After the second night of eating out and one exasperated text away from throwing in towel and admitting yet another dinner defeat, I turned on the stove and grabbed a few simple ingredients to form some sort of dinner. We are trying to eat out less after all, and three nights in a row did seem a bit much, even for me.
I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately – not eager to dive into the kitchen when it’s dinner time and not feeling the usual bit of glee when Jacques Pepin appears on TV to teach me the wonders of classic French cooking.
Just like any relationship, mine with food has its peaks and valleys. There are times when I’m madly in love with food. She’s all I can think about, and recipes pour out of me like velvety caramel. Other times it’s as dry as that loaf of bread I just threw out – too lazy to even make breadcrumbs.
The thing is, all relationships take intention, work and commitment. I’ve been in love with food long enough to know that my feelings flutter and then cease in different seasons. When I’m feeling uninspired I trust that excitement will once again strike but sometimes my creativity needs a bit of a nudge.
When I’m in the midst of a rut and am feeling tired with my cooking I push myself to try new things. A couple weeks ago I picked up the cookbook, Cairo Kitchen, because I know nothing about Egyptian cooking. Its exotic ingredients and flavor combinations have ignited many of our meals and have been the basis for several dinner parties. I’ve become enamored with dried mint, stunned by sumac and possibly have gone a bit overboard with Nigella seeds.
So I seek out new ingredients, new spices, new cuisine and new techniques to refuel our romance. With a bit of intention and stepping out of the mundane and into something exciting, my creativity is ignited and once again food and I are in a passionate romance.
That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with Frontier Co-op to bring you all and quite frankly, myself, inspiration for fresh ways to dress up the season’s produce with fragrant herbs and spices.
These peas are just the sort of recipe that lift me out of the doldrums and get my mind reeling with ideas. It’s crazy simple, uses only a few ingredients and yet tastes far more complicated.
First, the peas are quickly blistered in a hot pan with a bit of oil. At the last minute, a few pea shoots are thrown in – quite possibly my favorite spring ingredient. I love their tender sweet leaves, their light grassy flavor and the way the curled tendrils look on a plate. The hot peas lay on a bed of cool crème fraîche and are simply adorned with lemon zest, poppy seeds and a bit of flaky salt.
Follow along for ideas and to share your own recipes and ideas using the hashtag #SpiceUpSummer.
Blistered Peas with Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups sugar snap peas
2 cups pea shoots
3 ounces creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Add the olive oil to a large skillet set over high heat. When the oil shimmers add the peas in a single layer.
Cook until golden in parts and their green color turns bright, about 3 minutes.
Add the pea shoots and give a quick stir.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the crème fraîche to a platter then place the peas on top of that.
Finish with the lemon zest, poppy seeds and flake salt.
Enjoy right away.