More Peas Please…



music: Heatbeats by Jose Gonzalez

I feel really sad every time I think of this blog.  I wanted for so long to write a blog about eating healthy, fresh, and local food.  And finally, I actually got around to doing it, only to leave it behind when things got crazy!  The nice thing though is, this is how I normally strive eat, all of the time, so now that I have a little extra time to myself, I can start posting again!

I have been so glad that summer is here with tons and tons of fresh local produce! This past weekend I bought some really sweet fresh peas!  I have been wanting to try this recipe from one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks for months and with fresh peas finally available, I was able to!  And it was delicious!

I did make some changes to the pea recipe and added some spicy shrimp on the side.

Fresh Smashed Peas with Buffalo Mozzarella and Red Chili Shrimp

For the smashed peas…

1 1/2 pounds fresh peas in their pods

1 pound fresh fava beans in their pods

small bunch of freshly picked mint

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

1.5 ounces pecorino cheese

juice of 1 lemon

4 slices sour dough bread

1 clove garlic, cut in half

2 large balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, torn in half

handful of pea shoots


Shell the peas and the fava beans and place in separate bowls.

Using a pestle and mortar (or pulsing in a food processor) mash up half the mint leaves with the peas and a pinch of salt.  Add the fava beans and crush into a thick green paste.

Mash in extra virgin olive oil to make the paste spreadable (about one to two tablespoons).  Next stir in the pecorino cheese.

Add the lemon juice.

Season with more salt,  pepper, or mint if needed.

Toast the bread and rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic.  Top with the smashed peas, torn mozzarella, pea shoots, and a fresh mint leaf.

For the Red Chili Shrimp…

2 pounds of shrimp, cleaned and peeled.

extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon red chili flakes (or less for a milder shrimp)

1 cup white wine

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Next add the garlic and red chili flakes and cook thirty seconds longer.  Add the shrimp and cook for about two minutes.   Next add the white wine and continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through.




It’s been a long time since I update this!  Things have been hectic.  I finished up my Masters in Nutrition Education.  Got placed at a Dietetic Internship for this fall.  Been working lots of hours teaching kids about nutrition.  Doing some yoga and finding time to go running.  Now that its summer here in New Jersey and there are plenty of farmer’s markets and tons of fresh local fruits and vegetables, I hope to be updating and coming up with lots of new recipes!  Stay tuned!

Leftover Chicken Sandwich

music: “Timshel” by Mumford and Sons

Sometimes when you roast an entire chicken, just for yourself, there tends to be a lot of left over chicken.  This sandwich is a great way to use some of it up in a delicious way!  All you have to do it take one bagel, cut it in half and spread one laughing cow cheese wedge on the top half.  On the bottom half spread some honey mustard.  Then place some sliced chicken on top of the mustard and toast both halves in the toaster oven.  When everything is nice and toasted, place some slices of a sweet apple (something like fuji, pink lady, or whatever variety you get in your CSA box !)  Then just close it up and enjoy!

Simple Lunch

music: “Winter Winds” by Mumford and Sons

Sometimes the best dishes require no cooking.

Easier Than It Looks

music: To Be Alone With You” by Sufjan Stevens

I always thought roasting a turkey or a chicken was only for people who really knew how to cook, the professionals, like my mom and chef’s.  However, it turns out, it’s a lot simpler than I had always imagined.  Not only does roasting a chicken fill the house with an amazing aroma, but it provides lunches and dinners for a few days.

When it comes to something simple, like roasting a chicken or vegetables, I usually refer to Simple Food by Alice Waters.  I like to use a ton of herbs to flavor up the chicken, so I can avoid adding butter or oil to flavor it.

I used approximately:

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp pepper

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tb fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tb fresh sage, chopped

1 tsp thyme

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

1 lemon, halved

1 red onion sliced

First you have to remove that little bag inside that cavity and rinse the bird well.  Then you just rub all the herbs and spices underneath the skin onto the breast and inside the cavity of the bird.  Stuff the lemons and half of the onions inside the cavity.  Then sprinkle the rest of the onions on top of the bird.

The size of your bird will determine how long you cook it.  The package always gives guidelines on  cook times.  But here’s a good tip, which may be a little high matenance and certainly not necessary, but I think it makes a difference.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and roast the chicken for 20 minutes breast side up.  After 20 minutes flip the bird over.  Continue to flip the bird every twenty minutes until it is cooked through.  Once finished, let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Even though I don’t eat the skin, it’s always nice to have nice, golden brown, crispy skin.  As you can see, added butter and oil is not necessary!

I find it easiest to use the cooking time on the package as a general ballpark, but an instant read thermometer is really a good tool to have when cooking large cuts of meats.  Unless you have a really good eye, its quite easy to cook chicken much longer than actually necessary.  The chicken is finished when the breast meat has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.

I love to eat roasted chicken along with fresh roasted vegetables.

Just tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, then roasted.

The best part about this, is there will be plenty of chicken left over, sliced for sandwiches and salads, shredded for burritos, or anything your mind can come up with.  There might not be as much left over if you’re cooking for your whole family, but then at least there will be plenty of smiles at the dinner table!

Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized

A few weekends ago, I participated in a weekend retreat called Cornerstone.  Now, although I am not super religious myself, my mom has been actively involved in planning the weekend/retreat for a few years now.  She has asked me to attend the weekend before and this year I finally agreed.  It was a wonderful weekend for so many reasons.  But of course, I took away recipes and inspiration for recipes, which is why I decided to make this soup.

At the best possible moment, at an untimely hour, a group of welcoming and excited women handed me a bowl of Chicken Orzo Soup.  I immediately found my mom, who like I said helps to run the weekend, and said, “you can get me the recipe, right?”  She of course was able to, after a few days, but I am slighly impatient, and made this wonderful version out of an Ellie Krieger Cookbook the next day.

4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo, preferably whole wheat
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.

Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

note:  If you have leftovers, you will have to add broth when you reheat the soup, because the orzo absorbs the broth.

Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Per serving:
Calories 280; Total fat 10g (Sat fat 2g, Mono fat 6g, Poly fat 1g); Protein 26g; Carb 22g; Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 139mg; Sodium 291mg

Excellent source of:
niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C

Good source of:
copper, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, pantothenic acid, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin K, zinc

The soup has the wonderful lemony flair, which works really well with the traditional chicken soup flavor.  I love how Ellie Krieger’s cookbooks give you the nutritional information, which is why I included it here.

White Chicken Chili

music: “Adventures in Solitude” by The New Pornographers

Things in my life have been super hectic, and unfortunately this blog has suffered.  Even though I haven’t been able to update it lately I am looking forward to devoting more time to Apples in Autumn as soon as I hand in my dietetic internship applications on the 15th!  It is all so nerve-racking.  But here’s a recipe that can help calm your nerves because it is so warm, soothing, and delicious!

And of course perfect for a cold winter night, especially if your life has been completely taken over by snow and ice, like mine has!

White Chicken Chili adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Serves 4

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed

1 medium onion, small diced

drizzle of olive oil

2 cans cannellini beans

14.5 ounces chicken broth

2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup skim milk

8 ounce fat-free sour cream

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and chopped onion and saute for about six minutes, or until the chicken is seared and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes.

Add the beans, spices, chicken broth and green chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the sour cream and skim milk. Serve with cheddar cheese and additional sour cream to top.