Thursday, April 14, 2011

Braised Peas with Scallions and Lettuce

Ever on the lookout for new ways to serve green vegetables, I marked this recipe in a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens and went out to shop for ingredients. In the meantime, my sister-in-law ended up in the hospital for a few days and I took her a stack of magazines to read, including the one with this recipe. I hunted for it on line and was happy to find it here:

I didn't even start dinner last night until 8:15 or so, after choir practice, so I needed something nutritious that could be prepared quickly. I put a package of salmon fillets in the oven, set DS to preparing whole wheat macaroni and cheese, and started chopping green onions and romaine lettuce. Dinner was on the table in a half an hour and the new recipe proved very tasty, an excellent vehicle for serving green vegetables, including the season's very first harvest of fresh mint from our yard. The picture shows how it looked in the pan; it looked even better next to the orange of the salmon and the yellow of the macaroni and cheese, but I was too hungry to think about taking another picture.

This recipe is by British chef Jamie Oliver, whose "Food Revolution" has sparked more than a little controversy on this side of the pond. Jamie crusades to make school lunches healthier, occasionally putting himself at odds with budget-strapped school systems and frankly, people who just don't want a guy with a chopping knife and an English accent telling them what to do. Not having been much of a fan of peas as a child myself, I'm not sure how this recipe would fare in an Indiana school cafeteria, but DS liked it, praising the tangy flavor, and he backed up the praise by eating two or three helpings. The nutritional content is impressive: 142 calories, only 5 grams of fat, 4 mg of cholesterol, low in sodium, carbs and sugar, a decent level of fiber and protein and 55% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Two thumbs way, way up!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tomato Redux

Faithful readers may remember our tomato debacle of a couple of years ago when my well-meaning DH managed to kill the plants that DS had spent the whole spring nurturing from seeds. Last year DS, stubborn like all the men in my family, refused to have anything to do with plants, but this year there were signs of a thaw, so I planted a variety of tomato seeds in twenty-two pots using some potting soil I bought at Lowe's. DS got eleven of them for his east-facing window and the west windows of the kitchen got the other eleven. We already had the pots, so all I had to buy for this venture were seeds and soil, so I spent less than $10 total.

It took a couple of weeks for the first seedlings to appear. The potting soil is very loose and every time I pour in water the soil floats up and rearranges, which can't be good for the seedlings. DS had already proclaimed the entire enterprise a dismal failure before the first telltale loop of green appeared in one of the pots. We now have more than twenty tomato plants. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another bumper tomato crop here at the old jail. DS is starting to show some interest, but he leaves the watering to me, and we are both watching DH closely to make sure he doesn't decide to "help."