Earlier in the summer (but still too late to be spring), I bought peas from Bigg Blue Farm at Badseed Market. I had been hoping I'd find peas somewhere; after seeing so many farmers sell pea shoots all spring long, I figured there had to be a comparable number of peas to follow. But they are rare. There are sugar snap peas a-plenty, yes, but regular old shelling peas are few. So when I found the Bigg Blue peas, I snatched some up. I wish now that I'd bought every last pea he had.
I spent a very peaceful morning sitting in the sun on my church pew, shelling these peas - a little bit of zen. I had no idea how I'd cook them. I can't ever remember cooking fresh peas. I was considering mushy peas, one of my favorite bits of Britishness. But it seemed kind of a shame to boil and mush them, so tender and perfect as they were. I thought I might also blanch and freeze them for later - but that also seemed a shame. Ultimately, I decided to steam them with carrots for a plain and simple peas-n-carrots side dish for a "meat" and two veg. This turned out to be a perfect way to cook them while still allowing them their maximum pea-ness. Now I am just waiting for more peas in the fall; if I find any, I'm going to buy them all.
Next up on the list of memorable veg were these beets. We got them in our CSA share, I think ... or maybe I bought them at Badseed. I can't remember; we had an assortment. At any rate, by the time I pulled them out of the fridge to cook them, I'd forgotten that they were Chioggas. Until I sliced them open and found their psychedelic swirls. They were like peppermint candies, except that we drizzled them in olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and baked them in a hot oven (425, maybe?) for quite some time. They were better than peppermint candies. By far. And so stunning.
Thomas Hart Benton zucchini
On my last shift at CSA distribution, a friend was complaining about how she'd run out of things to do with all the summer squash we'd been getting. True, there had been an abundance of squash at each CSA pick up and at Badseed. But I hadn't quite exhausted my options yet - and besides that, I couldn't turn away the interesting shaped ones so I had my share of an abundance, as well.
So one night I made zucchini burgers (a la these eggplant burgers of 31 Veggie Burgers fame). Those almost-perfectly-round, ball-shaped squashes lent themselves well for this (one medium squash, two burgers), but you could use any of the zucchinis that have enough girth. I don't have a recipe for this dish, per se; all I can tell you is that I sautéed each relatively thick (1/4 inch or so) slice in a skillet until it was nice and brown, with thyme on one side and chipotle chili powder on the other side. (A good trick to remember: make some slices through the skin around the outer rim of each zucchini "patty" so the skin breaks easily when you bite into it.) Oh! And I added some cheese while the slices were still on the skillet. Any burger fixings are right with this - in our case I tossed in some meat-free deli slices for added protein. They were delicious burgers but all too short lived.
Good thing squash is still abounding this summer; I have a fridge-full of them and I'm ready for more.