Monthly Archives: May 2011

Peas

May 27, 2011Leave a comment

SPRING 2011. PEAS. 05.27.11

Being married to an identical twin invites an array of questions. Are they easy to tell apart? Have you ever mixed them up? Are you attracted to your brother-in-law? My guess is that even the most indistinguishable of twins have a feature or two that sets them apart in some way, however small. Though the people who know them best may be aware of these features, they are not needed to tell one from the other.

The saying “two peas in a pod” is often used to refer to close friends that share common likes and dislikes. The phrase also speaks to the fact that two peas from the same pod are nearly identical, sort of like twins. One would need to look very closely to find the small differences setting one apart from the next. Here is a bit of a shameful truth – I find frozen peas nearly identical to fresh once cooked. There. I said it. I don’t know that I could tell the difference if challenged in a taste test. I know what you are probably thinking. Here I am featuring a seasonal ingredient at its peak, and after all that talk about supporting your local farmers market,  I’m now telling you to rush over to the freezer section. Blasphemous? Perhaps. I’m not saying that frozen is better, I’m just saying I truly cannot tell which is which. I am also saying it’s up to you, the home cook. Do you have time to shell fresh peas this week? If so, then use them. I used a mix of fresh and frozen peas for the dishes featured this week. On days when time was short, the frozen peas won out. You can achieve that unmatched spring flavor either way.

Lately, I seem to be all about spilling my secrets. Now you know my position on peas. You may also know that I’ve been concealing cutlery in the name of proper care and safe handling. I’ve just started writing a weekly column appearing on the Whole Foods Market Cooking website and if you read the column, you will know what I’m talking about. Next Monday’s piece will uncover another little secret I’ve recently discovered. And then I’ll be fresh out of secrets, much to the relief of my husband and perhaps even his twin brother (the one with the mole on his cheek).

Pea Lists

May 27, 2011Comments Off on Pea Lists
Produce

1-1/2 pound sugar snap peas

1 pound peas (fresh or frozen)

1 baby bok choy

1 small bunch radishes

1 bunch green onions

1 carrot

1/2 pound French green beans

1 avocado

2 cups baby arugula

4 cups baby spinach

2 ripe tomatoes

1 fresh red chili

5 shallots

1 yellow onion

1 large head fresh garlic

2 limes

2 lemons

Fresh ginger root

Fresh basil

Fresh mint

Flat-leaf parsley

4 fresh bay leaves

Meat / Fish

4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Dairy/Refrigerator/Freezer

White miso

1/2 cup feta cheese

4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese

Pantry Staples

1-1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

4 oz. dried soba noodles

1 cup bulgur wheat

8 oz. dried pappardelle

15.5 oz. can cannellini beans

15.5 oz. can black beans

Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 pound whole wheat sourdough bread

Note: List does not include “weekend splurge” ingredients.

 

Rhubarb

May 20, 20111 Comment

SPRING 2011. RHUBARB. 05.20.11

“Is he a boy or is he a girl?” This was the question coming from my children, newly obsessed with Michael Jackson. The man, the music, the dancing – they couldn’t get enough of it. But that same question kept coming up. His hair long and his voice high, they just couldn’t make heads or tails of it. “Boy or girl?” they wanted to know.

One might be similarly confused by rhubarb. Is it a fruit or is it a vegetable? It lacks seeds. The stalk is the edible part. So, it must be a vegetable. But its tart flavor and frequent appearance in pies and crisps suggest otherwise. Do we even care what it is? We know that rhubarb is finally here, despite the fact that spring can’t seem to get here and stay. We also know that we like rhubarb and that there are things we can do with it in addition to the predictable pairing with strawberries (though we have that base covered, too. Don’t miss the ever-versatile rhubarb strawberry sauce). I, for one, am particularly pleased with the delightfully unexpected rhubarb mojito.

So maybe it really doesn’t matter. I’ve shared some ideas this week for enjoying rhubarb during its relatively short season. But if you must know, rhubarb is technically a vegetable. According to Wikipedia, in 1947, a New York court declared rhubarb a fruit in the United States for the purposes of regulations and duties, resulting in lower taxes (no clue why fruits warrant lower taxes than vegetables – a topic for another day’s investigation). I will admit to being a bit disappointed in the answer. Perhaps it’s like the Michael Jackson question, for which we know the obvious answer even though it doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other. Greatness reigns supreme no matter what you call it.

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