October 2022
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Cooking Digression

Things around here have been a bit chaotic of late and I’ve been doing far less cooking than I intended when spring started. When I have mustered the time or energy or preparation to do a little cooking, I’ve been relying on things like ready-to-grill kabobs from Metropolitan Market. We haven’t done the CSA this year and I’ve barely visited the farmer’s markets. Even so, I did manage to try a couple of recipes that were good enough that I felt I should pass them along.

First, I have tried yet another winner from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. If you haven’t bought this book yet, why not? It’s seriously the most unique, delightful, astonishing collection of recipes I’ve had the pleasure to discover in a long time. Here’s an example:

Lime-Bathed Peanut Salad

2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350. (Since it’s summer, I moved this step to the toaster oven to keep the heat down and it worked just fine.)

Place peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan a couple of times for more even browning.

Combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Gently stir into the tomato mixture to combine. Just before serving, fold in the peanuts. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

The other success I had was serving a fresh pea/mint soup from Cooking Light alongside some wild salmon patties.

Fresh Pea Soup with Mint

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup coarsely chopped green onions
4 cups shelled green peas (about 4 pounds unshelled)
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used half vegetable broth, half chicken)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint
Cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions to pan and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peas, broth, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until the peas are very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let stand 15 minutes. Stir in juice, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place half of pea mixture in blender and process until smooth. Do this carefully as hot liquid expands very fast in a blender; I recommend holding the lid down with a kitchen towel just to be safe. Pour pureed soup mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining pea mixture. Strain this half of the pureed soup mixture through a sieve over a large bowl, reserving the liquid; discard the solids. Return strained soup to pureed soup mixture. Ladle about 3/4 cup soup mixture into each of 6 bowls; drizzle each with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon mint. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

Makes 6 servings

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