Friday, May 13, 2011

What I Found At The Farmers Market, A Quick Trick With Peas

Reposting this after it was devoured by Blogger last night.

    Last night found me once again at the Sonoma Tuesday Night Farmer's Market. The market which is under new management this year is stunning, and I have to say right here and right now that if you are anywhere near my little town on a Tuesday night, do drop by.
  As we get closer to summer more and more fruits and vegetables become available.
   One of my favorite treats this time of year are fresh spring peas. Granted, peas are not cheap. Even here, locally grown, organic, they're 5 bucks a pound. Ouch! But still, if they're there, why not splurge for a special occasion at least once this season? Think of it as green fillet.
   Of course this recipe can be made with frozen peas and  still taste great, but if you can get 'em without going into hock, try them fresh if only for the experience of shelling. I remember sitting with my grandmother in the sunny garden... okay, the foggy backyard in San Francisco, a pan between her knees as we shelled fresh peas for dinner. I loved stealing a few raw from the bowl for snacking. Nothing like fresh peas. Bit no matter what sort of peas you manage to get your hands on, here's a simple Indian twist on the little green bee-bees.

Green Peas in Simple Spices

 In a spice grinder or blender mix together:
   A 1 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
   2 fresh green chilies seeded and chopped
   1 Tbs of water
Blend it all to a fine paste
Heat  a skillet or kadhai. When the pan is hot toss in:
  2 Tbs of vegetable oil
When the oil is hot add in:
 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds

When the seeds start to pop, toss in the ginger chili paste and stir it up for about 1 minute.
Toss in:
 2 tsp of coriander
 1 tsp cumin
 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili  or 1/4 tsp cayenne mixed with 1/4 tsp of paprika. Mix the spices in well.
Pour in 1 cup of water.
When the water boils add in:
 1 and 1/2 cup of shelled fresh green peas (or frozen.)
Turn the heat down and let the peas simmer for about 10 minutes or so.
 Add in:
  1 tsp of salt
  1/2 tsp of garam masala
Give the whole thing a stir or two and serve it up!
   I love peas and this little dish takes you forever out of the "peas and carrots" rut. In fact one might even lure the pickiest eater to get a bit adventurous with this quick and easy recipe.

   Speaking of adventurous, I'm going to be testing another Vook this week. I'll be trying my hand at Japanese cooking, something I haven't done before. Bye-bye comfort zone, I'm going miso shopping. When I lived in LA I was on Sawtelle Blvd nearly everyday at two of my favorite restaurants, Mishima and Sawtelle Kitchen. I love Japanese food and I especially love to have other people who know what they're doing cook it for me. So, we'll see how I do with this challenge.

   Last night we had our weekly Farmers Market again and this time I decided that rather than tote a picnic basket around, I'd sample some of the local wares. One of the stars of the Market is this guy, member of the US International Baking Team...  Mike the bejkr.
Paula Wolfert first turned us on to Mike, and a Market visit isn't complete without a stop at his portable wood-fired oven...
...for  bread or pretzels...
...or a treat like yesterday's special flatbread sandwich.
Fava bean puree, sea salt, arugula, fava blossoms... who knows what else. It all boils down to tasty light perfection. This is why he's a champ!
 After tucking away one of these little darlings, I browsed for vegetables, tender young leeks just perfect for my friend Salty Seattles' Onion-Oxtail Soup With Leek Rings. Yumm! Leek rings, just like onion rings... only classier!
I bought some of the first apricots of the season, plump and sweet, and cherries from Mt Moriah Farms.
A visit to Mushroom World
A stop for leafy greens
 A spin through the fun zone
 All finished up with homemade ice cream with brownie pieces...
 ...and a chat with friends back at the blanket.
A lesson from the Maestra.
   So, that's the report from Sonoma. I scored some more amazing peas, and coming up soon, a delightful light Spring soup that can be made in about 30 minutes or so. Follow along on Twitter@kathygori.


  1. great pictures...we've got a few more weeks before our Market kicks into full swing, but you've got me inspired (and just a little jealous of the guy with the portable wood fired oven!) Theresa

  2. I am SO jealous of your farmers' market. We've had a really late spring this year, so even once my local market gets going in late May, the pickin's will be slim for the first little while. :(
    Fresh sweet peas are one of my favourite indulgences this time of year. If they're sweet, I just eat them raw right out of the pod, but maybe I'll save a few next time around to try out your recipe... it looks fabulous!

  3. I don't usually like peas, but I like them like this for sure!! The sweetness and the spicy is my kinda dish.

  4. Great reporting and fabulous pix.

  5. @Paula,
    thanks. you look so comfortable in that chair!

  6. @Paula,
    Alan just gave me this great picture of you in action!

  7. Your farmer's market looks amazing! Thanks for sharing the peas recipe. It looks delicious!

  8. Loved the pictures.
    And the recipe is a favourite one when fresh peas are in season.

  9. What a gorgeous market! The ones around here don't hold a candle... :(



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