Saturday, April 23, 2011

Signs of Spring ~Chilled Fresh Pea Soup

        I strolled through the South Pasadena Farmer's Market last Thursday afternoon brainstorming ideas for a special dish to enjoy this weekend. I love examining all the fruits and vegetables, tasting samples and sharing recipes with the vendors.  It was a classic spring day, warm, with blue skies, puffy white clouds and a gentle yet still slightly cool breeze. As I turned the corner to enter the next row of stalls I spotted fresh garden peas, still in their pods and I knew immediately it would be the perfect dish to herald our Easter celebration. 

      There is something so very springlike about preparing and enjoying chilled garden pea soup.Seasonality is key as fresh tasting and vibrant ingredients require only the simplest of preparation to taste extraordinary. The ridiculously easy preparation of this soup makes it a perfect meal for the day before a holiday when there is so much to prepare and very little time. No soup says spring to me the way this one does.
Happy Easter

2 1/2  cups fresh garden peas. (Removed from pod)
½ cup of cleaned sliced leeks
Salt and white pepper to taste.

Boil the peas till tender in 2 cups of spring water
Drain peas and reserve the water

Combine a 50/50 mix of oil and butter to a sauté pan
enough to cover well
add leeks and wilt till tender but not brown.
add peas for the last minute or two.

Place peas and leeks into a small food processor
process adding small amounts of the reserved water
a little at a time till the soup is smooth and lovely.

You could strain the soup if you wish but I rarely do with this recipe.
add salt and white pepper to taste

Serve cool topped with crème fraiche or
add a touch of half and half as I did
Total Under $5.00 for this taste of Spring

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A "Grate" Dinner

We are excited to be attending a local wine festival this coming weekend. It’s only  a couple of hours drive from our home but, we have opted to stay overnight and enjoy some time with friends. That means we will be spending two days enjoying parties featuring delicious treats and good wine. We, like so many people have a tendency to overeat a bit when we are away from home. Although we always try to be careful about what we eat  there are weekends when discipline is a bit more difficult. I do believe in balance so tonight I have opted for a light but flavorful Friday night dinner. I’ll be serving zucchini cakes (think potato pancakes but lighter),a Mexican salad with a creamy balsamic yogurt dressing, and pea shoots sauteed with red onion, ginger, garlic, orange zest, and chili paste added to leftovers from a dish John  ordered at lunch out with his co-workers.

Grate (ed) Zucchini  Cakes
 2-3 zucchini
1 clove garlic
1/8  cup red onion
1-2 eggs (depends on zucchini size)
1-2 oz Gruyere cheese
2-3 tbs flour (till it has a semi-loose but not runny consistency)
Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the zucchini 
(with a clean cloth) ring out the excess water.
Grate garlic clove 
(using a grater is best for this recipe)
Grate in red onion 
(or very very fine dice)
Grate in Gruyere
Add flour
Mix well 
(I set it in the fridge for about an hour)
Form patties (if loose spoon in to pan)
Pan fry (both sides) till golden brown
In a mix of olive oil and butter

Under $5.00 for these savory and delicious GRATE zucchini cakes.