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Archive for the ‘peas’ Category

As our temperatures here in Toronto start to dip and dive again in the face of Autumn I keep thinking about all the gorgeous food I cooked up over the Summer and never got around to sharing with you.  So, over the next little while, you’ll have to bear with me as I turn an uncharacteristically unseasonable page back to the hotter months and post some of the recipes and cook ups that got lost in the comings and goings of all the travelling I did over that time.  Hopefully I’ll manage to get up to speed with the backlog before the glories of autumn are over with, or I’ll find myself a season behind when spring finally comes around and I’m still stuffing butternuts and mulling apple cider.

A lot of the time in Summer the last thing you want to be doing is keeping an eye on a slow cooking stew or spending hours in the hot, sticky kitchen.  Summer over here at Lick Your Own Bowl is often a casual, quickly thrown together meal of the season’s freshest produce, herbs from the garden and a long, candle-lit evening sitting outside in the garden with the scent of flowers and barbecue in the air.  There’s not much too say about this Summer-Coloured meal.  A quick sticks pasta, with sauteed onions and garlic, sundried tomato, fresh Ontario corn and peas, lightly cooked and deglazed with a dollop of white wine and then plucked up with a bit of white tuna and washed down with an ice cold lager and a side of fresh salad is just heavenly.  Then sit back and listen to the crickets and the laughter of neighbourhood kids still playing street hockey in the road.

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I wasn’t really too sure about posting this post for a couple of reasons.  One, it’s not really anything new or inventive, it’s just a simple spring dinner of lamb, marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and fresh Rosemary and  bunch of lightly sauteed pea shoots with onions.  And two, in all honesty, while those pea shoots sound like a crisp and fresh explosion of Spring Green on the tongue the ever tenacious Mr P and I soon found them to be rather stalky and tough.  Lets just stick to the peas and leave the shoots to the garden, okay?  Or perhaps a table arrangement.  All that in consideration, however, at the end of the day the meal was still good, the lamb was fresh, tender and super tasty and where, oh where is the harm in a simple, satisfying dinner?

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Risotto with peas, marrows and sundried tomato

I always thought of risotto as a fussy, difficult to make dish. It was Jamie Oliver, eventually, who persuaded me to give it a go, thanks to the effortless way he makes everything seem so do-able. And he was right. The only real skill you need for risotto is patience. It’s going to take a half an hour of your time while you sit over the pan stirring, and everything else will be fine. Don’t think you can quickly do this or that while it cooks. Now I love making risotto. It’s a dish that can be both fresh and comforting. For this one I used the ingredients I’d bought earlier that day at the Organic Farmers Market at the park: peas still in the pod and two plump, shiny marrows, one yellow, one green and a very fragrant bunch of sage.

The other things I picked up were a fresh tomato, which tasted nothing like any watery, tasteless tomato I’ve ever bought here in Canada. This one was so enticingly fragrant, so delicately flavoured and sweet, that putting a slice in your mouth made you close your eyes and savour every little morsel. Then I found a quart of wild blueberries, which again are nothing like their mass grown, store bought counterparts. Like fat and pimply troll next to a delicate, pretty elf. I’ve made a blueberry pie for the weekend in the country!

Pea and Marrow Risotto with Sundried Tomatopeas-in-pod-single.jpg

1 – 2 marrows cut into thin strips
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
Handful fresh sage, chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes
1½ cups Arborio rice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar in ± 80 ml of water

4 cups fresh chicken stock, warmed
about 1 cup fresh peas
180 – 125ml grated Parmegiano cheese
S + P

– heat oil and butter in a large, heavy based pan. Sauté marrows with sage until tender. Remove from pan and keep warm.

– sauté onion, shallot and garlic until translucent. Add more olive oil if needed but don’t let the garlic brown (it turns bitter)

– add rice and tomato to pan and cook, stirring continuously until rice begins to turn translucent at the edges.

– add vinegar water and stir until it’s all been absored.

– add ½ cup warm stock and stir until absorbed. Keep adding stock in quantities of about 1 cup, stirring, and only adding more once the previous has been absorbed. About half an hour. Add peas with last bit of liquid.
– when all liquid has been absorbed stir in cheese, leaving some for a garnish.

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pot of peas

I seem to talk a lot about my childhood food experiences in this blog. I suppose that’s because so much of what we are and what we eat stems from those formative years and the experiences we had there. For years after I left home I held a sad abhorrence for a simple peanut butter sandwich, simply because I was given one to eat at school almost very nearly every single day. Only recently I rediscovered the pleasure of fresh, soft bread, spread thick with butter, peanut butter and oozing honey. And, true to my nature, I ate them so frequently upon this discovery, that my denims soon began to miraculously shrink in the wash until one day, getting dressed, I asked my Mr P, while staring down at my posterior, ‘do you think I’m putting on weight?’ And in true Mr P candid style, he promptly looked up from his book, ran his eyes up and down me and replied, ‘ yes.’ After which he carried on reading as if nothing more important than whether he wanted muesli or oats for breakfast had been discussed. Which, of course, is why I am so enamoured with this man in the first place.

I remember that peas were a staple in our family. There were always a couple of bags of the frozen variety on hand and they would be chucked unceremoniously into so many one pot meals my mother would cook up. My mom was cook of convenience, speed and nutrition, seeing as how she was juggling family, work and cleaning the dishes after it all. So, somewhere along the line I began thinking of peas with disdain and stopped buying, cooking or even thinking about these simple green globes. And then, a couple of days ago, I walked past a bag of fresh, shelled, organic peas. Tiny, bright green and somehow translucent looking, they caught my eye and for reasons I really can’t explain, I bought them. And there they were. On the counter. What on earth was I going to do with them? I popped one in my mouth. Then another. And suddenly, I was five years old, helping my dear granny in her pride and joy: her veggie patch.

I loved my granny’s veggie patch. There was a big bush of mint that grew under the tap, and patches of pumpkins, marrows and tomatoes. I loved the carrots, their soft green tops and the juicy, sweet roots. But what I loved the most were the peas. We used to get into trouble for picking them all and eating them before Gran could pick them for the kitchen. So sweet! So crunchy! My love affair with peas, I fear, has only just begun.

Salad of spinach, red pepper, red pearl onions, peas and goats cheese
Spinach salad with peas and goats cheese

 

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