BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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Mint Condition

For the sake of argument, let’s just say that you have a garden still overflowing with fresh mint, and for some odd reason or another, you recently bought an entire case of green pea flour on whim. Crazy scenario, I know, but humor me for a moment here. Managing those two surpluses separately would be completely possible, but a wasted opportunity. What combination has stood the test of time better or longer than mint and peas, after all? Bright, sprightly peppermint seamlessly works its way not only into every viable crack in the soil, but also every dish in the kitchen, effortlessly jumping from sweet to savory and back again. That lively punch of flavor is just what an odd-ball ingredient like pea flour needs to shake off its shyness and triumphantly emerge from the pantry once more.

A prime breakfast, brunch, or side dish option, the fluffy yet sturdy crumb of these muffins will make you forget all about mum’s traditional mushy peas. Pops of subtle sweetness from whole green peas balance out this savory affair, while the pea flour keeps the flavor front and center through every bite. Lightly buttery and surprisingly rich, you’ll forget all about the abundant whole grains and vegetables sneaking in at the same time. Keep a stash of these satisfying little quick breads frozen, ready to defrost and serve in an instant, and you’ll never again struggle to finish your peas at dinner.

Minted Pea Muffins

1 Cup Green Pea Flour
1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup Packed Fresh Mint Leaves, Finely Minced
1 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Green Peas, Thawed
1 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine or Coconut Oil, Melted
2 Teaspoons Light Agave Nectar
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a standard-sized muffin tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pea flour, white whole wheat flour, minced mint leaves, baking powder and soda, salt, and black pepper. Once all of the dry goods are thoroughly mixed, add in the thawed green peas and lightly toss them to coat. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins later on.

Separately, mix the non-dairy milk, oil, melted margarine or coconut oil, agave, and vinegar. Once combined, pour the wet into the bowl of dry ingredients, and use a wide spatula to incorporate. Stir just until a smooth batter forms, being careful not to over-mix. Divide the batter evenly between 9 – 10 muffin prepared cups, depending on how tall you want your muffins.

Bake for 16 – 20 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the centers pulls out cleanly. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Eat warm, cool, or freeze for future enjoyment.

Makes 9 – 10 Muffins

Printable Recipe


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Peas and Thank You

Perhaps I jumped the gun a bit, but with such great temptation staring me straight in the eyes, my will to respect the seasons and their respective vegetative offerings was instantly reduced to zero. After a day of brilliant sunshine and even being able to leave my heavy winter coat at home, can you really blame me? I’m over winter, and considering the waning piles of dirty snow left on sidewalks, I think it’s finally starting to relinquish its icy grip, ever so slowly. Thus, when I saw those dazzling green pearls sitting alluringly in the refrigerated grocery case, shelled and ready to go, I snatched up that last parcel of fresh peas before anyone could talk me out of it. Enough beating around the bush- Let’s just get on with spring already.

To really honor such a lovely main ingredient, a brilliantly simple formula for pea soup sounded like just the thing to kick this season off right. Hardly even worthy of a written recipe, this is a dish that nonetheless is worth your attention, because it draws out the fresh, green flavor from each tender sphere, and allows them to shine. As a dish shared by Sue Cadwell, my boss, mentor, and best friend, I could hardly expect anything otherwise. A gentle swirl of vegan sour creme added the touch of richness I was craving, but it’s also perfectly delicious with a drizzle of olive oil to finish, or left entirely unadorned. If you wanted to liven things up, consider adding a splash of lemon juice, a pinch of smoked paprika, or a few springs of fresh mint, too.

Since shelling so many peas could be an endeavor requiring much more zen-like patience than the average person can manage, should shelled fresh peas be unavailable, go right ahead and substitute frozen. They’re just as tasty, if slightly less vibrant.

Fresh Pea Soup
By Health in a Hurry Chef/Owner Sue Cadwell

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Cups Chopped Yellow Onions
4 – 7 Cups Vegetable Broth
2 Pound Fresh, Shelled Peas (or Frozen)
Salt, to Taste

Vegan Sour Creme, to Serve (Optional)

Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with the olive oil, and set over medium-low heat. Sauté the onions briefly, stirring well to coat with the oil, and add in 4 cups of the broth. Cover, and cook for approximately 20 minutes. You don’t want them to brown or caramelize at all, but cook down practically to mush. lid, cook until they’re mushy without browning.

Rinse peas under hot water and thaw if frozen. Toss them into the pot of onions and stock, and cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes until tender, if using fresh. For frozen peas, immediately turn off the heat and don’t let them cook much at all. You want to preserve that brilliant green color, and they’ve already been blanched prior to freezing so they’re pre-cooked.

Transfer the mixture to your blender and puree, adding more broth if desired until the soup reaches your ideal thickness. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the capacity of your blender. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Top with “sour creme” to serve, if desired.

Makes Approximately 3 Quarts

Printable Recipe

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