Tan-tan chicken and snow peas

Tan Tan chicken with snow peas

In the spirit of trying to eat all things local, I’m posting this recipe as snow peas are now available in our local fields. At the very least I know that Red Fire Farm has them because they’re on the list for CSA members for Pick Your Own crops this week. If they’re not available yet in your area, these crisp, flat peas are typically out in loose bins at most grocery stores.

Between its sweetness and its crunch, the snow pea is a great snack in raw form. They’re also fantastic steamed or stir fried, and they do not require the accompaniment of any sauce or spice. In this case, I’ve tossed them in a peanut sauce that is just a little sweet, a little savory and has a touch of heat. This dish is fine on its own, but would be great served over rice too.

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp peanut butter

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1-1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp honey

2 medium cloves garlic, chopped

2-1/2 TBS peeled & grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp water

pinch of cayenne to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Snow peas, ends trimmed

1/2 cup minced scallion

Directions:

  • Bring a fry pan up to a medium heat and sauté the chicken breasts in sesame oil
  • When the breasts are cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside to rest while you prepare the sauce
  • Blend all of the remaining ingredients, except the scallion, together in a blender
  • Cut the rested chicken breasts up into bite-sized chunks and return them to the pan and toss with the snow peas, sauce and scallion

 

Paella

I will admit to being a bit apprehensive about attempting paella.  This dish is so rich in tradition and is thought of by many as the national dish of Spain for goodness sakes.  With the list of expensive ingredients (and I did an abridged version) I did not want to have the creation from hell (yes this has happened in my kitchen before) on my hands.  I can honestly say that my anxieties were for not.  The dish really comes together on its own- all the cook really does is add the ingredients at various stages and watch it happen.  The flavor profile is fantastic- sweet peas and creamy rice, acidic tomatoes, savory saffron.  This one is definitely worth your time.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 Spanish chorizo

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed

1 cup Spanish rice, short to medium grain

1 teaspoon saffron threads

3 cups water, warm

12-16 large shrimp, peeled

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed

Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:

  • Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry, then cut into cubes
  • Mix the oregano and paprika with salt and pepper in a small bowl
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the pieces of chicken; marinate for 30 minutes or more
  • Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or wide skillet over a medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, and brown
  • Add the chorizo and continue to for 5 minutes (you will see the sausage begin to brown)
  • Remove the chicken and sausage to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil

  • Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium
  • Make a sofrito by sauteing the garlic, onion, and tomatoes until the mixture caramelizes a bit; season with salt & pepper

  • Add the rice, stirring to coat the grains

  • Stir the saffron into the rice. Pour in the water and simmer for 10 minutes (do not cover)
  • Add the reserved chicken and chorizo. Give the paella a couple of good stirs to coat all of the pieces and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes
  • Scatter the peas & shrimp on top and continue to cook for 5 minutes

  • Allow to rest, off of heat for 5 minutes

  • Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges

This recipe was adapted from one by Tyler Florence.  I made my version a bit lighter and less heavy on the seafood.

J

Swiss Chard with Black-Eyed Peas

Had I the fore-thought I would have bought dried peas and soaked them overnight, then cooked them off before beginning this dish.  Because I didn’t, I used canned peas, but fresh-cooked are always the better option.  This is a great dish which can be eaten as a vegetarian main course (as the beans offer about 12 grams of protein), or as a flavorful side to something meaty.

Ingredients:

1 cup black-eyed peas , drained & rinsed
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves sliced separately, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions:

  • Heat 1/2 cup broth to a simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add onion, garlic and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes

  • Add the chard leaves, black-eyed peas, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup broth and cook over medium heat, covered, for about 3 minutes

We served this with some pork tenderloin that was seared in balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary.

The combination was quite lovely.

Inspired by this recipe on Whole Foods’ site.

J

Cod fillets with pea puree

So the title of this dish may not seem so catchy, but the flavor is great!  By using both the zest and the juice of the lemon you get a super flavor that holds up well after the fish has baked.  And because it only cooks for 15 minutes, the lemon doesn’t get that bitterness to it that it sometimes can after cooking.  As for the pea portion, imagine sweet and earthy and bright.  The onion and the garlic mellow out after cooking, and the peas really are the super-star.   I served this with jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth and water, and the pea puree was great on its own, and mixed with the rice.

baked lemon-parsley cod with pea puree and jasmine rice

Ingredients:

1 lb cod filets (thick cut)

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

3 TBS chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp salt

pinch cayenne

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced

4 TBS chicken (or vegetable) broth

15 oz frozen sweet peas

4 TBS sunflower seeds (raw and unsalted)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Chop onion and mince or press the garlic and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Mix together lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped parsley, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl
  • Rub cod filets with the marinade and place it in a baking dish. Place the fish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes
  • While the fish is baking, heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  • Add remaining broth, peas, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper, and heat for about 3 minutes

onion, garlic, chicken broth, peas, and sunflower seeds in the sauté pan

  • Puree the pea mixture in a blender

*Inspired by a post on World’s Healthiest Foods

J

Chicken & gnocchi with spinach and peas in a lemon cream sauce

Ladies and gentlemen: what kitch has for you today is another creation out of guest chef Neil’s kitchen.  This started off as a vegetarian dish to which Neil added chicken for protein, but it could certainly swing back to veg in a heartbeat.  He pulled off a cream sauce made with no butter and no cream- amazing!  And it tastes great.  The sauce has a soft heat from the red pepper being simmered into the milk, add to that a zing from the lemon, the sweet crunch of the peas… I could go on and on- just make it.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts

½ cup flour

Olive oil

1 cup frozen baby peas

1/2 cup evaporated skim milk

1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, smashed

3 cups packed baby spinach (3 ounces)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 pound gnocchi

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Directions

  • Put on a pot of salted water to boil for the gnocchi
  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks, season with  salt & pepper  and dredge in flour
  • Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add some olive oil, cook the chicken
  • Set cooked chicken aside on a dish
  • Simmer peas with evaporated skim milk, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the skillet, covered, until tender
  • Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.
  • Add gnocchi & chicken to the sauce with the cheese and some of reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin with additional cooking water if necessary

J