Thursday, July 30, 2009

BRAISED PEAS, GREEK STYLE

NOTHING BLAND about this dish. An excellent spring or summer entree, delicious yet simple to make, and full of flavors. There is the bold addition of dill which gives it a seasonal freshness. Dill has a green, aromatic, citrus-anise taste. The mint brings a second layer of flavor, delicate and mellow, and the onions and the carrot bring their own lightness and sweetness.









Ingredients:
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to be used at end of cooking
  • 1 10 oz bag onions, peeled
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds frozen peas
  • 1 small carrot, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
Directions:
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and scallions and stir until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, dill, mint, carrot, salt and pepper, and water or chicken broth. It is preferable to use fresh dill. The dried variety looses its distinct flavor and winds up tasting something like hay (not that I have ever tasted hay. To me, dried dill has the odor of hay and lacks flavor). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.


Add the peas and continue to simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Near the end of cooking drizzle the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil onto the peas.

    I add the carrot to bring a contrasting color to the dish.
Remove from heat and let rest about five minutes. This dish can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled. It can be eaten on its own with a nice salad and sliced bread, or it can accompany a dish of lamb. Peas and lamb compliment each other very well.

Note: Peeling pearl onions is a tedious process. To make it easier, trim the onions at both ends and drop them in some boiling water for a minute or two. Drain and imerse in cold water to stop the cooking process. When the onions cool down and you can handle them, you'll find that the skins have loosened up. You will be able to pull them right off. You may use this same blanching method to peel tomatoes that will be used for cooking.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

BASTILLE'S DAY TODAY!

Bastille, on Bastille Day 2009


Today is July 14, Bastille Day. It was on this day 14 years ago that I adopted a very eager 4 month old female bichon frise, and when I commented that it was Bastille Day, everyone insisted that she be named Bastille. One friend said: "the name is perfect for her. It suits her. It was meant to be." At first I wasn't sure. Name my dog after a notorious jailhouse? Name her after a French holiday? YES! It was inevitable! She became Bastille, and she has carried her famous name with grace and aplomb. She broke out of the kennel where she was being held captive (her way of storming out of the Bastille), and she came home wrapped in a French flag... well, actually she was wrapped in a towel, into which she kept throwing up because she was carsick. Time went by... She turned into a gentle, affectionate, cheerful dog. I love her very much! Every Bastille Day, well-wishers call or email with their greetings. Bastille is gracious toward all. She celebrates by having a doggie sized bowl of vanilla ice cream. She loves it! As for being carsick? No more! One of her favorite things is to take car rides and visit her friends. She loves to give and to get kisses! What a LADY!


This cutie pie has the most kissable nose of any doggie I know!
 
Time for a nap!  She is so easy to love!!!
 
The lady on Christmas Day, 2009.