Tag Archive: pea

Ladies Luncheon

farmers-market-nancy-pahlNo but really, how long has it been? Too long. The days stretch into weeks and while Summer zips by I find myself enjoying it often enough away from the kitchen X) It’s no surprise (or excuse for not posting, that’s my fault entirely:( ) but it does leave more time for strolling, shopping, and exploring. Grocery shopping is among the best parts of Summer. I still can’t seem to understand how everyone ends up hating grocery shopping so much. I mean, it’s still shopping…right? And while it may be crowded, bright, and dirty at least there’s fresh food to be found there…better than hunting and foraging for our food I like to think πŸ˜€ So, why do I like grocery shopping so much? Well, I don’t have a good reason, just that it is a reason. I don’t mind navigating the tight & narrow aisles for unique and tasty treasures. I rather enjoy the process of finding, comparing, and deciding on things to buy and eventually, devour πŸ˜‰ Most of the time (and probably to the annoyed dismay of others) I end up taking my time, getting lost, and often standing in the way of the bustling shoppers as I try to decide what “light” coconut milk means in the Asian aisle. Sure it’s depressing because you can’t buy everything in front of you πŸ˜‰ (and because, oh yeah you have to carry it all home on your back), but that’s not the point. I used to like shopping a whole of a lot less simply because (a) it had become a chore; and (b) it required strict budgeting. But ah, such is life.

I always have a list (“the list”) when I go grocery shopping because it keeps me on track, what I’ve discovered is that it’s important to plan (and yes, budget) some spontaneity into the task of shopping. What do I mean? I allot my spontaneity a certain amount on my weekly grocery list so that while I still get all those things needed for making meals, there’s also room for something random, or daring, or sugar-coated – whatever I may or may not stumble across. Believe me, it has a tendency to be surprising πŸ˜‰ Sometimes it’s dried fruit or other snacks for my toddler (my first thought “oh thank god, something new. Let’s see if he likes this“), other times it’s a block on cheese that was on sale, or caramelized almonds, or a basket of cherries . Whatever “tickles your fancy” while your out & about on the drudgery of adult life and modern food-gathering is worth your notice and consideration – just be aware that: 1. you do and will always have to shop for food, right? Because 2. you have to eat and eat healthy, and 3. that it’s hugely important and necessary. It is okay to try and enjoy the uncertainty and variety that comes with the modern and the everyday. Sometimes it’s focusing on how little you have to go out and get that makes you overlook the facSnyders_Frans_Fish_Markett that it requires so little to feed and please your family and yourself πŸ™‚ That being said, it’s nice to give voice to my secret delight at the present food-gathering process, hope I don’t upset the haters. I try to appreciate and believe me, that doesn’t always come easy but there are the finer things in life and shopping for food I consider to be one of them.

To pick up at my point, an example would be this luncheon that I prepared for a friend, which necessitated me visiting 3 different stores to properly acquire all the “necessary” ingredients, and even then there were some substitutions. The original recipe was from a “Fresh & Quick” edition of Fine Cooking. Some things just feel special when you go out and get them – fresh seafood (i.e. scallops) included. I remember when I first saw the slippery suckers πŸ˜‰ I thought: …what even are those? Delicious is what they are. I liked the simplicity of this recipe and was only slightly daunted by the sheer amount of steps in completing the “quick & easy” -ness of it all. Note to self for next time: double the amount of scallops you make because seriously, it won’t be enough…

Before I jump into this recipe, I want to say that the star ingredient would be truly, simply – butter. Where would seared scallops be without Butter-Meltingbutter? I’ll tell you: a little dry and not nearly salty enough. Butter plays a key role in this recipe and is essential for plenty of other amazingly delicious things that only exist because of it (like biscuits, and frosting!) I’ll give credit where credit’s due – butter is the best, and I thank it for existing. I’ve come across a recipe for using aΒ Lemon-Dill beurre blanc sauce to spoon over steamed clams with crusty bread. Mmm…more butter may be needed πŸ˜€


Seared Sea Scallops with White-Wine Pea Puree, Peppered Bacon, and Lemony Gremolata


(for the scallops)

6 – 8 fresh or defrosted jumbo scallops

1 package of bacon, coarsely chopped

2 Tbs. butter

(for the puree)

1 package of frozen peas, defrosted

6 shallots, peeled & coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped

3 Tbs. butterFood52

5 Tbs. white wine

5 Tbs. chicken broth

4 Tbs. milk or cream

(for the gremolata))

1 lemon

1 bunch of fresh parsley, stemmed & chopped

1 shallot, peeled & minced

sea salt & cracked peppergremolata

(1) Rinse the scallops under cold water and pat dry, season with salt & pepper and chill until it’s time to cook. (2) To make the puree, melt 3 Tbs. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and let cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peas, chicken broth, and white wine and let cook uncovered until the mixture is soft & fragrant, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool briefly, 5 minutes. (3) Transfer the pea mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, adding the milk or cream and seasoning to taste with salt & pepper. Once pureed, return to the saucepan, cover, and keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve. (4) Heat a a medium skillet or frying pan on medium high-heat. When hot, add bacon pieces and cook, stirring occasionally until bacon is brown and crunchy, 5 – 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate lined with paper-towels, season with cracked pepper, and cover until ready to serve. (5) Wipe the skillet clean before returning to medium-high heat. Melt 2 Tbs. of butter. When piping hot, add the scallops and do not stir. Let sear 3 minutes per side, turning carefully to brown the bottom & top sides of scallops until they are firm to the touch. Transfer cooked scallops to a plate and cover with foil. (6) In a small bowl, combine the minced shallot and fresh parsley. Zest the lemon and then juice it, adding it to the mixture and stir until combined. Season generously with salt & pepper, adding more lemon juice, if needed. (7) When ready to serve, scoop a spoonful of puree onto each plate, season with peppered bacon, and set seared scallops in the puree. Garnish with spoonfuls of the lemony gremolata. Goes great when paired with either/or garlic bread and champagne πŸ™‚

Serves 2 – wish it made more, double it if you plan on being really hungry

Phew! That was a lot of steps but trust me, it’s worth it. These days as the rain (and wind…and hail…) begins to pop up during the week, I find the salty, fresh air contributing to my recent craving for seafood. My next seafood cooking extravaganza is going to be mussels in Riesling lemon broth with – yes – more garlic bread. I’ll have to make a “luncheon” out of that because what is a good dish without good company? Hope the rest of July provscallop-shellses to be as thrilling as scallops for lunch πŸ˜›

My question: What was served with the last plate of scallops you ate?

I ask this because the combinations of pairings with scallops kind of blows my minds sometimes and you never know what will be the perfect side – like a chickpea puree or roasted hazelnuts, or even brown “nori butter” like I read in a Bon Appetit from earlier this year. I will make more scallops this month just to satisfy my new fondness of searing things grill-style in our kitchen’s new skillet. Scallops are a somewhat of a blank canvas and I’d like to make a different version before I get tired of seeing them on the dinner menu πŸ˜‰



Simply Lamb

Well, having access to the large and bustling foreign supermarket (it’s called the bazaar, now that’s cool…) has inspired me to make this meal and includes the one ingredient I’ve been craving for weeks–lamb!! This post comprises the menu I served for dinner, two very simple recipes of a salad and meat entrΓ©e. The tabbouleh is a pretty standard dish in Middle Eastern cuisine and is often served in or alongside pita bread (it works real good for lunch, too). I had to do a little bit of research on how to cook lamb properly on the stove but I must emphasize that this turned out to be a very simple, incredibly easy, and amazingly delicious operation. I would recommend searing lamb to anyone, it’s far faster than having to watch it roast for hours on end and it still fills the house (ahem, apartment) with the mouth-watering aroma of this preciously delectable meat πŸ™‚

The tabbouleh recipe is very green with plenty of fresh parsley and mint to call it “herbed”. I supplemented the salad with chickpeas, another one of my favorites, and petit peas (you know, because it wasn’t green enough) to ante up on the protein. My version includes using tomato juice to moisten the salad, but more olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice would work just as well. For the grain, I used coarse bulgur which is just another form of wheat and the cheapest I found at the market; this dish is very versatile and grains are simple enough that you can easily substitute bulgur with quinoa, couscous, or brown rice. Tabbouleh salad is so popular for a reason, it lasts long, it’s healthy, and can come in various forms so I encourage anyone replicating this to have fun and substitute where you like at will, it’s hard to mess up with simple herbs, vegetables, and grains!

As for the lamb, I procured two fillets at the butchers, not your usual cut but thick and lean enough to satisfy me in all respects. Fillets also prove to be very juicy when cooked, which is where the whole process of “searing” really comes in handy because it seals in all the moisture, allowing for maximum flavor (heh, don’t I sound like a chef…) The star ingredient, simply speaking, is none other than the lamb. I was impressed with just how well this turned out and how easy! Lamb has this amazing effect of turning any dish into something special and it’s simple to prepare, especially when your using only four ingredients to cook it, two of them being salt and pepper :] As far as searing goes, my recommendations would be to use plenty of butter to avoid sticking and don’t be surprised at how quickly the meat cooks, the stove top gets dinner done.

Seared Lamb Fillet and Chilled Tabbouleh with Mint, Cucumber, and Chickpeas


(for the lamb)

1 lb. lamb fillet

1 Tbs. dried oregano

sea salt & cracked pepper

1 Tbs. butter

(for the salad)

1 lb. coarse bulgur (sub quinoa, couscous)

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1 bunch fresh mint, minced

1 bunch fresh Parsley, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 large can chickpeas, drained

2 cups petit peas

5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tbs. olive oil

3 Tbs. lemon juice

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

3 Tbs. tomato juice

2 chicken bouillon cubes


sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot over medium-high heat. When melted, add the bulgur and stir for about 3 minutes until grains are lightly toasted. Next, add the required amount of water, usually about 1 1/2 liters (if using chicken broth, it’s probably about 6 cups) along with the two chicken bouillon cubes. Let everything come to a boil and then immediately lower the heat, cover, and let simmer until the bulgur is soft, about 20 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary along the way. *Bulgur should cool on the side for twenty minutes and then chill in the fridge for an hour before assembling the salad. (2) In a large bowl, combine all the chopped vegetables and herbs, everything from cucumber through garlic along with the cooked bulgur. Moisten the salad with olive oil, vinegar, lemon and tomato juice, stirring well. Let the salad chill in the fridge until ready to eat. (3) Allow the lamb to come to room temperature before searing, halving the fillets for easier cooking. Sprinkle all sides generously with sea salt, cracked pepper, and dried oregano. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until hot and add the lamb pieces. Sear both sides of the fillets for 3 minutes until browned and medium-rare. Let the lamb rest, covered, for another 3 minutes before slicing. (4) Serve each plate with one heaping spoonful of the tabbouleh and a warm lamb piece, garnishing with mint sprigs or dollops of mango chutney if desired.

Serves 4

As I often reflect after cooking lamb, the effort’s always worth it and there is something supremely satisfying about the way lamb tastes πŸ™‚ Don’t get me wrong, the salad’s tasty too, and it definitely lasts longer! As the cold, foggy weather sets in here I’ll have to come up with other hot food recipes to bolster my spirit πŸ˜‰ Not that I’m complaining though, I know it’s not getting any better outside and I’m starting to like being fixed to this new kitchen of mine…

My question: What is your favorite cut of lamb?

I’m looking for ideas (shoulder chops? maybe shanks?) and even some simple recipes too…


Vegetable Profusion

In my aspirations of late, I have been craving cold, crunchy flavorful meals that require simple preparation and even simpler ingredients. Summer will be coming to an end (I can’t believe it!) but it’s still warm and sunny outside and all I want to do is barbecue }:]

This salad recipe is a creation of my own that I thought would go well with a grilled entrΓ©e. I made this dish for a Saturday night grill fest in which it was served alongside T-bone steaks }:) Admittedly, the recipe itself is a bit hardy, with lots of raw vegetables and plenty of crunch so I’d advise chopping the veggies as small as you’d like to ensure easy chewing πŸ˜‰ Colder weather is on its way so we’re supposed to be bulking up on our nutrition intake now and that includes Thiamin, beta carotene, Vitamins E and C, all of which are found in bell peppers (leafy green vegetables are a pretty good bet:-)! I used one of each: red, yellow, and green bell peppers although red is technically the most nutritious. Mixing in yogurt smooths the dish considerably and guarantees the peppers (I mean capsicum) aren’t the dominant flavor. You can even roast the peppers before you put them in the salad if you were looking for the ultimate smoothness :-]

The star ingredient of this meal would have to be the salad beans; I used a mix of my favorites: chickpeas, Cannellini beans, and black-eyed peas. Adding beans to a salad of this sort adds substance as well as texture and are lower carbohydrates than pasta or rice (but potatoes would work just as well!). I made this salad in mind of the couple I was eating it with, both on a diet (and really tired of vegetable soup) so I was going for a dish that was healthy, light, and delicious. I think I succeeded…

Creamy Cold Vegetable Salad with Chives, Beans, and Bell Peppers


1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 head of broccoli

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

2 bunches of fresh chives, chopped

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 cans salad beans (black-eyes peas & white beans), drained

3 Tbs. rice vinegar

1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

3 gloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup light sour cream

1 Tbs. smoked paprika

olive oil

sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Wash the broccoli and divide into small florets; peel the stems and chop into small pieces. Put it all into a plastic strainer. Heat 1/2 cup of salted water in a large pot until boiling. Put the strainer into the pot and cover, letting the broccoli steam until tender, 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool. (2) Combine the chopped bell peppers, yellow onion, and tomatoes together in a large bowl. Add all of the beans and chives, mix, and refrigerate until cooled, about 20 minutes. (3) In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, vinegar, smoked paprika, minced garlic, and sour cream, seasoning with salt and pepper. (4) When the broccoli has cooled, add it to the salad along with the yogurt dressing. If in need of more moisture, remedy with 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Mix the salad well and season with more salt and pepper (mostly pepper). Let chill until ready to serve. Goes well with grilled meat or garlic bread πŸ™‚

Serves 4

So while my last week before school begins (and my summer ends) it is still sunny and I hope to get a lot more cooking done (if not grillin’). My next attempt will be combining vegetables in a warm dish, something that can provide lots of leftovers…

My question: What is one of the more tasteful vegetable ingredients to use in a salad?


Soupy Coalescence

“An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup…”

-H.L. Mencken

So I’m an idealist then πŸ™‚ or at least a cook dedicated to making better soup, as they say. Cloudy, rainy weather tend to increase the desire for hot, brothy food, but it’s the simplicity of soup recipes that make up the main attraction for me. And with so many cultural and regional variations, one is never short of new ideas. I have made Asian, Jewish, and Italian soups–spicy, salty, and creamy soups and, honestly, I have yet to come across a soup that I don’t like…most likely impossible πŸ˜‰

Lately I’ve been keen to try out another soup recipe, sort of this idea I had that involves a combination of minestrone and tomato meatball soup; the final version I ended up making was a bit more elaborative than that and included baby pasta (at least that’s what I like to call it), bell peppers, and ground pork. I have newfound esteem for this last ingredient in particular because last weekend I visited a pig farm and got to see the adorable (and probably delicious) piglets that were born there by the hundreds every week. In my modest opinion, pork is cut-rate, lean, and tasty }:-) so I will be employing its scrumptiousness wherever I can.

The star ingredient in this recipe is the crushed tomatoes because it kicks up the flavor of the broth a notch; too much tomatoes will overpower all the other ingredients but the right amount compliments the garlic and peppers in the dish. Adding milk to the soup at the end of cooking gives it a creaminess that I think surpasses the usual broth of vegetable soups. Like everything, the soup needs a bit of seasoning to get to the suitable taste, but I ‘m happy to have come up with another recipe that is both hearty and healthy; now I’m curious to see how long it lasts…

Creamy Tomato Pasta Soup with Peas, Peppers, and Pork Meatballs


(for soup)

1 lb. stellini pasta (‘little stars’) or ditalini

3 cups frozen peas

1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups chicken broth

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2 cups white wine

1 tsp. garlic salt (or powder)

4 Tbs. fresh Parsley, minced

1 can crushed tomatoes

2 cups milk


(for meatballs)

1 lb. ground pork

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 Tbs. fresh Parsley, chopped

3 eggs, beaten

4 garlic cloves, chopped


sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) In a blender combine the ground pork, chopped onion, fresh Parsley, garlic, and the beaten eggs; season with salt and pepper and blend until the mixture is smooth and sticking together. Dusting your hands with plenty of flour, mold the meat mixture into meatballs about the size of small marbles and place on a plate.Β  (2) Heat 2 Tbs. butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and 3 minced garlic cloves; let cook until aromatic, 2-3 minutes. (3) Add 2 Tbs. white wine to the pan and then arrange as many meatballs as it will fit; cook the meatballs in batches until all of them are done, browning both sides (should cook through in 8-10 minutes) and adding tablespoons of white wine as you go to prevent sticking. Set the cooked meatballs aside and cover. (4) In a large pot, heat the appropriate amount of salted water to a boil and add the pasta; cook until al dente and then drain, putting in a separate bowl. Mix in 1 Tbs. butter and cover the pasta. (5) Add the bell peppers to the onion mixture and let cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Return the large pot to the stove and warm the chicken broth and 2 cups of water over medium heat until steaming; add the peas and crushed tomatoes, cooking another 10 minutes. (6) Lower the heat and add the lemon juice and 1 cup (or what’s left;) of the white wine, simmering another 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta to the soup and stir in 3 Tbs. fresh Parsley and 2 cups milk. Remove from heat and serve immediately in bowls with 5 or 6 meatballs and a layer of cracked pepper over the top (can be stored for a rainy day in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks:-)

Serves 8

It’s likely my craving for this steamy food will subside with all the sunny summer weather heading our way, so now I’m thinking something cold, flavorful, and filling…oh, the choices };-)

My question: What was the tastiest minestrone soup you ever had? (and we’ve all had some of this vegetable goodness…) What made it the best?


Season for the Succotash

Got the love the succotash. My recipe qualifies as simple because it only has 2 steps: combine and heat. I read that the Succotash was most popular during the Depression where it blossomed into popularity because of the cheap use of its ingredients–beans and spices; this was served with whatever meat was available. I served my Succotash with spice-rubbed ribeyes (god bless steak) πŸ˜‰

This American dish is simple, easy, and tasty and you can use almost any leftover ingredients you have lying around to contribute to the dish, anything like broth, spices, onion, alcohol, nuts, vinaigrette, mustard; there’s plenty of room for some creativity, so I wouldn’t hold yourself back.

I used what leftover ingredients I had lying around, which were dried Fenugreek leaves, Tecante beer, and poppy seeds (ha!) Like most succotash recipes, you just warm the beans and reduce everything up until you’re ready to eat πŸ™‚


Cannellini, Black-Eyed Pea, & Garbanzo Bean Succotash w/Beer & Dried Fenugreek


1 can Cannellini beans, drained

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 can black-eyed peas, drained

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup beer

4 Tbs. dried Fenugreek leaves

3 Tbs. rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

Sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook on medium high until bubbling and liquids reduce, about 10 minutes; serve warm with meat entree.

Serves 4

So this succotash proved as satisfying as any other side dish like rice or pasta, except with double the protein. I prefer to use recipes that have versatility and include some of the good things in life, like broth and beer πŸ™‚ According to Wikipedia, the phrase ‘sufferin’ succotash!‘ was coined during this same era as a euphemism of ‘suffering sailor’ and that’s how most Americans know the word Succotash, not because they’ve actually had some πŸ˜‰Β  Well, I think we should change the tide of this trend starting with the new slogan: succotash, it’s what’s for dinner.

My question: does anyone have a favorite bean they like to cook? (Mine would have to be fava beansahhh…)


Chickpeas were made for Hummus

So, in this entry I deviate from cuisine of the tropics back to a dose of reality in Colorado which is basically me, craving protein, still working with a limited budget, and finding nothing in the cupboard but a pile of tortillas. What to do? Why, make hummus of course!

I have decided to post this recipe after some discussion today with Jill, a close friend of mine and killer cook herself πŸ™‚

We all can agree on the delicious simplicity of hummus, as well as the room there exists within these parameters for some creativity; I mean after all, it is only a thick paste of protein, so why not experiment a little? What’s the worst that could happen…more flavorful hummus?

I only say chickpeas are made for hummus simply because their texture, flavor (and did I mention price?) all support this easy conclusion. I have made countless concoctions of hummus from leftover ingredients and spices I have but I post this particular hummus recipe with pride because I feel it is uniquely special…oh yes, and tasty.


Petit Pea Hummus with Preserved Lemons, Green Onions, & fresh Basil


2 cans chickpeas, drained

1 bag frozen petit peas, thawed

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh Basil, chopped

1 preserved lemon, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

3 Tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Ts. ground Cumin

1 Tbs. paprika

1 Ts. cayenne pepper

Sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Mash the chickpeas coarsely with a fork. Combine the chickpeas along with the next eight ingredients (through vinegar) together in a blender and mix well; puree the entire mixture until smooth and well blended throughout, adding extra vinegar if moisture is needed. (2) Add the remaining ingredients (lemon juice – cayenne) into the mixture and stir well at the end; season with salt & pepper to taste, adding extra olive if needed. (3) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before eating; serve with warm tortilla or crackers (great for a midnight snack…)

Serves 4-5

So, this may be a short entry, but I got to love that at 2:00 AM. Before I make this massive move across the Atlantic, I still plan on kicking out a few good meals and I hope to further tantalize my readers (any of my readers, really) with some more tasty recipes I plan on making in the near future. Like I’ve been telling my boyfriend, I’m always hungry πŸ™‚

My question: What was the best hummus you ever had? (Silly question, right? No, because we’ve all had some first-class hummus, sometime, somewhere πŸ˜‰