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Summer Fest: Quick Salads with Peas


Skip the frozen aisle and pick up shell peas or sugarsnap peas at the market right now. Shell peas need to be removed from their pod before eating. Sugarsnap peas have both edible pods and peas inside. Blanching or poaching peas lets their full flavor shine in these crunchy, summer-ready salads. You can also freeze blanched peas for up to six months so you can use them in to your favorite pea soups this coming winter.

Pea, Feta and Mint Salad (pictured above)

In just fifteen minutes you can turn blanched peas into the main event in this summer salad. Combine them with onions, pistachios and a sweet dressing then toss with mint, snow pea leaves and top the salad with the feta cheese.

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At the Market: 5 Recipes Using Fresh Spring Peas

It’s not very often that we get fresh peas. I don’t think I ever even tried young, fresh peas until last year when I was helping a friend make a light and refreshing chilled pea soup for a crowd. We shelled bushels of pea pods — each pod containing a single row of imperfectly-sized, pale green peas. Though some labor was required, shelling the peas was the best way to guarantee true freshness, and the taste was worth it.

What I did eat a lot of growing up were mealy, yellowish peas from a can and frozen peas mixed with perfect cubes of carrot that often left me wondering drearily, “Is there a world beyond steamed peas?

But now it’s spring, and this verdant vegetable is moving beyond the confines of a simple, bland side dish. Gardens are bearing pea pods full of plump little chlorophyllous gems ready to star in pastas, dips, salads and soups. Fresh peas are a seasonal pleasure — an assurance that spring is finally here.

Here are 5 recipes to take advantage of spring peas:

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The Top 10 Reasons to Get Excited for Spring

Spring has sprung, officially. Which means that produce options open right up — not unlike windows in homes everywhere — as freshly grown produce floods the marketplace. While it was nice to eat apples, squash, potatoes and onions all winter, it’s no doubt time to wave goodbye and welcome a new round of delectable fruits and vegetables.  Here’s a round-up of the 10 spring superstars we’re psyched to see arriving in the next couple of months, and some great recipes to make the most of them.

10. Asparagus

Asparagus Wrapped in Proscuitto With Beurre Blanc (above)

Sesame Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi

Spinach-Ricotta Pesto Pasta With Proscuitto and Asparagus

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Discovering: Fresh Peas

Fresh Peas: Friend or Foe?

Fresh Peas: Friend or Foe?

I’ve always had a rocky relationship with peas. As a kid, I’d push the frozen variety around on my plate until they were cold and clammy, then eat a few and call it a day.

But even as a pea skeptic, I suspected the fresh ones would be different. So when I came across them at the farmers’ market, I knew it was destiny. Pea pods in hand, I headed home to widen my recipe repertoire.

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