Archive for the 'peas' Category

09
Aug
11

crossing over to the meaty side…

Well hello, hiatus. I wasn’t planning to allow for you these past two months, but you seem to have happened upon the old blog. You knew I’d be distracted by the Sun, beach and miscellaneous activities only possible in 70+ degree heat, and you were happy to step in and make me look lazy by comparison. I’d be angry if I weren’t so impressed, hiatus.

Nevertheless, hiatus, I created you and I can destroy you. Care to know what I’ve been doing in my sweaty time? Oh, just training for a half marathon. It’s no big deal, really. I just decided it would be nice to have goals, and so I made one. I’ve also decided to take part in more outdoor sports, because it’s far too nice out to while away hours in the gym. And whiling I’d been. This past weekend I went bike riding for the first real time in about 15 years. It’s been a while since I stowed away my Huffy complete with detachable radio, and I feared I’d have trouble steering with handlebars curiously not equipped with streamers. Luckily, the saying held true, and I remained upright for the entire ride!

me, biking

In other news, I abandoned vegetarianism. We had a solid three year run, but I tired of the inevitably carb-heavy lifestyle and lack of variety in my meals. It’s been a little more than a month since I crossed over to the meaty side, and I’ve had quite a few experiences of note.

I began with a little chorizo in an omelette, and I was taken aback by how overpowering I found the pork to be in an otherwise inoffensive Manchego-laced omelette. Immediately after, I approached the Whole Foods meat counter for the first time and bought some chorizo of my own, assuming I would like it much better once I prepared it myself. This was pretty accurate. I made Rachael Ray’s Portuguese Fisherman’s Shrimp and Chorizo the next night, assuming it would an easy transition for me to sneak it in a veggie-heavy soup with shrimp.

shrimp and chorizo stew

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces chorizo, casing removed and chopped
1 starchy potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced
1 Fresno or Holland pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch flat-leaf kale, leaves stripped and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with chiles
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined and stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon

You start by heating the olive oil in a soup pot over medium high heat, and then render the chorizo down for a couple of minutes. Add the potato, onion, carrot, garlic, chili pepper, thyme, and bay leaf, and soften for 5-6 minutes. Wilt in the kale, then stir in chickpeas, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a low boil, season with salt and pepper, and add shrimp and cook until pink. Juice with a lemon and serve. This meal was infinity times better than my first chorizo experience, which made me realize I enjoy fatty meat only when it’s the supporting role rather than the lead.

A few weeks later, I ate some steak tacos from this place that easily made my list of top five meals under $10. I had suspected up until that point that I enjoyed beef, but that experience solidified my appreciation. I made this Pepper Grilled Steak with Chopped Summer Salad from Epicurious not long after.

steak with summer salad

Ingredients:

2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 3/4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 2-pound 1 1/2-inch-thick top sirloin steak
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup baby arugula or chopped regular arugula
1/2 cup (generous) diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)

You start by mixing the garlic, pepper, and 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt in small bowl; rub all over steak. You’re supposed to let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour, but I’ve been fending off a freeloading mouse for a month or so, and so my steak standing lasted more like 15 minutes.

I then heated up the Panini Press and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. I grilled the steak until charred and cooked to desired doneness, about 7 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes.

Mix tomatoes and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thinly slice steak; arrange on plate. This may not have been the prettiest dish, but it redeems itself in both saltiness and juiciness. Those are two admirable qualities.

Jacques

Tonight was the proudest moment in my meat exploration, however, because I both prepared and tasted lamb for the first time. I have been curious about lamb for quite some time, but purchasing the lamb rib chops took cojones I was quite sure I did not possess. I found this recipe for Lamb Chops with Yogurt-Mint Sauce on Epicurious:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 (1-inch-thick) rib lamb chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp cumin (I added)
1 tsp paprika (I added)
1 tsp salt (I added)
1/2 tsp pepper (I added)

The recipe did not call for the last four ingredients, but one of the Epicurious reviewers said she’d followed an old Jacques Pepin dry rub to the chops. Jacques, pictured above, was a mainstay in my childhood as one of the chefs who lived on the television in my family’s living room. He said “salt and pepper” in a hilarious French accent, but the man knew his shit. So, prior to my lamb searing, I mixed together the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and rubbed it on the meat. I then heated the olive oil in a skillet, and cooked the lamb over medium-high heat for about three minutes a side. While those were cooking, I stirred together the mint, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl. I also made some Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger and Garlic, and served those with the chops.

The meat was fattier than I would have expected, but it had a really interesting flavor far from anything I’ve accidentally experienced before (ahem, pork snuck into every Chinese dish ever). I really enjoyed, and I think in the future I’ll try ground lamb so there’s less fat invited to the party. See below:

lamb chops with yogurt mint sauce, sugar snap peas with ginger and garlic

T

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03
Feb
11

pea and ricotta wonton ravioli, lettuce wraps.

I’ve become completely infatuated with dumplings. Like, almost to a fault. I won’t even consider enjoying the company of nuggets, rolls (i.e. egg) or sticks (i.e. mozzarella), but dumplings, dim sum, and pierogies are all fair game. I’ve actually tried to recruit a few people for my cause, saying on occasion outrageous things like, “All food should be in dumpling form!”, or “Is there anything in life more delightful than some dough filled with vegetables?” And I honestly mean it.

It all started a few weeks ago when I made some wonton ravioli. While not traditionally a dumpling, the ravioli was basically my gateway to this obsession. I found this recipe on Epicurious, but I altered it a little:

pea and ricotta wonton ravioli

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups frozen peas (3/4 pound)
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons chopped mint
About 64 dumpling or wonton wrappers
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
dash of cayenne pepper

The recipe originally called for Parmesan cheese, but I had lots of ricotta on hand for reasons I’d rather not disclose..as in, this was a few weeks ago and my memory is failing me at the moment.

Anyways, I started by cooking the peas in boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. I drained and cooled, and then stirred in cheese, mint, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

I put a rounded teaspoon filling in center of a wrapper, and lightly brushed the edges of the wrapper with water. Then I placed a second wrapper on top and sealed, pressing out any trapped air. I repeated with the rest, and then boiled ravioli in 2 batches in a pasta pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. I removed with a slotted spoon and topped with melted butter, salt and pepper. They really were the easiest and most delicious thing ever.

Now let’s talk sweaty, shall we? I’ve been hyper-aware that I need to be a hard body by the time I go to Mexico later this month. I had a few solid weeks when I was exercising and eating at a 2:1 ratio, but alas, life interfered. I had a fancy dinner on the company last week and it was downhill-ish from there. Prior to that, I was logging a minimum of one hour of cardio daily, which I referenced in my last post. I usually do a mixture of elliptical, spinning, and treadmill, and I think my heart rate hits an all time high when the aforementioned machines are paired with a Jersey Shore marathon. True story.

I mixed up my routine by going to a boxing class last week. One of my co-workers went for a while, and I was dying to see what she was raving about. I dragged my happy ass out of bed last Saturday morning, albeit begrudgingly, to go to the free intro class. In a word? Funsies. The class is held in a legit men’s boxing studio, and it’s all kinds of intimidating walking in there. You can almost see the sweat in the air. The class was full of girls, though, and everyone was as intro as myself. I had fun, although the teacher totally called me out for being a dancer maybe three minutes in. Apparently I was altering the boxer’s shuffle to make it a little too graceful?  My back and arms were extra sore on Sunday, so I was pleased. I’m thinking about making it a regular thing.

I made a pretty decent tempeh chile last week, but it wasn’t as photogenic as one may have hoped. I’m including below, but it’s for looksies only. There’s no need to go into the ingredients.

I was trying to compensate for my minor food indiscretions over the past couple of weeks (Nutella anyone? How’s about I see how much dark chocolate I can cram into one day?), so I made some lettuce wraps for dinner this week. I found them on Epicurious. They called for:

Ingredients:

tempeh chile

1 14 oz can of small artichoke hearts, drained
1 14 oz can of hearts of palm, cut into chunks, drained
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded, ribbed and chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, cut into chunks
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 head butter lettuce
1/4 cup gorgonzola
salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, I combined the artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, cucumber, onion, poblano and cilantro. Add the avocado and drizzle with the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into the lettuce cups. Top with gorgonzola, and devour. They were pretty tasty and – I’m just guessing here – but they’re probably about 70 calories each. Can do:

lettuce wraps

20
Oct
10

Italian food, African dance

To begin, I had to move a few weeks ago, which always sucks. Luckily, I upgraded to my own place (holla) and still get a human-sized kitchen! With counter space, a dishwasher and a refrigerator that’s useful for more than just elves. Nice one, East Village. I knew you had it in you. Moronically, I left behind most all of my kitchen staples, so I’ve temporarily regressed to the meals of my youth (ah, 22. I hardly miss ye).

I’m making stir fries and paninis like whoa. Pre-move and food regression, I made a few meals from Giada’s new cookbook. This orecchiette with greens, garbanzo beans and ricotta salata was one of my first and best looking:

orecchiette with greens, ricotta, etc.

Ingredients:

1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
12 ounces Swiss chard, stemmed
12 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups small cherry or grape tomatoes
8 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

You start by cooking the pasta in salted, boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Heat oil in a medium sized skillet, then add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. It will smell amazeballs already, but refrain from eating. Garlic infused olive oil has hardly satisfied as a complete dish. Rather, remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard, then add the chard and cook until wilted. Add spinach little by little until that’s wilted too. Add beans and tomatoes, cook for 5, and turn off that heat. You’re almost therrre. Add pasta, half the cheese, and lemon zest, and toss it all together. Move the mix to a bowl, add the remaining cheese, and season with salt and pepper. It’ll look as gorge as it does above, and it’ll taste infinity times better. Guaranteed.

I also made a halibut dish with peas and mint, but like a thousand differently worded Google searches are failing me right now to find the exact recipe. Please excuse my rough ingredients list and poorly memorized instructions for preparation:

peas, red bell pepper, shallots and mint

Ingredients:

2 4-6 oz halibut steaks
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup mint, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Now this is entirely from memory, but I’m pretty sure I grilled the halibut via Panini Press with some aluminum foil for about five minutes, or until it was opaque. Meanwhile, I sauteed the shallots in olive oil until crispy. I then added the peas and bell pepper, and sauteed for a few minutes. Lastly, I added about 3/4 of the chopped mint, and combined all. Similar to other Giada fish recipes, I made a bed of the peas, pepper and mint, and laid the fish atop. I finished it off with chopped mint, and it was all kinds of beautiful. I’m reserving it for bottom blog position, which is the equivalent of business class for those just joining.

Now, let’s talk some sweaty, shall we? I have become sooo disenchanted with the gym. I’m aware that I’ve made prior claims of up and leaving my gym, but I’m too attached to the convenience and reliability of it all. So, how’s about a little breaksie? That was my mode of thinking this past month, at least. I requested a freeze for the month of October, and I decided to see how I could manage without the security of my gym. It’s midway through the month, and I’m a tidbit conflicted. I forced myself to start dancing again, and I briefly thought it could replace cardio. On the one hand, it does make for a more interesting workout, but I was unprepared for the inferiority I’d feel when stepping into any form of dance save hip hop. My technique is – to be kind – shit. At least that’s how I feel when dancing alongside such skilled tweens. I found a studio where the teachers manage not to make me feel like a jackass for trying an intermediate level class, and yet I do. I have dipped my toes into African dance, though, and I’m pretty impressed. Thrashy, yes. Ab work, tons. But I’m still feeling it.

See below for my halibut:

grilled halibut with peas, red bell pepper and mint

27
Aug
10

salmon and peas.

I’m going through some changes right now. It’s almost, like, pubescent or something. It all started with this lamb chop fascination, and the next thing I know I find myself in line at a Giada book signing (jealy?) thinking that I will eat the pasta apps they’re handing out regardless of any potential pancetta. Who am I? After minutes of introspection, I’ve decided to eventually ditch vegetarianism. Jesus, what a weight off my shoulders. This isn’t something happening today, tomorrow, or even a month from now, but I know it’s in my future. Just knowing it’s out there is kind of reassuring, though, because I often question my love of food seeing as how I cut out 95% of my options at all times. Now I’m just waiting for that moment like the one that made me a vegetarian in the first place. I was at my cousin’s wedding eating appetizers, and some chicken roll-up or something showed its face (figuratively). I thought, “And I’m done,” and haven’t touched chicken or turkey since. I guess I’m waiting for the inverse to happen or something. An “And I’m ready” moment, whatever that may be. Hold tight.

This whole meaty-future promise has me thinking protein, and so my meals have been pretty protein focused these days. And get this — I’ve totally started to eat fewer calories. I’ve realized that the reason I snack is because I’m rarely full, and that’s where protein is oh-so-reliable. And so, I turn to my girl Giada for inspiration. I made this amazeballs salmon last week. Not only is is lovely when assembled, but it’s also like the easiest dish I’ve ever made:

pea pesto

Lemon Brodetto:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, diced

2 lemons, juiced

1 lemon, zested

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

4 (4-6 oz) pieces of salmon

Pea Puree:

lemon

10 oz frozen peas, thawed

1/4 c fresh mint

1 clove garlic

1/2 c olive oil

1/2 c Parmesan

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

To make the Lemon Brodetto, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for about 7 minutes. Add lemon juice, zest, and broth, and simmer. And that part is good to go.

Meanwhile, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. I lurve this part, because the food processor has become my default appliance these days. Add the olive oil while everything is mixing, then move to a bowl and stir in the Parm. Aaaand we’re done with that part.

To make the Salmon, season with salt and pepper and cook in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sear about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. And that part is done as well.

To assemble, add the tablespoon chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and pour into a shallow bowl. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of the bowl as a sweet little salmon bed, and then lay that salmon on top. Easiest meal EVA and oh so easy on the eyes. See below for the final dish:

salmon in lemon brodetto with pea puree

09
May
10

halibut with fruit salsa, green pea and tarragon soup.

I’ve been a vegetarian for all of two years now, and there are times when I openly wonder if I could still claim veg status if I maybe just integrated some cured Italian meats into my diet. Just a few; just to see how it feels. I watch the Food Network and am unnaturally jealous when they prepare those adorable lollipop-like lamb chops. Also, I’m weirdly fascinated by duck and the way people score the backside with a criss-cross pattern before cooking. When’s the last time I had that much fun with an eggplant? I do realize that I’m the only one closing myself off to decorating ducks, but the idea of crossing over to the dark meat side fills me with this unmistakable sense of failure. I have no clue when that will pass, so for now I’m choosing to further explore the world of seafood.

I was in Whole Foods last week and was drawn over to the seafood counter. Before I had a chance to explore my options, I saw one of those “WEEKEND DEAL!” stickers on the halibut. I’ve only ever made more mainstream fish such as salmon or tilapia, but my latest desire to keep seafood interesting drove me to purchase. For just $15.99 a pound (3X the price of the modest tilapia), I was the proud owner of halibut – the Lexus of fish. I took it home and prepared with some black bean and mango salsa, a Deena original I like to whip out once it gets warm. I started out by brushing the fish with some olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cooked in on the panini press:

halibut, being pressed

My friend Becca was talking about how professionals always wrap their paninis in aluminum foil before pressing, and how this would lend to a much less frustrating cleanup. I wish I could take credit, but she was the motivation for me deciding to forgo grill marks for the best cleanup of my life. The end result was fish that turned out all kinds of tender, because it behaved as if it were being steamed rather than grilled. Delicious.

Ingredients:

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 mango, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

1/2 avocado, chopped

1 handful of cilantro, chopped

lime juice to taste

I mixed together all ingredients and seasoned with the lime juice, salt and pepper. The end result unnaturally jacked up my grocery bill,  so I also made a dirt cheap Green Pea Soup with Tarragon recipe I found on the Epicurious app.

halibut with fruit salsa

Ingredients:

2 16 oz bags of frozen peas

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1.5 c of sliced shallots

4 c vegetable broth

3 tbsp tarragon

plain nonfat yogurt

I made the recipe by the book, except they wanted me to add pea sprouts to the top and I figured we could do without. You start by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan, and throw the shallots in. I had one shallot, some red onion and a few green onions — the poor man’s version of the building blocks for soup — so I chopped all of the above and tossed those in. You cook for about 7 minutes, and then add all but one cup of the peas to the pan along with the veggie stock and 2 tbsp of tarragon. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for about 7 minutes. Then, the recipe instructed me to puree, so I did as told with my immersion blender, arguably my favorite kitchen tool ever. Once pureed, you add the remaining tbsp of tarragon, some pepper, and then ladle into bowls. Microwave the peas for a minute, and top the soup with a few of those and a drizzle of yogurt. It was seriously so sweet and amazing. I’m pretty sure I had three bowls the first night, and that was with my self control in place.

On the sweaty side, I’ve held true to my promise for more yoga, and have started going at least twice a week. Hello, dedication. The downside, of course, is I’ve started talking in cult-like yogi terms. “There’s one long line of energy in Warrior 2, and you can really feel it. And you want to open up your heart in your bind, you know?” This rarely seems applicable when I work it into daily conversation, yet somehow I do. After two weeks of yoga and half-assed aerobic exercise, I’ve come to the conclusion that yoga can only be a part of my life when I’m still hitting the gym on the daily. It’s really the only way to get ride of those 10 peanut butter pounds I’ve accumulated, especially since I’m still eating massive amounts of reduced-fat Skippy while trying to lose the fruits (back fat, etc.) of its predecessor’s labor. I have future plans to start dancing again, so stay tuned re: that.

Anyways, see below for my delicious pea soup:

Green Pea with Tarragon Soup




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