Category: Peas

Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar or Easter Leftovers

Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar or Easter Leftovers

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Note:  an Instant Pot version of this soup was posted in April of 2018.  The printable recipe on this post includes instructions for both the stove top and Instant Pot versions.

It is a joy and at times a true puzzle to figure out how to use up leftovers, but a good cook lets nothing go to waste.   Or, as Winston Churchill said,

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

And it is at times a “crisis’ in the fridge:  2 boiled eggs, two pieces of bacon, a quart of milk nearly gone bad, a bowl of boiled potatoes, and one piece of sad stale baguette are in your direct view every time you open the door.  Why isn’t there a lovely fillet of salmon, a great bottle of Chardonnay, and deeply-green spinach just out of the neighbor’s garden? Instead of a fresh fish meal, you make a quick potato soup topped with toasted breadcrumbs and then chop together a little egg salad for crackers as a side. And often you’re happier than if you’d cooked from scratch. (Aside: In Seattle, you’re fined $25 if food is found in your garbage.  You must use and eat or compost.)

below:  dogs all dressed up for Easter

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Tuesday morning’s “crisis” (OH DEAR) was a bit of cold Asparagus Vinaigrette with Chopped Eggs I had taken to friends for an Easter Eve supper.  Holiday leftover crises are somewhat worse than the traditional what’s-in-that-tupperware? problem.  Well,  I just heated a small plateful in a skillet and cooked two eggs on top for my breakfast:

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Continue reading “Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar or Easter Leftovers”

38 Power Foods, Week 37 — Wild Salmon — Salmon with Kale on Pea Risotto

38 Power Foods, Week 37 — Wild Salmon — Salmon with Kale on Pea Risotto

If you’re looking for a fish meal for Good Friday –or a different salmon recipe– this is your day.  While it takes a few more minutes than simply grilling some fish and putting together a salad, it’s well worth it.  Think creamy-dreamy risotto to which you’ve added some spring peas.  Surround it with some quickly crisped healthy green kale and top with a tender filet of salmon.  Lemon, along with some minced fresh onion, adds the best touch over all at the end.  Here’s how….

Continue reading “38 Power Foods, Week 37 — Wild Salmon — Salmon with Kale on Pea Risotto”

38 Power Foods, Week 26 — Green Peas — Pea Clam Chowder

38 Power Foods, Week 26 — Green Peas — Pea Clam Chowder


(A Repeat Post from June, 2011)

 I love oyster crackers.  Maybe it’s the salt?  The crunch?  The ridges?  The memories?

Despite days of unpacking (still) and rearranging (forever) and gardening, we’ve still had a few cool evenings and one such night last week, I made, for the first time, one of Dave’s favorite soups.  Now we’ve been married thirty-seven years and why I haven’t made this soup before, I don’t know.  If you’re from the midwest, fish or seafood soups weren’t terribly much part of the cooking pattern when I grew up.  Fish?  Yes.  Fresh out of the thousands of lakes and in the summer. (Though my parents froze quite a bit for great winter fish fries.)  But not fish soup.  Seafood?  A rarity.  You ate it when you went south.  Or east.  Or west.

Now that we have great fish and seafood available all of the time (especially in St. Paul, I’d add), we have such great options for seafood dishes and I’m finally able to set aside my occasional regional food prejudices and make clam chowder.  I did look at a few recipes and then did it my way.  Naturally you can use fresh clams; I happened to have a couple of cans of clams in the pantry and used those.  In fact, with the exception of the fresh peas (and you can use frozen), this dinner is pretty much out of everyday pantry ingredients. Fresh peas are around only in the late spring in the upper midwest, though Trader Joe’s seems to get them from ??? and often has some in their cold produce section many other times of the year.

Note:  This is a regular old unthickened chowder and that’s how I like it.  If you’d like thicker chowder, check out this site.

Peas from late spring Farmer’s Market, St. Paul.  Tender pods:  eat them!

More available:  Trader Joe’s fresh peas.  Use quickly; they don’t keep long.

 Pea Clam Chowder serves 4

4 pieces of bacon
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 t sea salt; 1/2 t white pepper
1 cup chopped fingerling or new potatoes
1 bottle of clam juice
Water
1/4 c fresh peas (or frozen)
1-2 drops of hot sauce (put bottle on table)
2 cans drained clams
2 cups milk
3/4 c half and half
1T butter
1/4 c chopped parsley
Oyster (or other) cracker

In a 4 qt stock pot, cook bacon until well-browned and remove to toweling to drain. Chop the bacon and reserve.  Saute onion, celery and carrot in the bacon fat until softenedSeason well with salt and pepper.  Add chopped potatoes and clam juiceAdd enough water to cover all of the vegetables and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Add peas the last couple of minutes.  Season with hot sauce.  Add milk and half and half.  Stir in drained clams and butter and heat through.  Add fresh parsley and stir in bacon.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve hot with oyster crackers or saltines and let folks add hot sauce as desired.

Wine:  Chardonnay is my favorite here, but even a nice Viognier or Albarino would work if that’s what you have.

Music:  “I Got a Pea” 

Pea shoots and trendrils from the May Farmer’s Market in St. Paul.  I use these in salad or in Pasta Primavera.

 Green Peas–About them:

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 81 Kcal 4%
Carbohydrates 14.45 g 11%
Protein 5.42 g 10%
Total Fat 0.40 g 2%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 5.1 g 13%
Vitamins
Folates 65 µg 16%
Niacin 2.090 mg 13%
Pantothenic acid 0.104 mg 2%
Pyridoxine 0.169 mg 13%
Riboflavin 0.132 mg 10%
Thiamin 0.266 mg 22%
Vitamin A 765 IU 25.5%
Vitamin C 40 mg 67%
Vitamin E 0.13 mg 1%
Vitamin K 24.8 µg 21%
Electrolytes
Sodium 5 mg
Potassium 244 mg 5%
Minerals
Calcium 25 mg 2.5%
Copper 0.176 mg 20%
Iron 1.47 mg 18%
Magnesium 33 mg 8%
Manganese 0.410 mg 18%
Selenium 1.8 µg 3%
Zinc 1.24 mg 11%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 449 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 2477 µg

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

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I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients:    Read more about tasty peas at these sites:

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

 Sing a new song,
Alyce

Toasted Israeli Couscous Primavera–All from Trader Joe’s

Toasted Israeli Couscous Primavera–All from Trader Joe’s

Welcome spring!

If you shop Trader Joe’s, you might know Israeli couscous–a bit more like round orzo than couscous.  Maybe you buy it?  And if you live in the metro D.C. area or read papers online, you might have read a recipe from the Washington Post a few weeks ago for a Toasted Israeli Couscous Primavera.  I do not live in the D.C. area, though I did for years; these days my traveling husband occasionally brings me a WP home to Saint Paul.  I’m always glad to get it because it was the first paper away from Chicago to which I became really attached.   And as a food blogger, I like seeing what’s going on somewhere else food-wise.   If  you’re a regular reader, you know I rarely blog a recipe from a newspaper.  Until recently when I jumped on board the fun 50 Women Game-Changers in Food blogging adventure, I  blogged almost exclusively original recipes. This one’s yummy, though, and I wanted it on my own site–if only for my own self!  You can, and I did, buy everything you need to make this recipe at any Trader Joe’s.

I don’t know how you feel about Trader Joe’s.  People praise it to the highest heavens and you would have thought our lives were being saved from the plague if you listened to the around-town chat before the store opened on its tight corner with underground parking.   I was in grad school at St. Thomas that summer, and even I heard about it.   And this is a city with fine, locally-owned groceries we can walk to in nearly every neighborhood.  The beauty of Saint Paul!

So I’m of mixed emotions over what’s there–inside Trader Joe’s, I mean.  First off, I’m not drinking that wine not no-how.  Not even in Sangria.  I mean, have you tasted it?   I’d rather drink Coke and be sober.   Secondly, the produce (even though you can get cool things like fresh English peas) looks a little sad, a bit used, and not real green in both its meanings.  I mean, why wrap Italian parsley up on paper plates and in plastic?  The other thing is I have the sense (with no reason, I think) that some of this food might be processed in ways I wouldn’t like or in China maybe.   I feel like a snob.  And guess I am.  I repeat:  I have no basis for these feelings or ideas.  I even looked on the boxes of a few things I bought.  The Israeli couscous, for instance, says “Made in Israel.”  Duh.  The canned salmon is wild from Alaska.  Huh.

The chef is always right.  This sign is right by my main prep space.  Just cookin’.

But I go.  Once in a while.  I’ll only go at very specified times.  Like 10am on Tuesday.  If you try and shop at our Trader Joe’s in the afternoon, evening, or on the weekends, you just can’t get in and out of the parking lot or nearby streets.  The location, albeit the only one they could obtain in our city, is crowded, crowded.   While I’m there, I grab up stuff like sparkling pink lemonade in beautiful liter bottles, peanut-butter stuff pretzel chunks that are addictive, boxes of 100-calorie each scrumptious Belgian milk chocolate, and maybe even a plant or two.  Sometimes a little cheese, though I feel guilty not buying it at our local cheese shop, St. Paul Cheese, which is all of four blocks from my house.

Just because I should, I did a little digging and, if you’d like, you can read a professional review–a bit dated– of Trader Joe’s here.  It’s all good.  Nothing to substantiate my weird, stuck up feelings.
Well,  now that that’s off my chest…I can go on about the recipe.  Right?

I tape upcoming recipes on the door.
Things I’m testing or things I’d like to make sometime go up.  The couscous was up for a while before I got to it.

A wonderfully simple all-in-one spring side dish (or summer-add whatever vegetables), we enjoyed this as a foil to a rosemary-roasted pork loin drizzled with homemade barbeque sauce for our second annual “Lilacs are Blooming” dinner party.  (A leek soup with a bit of bacon was the first course that night, but that’s another blog.)  Appearing and tasting something like  risotto, this is much easier; the couscous is cooked in only 10 minutes and the entire dish in about 15–no long-lived ladling and stirring.     My notes or changes are in red.   Try this:

toasted israeli couscous primavera  courtesy WP/Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
  4 main-dish servings; 6 side-dish servings

2T olive oil, divided
2/3 c chopped scallions (1 bunch, white and light green parts)  I used ramps
1 1/2 cups dried Israeli couscous
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups no-salt added or homemade chicken broth, heated just to boiling
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon (2t zest, 2T juice)
8 oz asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted, or blanched fresh peas
2 oz baby spinach leaves
Aleppo pepper to taste
2T fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Heat 1 T of the oil in a 2-3 qt over medium heat.  Add the sallions; cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until just softened.
  2. Add the couscous and season with salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine.  Add the hot broth, lemon zest and juice.
  3. Bring to a boil and add asparagus and peas; cover.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat so the broth is barely bubbling at the edges, until the liquid has been absorbed and the couscous is cooked through.
  4. Combine the spinach, the parsley and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large serving bowl.  Add the cooked couscous and vegetables and stir until the spinach has wilted.  
  5. Dust with aleppo pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve immediately.

Author’s Notes:  Couscous cooks quickly, and when it’s done, it will stick to the pan.   Keep a close eye on it, and stir every few minutes.  After cooking, the couscou will clump together if you let the dish sit too long.  Serve immediately, or add more oil if you plan to make the dish ahead of time.  Vegetable broth can be substituted for the chicken broth if desired.

My notes:  I didn’t add more oil, but I did add more broth to keep the dish moist.  I made it  right before our guests arrived for dinner, turned it off, and reheated it for serving.  It was tender,  moist, quite warm, and was not over-cooked even though I had kept it covered.

Made Derby pies for a friend’s Derby party…

Congratulations to Poor Man’s Feast--the blogging winner for the James Beard Awards!  Give a shout-out!

Sing a new song,
Alyce

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus, Peas, and Fennel

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus, Peas, and Fennel

Next day:  add some feta, more vegetables, and some oregano for a great salad.

When it’s spring, I’m all over asparagus.  You know that if you read my stuff.    But, it’s fennel, too.  Ramps (a bit like scallions) are also a treat if I can find them.  I like to bring all these April goodies together…and here’s one favorite I pair with a grilled or poached salmon.   Later on, come summer (or for next-day leftovers), I make a great salad by using this basic recipe with a few additions.  Try this:
.
lemon orzo with asparagus, peas, and fennel
    serves 4-6
  • 1/2# orzo, cooked al dente according to dirrections and drained

  • 1T each olive oil and butter (use all olive oil for vegan option)

  • 1# trimmed asparagus cut into 1/2″ pieces

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, and sliced

  • 1/2 cup fresh/frozen peas

  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion or ramps

  • Juice of a lemon

  • 1T grated lemon rind

  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper

While the orzo cooks, saute the asparagus, fennel, peas and onion in the olive and butter for 3-4 minutes until softened.  In a large bowl, mix together the drained orzo with the cooked vegetables.  Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Add a bit of crushed red pepper  (or aleppo pepper if you want the taste, but not all the heat) and taste.  Adjust seasonings.  Serve hot or at room temperature.
For the next-day or summer cold salad, you can add to the leftovers chopped feta, dried oregano, fresh basil, any other on-hand chopped vegetables, a splash of red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasonings again.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood:
Out of my garden:

All together:  Annual Lilac-Bloom Dinner last Friday at our house.

Newman came for the occasion.

Gabby’s always happy with guests!

Sing a new song, get outside,
Alyce

Fresh Pea Clam Chowder

Fresh Pea Clam Chowder

I love oyster crackers.  Maybe it’s the salt.

Despite days of unpacking (still) and rearranging (forever) and gardening, we’ve still had a few cool evenings and one such night last week, I made, for the first time, one of Dave’s favorite soups.  Now we’ve been married thirty-seven years and why I haven’t made this soup before, I don’t know.  If you’re from the midwest, fish or seafood soups weren’t terribly much part of the cooking pattern when I grew up.  Fish?  Yes.  Fresh out of the thousands of lakes and in the summer. (Though my parents froze quite a bit for great winter fish fries.)  But not fish soup.  Seafood?  A rarity.  You ate it when you went south.  Or east.  Or west.

Now that we have great fish and seafood available all of the time (especially in St. Paul, I’d add), we have such great options for seafood dishes and I’m finally able to set aside my considerable food prejudices and make clam chowder.  I did look at a few recipes and then did it my way.  Naturally you can use fresh clams; I happened to have a couple of cans of clams in the pantry and used those.  In fact, with the exception of the fresh peas (and you can use frozen), this dinner is pretty much out of everyday pantry ingredients.  Note:  This is a regular old unthickened chowder.

This photo of my fresh peas from Trader Joe’s just wants to be like this.  I give up.   You get the idea!

Fresh Pea Clam Chowder serves 4

4 pieces of bacon
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 t sea salt; 1/2 t white pepper
1 cup chopped fingerling or new potatoes
1 bottle of clam juice
Water
1/4 c fresh peas (or frozen)
1-2 drops of hot sauce (put bottle on table)
2 cans drained clams
2 cups milk
3/4 c half and half
1T butter
1/4 c chopped parsley
Oyster (or other) crackers

In a 4 qt stock pot, cook bacon until well-browned and remove to toweling.  Chop the bacon and reserve.  Saute onion, celery and carrot in the bacon fat until softenedSeason well with salt and pepper.  Add chopped potatoes and clam juiceAdd enough water to cover all of the vegetables and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Add peas the last couple of minutes.  Season with hot sauce.  Add milk and half and half.  Stir in drained clams and butter and heat through.  Add fresh parsley and stir in bacon.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve hot with oyster crackers or saltines and let folks add hot sauce as desired.

 

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

Today, I’m testing a hot, long-simmered soup and it’s 90 degrees.   No central air.   Gotta love working ahead for magazines.  It’s like planning for church choirs; you’re always doing it out of season.

This week in Dinner Place (you can get there through the link at right) there’s a step-by-step pie crust and rhubarb pie right out of the farmer’s market.  Try it! 

Starting the herb garden amongst the Russian Sage and dying Tulips.

Out of the gorgeous driveway garden

Young peony bush

A bridal wreath that I haven’t had before.  It’s taken over a walkway.

Don’t bother me.

 Sing a new song,
Alyce