gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 104

The Healthy Plate by Cathy Katavich The Misunderstood Green Peas Even though we Californians are fortunate to get a great variety of produce yearround, it’s always wonderful to use ingredients that are at the peak of their season, for best flavor, color, availability and price! This season we celebrate green peas, a seasonal gem that’s never been accused of being “trendy.” And I’m not talking about those mushy, olive green peas we were required to eat as kids! It’s no wonder peas don’t come to mind as a wonderful culinary ingredient! Peas are in the legume family that includes, but is not limited to, lentils, beans, chickpeas and soybeans. Peas are one of the few members of the legume family that are commonly sold and cooked as fresh vegetables. Cathy's entire career has been in the food business. She received her culinary training at CIA, Culinary Institute of America, at both Greystone (Napa) and Hyde Park, NY. She managed Research and Development for Gilroy Foods and in the past ten years she was involved in the frozen vegetable business, heading up Business Development, Sales and Marketing. She lives in Gilroy with her husband, Peter Katavich. Health benefits of green peas Fresh, tender peas have about 100 calories per cup, and are good sources of protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They are rich antioxidants and have been shown to help lower cholesterol, support blood sugar regulation, promote heart health and help protect against certain cancers. The popularity of peas dates backs thousands of years. Originally found in the Middle East, peas are now popular across the globe. Even Thomas Jefferson knew how good peas were: he grew no less than thirty varieties on his Virginia estate. Buying and Using Fresh Peas Chilled Spring Pea Soup with Lobster and Orzo When you’re choosing your peas, remember the best tasting pods will be vibrant green in color and full of peas with little empty space. To prepare, first rinse the pods. To easily shell them, snap off the top and bottom of the pod and then gently pull off the “thread” that lines the seam of most peapods. Gently open the pods to remove the seeds, which do not need to be washed since they have been encased in the pod. Before using fresh peas, it’s best to blanch them for about 1 minute in boiling water, then quickly cool in an ice water bath. This helps set the color, keeping them their bright green spring color, plus it helps makes the nutrients more bioavailable. In most cases, if you can’t get your hands on fresh peas, using frozen is perfectly fine. Green peas freeze better than many other vegetables. The flavor may be slightly less sweet, but if stored properly, they can be used in most recipes for fresh peas. Frozen peas should be defrosted before using. So, let’s give peas a chance! Earthy flavored, subtly sweet, and tender, this vegetable is much more versatile than just sautéed with butter, although that is delicious! Peas make a terrific companion to all varieties of pasta. And peas make an amazing chilled or hot soup. Pureed it’s great as a spread, or even in a smoothie! Here a few of my favorite Fresh Green Pea recipes to try out this spring. 104 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN APRIL/MAY 2018 gmhtoday.com The Healthy Plate by Cathy Katavich The Misunderstood Green Peas Even though we Californians are fortunate to get a great variety of produce year- round, it’s always wonderful to use ingredients that are at the peak of their season, for best fl avor, color, availability and price! This season we celebrate green peas, a seasonal gem that’s never been accused of being “trendy.” And I’m not talking about those mushy, olive green peas we were required to eat as kids! It’s no wonder peas don’t come to mind as a wonderful culinary ingredient! Peas are in the legume family that includes, but is not limited to, lentils, beans, chickpeas and soybeans. Peas are one of the few members of the legume family that are commonly sold and cooked as fresh vegetables. Cathy's entire career has been in the food business. She received her culinary training at CIA, Culinary Institute of America, at both Greystone (Napa) and Hyde Park, NY. She managed Research and Development for Gilroy Foods and in the past ten years she was involved in the frozen vegetable business, heading up Business Development, Sales and Marketing. She lives in Gilroy with her husband, Peter Katavich. 104 Chilled Spring Pea Soup with Lobster and Orzo Health benefits of green peas Fresh, tender peas have about 100 calories per cup, and are good sources of protein, fi ber, minerals, and vitamins. They are rich antioxidants and have been shown to help lower cholesterol, support blood sugar regulation, promote heart health and help protect against certain cancers. The popularity of peas dates backs thousands of years. Originally found in the Middle East, peas are now popular across the globe. Even Thomas Jefferson knew how good peas were: he grew no less than thirty varieties on his Virginia estate. 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