It is certainly spring here in Sunnyvale CA. The flowers are in bloom, people are out, bees are buzzing and the temperatures are rising. It feels great. It was a rainy winter and dare I say “cold”? After shoveling the 4 blizzards in Boston last winter it feels crazy to type cold to describe the winter here but my expectations of wearing shorts year round were terminated once the rain started. Oh well, at least there was no shoveling!!! And rain certainly was welcome in the CA drought.
The colors are vibrant in the neighborhood. There are roses everywhere and the biggest I’ve seen. We were lucky enough to make it to the Sunnyvale Farmer’s Market this Saturday and the colors here also did not disappoint. We saw four types of cauliflower, citrus, apples, flowers, greens, roots, beans and peas to name a few. When we bring the kids along, it’s fun to see what gets them excited. This time it was the cauliflower. They decided on the green and purple to try. They were good sports and ate it up. I simply roasted it in a 400 degree oven with a shake of season salt for 30-45 minutes until tender. It’s such a great way to cook it without hiding the flavor. No oil needed!
I love these little peppers I found too. I mixed these in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil, cumin and salt until they were super soft and a little burnt. I added a handful of cilantro and juice from half a lime. Delicious. I ate mine as a side dish but Ben used a chunk of french bread with hummus as a base for his pepper mixture.
When I saw the big box of shelled peas, I had to turn around and go back. Here’s why. I grew up on a small farm where we had a vegetable garden large enough to feed our family of four and can or freeze extras for the winter. Shelling peas is not difficult work but it is not quick. It takes a while to fill your bowl. To see the big boxes on the table at the market actually made my heart drop a little thinking about the folks that spent the time shelling those peas. So it was without pause that I handed over my $5 for a pound that morning. That was money well spent thinking back to my pea shelling days! These peas stayed in the fridge for two days as I was thinking of the perfect recipe to highlight their freshness without hiding the sweet flavors of spring. Hmmm.
It had to be light to keep the flavor of the pea so here I was staring at the herbs in my garden and stacked in my fridge. Mint, scallions and lemon all made sense to create a light dish and it worked. It was a perfect combination to create a side dish for my dinner that night. I cooked the peas with a green tea bag to add a little earthy flavor which I would suggest if you have it.
After cooking the peas, I added them to my cast iron skillet to cook them with the chopped herbs. I didn’t brown them at all but cooked them just enough to meld with the herbs and warm through again.
This dish would be perfect for a bbq with friends, served with polenta on the side, on top of a green salad and any number of ideas.
So, hopefully spring has sprung by you too and soon you’ll be seeing these vibrant colors in your neighborhood. I enjoyed making this salad and am anxiously waiting for my own peas to grow in our patio garden. Hopefully our six plants will produce enough that I could make this dish again. If not, it’s off to the market! Let me know what’s cooking in your kitchen this spring. I’d love to see some pictures!
I just couldn’t resist adding a picture of one of the blizzards we had last year in MA. Look closely and you can see my trash barrels almost covered and the snow is nearly to the top of my van!!!