It is not actually a butternut, this squash. It is long, curvy and unruly...
It is not actually a butternut, this squash. It is long, curvy, unruly.
The Corner Store in Chatham has been following this recipe for success
“Fresh, Fast, and Fun.” The staff at The Corner Store in Chatham has been following this recipe for success since opening for business back in 2005. Read more…
There are few things more rewarding than growing fruit. Read more…
Pea season on the Cape is short and sweet. You get three weeks, give or take a few days for a bad or good year. It’s not very much time to eat your fill. There are so many good local varieties—Lincoln and Coral and Sugar Snap and Early Frosty. It makes me a bit frantic.
The thing is, I like peas in all sorts of things. First of all, I love them plain, blanched, and eaten hot and sweet. I like them both fresh and cooked tossed into salads with butter lettuce and herbs, and I like them pureed with thick Greek yogurt and tossed as a sauce with garlic and orrechiette pasta. I like them over linguine with bacon and wilted arugula. I like them straight from the garden and out of the freezer in the middle of December.
We grew them in our home garden this summer for the first time. I’ve planted them before without any luck, but this time Sally helped me do a thick, early sowing. I was planting too late before; this year, they went into the ground on Saint Paddy’s Day. It snowed three times in the next week, but the peas germinated and flourished all the same.
Now that the pods are ripe, I’ve been eating the peas in soup. The recipe I like comes from a Darina Allen cookbook, Forgotten Skills of Cooking. It’s a newer cookbook, but it has an old-fashioned philosophy: Allen thinks we ought to teach every generation to cook, to eat in season, to cook with thrift, and to learn from our elders. I haven’t had a single recipe disappoint me.
This soup is a lovely introduction to Darina’s philosophy. You start with fresh peas, scallions, bacon, and butter—cooks like Darina aren’t afraid of a little animal fat. You sweat the bacon in the butter and sauté the scallions, then add lettuce, mint, chicken stock, sea salt and pepper, and a tiny pinch of sugar to taste. The icing on the cake is a few spoonfuls of heavy cream.
What you get is a soup that tastes very much of summer. You can serve it hot or cold, though I prefer it warm even on the hottest days. Everything gets pureed, and the soup is incredibly smooth and velvety. It’s also beautiful—a perfect pastel green—and if you want to really knock a guest’s socks off, you can serve it in white bowls with a garnish of pea tendrils and a few fresh peas.
We’ve made it three times this season already. I hope you’ll get to it—hurry! But if you don’t—there are, after all, only three short weeks—don’t worry. It’s best with fresh peas, but still quite good with frozen ones in the depths of winter.
Happy pea season, everybody.
Summer Green Pea Soup
This soup tastes like a hot July day, and it’s best eaten on one too. That said, peas freeze well, and frozen ones will make a very good version any time of year. Be sure to read the note below about cooking time—overcooking will cause the soup to lose its beautiful green color.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 slice bacon, chopped fine
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 and 1/2 pounds peas, fresh or frozen
- a few leaves of lettuce, shredded
- a sprig of mint
- 5 cups chicken stock
- sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and sugar to taste
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- optional: pea tendrils and a handful of fresh peas for garnish
1. Warm up the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
2. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and cook another few minutes, until they start to get tender. Add the peas, lettuce, mint, and chicken stock, and season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.
3. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the peas are just tender.
4. Puree the soup and stir in the cream. Serve warm, and if you like, garnished with fresh peas and pea tendrils.
If you make the soup ahead, reheat it with the cover off and serve immediately. If it simmers too long it will lose its bright green color.
I am writing this on March 4th. The sun is out, albeit faintly. Nature is still spinning in subdued monchromatic hues: burnt orange, army green, gray. Spring seems almost close enough to reach, but not quite touched down. Read more…
“Cranberries, known far and wide as Cape Cod’s ‘super fruit,’ are so good for you and also a great ingredient for just about any course on a holiday menu,” says Paul Cunningham, executive chef at Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee. Cunningham, former executive chef at Bice Ristorante in Washington, D.C., executive sous chef at Le Cirque and La Cote Basque in New York, and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has been the top chef at Willowbend for 20 years. Read more…
My daughter and my husband were due a day apart: September 26th and 27th, respectively. He arrived on the 20th in September of 1978.
Sally took her time. She was due on a Monday. Tuesday I was out running errands, getting coffee, my shirt no longer able to span the ever-growing gap between my shorts and my belly. When are you due? people asked.
Yesterday, I said.
At 4 p.m. on Friday, the first contraction finally hit. I’m not quite sure how I knew it apart from the months of practice ones, but they say you will, and I did. I called Alex. It’s time, I said.
That night we drank smoothies and ate an entire tomato-ricotta pizza, and every hour or so I’d sit up with a gasp from the bed. The contractions were long and slow, stretching five or even six minutes, but by the next morning they’d quieted down.
We decided to take a walk to get things started again. We walked out on the road to the bay—down the pavement toward Bound Brook, off the road at the Atwood-Higgins house that winds toward the beach through the woods. We made it out to the water, then threaded our way behind the dunes to Duck Harbor, where the next parking lot cuts in. We followed the cars out to the road and then veered off onto another path, the one that cuts through to Pole Dike and High Toss and finally to the road and home again. It was a long walk, two hours, and by the time we got back, the contractions had started up again. They came erratically all day—first two minutes apart, then an hour’s rest, then fast and furious again.
We finally left for the hospital Sunday around 3 a.m. My parents and my sister showed up at 7 a.m. and Alex’s family not far behind, and finally, at 6:42 p.m., we welcomed an eight-pound, 21-inch Sally Elizabeth. I have never been so happy or exhausted.
This year we get to celebrate together at home for the first time. Alex will be 34, Sally will be one—twelve days apart. I’ll be out picking raspberries and tucking away the fruit, making what I always make for late September, early October occasions: homegrown, homemade raspberry pie.
Elspeth Hay lives in Wellfleet.