Pea season has arrived! I love the fresh green flavor of peas and pea shoots. I love to eat snap peas raw, pickled, sautéed, and steamed. I love to eat pea shoots in salads, wraps, stir fry, and tacos. We get peas and pea shoots from our CSA, but this is one of the things I also grow because...well...we just can't get enough. Pea season is short and sweet, and I like to make the most of it.
This year I am growing a new (to me) variety of pea called Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea. It makes a lot of tendrils and fewer leaves, allowing more air flow in the peas. The flowers are so beautiful, and the plants are huge producers! My husband has been traveling for business most of the past few weeks, so he is missing out on the peastravaganza. This recipe is quick and easy and super delicious. It takes advantage of those freshly picked peas that are so tender they don't need to be boiled or overcooked at all, and are crispy and perfect with a few minutes in the skillet.
I am also growing Blue Spice Basil this summer and it has quickly become a favorite. It has a rich, exotic, spicy sweet fragrance that is AMAZing (and the bugs don't touch it). It worked so well with the toasted sesame oil and ginger that I am dehydrating a batch to see how it holds up when dried. Most basil doesn't dry well and so we freeze it or make pesto to preserve it. This basil has such a different thick hairy leaf and sublime fragrance that I am curious - I would love to have a lot dried to use all winter. We shall see!
snap pea + pea shoot stir fry
This recipe is perfect for pea season - it combines fresh snap peas and pea shoots with ginger, garlic, soy, and sesame oil to make a quick and easy (and delicious) dish. Serve as a side dish, or over rice for a main vegetarian course.
I am sure I am going to be sharing more pea recipes before our short season is over (peas make the best quick pickles!). Having pea season peak just as all of the herbs are cranking means that there are so many opportunities for different flavors and combinations. Fresh herbs and peas really do go well together as they all have that fresh green garden flavor that can't be beat.
My husband will be gone for a few more days so the pea stir fry today was all mine. He had better hurry though, it has been hot and peas won't last forever!
about the ingredients:
Blue Spice Basil
Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea
Brown Sesame Seeds
We have long winters here in Wisconsin, so when things start to grow, it is exciting. We also don't have long seasons of items once they do appear. Asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries - all are in and out quickly, so we tend to do as much as we can while they are here. I love asparagus. My husband didn't used to like it so much, but it has grown on him as I experiment and find more flavors it blends with. Asparagus and chives are amazing together. And the smoky richness of sesame oil, the salty flavor of soy, and the crunchy bite of black sesame all meld together to make an awesome asparagus dish. I usually make this as a side dish, but it is also fantastic over a bed of lettuce (or arugula!) with a little soy/sesame oil dressing drizzled over the top.
Chive Blossom Asparagus
Bright green spears of asparagus are among the earliest of garden harvests. The thin, delicate spears work well with many different flavours, and are delicious steamed, grilled, as soup, pickled, and as a side dish. This recipe combines early season asparagus alongside another spring visitor – chive blossoms.
Blanch your asparagus for about 2 minutes in boiling water.
This recipe is quick and easy, but has a lot of flavor. A great way to combine the ingredients of spring into one fantastic dish.
Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar
Chives are a mid to late spring herb that are often overlooked. Chives are delicious in salads, egg dishes, sprinkled over soups, and more. Don’t forget the blossoms either. The delicate pinkish purple flower heads have a lovely onion/garlic flavor. Chive vinegar is a quick, simple way to capture some of that.
Pack a ½ pint jar with (clean) chive blossoms, along with a few chive stems.
Pour over any type of mild white vinegar you like – you can pour over room temperature vinegar, but warm the vinegar first for best results.
Make sure all blossoms are fully covered.
Let sit for a few days in your fridge until the blossoms have turned the vinegar a lovely shade of pink.
Strain out the old chive flowers (add a few fresh ones for decoration if you wish), store in the fridge, and use in salad dressings!
Spring may seem slow to start some years, but when the first greens, herbs and veggies appear we can't get enough. Here is to spring, and fresh food from the garden!
I like quick pickles. I don't have a ton of time to make dozens of jars of the same thing endlessly, and quite honestly I get bored with flavors and really like mixing it up, using what is fresh on hand, and having small batches of a variety of quick pickles to liven up meals, crudités, salads, and of course for snacks. At any given moment year-round I have a few jars of something in my fridge. Right now I have pickled cucumbers and garlic in a slightly sweet brine, and pickled daikon which are amazingly peppery and crunchy. Spring onions are one of the first things in spring that we can find here in Wisconsin, and I like pickling them so that I can spread them out throughout the summer. I like the small green brilliance of their flavor in a pickle and they work on salads, burgers, or with a plate of hummus and tomatoes.
Spring Onion Quick Pickle
Quick pickles are a delicious way to use the bounty of the season to create a variety of flavours and textures. This recipe uses one of the gardens earliest arrivals – spring onions, or scallions.
Heat water/vinegar/sugar/salt/garlic in a pot until dissolved. Let cool to room temp.
Or try this: Add some additional zesty flavor by reducing the white vinegar in the recipe above to 1 cup and add 1/2 cup umeboshi plum vinegar.
Another bonus of having a fresh pickling brine is when all of your salad greens start coming in full blast you not only have some pickled scallions to put on your salad, but you have a tasty brine to use for salad dressings. Simply mix a little pickle brine with extra virgin olive oil, s&p, and a tiny bit of grainy mustard. Stir and boom. Delicious dressing.
I know most of us have the image of a farm woman in her hot kitchen with 422 pounds of one kind of cucumber frantically pickling and canning until 3AM. But these days we can get such a wide variety of seeds and can easily grow such a diversity of herbs, fruit, and vegetables, that we don't need to mono-pickle. Small batch pickling is a quick, easy, and delicious way to preserve the extras, the favorites, and the flavors of the season!
Spring comes so slowly after a long winter, but jumping back into the garden and kitchen to start preserving again feels good. After a long winter it feels pretty much like a big TA-DAAAAA!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculturist, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.