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Peas, Wonderful Peas!


We scanned the market vendor stalls and spotted our guy down the aisle–and, just as importantly, his big blue cooler.

“I can see them!” I shouted back over my shoulder, doing my best to move forward through the Saturday morning crowd without kicking a stroller or bumping a shopper. “He has the peas!”

I was sad that the party last weekend was just a shade too early to incorporate this personal highlight of the early local produce season. As a 2 lbs bag of already-shelled deliciousness was filled for me, the ladies behind us wondered how on earth you could use that much in a week. I wanted to reach into my supply and just grab a handful for them to snack on raw, but even I recognized in the moment that that would have been…weird.

Meanwhile, in addition to last week’s Mint Pea Soup and just crunching down on the little darlings straight out of the fridge, here are a few other things to do with peas. If you have a great pea recipe, please drop it in the comments. I’ll have another 2 lbs to deal with next week!

Mint Pea Dip (pictured above, left). I still had mint leftover from the party, so I whipped this up (literally–it took about 5 minutes, including blanching time) for a snack last night. It’s minty, garlicky, springtime in a bowl.

Crushed Peas with Tahini Possibly my favorite pea recipe, but I’ll have to keep testing that–for science!

Pea Pesto Crostini Haven’t tried this one yet, but it sure looks tasty.

Springing Into the Season


To introduce ourselves to Baltimore, Three Points Kitchen threw its second real-world, y’all-come-on-over event this past Sunday. Friends from far and near were kind enough to stop by and sample our kitchen’s offerings.

It was a Mad Hatter Tea Party of sorts, celebrating the arrival of the fresh produce of the season–bright pea and mint soup, roasted rhubarb, pencil-thin asparagus with wasabi dressing, duck egg salad on slices of warm baguette fresh from the oven, and radishes, baby greens, and homemade lemon butter slathered over just-baked rye bread. Plus sweets worthy of the Queen of Hearts, if we do say so ourselves.

We stopped just shy of breaking out the croquet mallets. The local Waverly Farmers Market provided most of the produce, including beautiful strawberries from the Eastern Shore that we topped with a St. Germaine Crème Anglaise. And just a few minutes shy of closing, the always-friendly staff at the Wine Source helped us procure all the parts of the Light Guard Punch we served alongside a watermelon lemonade for the abstainers in the crowd.

Want to try out what we ate? Here are a few of the recipes (if you have questions, just post ’em in the comments):

Chilled English Pea-Mint Soup

(N.B.: If you have 2 pints of heavy cream, you can make your own butter and use the remaining buttermilk to make this soup. It’s foodie pretension taken to the limit, but also incredibly satisfying kitchen crafting. If you don’t gloat too much about it, it’s really just 100% tasty.)

Asparagus with Wasabi-Mayonnaise Dip

Cornmeal Parmesan and Poppy Seed Crackers

French(ish) Baguettes

Graham Crackers

Rye Bread

Braided Lemon Bread

Spinach and Mushroom Phyllo Dough Triangles

Rhubarb Penuche Tart

Tiger Tea Cakes

St. Germaine Crème Anglaise

Light Guard Punch

Watermelon Lemonade

And finally, this post gave me the idea to embed a peony in a block of ice to float in the punch–a highly recommended decorative touch. Wish I had gotten a photo snap before it melted away.

That Kind of Weekend


Yesterday, I bought a single tomato for $2.50.

“Where did they come from?” I asked the vendor, the small box of red fruit clearly hypnotizing me. Thankfully, he didn’t look at me like I was  completely crazy and just assured me they were fresh picked out of the farm’s greenhouse, not snuck in on a truck from Mexico. Glancing at the $5/lb price tag, I counted my dollar bills and said I’d take one.

Now, as a child of Ohio’s yearly tomato abundance, the insanity of this purchasing decision did not escape me, but the tease of what would be coming in the weeks ahead, produce-wise, was too tempting to resist.

I also needed some reward for having walked the 2 miles to the market in a grey mist of rain that promises not to give up on our fair neighborhood until Thursday. Once I returned home with my goods, however, I found I didn’t really want to cook anything too much, the taste of what it was already seeming like more than enough. So I roasted the asparagus with just a bit of olive oil and salt, sauteed garlic and the hot pink radishes just long enough to kill off some of their bitter bite, and made up a pan pizza smothered in spinach, mushrooms, spring onions, and my favorite dill cheddar.

Once the oven is hot, I find it nearly impossible to not just keep going, so I baked off a loaf of whole wheat bread for Brian and some muffins for myself. I’ve been eating poorly while the husband has been away, so a quick baked good stuffed with what I could find leftover in the fridge and pantry (in this case, carrots, pecans, cranberries, and a fist full of unsweetened coconut) seemed like a pleasant way to get back on track after weeks of only buttered toast for breakfast. Fresh yogurt and a batch of cold brewed coffee are setting up now, so the house is stocked full of welcoming treats and this week’s bounty has thoroughly been put to use.

Except for that tomato. It’s so damn pretty I’m kind of afraid to eat it.

Bless This House


Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

I’m not sure how the tradition of bringing bread, salt, and wine as a housewarming gift got started among my highly transient cohort (I guess, like most people, we heard it one too many times during the annual Christmas screening of It’s a Wonderful Life). Regardless, two sets of wonderful Baltimore friends made moves at the end of April, so I cracked open Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice yesterday and got to work on a couple of challah loaves to celebrate these new homes.

Like all traditions, variations pop up. I just came across a version that substitutes a new broom for the wine, “to sweep your troubles or sorrows away,” which sounds both poetic and practical. Honestly, with friend’s like mine, I’d always thought we had added the wine part on ourselves (along with a nice cheese and a container of olives, of course).

How Does Your Garden Grow?


The plants are in and the sun is out. Root vegetables are about to take a back seat on the menu for some time.

Clockwise from top: pea shoots, garlic patch (w/requisite flamingo–this is Baltimore, baby), chives, and our porch pansies (for color). Tomato, pepper, and lettuce plants, as well as other assorted herbs have also set up shop nicely in this year’s backyard garden.

Three Cubed: Better Than Cake


The Book: Flavors of Hungary : Recipes and Memoirs by Charlotte Biro (1973)

As can be said for most April days here in Baltimore, it was dark, grey, and raining. Unwilling to leave my cozy kitchen for any purpose or ingredient not already pantry-side, I cracked open another cookbook in my stash that I had yet to actually use: Flavors of Hungry. The book, once part of a larger grandmotherly collection, had been passed on to me by a friend. She suspected that, going on as I do about my Hungarian roots and how my own grandmother never measured anything the same way twice, I might put it to good use.

Page 127 was an illustration, but page 128 was a recipe for what looked like a basic bread but contained both riced potatoes and cake flour. Rye flour was a suggested alternative to the potatoes so, having the latter but not the former, appropriate substitutions commenced.

As it turns out, the Hungarian aversion to measuring that my grandmother professed must be a universal. Water was to be added “as needed” and just how much potato was required (or how much rye flour was to be added, if that was the swap) was left to the cook’s own judgement. Assuming a certain skill level, the instructions only go so far: for example, you are to work the dough “until the texture is right” and you’re on your own as far as figuring out what that might be. This was probably more than obvious to most women in 1973, but it made me reflect on the requirements of recipes today.

Having a bit of bread-making experience in my hands, I felt pretty confident moving through the steps and ended up with a lovely round loaf with a thick, crisp crust. If I had it to do again, however, I would opt for the loaf pan version. The cake flour in this recipe, though only a small portion of the total, is what I suspect made the crumb so soft and just slightly glossy/chewy/stretchy. Unlike some homemade bread that can’t handle sandwich duty without crumbling to bits, this tasty rye could easily flex to withstand the weight of a turkey slice or the pull of a thick peanut butter even (gasp!) untoasted.