Friday, July 30, 2010

Feasting Friday- Free the Pea

First off, I want to thank everyone who entered the contest…hopefully for those of you who did not win, you will still be happy when the book arrives!

And now…the big winner….


Please e-mail me at staceyballisinfo at gmail dot com with your shipping address, including a phone number and your package will go out Monday!

For the rest of you, not to worry…hang on to those e-mailable receipts, as there will be more prizes and giveaways to come. Just stay tuned to the blog!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled posting.

(I would like to take this opportunity to mention that I am very open to requests, so if there are recipes you’d like to see, or specific advice you want on cooking or entertaining, feel free to e-mail or post a comment and I will do my best for you.)

In the meantime, today I want to talk about peas. And I want to talk about peas because of Wednesday’s episode of Top Chef (SPOILER ALERT…stop reading if you care about the outcome of that episode!)

I am not going to recap the whole thing, suffice it to say I have a major issue with Alex (the one who looks like the Muppet Beaker)

winning based on what was CLEARLY (okay, clearly to me and possibly not to everyone) a larcenous abduction and use of Ed’s amazing pea puree. Everyone seems to agree that it is too coincidental that Ed’s pea puree goes missing when Alex, who never mentioned doing a pea puree, and didn’t prep it at all the day before, suddenly magically has an unctuous succulent and fresh pea puree with which to anoint his plate. It was also clear that Art Smith, the judge choosing the winner, was moved to make the choice based in no small part on that STOLEN element.

I am outraged. I cannot wait for Alex to be eliminated. I know that pea Karma is headed his way, and it was very impressive of Ed to not make a fuss.

Team Ed.

I am enormously frustrated that the pea incident was not brought to the attention of the judges, since nothing would have made me happier than watching Tom Colicchio take old Beaker to task. But no mind.  Tom does weigh in on the incident here.

Ed, this post is for you. I am rooting for your continued success, and hope you move beyond this betrayal to simply out-cook him at every turn. Alex, you can suck it.

I love peas, so in honor of Ed, here are some of my favorite pea recipes!

Amazing Pea Dip

3 c frozen peas, thawed

½ c butter, soft

½ c cream

½ c truffle oil (you can substitute a fruity olive oil, but if you can do the truffle oil, it is totally worth it!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Onion Sprouts or chopped chives for garnish

Boil peas until very tender in salted water, about 8-10 minutes. Puree with butter, cream and oil in blender or with immersion blender or in food processor until very smooth. Season to taste. You can leave as is, or push through a fine strainer for an even smoother texture. Serve room temp or slightly warmed sprinkled with onion sprouts or chopped chives. Some good dippers: sesame rice crackers, endive spears, celery, jicama, pita chips, fingers.

Green Pea Hummus with Mint and Feta

1 pound frozen baby sweet peas, thawed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 c chopped fresh mint

2 oz crumbled feta

2 tablespoon juice from one lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Puree peas, olive oil, mint, feta and lemon juice in bowl of food processor until smooth, scraping down sides now and again, about 30 seconds total. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For serving, drizzle with more olive oil, and top with toasted pine nuts or walnuts.

Thai-style Pea Soup

6 cups chicken broth, plus as needed

1 cup onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 teaspoons green curry paste

1 t Thai fish sauce

8 cups peas (thawed if using frozen)

Salt and pepper as needed

1 teaspoon toasted mustard seeds

1/4 cup chopped mint

Add about 1/2 cup of the broth to a soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic, fish sauce and curry paste. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the peas, cover the soup, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes before pureeing to the desired consistency with a handheld blender. Return the soup to a simmer over low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with toasted mustard seeds and chopped mint.

Pea Pesto

12 oz frozen peas, thawed

1-2 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus additional for serving

1/3 cup olive oil

1 T Italian parsley

Put peas in food processor and pulse to chop finely. With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Turn off motor and add nuts, cheese, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until totally smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve on pasta, as a sandwich spread, on poached chicken, blend with ricotta or goat cheese for ravioli filling, or drizzle over a Caprese salad instead of basil and balsamic.

Four Pea Salad

8 oz frozen petite sweet peas, thawed

8 oz snow peas, blanched and chilled

8 oz sugar snap peas, blanched and chilled

4 oz pea shoots

2 oz crumbled goat cheese

¼ c toasted sliced almonds

1 head endive

Juice of ½ lemon

¼ c olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cut the endive, snow peas and sugar snap peas on the diagonal in bite sized pieces. Toss all peas and endive with lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with goat cheese and almonds.

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. Stacey ~
    Oh how I so entirely concur with you about the whole Top Chef escapades with the pea puree snatcher.. I think everyone (including Alex) will agree with Ed seems to be a MUCH better chef than Alex, Chefmates will agree there would be no way on this green planet Alex could have pulled that caliber of sauce off - less us not forget in his own words "I have no idea where I am heading with this mess"... Oh sure, so we are now left to believe that he pulled this out in the 11th hour? Oh pulleeezee, has he not been consistently at the bottom of the heap? Now he wins top prize? Tom,Padma I beg of you - see the obvious here. Make sure his giant beek and tweeked out eyes do NOT grace with wall at the Palm D.C. GO ED, GO ED, GO ED!!

  2. I like your thoughts about pea karma coming back to bite him in the a@#. I too thought Ed showed much class by not going on about his puree. Frankly, I don't know how Alex could look at himself in the mirror after accepting praise for the puree! :)

  3. I did try the "Green Pea Hummus with Mint and Feta" recipe and I did it well. My mom really loves it. Big thanks for posting this up. (^_^)