Documenting the struggles of one woman trying to live recipe-free.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday's CSA delivery arrived with a better share than we were told originally that we were getting. Among the goodies: zucchini, dill, and cherries! Oh, and more peas. But different peas, thank goodness. No more snow peas; onto shelled peas and snap peas. Only problem? I couldn't identify which was which. I submit Exhibit A: In fact, at first, John and I just assumed that perhaps our CSA had just given us two bags of the snap peas. But upon closer inspection, I noticed that one was fatter and the shell looked like it should be split down the middle: I decided those must be the shelled peas and lo and behold, they were. But a half hour spent shelling them only yielded this much: I was kind of sad, since recently, I'd had an awesome fresh pea salad (giggle!) at a favorite restaurant downtown; just a big plate of fresh peas tossed with a light garlic aioli and tiny threads of prosciutto. This seemed too small to make into a similar salad, so what to do? I just started thinking about what was in the fridge and started haphazardly putting things together. You can skip the next paragraph if you're too afraid to get a glimpse into the strange workings of my mind. I had those prosciutto threads in mind so had my heart set on including that in the mix. I also still had small sweet onions from the previous week's CSA basket and thought that caramelized onions might be good to mix in too. Should I add the dill? Nah... those were already going on some old potatoes to brighten them up a bit. All of a sudden I remembered we still had CSA carrots. Sure-- peas and carrots go together, could be one of those modern twists on a classic deals? Oh, but the onions and prosciutto are in threads so maybe grate the carrot to make similar threads? At this point I started to fret that I was making Frakenpeas and it might all be a bit too much, but it was too late to turn back. In the end, I ended up with a mix of peas, all those above named ingredients, tossed in a little butter, salt, pepper, and a chiffonade of basil. It actually freakishly worked! The prosciutto added a little salty bite which contrasted with the sweetness of the carrot and onion. The sweetness was kept in check by the slight licorice of the basil, and the peas were still firm and not mushy. Best of all, despite all the ingredients, the flavor of the peas still shined through which is as it should be. Oh, if only there were a quick and dirty way to describe that flavor...
1 lb of shelled peas, unshelled (yielded about 1.5 cup of peas) 2 slices of prosciutto, chiffonade 1 small sweet onion, sliced into thin half moons 1 small carrot, grated on the small side of the grater 1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade scant amount of salt and a little more pepper tiny pat of butter 1 tsp olive oil
In a small pan heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Toss in the onions and let them caramelize (about 15 minutes) stirring occasionally. Try not to let them burn. Take out the onions and wipe down your pan with a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil. Melt the butter and pour in the peas. Cook for a few minutes until they are bright green. Add back in the onions, and while you're at it, put in the carrots and prosciutto. Add a touch of salt and pepper, then plate and top with the fresh basil.
This was a great second side, served along side some oven fries tossed with chives and dill and a chicken, bacon, avocado sandwich paired with some of John's home brewed Trippel. But then again, what doesn't go well with a chicken, bacon, avocado sandwich?
CSA Count: 3 (not bad for such a small dish!); 5 if you count the fries shell peas, sweet onion, carrot, basil and dill
This has been a year of terrible personal loss and and terrifying challenges in the form of finishing law school and trying to find a job in this economy. So although the world probably does not need another food blog, I started this as a means of keeping my head above water, to keep me balanced and sane, and to keep tabs on my culinary experimentations. The goal is to live recipe free, to be one of those home cooks who can look at what's available in my community supported agriculture (CSA) share box, on sale at the store, in my husband's garden, or leftover in my refrigerator and transform it into something delicious. I'm translating my efforts into recipes that I can look back on to improve upon or if someone who stumbles on this wants to try it out at home and give me ideas for improvement.
I have no formal cooking training. Anything I know has been gleaned from watching cooking shows, reading food blogs/cookbooks/magazines, and trial and error. I can't say that what I post here is worth replicating at home, but people in my house found it tasty so I'm posting it here primarily for my future reference. Also, if you're a stickler for precise measurements, most of mine are estimates unless it came in a package that told me how much was in it.