Thursday, July 21, 2011

Purple Hull Peas, Potatoes and Tomatoes

The other day, my brother-in-law brought me a big bag of purple hull peas that my sister-in-law's father (aka, Steve) had grown on his farm. Ahhh, family connections. Just so happens, my father-in-law brought us a bunch of the best tomatoes ever on the same day! They are from somewhere in Mississippi (Coldwater, I think) and he shows up at my house with them a couple of times a summer (much to our delight). We had the makings for the next night's dinner.

I had never shelled peas before. Really. It's not hard, but it was a bit more time consuming than I planned for. (Note to self: if planning on eating dinner at six, do not start shelling the peas at 5:05. You will not be eating until after 7). But it was totally worth it.

When I finished the shelling, I started some roasted potatoes. The delicious potatoes also came to us by way of my brother-in-law from Steve's farm a few weeks ago. They were just tossed in olive oil, chopped onion, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. They were perfect-crispy on the outside and super creamy on the inside.

I threw together some of our favorite cornbread from my favorite Moosewood cookbook and baked that in the oven as well.

1 cup of cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup brown sugar (I lean towards the latter)
1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (I usually have yogurt on hand)

Sift dry ingredients together. Make a well in the middle. Mix all the ingredients up in a different bowl. Pour wet ingredients into the well and mix until moistened. Pour into 9 inch square greased or oiled baking pan and pop in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. I make this all the time. It's virtually impossible to screw up and it's super moist.

For the peas, I just sauteed onion, purple bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper in a little olive oil until soft, then added the peas and vegetable broth to almost cover. I covered the pot and simmered until most of the liquid was absorbed and the peas were soft, but still a little "al dente". Then added salt and pepper. That was it and that's all they needed. When things are that fresh, simple is definitely best.

To bring it all home, I sliced up some of those freakin' awesome tomatoes and lightly salted them. This was one of the freshest, most satisfying, earthy meals I've had in a while. And Graham ate almost that entire plate of food!

Not that they'll ever read this, but I dedicate this blog post to Steve and Graham Sr, without whom, our dinner last night would not have been possible. (Oh, and Justin, for delivery). I just love farm fresh food. And family.

*Purple hull peas are great source of fiber, which helps get all the bad stuff out of our systems. After eating a meal like this, you'll feel like a million bucks. Well, maybe a little too full. But that was my own doing.

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