Pea Sprouts and Shoots

pea shoots

I’ve been trying to grow peas for for years, and Philadelphia’s relatively brief Spring has always thwarted me. Not this year! I was able to grow some wonderful peas, and they are actually still producing! I doubt that they’ll make it through a hot August, so I’m picking my pea sprouts and shoots and curls now, and enjoying them while I can. 

One of the easiest ways to prepare pea shoots is to not prepare them at all – just chop them and toss them into a salad! You can also quick pickle them, throw them into a stir fry, blend them with herbs into a pesto, or toss them into a summer soup. 

Do you have other ways to enjoy pea shoots and spouts? 

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Pickled Cauliflower

pickled cauliflower
It’s been hot in Philly, and very humid. It’s about this time in the summer where the idea of cooking anything is completely unappealing. I had a nice head of organic cauliflower in the refrigerator, no intention of roasting or cooking it, but I don’t really enjoy it raw. What to do? Pickle!

It’s easy to make quick, refrigerator pickles out of almost any produce. I like my pickles garlic and spicy, so I added a clove of fresh garlic and some red pepper flakes to the basic quick-pickle formula, but you could skip it, or add lemon zest, herbs, whatever floats your boat.

Start will clean, trimmed, fresh produce pre-cut into your pickle size and placed in a large, non-reactive bowl. Bring 1 cup of white vinegar to boil with 1/2 cup of water, and sugar to taste (I like my sugar content lsaladow, so I go with 1/4 cup, but you could use up to 1/2 cup). When the sugar has dissolved, pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables, which acts like a “quick cook.” When the vegetables and liquid have cooled, pour into a jar or other refrigerator-happy container and chill for at least 12 hours.

Result – quick pickles! You can serve them as a classy appetizer, or pile them onto salads, like I’ve done (to the left). Enjoy!

 

Fava Bean, Pea, and Jersey Tomato Salad

fava bean salad

We’ve reached that wonderful part of summer when we still have access to spring crops, but the later summer crops, like vine-ripened tomatoes, are starting to appear in farmers markets and Co-Ops. Here in Philadelphia, most of our earliest tomatoes come from New Jersey, which is famous for their juicy fruits. Combining spring and summer produce, I put together this very simple, and very delicious, salad with fresh fava beans, snap peas, tomatoes, and red onion. You could also add fresh herbs with abandoned! It’s perfect for these days when the weather really begins to heat up.

Fava Bean, Pea, and Jersey Tomato Salad

fresh fava beans, steamed in their shells, and then pealed.

sugar spap peas, ends trimmed and strings pulled

some big juicy tomatoes, of any type, vine ripened and chopped

a large red onion, finely diced

Toss the vegetables together – only the favas will need to be cooked. To avoid refrigerating the tomato (which destroys its flavor and texture) you can put this salad together ahead of time, adding the tomatoes before eating.

Whisk together a vinaigrette of good quality olive oil, white wine vinegar, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and the zest and juice of one lemon. I like to balance my vinaigrettes 1/3 oil to 2/3 acid (the vinegar and lemon juice) but some people prefer to reverse those proportions.

Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables, add any chopped herbs that you enjoy (I suggest mint, parsley, basil, oregano, tarragon and/or sage) and toss. Let marinate at least 15 minutes before serving.