In the Spotlight: Peas

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Reaching their peak season during Spring, peas can offer. An impressive nutrition profile that is so ofteh overlooked.

Did you know that a half cup serving of  shelled peas can supply an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source. Of Vitamin A, plus four grams of fiber and plant based protein.

All varieties of peas, including English green peas, snow and sugar peas are versatile and can serve as a main ingredient in stir- frys, salads, pasta, spreads and soups.

Green Peas

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The most common type of green peas include the English or garden peas, which are vibrant green and plump with pods that contain upbtobten precious round green seeds.

This variety is best eaten fresh. You should choose fresh garden peas thatcare small to medium in size because they will be the sweetest. When preparing them, just remove and discard the pods before eating them. When using them in pasta, soup or grain dishes, add peas during the last few minutes of cooking to maintain the beautiful green color.

For more traditional dishes, you can pair green peas with potatoes, carrots, onions and herbs like mint, basil and parsley.

In addition to being fresh, green peas are also available are year round in the canned or frozen forms. Try using them in making a mock gacumole with thr usual avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice for the right touch of acidity.

 

Snow Peas

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The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) is a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The name mangetout (French for “eat all”) can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas.

Snow peas are botanically known as Pisum satvium and are considered to be a hardy annual. sugar-ann-snap-sweet-peaThe entire pod is edible while unripe and typically grows up to 6″ in length. Produce on a climbing vine, Snow peas offer a sweet, tender flavor that has mild green notes.

Also known as Chinese peas, snow peas are flat with small seeds having a pleasant herbaceous flavor.

Did you know that the name mangetout (French for “eat all”) can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas and this vegetable has been cultivated since the 19th century in Europe?

Another fun fact is that Austrian scientist and monk Gregor Mendel  used peas which he called vi_a_201Pisum saccharatum” in his famous experiments demonstrating the heritable nature of specific traits, though this Latin name might not refer to the same varieties identified with modern snow peas. Imagine that, the entire study of genetics is based on the humble pea!

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When selecting snow peas, look for smooth pods with bright green skins and are at least 3 inches in length. The whole pod is edible abr contains the most fiber of all the varieties of peas currently being cultivated.

The best method for cooking snow peas is by steaming. In preparing snow peas before stir-frying, sauteeing or simmering, trim the stem end and remove the string along the side of the pod. You can refrigerate the peas in a kraft paper bag or a perforated plastic bag and use within three days.

Sugar Snap Peas

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Bright, crisp and naturally sweet, sugar snap peas are a cross between garden peas and snow peas.

Sugar Snap peas are bright green with thick walls that encase a row of petite green peas. The pea pod itself is crisp, juicy and fresh tasting and the peas, tender with a sweet pea flavor. The entirety of the pod, both the shell and peas are edible. In addition the vine, leaves and flowers or pea tendrils the Sugar Snap pea grows on is edible as well.

Sugar Snap peas provide a good source of vitamins A, C, potassium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine.

When selecting sugar snap peas, look for firm pods that do not bend and snap easily. In terms of storing this variety, refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag for up to five days.

Sugar Snap peas are a versatile pea and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Serve whole on crudites trays or as an appetizer. Their crunchy texture makes them fun for snacking or just dipping in hummus or paired with cream based dips and cheese. Snap in half and add to an array of salads. Stringless Sugar Snap peas can be utilized whole and added to stir-fries, soups and sautés or even braised alongside beef or duck.

Sources:
Weis Super Markets Healthy Bites Magazine, March/April 2018. “Ripe Now: Peas”. Retrieved 20 March 2018. http://healthybites.weismarkets.com/18Mar/Page-4

Specialty Produce (2018). “Stringless Sugar Snap Peas”. Retrieved 26 March 2018. http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Stringless_Sugar_Snap_Peas_410

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Fried Cauliflower Tacos

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Tacos may just be the perfect food—handheld, delicious canvases with seemingly infinite flavor possibilities. Here is my healthy take on vegetarian-style fish tacos, using cauliflower and a host of other vegetables. All the crunch, texture and deliciousness and a great option when you want to go the meatless route—or when you just want a really delicious taco.

And to be perfectly honest, this is the best taco I have ever had. You can enjoy this taco for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Happy Eating!

Serves 4 to 8

Ingredients:
For the Spicy Slaw:
1 small head of red cabbage
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2 teaspoons lime juice
A pinch of salt

For the Black-Eyed Pea Salsa:
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 15-ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower, sliced into florets
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Lawery’s Seasoning Salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Canola oil, for frying

For the Guacamole Dressing:
1 Whole Avocado, sliced, pitted an remove from the shell
1 scallion, thinly sliced, both green and white parts
2 Tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon lime juice
A pinch of salt
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup Monterey Jack
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 to 3 jalapeños, sliced
Lime slices, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 225°F.

For the Slaw:
Finely slice cabbage and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together mayo, Sriracha, lime juice and salt. Add dressing to cabbage and mix thoroughly. Place slaw in the refrigerator to chill.

For the Salsa:
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
For the Guacamole dressing:
In a medium bowl, add the avocado, sour cream, lime juice and salt an stir until completely combined. Place the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to make the tacos.

For the Cauliflower:
Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a Dutch oven or deep saucepan to 350°F. Prepare three separate bowls for the breading station: 1 with flour seasoned with the cumin, seasoning salt,garlic powder and cayenne; the second bowl with eggs and the last bowl with combined the panko and breadcrumbs, Working in batches, dredge cauliflower in the flour, then the eggs and lastly the breadcrumbs, coating completely.

Again, Working in batches, fry cauliflower for 2 to 3 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Place fried cauliflower on a rack in the oven to keep warm.

Heat a pan over medium and warm tortillas.

To serve, fill toasted tortillas with 1 tablespoon of guacamole dressing, a good handful of slaw and three or four cauliflower pieces. Top with Monterey jack cheese, a few crumbles of feta cheese, one sprig of cilantro and a few slices of jalapeño, with the lime wedges on the side.

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Fried Catfish with Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Salsa:
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 15-ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Catfish:
Four to Six 8-ounce catfish fillets
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
A pinch of achiote powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
A pinch of  cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups yellow corn meal
Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
For the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside and let flavors meld.

For the Catfish:
Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. In a shallow baking dish, add salt, lemon pepper seasoning, achiote powder and lemon juice. Add the fillets and cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 25 minutes.

Combine the cornmeal and remaining spices in a shallow pie plate. Heat the oil to medium in a large cast iron skillet. Remove the fish from the refrigerator. Shake off excess marinade and dredge the fillets in seasoned corn meal. Fry in the hot oil until fish is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes or until fish easily flakes when tested with a fork. Drain on paper towels.

To serve, place the fillet in the center of plate and spoon the black-eye pea salsa on top.