Pea & Edamame Dip

IMG_7272It’s spring! Time to set aside thoughts of roasted roots, and go for the green. We sat outside after a full day of sunshine and working outside. Even though it was early April, the temperature made us so aware of summer days around the corner. I had spent a few hours, getting the porch ready, by washing winter’s dust and grime off of stored deck furniture, with the sounds of ongoing fence repairs as my soundtrack.

When the hammers had been laid down; and the deck was in its summer duds, we gathered for beer and nibbles to toast the season. Serendipitously, the day before I had made a dip I’d been working my head around for the past few weeks. Super green, it made me feel good just looking at it! Pretty much all the ingredients are green, with bright, cheerful flavours.

We ate it with plain crackers, but the next day I was told of leftovers being eaten as a side to scrambled eggs. I’m planning on trying it stirred into some pasta or risotto, as a finish.

Use good quality frozen peas & edamame, not the shrivelled up ones that might be in the bottom of your freezer. Continue reading

Pea Spread with Meyer Lemon

IMG_3890My sister and I were walking the other day.  Several times a week we take our dogs, Lainie & Bonnie for a hike up over Burchell Hill and around back through the woods.  It takes about 1¼ hrs and gives us lots of time for conversation, when we’re not huffing and puffing!

We were discussing the foods we eat.  Most of the foods found in both our homes are whole foods.  Basically we start from scratch when making any meal.  Then we talked about how many processed foods we have in our homes.  We both have more than we would have guessed.  Our processed items are very similar: condiments, dairy products, crackers, granola bars, tortilla chips, peanut butter, jams, chocolate, alcoholic beverages, soft beverages, canned tomatoes & sauce, boxed cereals & Dr. Oetker pizzas (we both had at least one in our freezer).

That got me to thinking about what I had in my freezers.   I have two chest freezers, a top freezer on our extra fridge, and an upright small freezer in the kitchen.  One of our chest freezers is used solely for customers’ beef.  It gets turned on a few days before a delivery and is shut down when empty. The chest freezer in the house holds our own beef, any other meats I have purchased from other farms, and fish.  One side is filled with assorted berries, all measured before packaging & ready to use easily, and stocks.  The small top freezer holds any extra baked goods. My kitchen freezer is filled with at least one of each type of fruit I have on hand, a huge assortment of nuts & seeds, specialty flours, grains, coffee, a small selection of meats and frozen peas.  I routinely sort through the freezers, rotating stock, using up things I may have forgotten I had, and basically keeping them organized.  If they’re not tidy, food gets wasted.

Funny how the only vegetables I have in the pantry or the freezer are tomatoes and peas.  Tomatoes are such a go to vegetable for most of us for sauces, pasta etc.  The peas are one of the very few vegetables that can handle being frozen and still give you a good, fresh tasting product when cooked.  I use them in risotto, as a quick side dish when the crispers are getting low, tossed in a salad, and for this very fresh tasting spread.  A thin sliver of rustic bread with a smear of these peas is an amazing snack.  So, don’t be proud, keep a small bag of good quality frozen peas at hand and use them to their fullest potential! Continue reading

Yam & Chickpea Patties

IMG_3758The chances we get to have one on one time with our adult children seem to get rarer the older they get.  Nothing needs to be resolved or shared; it’s more a time that you are simply together.  It’s a time to shed a tear while giggling through it, or just finding out a little bit more of their lives.  I find these bits of time very precious, and look forward to the circumstances that allow them to happen.

This is what we were doing while we talked one afternoon, figuring out what to add next, what would happen if we did this?  Anyhow, somehow the recipe worked out, and we had that time together.

The rest of the family arrived home later and ate any remaining patties, with lots of chatter and happiness. Continue reading

Risotto with Shrimp & Peas

IMG_2653Risotto is not a finicky dish to make.  Picture yourself in a large Italian farmhouse kitchen, with a big apron tied firmly around your middle.  Put a couple of pins in your hair to keep things neat.  The stove has been on most of the day while you’re making bread.  You have a large pot on the back burner with fresh chicken stock, never wasting anything that you’ve either grown or carefully purchased in the market.  Family members have come and gone, chatting as they go about their chores.  During this time you’ve been sautéing onions, adding rice and then slowly have added spoonfuls of the chicken stock with a few splashes of wine, while you stir and talk.  When the family gathers round, you add in some grated hard cheese, and maybe some tender vegetables with a knob of butter.  Without paying too much attention, you’ve created a beautiful glossy dish of risotto, warm and creamy, one of the best comfort foods.

This is a social dish – prepare your ingredients before hand, and enjoy a glass of wine while you cook and visit.  Don’t let it be pretentious.  When it’s ready, serve it simply.  The rest of the meal can be served after. Continue reading