Friday, March 29, 2013

Frugal Foodie Friday - Peas and Carrots for Holiday Meals

Courtesy of KellerAC and deviantART
From the Kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I faced a dilemma today. Frugal Foodie Friday rolled around again and despite the holiday weekend, I felt compelled to weave at least a few inexpensive dishes into the meals I'd be serving for the holiday. I decided that I could pare back on the cost of vegetables and still come up with side dishes that were easy to prepare but still worthy of a holiday meal. I quickly honed in on peas and carrots and I think you'll agree, that they are eminently affordable and fit nicely into the frugal foodie program. Now, I have a long history with peas. As a child, I hid them in my dinner napkin and as a young woman they were the cause of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. To wit, the Silver Fox and I were having dinner with the folks who were responsible for the promotion he had just received. I was seated next to the chairman of the board who was a charming and attentive host. I was very much the young mother at this stage of my life and as the waiters began to clear the table I looked at his plate and admonished him saying, "You haven't touched your peas." You know those sink holes we've been reading so much about? I truly prayed the earth would swallow we whole and I suspect the love of my life would have gladly pushed me in. He still smiles whenever I serve peas. I did some extensive searching to find the recipes I'm sharing with you tonight. I wanted them to be cheap, but I also wanted them to be special enough to serve with a holiday meal. I think you'll really like both these dishes. The peas are especially good and the carrots are a step above the glazed versions you usually encounter. I hope you'll give both these dishes a try. They are fast, easy and delicious and they fit quite nicely into the Frugal Foodie Friday program. Here's how they are made.

Peas with Lemon, Mint and Scallions...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine

Kosher salt
8 ounces shelled fresh peas (about 2 cups) or frozen peas (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper

1) To prepare peas: If using fresh peas, fill a large saucepan half full with water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt and bring to a boil. Drop peas into boiling water and cook until just tender (taste one or two), 2 minutes for smaller peas, 3 minutes for larger, older peas. Begin timing immediately; don’t wait for water to return to a boil. Use a mesh strainer to transfer peas to a dish towel or a few layers of paper towels to drain. Discard water peas were boiled in, but reserve pot. If using frozen peas, put them in a colander and run cold water over them for a few minutes until they’re mostly thawed. Spread them out on a few layers of dish towels to drain.
2) Melt butter in reserved saucepan over low heat. Add scallions and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon mint, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens slightly and a wooden spoon leaves a wide path when scraped across bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Add peas and stir until they’re heated through and well coated with sauce, 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat, taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately, garnished with the remaining mint. Yield: 3 to 4 servings.

Cook's Note: Recipe can be doubled.

Glazed Carrots with Tarragon...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine

1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds (about 2-1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

1) Put carrots in an 8-inch-wide, 3- to 4-quart saucepan and arrange snugly. Add butter, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and enough water to just cover carrots (about 2 cups).
2) Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook over high heat, shaking pan occasionally, until liquid has reduced to a syrupy glaze and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. (If the glaze is done before carrots, add about 1/2 cup water and continue to cook. If carrots are done first, remove them and continue to boil liquid until syrupy.)
3) Lower heat to medium low, add tarragon, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and serve. (The glazed carrots can be kept warm, covered, for about 20 minutes.) Yield: 4 servings.

Cook's Note: Recipe can be doubled.

One Year Ago Today:  Pasta con Sarde - St. Joseph's Pasta

Two Years Ago Today: Baked Cod Oreganata

Three Years Ago Today: Crock-Pot Apricot Jam


Ginny Hartzler said...

You have made them both look very pretty, and I do like carrots. Have I told you my pea story before? It seems everyone has one! When I was a child, my great-grandmother promised me a penny for every pea I ate. My goal was a quarter. I ate them all, then ran and threw up. She refused to give me the quarter.

Diane said...

You always make 'ordinary' food look exciting. Hope that you have a blessed Easter. Diane

Unknown said...

I was probably one of the few kids that liked peas growing up. Actually, for quite a while, peas were the only vegetable I would eat! It has taken me up until about 5 years ago to find a taste for cooked carrots though.. oh how I despised those as a kid!
Both of your recipes make me want to add these to our Easter menu!!

Anonymous said...

OOOps hat is a little embarrassing but funny!
I think one can never go wrong with good old peas and carrots and yours are tweeked nicely, fancy peas and carrots!

Tricia Buice said...

You cannot beat these side dishes. They are perfect with almost any meal. Have a blessed Easter with your family!

David said...

Mary, Nice simple vegetable recipes. I especially like the one for carrots. My favorite for peas isn't so simple although the ingredients are pretty straight forward. It's Peas Portuguese. Check out a typical recipe at I prefer pepperoni vs. the chourico. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Daniela Grimburg said...

Mary, this is the perfect recipe for today.
Frugal yet delicious.
Your presentation is so beautiful it's a real feast for the eyes even when you present humble peas and carrots :)

decocinasytacones said...

I love both ingredients, peas are great with a bit of sliced onion, sautée and then the peas, some potatoes and a fried egg on and simple and all in one plate. Carrots are great too...
Thanks for remind me of those...we´re starting the pea season now. I´m looking forward to eating them fresh again.
Love and happy Easter!!!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Both dishes are perfect for springtime and especially Easter.

Claudia said...

I just smiled. I hid broccoli. For years. Until I had it roasted. Love both the recipes - simple and elegant. And my mind does turn toward peas and mint when April comes near (although these days - I think our peas will be in June!) Happy Easter!

Joanne said...

My boyfriend adores peas so I definitely need to try this recipe out on him!

Unknown said...

Boy, I feel like I got two-for-one today! Two recipes and they both sound wonderful!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Haha you make vegetables look utterly brilliant :D


mia xara said...

I like your pea recipe Mary, as well as the embarrassing "blast from the past" story,I will fuss over cooked carrots though..Best wishes for a Blessed Resurrection day! XO

Sugar et al said...

Love the simplicity of the recipe. And it looks fantastic too!

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