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
 Apples
 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.

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