm side to keep me toasty on cool Sydney winter days. If fresh peas aren’t an option, frozen work fine too.

It’s a simple combination, but the Parmesan and a generous amount cracked pepper really give it that extra (boom boom) pow.

Put an egg on it to make it a dang fine meal.

Pea and Zucchini Farro Salad

- 1 cup cooked farro
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium zucchini, grated on a box grater
- 1 cup shelled peas (or frozen and thawed)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- salt, to taste
- a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper

To cook farro: place 1 cup farro in a pot with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered for about 15-20 minutes until tender and little chewy. Remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.

If using fresh peas, blanch them first in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and run under cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add grated zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes until the zucchini is heated through and softened. Stir in peas and cook for 1 minutes.

Stir in farro. If the farro is room temperature or cold, cook for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.

Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and heaps of cracked pepper. Serve warm, at room temp or cold.

March 2, 2012

Fresh Pistachios & Peas

Fresh pistachios. Mind blown.

My vegetable and fruit delivery service said fresh pistachios were only available for another couple of weeks and they were selling some with their boxes this week. I couldn’t resist.

At first, I was surprised at their appearance (but let’s be real, I wasn’t really sure what fresh pistachios were all about in the first place.) A speckled yellow and pink soft skin encases the recognizable hard, oval-shaped shell. The nut at the center of all this business is softer and more mild than your typical salt roasted variety.

The smell of the skins has filled our kitchen for the past week – floral and slightly musky with a vague familiarity about it. Eating them plain is pretty excellent. And shelling and roasting them with a little salt makes them taste like the packaged kind – only better, fresher.

I thought their softness was kind of cool and akin to a fresh bean, so I decided to saute some with a little garlic to see how they turned out. The result is a beautiful, muted pistachio flavor with a slight crunch. Mixed with peas and a little feta, they make a snazzy looking side dish that is irresistibly green.

Whatever you do with fresh pistachios, keep it nice and simple. Let them shine.

Peas with Fresh Pistachios
(serves 2 as a side)

- 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup fresh pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- freshly ground pepper and salt
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta

In a medium pan, heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add fresh pistachios and saute for 2 minutes until the insides are bright green and they are slightly golden and deep purple on the outside.

Add peas and cook for another minute to heat the peas through. Remove from heat.

Squeeze lemon juice over the mixture and season with a healthy amount of ground pepper and salt. Sprinkle with feta to serve.

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January 25, 2012

Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Pesto

+ Green Veg-Packed Pasta with Chorizo

I feel like sometimes I don’t let broccoli live up to its full potential.

This, however, is not about one of those times.

I had a big bunch of steamed broccoli sitting in a Tupperware container in my fridge, which I had the vague intention of throwing into salads over the next couple of days. But something just didn’t feel right. I decided I needed to do something special with that broccoli.

Pesto is special. So are dips. And so is roasted garlic. Let’s do it, I said (to myself, in my head). Let’s blend that broccoli with soft, sweet roasted garlic cloves, salty Parmesan, fresh basil and some spicy chilli flakes and find many glorious uses for this combination.

So I did. And it was (glorious).

I spread my broccoli pesto on toast with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan. I had it on some crackers with a slice of tomato and little hot sauce. And I put it on spiralini pasta with peas, wilted spinach, and crispy pieces of chorizo – which was possibly the most excellent use to date.

I still have yet to try it on a baked potato, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or as a topping for some grilled fish – but I’m looking forward to all those things!

Broccoli & Roasted Garlic Pesto/Spread
- 1 1/2 cups of broccoli, steamed
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 6-8 roasted garlic cloves (outer husks removed)
- pinch of red chili flakes
- salt & pepper

To steam broccoli: place in vegetable steamer over boiling water and cook covered for 4-5 minutes, until soft but still bright green.

To roast garlic: Take an entire head of garlic and cut off the base (the woody end). Place on an oiled  piece of aluminum foil (big enough to wrap the garlic in) and stand the bulb upright on its newly trimmed bottom. Loosely wrap the bulb in foil and place on the oven rack.  Bake for 35-40 minutes in a 200 C/400 F oven until your garlic cloves take on a caramelized color. Squeeze garlic out of their dry husks to use.

For pesto: Place all the ingredients in the food processor and puree. If it’s too thick, add a little more olive oil. I kept mine on the thicker side, so it was more of a spread to start out with.

This should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or you can freeze it in small portions and thaw as needed.

Green Veg-Packed Pasta with Chorizo
I didn’t include amounts here, as I think you can judge how much of each ingredient you’d like. I will say that I used about a cup of  fresh spinach for each serving. I also ended up topping my pasta with only a tablespoon or tablespoon and a half of the diced chorizo. Because it’s so flavorful, I don’t need very much – but that’s just me. 
What you need:
- Pasta (I used a spiral kind, because I thought it would catch the flavors more)
- Peas, cooked
- Spinach
- Broccoli Pesto
- Chorizo sausage, diced into small pieces
- Parmesan, grated, to garnish

Cook pasta in salted boiling water for about 8 minutes, until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, brown the chorizo in a medium pan over a medium-high heat (no need to oil the pan, the chorizo has enough fat going on). Once browned (about 5 minutes) remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan add a little olive oil and wilt the spinach down over a medium heat (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and add broccoli pesto and peas.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss pasta in the pan with the pesto, spinach and peas – adding a little pasta water to thin the pesto out and help the sauce stick to the pasta. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, to prevent from making it too watery.

Serve in bowls with diced chorizo and grated Parmesan on top.

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