Monday, February 25, 2008

Peas

This blog has been brought to you by the letter "P"...Since I started with Potatoes and Pumpkin, I thought I could stay on this theme for just one more day. Unless, of course, I am really in the mood to write about parsnips next. If it was summer, I'd be taking this space to talk with you about sugar snap peas. And, while on the subject, I really do wish it was summer, and I was wandering about a flourishing organic farm in the sunshine picking sugar snap peas right off the vine and popping them into my mouth. But, it's not. It's the dead of winter, with not a farm stand to be had for some time. So, instead I will be writing today about frozen peas.

Yes, you read that right - frozen, from a bag in my freezer. While I do prefer most of my veggies to be fresh, there are a couple of things I don't mind using frozen: peas and corn. Even in the summer when corn is in abundance, I have to admit, I still use frozen corn. While I do like chopping and find it to be meditative, cooking ears of corn and cutting hundreds of kernels off the cob is not something I have the time for! As for frozen peas, I actually find them to be quite adorable. I also find they are versatile. Throw them into macaroni and cheese to add some color and texture. Put them into a simple red sauce to pour over a fun curvy shape pasta for an inexpensive, easy and tasty dish that's easy to throw together from contents in your pantry. For a cool party trick, you can tilt your head back, blow into the air and levitate a single green pea over your mouth (my father taught me this). Or you can try the following dish I recently found and has become one of my new favorites.

Moroccan Chickpeas with Couscous
1 tblsp olive oil
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tspn dried marjoram
1/2 tspn allspice
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups apple juice
2 14 oz cans of chickpeas
1 12 oz package frozen vegetarian burger crumbles (my favorite is Quorn brand)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Salt to taste
4 to 5 cups cooked couscous
2 tblsp minced scallions

1. Heat the oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2.Add the marjoram and allspice. Stir in the tomatoes and apple juice. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the chickpeas, vegetarian burger crumbles, peas and salt and simmer 10 minutes longer, or until the desired consistency in reached.
4. Serve over couscous and garnish with scallions.

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