This year's first bag of snap peas arrived from our CSA, Eatwell Farm, last Thursday. I've been harvesting them in small quantity out of my garden for weeks, but those have finally run their course. A new supplier is just the thing!
Madison's recipe for Snow Peas with Sesame Oil, Tarragon, and Toasted Sesame Seeds, on p. 337, is one of my favorite treatments for edible pod peas. The sesame (both oil and seeds), which has been underutilized in my kitchen until recently, bring a richness that contrasts with the sweet of the peas, making them more than simple steamed snaps. This is the first time I've made the peas with tarragon, which refuses to thrive in my garden. It came along in the box with bundles of marjoram, basil and the snap peas (which substitute fine for snow peas). The tarragon is great with the peas, though they are also fine without, if you are in a similar predicament.
--- After dinner follow up:
This was a great all around meal, the grown-ups really loved it while the kids tolerated it. Win!
The Toasted Millet "Polenta", on p. 313, was delicious. Madison is one of few recipe authors who doesn't under salt, her recommended amounts 0f salt, butter and parmesan were right on. The combination of cheese with asian flavors (in the other dishes) worried me beforehand, but it wasn't a problem.
I used 6 crowns plus leaves (instead of 16), to make Madison's Spinach Crowns with Sesame-Miso Sauce, p. 220. It was tasty, though I don't have quite as much enthusiasm for the sauce as the author. She says "there is nothing this sauce isn't good with". While I grudgingly agree, a quick spinach sauté with shallots and cream still scores higher in my book. Perhaps that will change in time. Using the crowns of the spinach was new for me, I usually cut off the leaves and compost the crowns. They were, surprisingly, delicious. Pretty on the plate, too.
The chicken is what made the kids happy, bridging the gap between adult vegetarian fare and childhood nuggets. Plus it added more protein to the meal. I chopped up a package of boneless chicken thighs and sprinkled them with soy sauce, heated the wok, minced a shallot, swirled canola oil in the wok, threw in the shallot, threw in the chicken, then stir-fried both until the meat was done.
My vegetable-averse son even cleaned his plate, in trade for a Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream Creation. We brought home a bag of them from the grocery store today at his request, as some form of new-style parenting bait and switch that even I don't really understand the terms of. I guess I can't complain as long as it gets him to eat whole grains and greens.