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The Princess and The Peas
A bowl of peas fit for a princess
If I was a storybook princess, I’d be the sleepless star of the fairytale the “Princess and the Pea.” While I skirt around ever explicitly calling myself a princess (with a name like Grace Kelly, I already get it a lot), I am a light sleeper, and if you put a dried out little pea on my mattress, I’d feel it. So there you go: forget Sleeping Beauty, my spirit princess is definitely this nameless regent who can’t get a good night’s sleep.
Anywho, while I would dislike a pea poking into my back, I do love eating them. This recipe dresses them up with a California sensibility and makes for a lovely spring side dish.
The Princess and the Peas with Green Goddess, Feta, and Almonds
Heidi Swanson is one of my favorite cookbook authors. Her recipes have a California sensibility; think Alice Waters meets aging hippie. There’s a whole lotta grains, seeds, avocado, herbs, and turmeric. Normally I’m not a huge fan of this style of cooking (it’s a bit too woo-woo for my taste), but Swanson’s unpretentious recipes are always practical, easy, and most importantly, tasty.
This elegant preparation of peas is inspired by Swanson’s light touch and obsession with avocado. Frozen green peas are gently steamed in the microwave, tossed in a bright riff on green goddess dressing, and dressed up with avocado, herbs, feta, and crunch from toasted almonds. It’s a lovely side to roasted salmon or chicken.
A Note: You’ll have extra Green Goddess dressing, which would taste lovely in a chicken salad, or on any salad for that matter. It also strangely delicious drizzled on quesadillas.
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 small clove garlic
1 avocado, divided in half
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 scallion, roughly chopped
1/4 c mayonaise
2 Tbsp sour cream
3 ounces feta cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
First, steam the peas…
Place peas and a 1/2 tsp of salt in a microwave-safe bowl with lid (Anyday, Pyrex bowl and lid, or CorningWare). Cook for 2 minutes, check ,and continue to cook under warm, but still bright green and not mushy. Strain any water and set aside.
Now, make the Green Goddess…
Using a hand blender and tall, narrow container (or a traditional blender), blend together the garlic, anchovy, half the avocado, buttermilk, cilantro, scallion, mayo, sour cream, feta, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once smooth, add olive oil and blend to integrate. Taste, and add more salt and/or lemon juice as needed.
Next, prepare the toppings…
Cut up the remaining half of the avocado into cubes. Toast the almonds in a nonstick skillet until light brown and nutty smelling, and let cool. Set aside.
Put it all together…
Place peas in a serving bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the green goddess dressing. Sprinkle with avocado, almonds, and remaining feta (breaking it apart). Hit it all with a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt if needed, and serve.
3 Things I’m Loving Right Now
🌶 Molly Baz’s Slow-Roasted Gochujang Chicken 🌶
This recipe is genius. A chicken slathered in an gochujang-oil-garlic-ginger mixture is roasted surrounded by a bed of potatoes, imbuing them with schmaltzy goodness. It’s spicy, finger-licking good and with my addition of green beans and cabbage, slightly healthy. It’s also the gift that keeps on giving: I love collecting the leftover spicy schmaltz (read: chicken drippings) and tossing some vegetables (or potatoes) in it, then roasting them. Any leftover chicken can be used in a slightly spicy version of my family’s slip chicken and dumpling soup.
I love a fruity, tart French wine, and this red from Bordeaux is *on point.* A warm earthy backdrop balances out juicy notes of blackberry, cranberry, and raspberry, with a lick of tannins to round it out. Scrumptious.
Yes, Yoplait isn’t exactly cool, but whatever! Their mocha chocolate yogurt has been my go-to snack lately; I love espresso paired with tangy, creamy yogurt and little bits of chocolate—*chef’s kiss*— (though if I’m honest, the chocolate is almost like a second thought).