I Couldn’t Resist

Farmers markets are an irresistible sight for finding unique and inspiring ingredients for my next kitchen creation.  And when I discover one that I haven’t seen before…it is as if I just got the emergency call that the fire is inside.

Like many inside farmers markets, this one had produce, craft goods, and more produce from wall to wall.  Like a kid in a candy store, I perused the colorful isles.

Many of the usual favorites were there – pears, berries and rainbow Swiss chard.  Between the long white daikon radishes and the specialty mushrooms, was a mound of small but plump green pods.

I picked up a few for a closer look.  The skin was smooth and clearly a bean of sorts lay nestled inside.  Smaller than the length of my pinky finger, some of the pods were a bit larger than the others and could hold perhaps two babies inside, but not much more.

What could they be?  And then I found the label slightly buried off to the side in the mound.  To my delight, it read, “Fresh Chick Peas.”  Otherwise known as garbanzo beans. I had only heard of these as an ingredient.

Without hesitation, I put a couple handfuls into a bag and paid.  Taste un-tasted, I was up for the creative adventure.  But who can wait until they get home when you have something exciting to taste?

Splitting one of the pods between my fingers, two green peas appeared,  still attached to their soon to be discarded home.  Curiously, I took the peas in my mouth and found them tender to the bite, and fresh tasting.

I noticed the pea was in a thin translucent casing.  With out it, the pea instantly spit.  It was there in the unbound pea that the sweetness hid.

Hummm… the possibilities.

The bright green pods are so novel, why not blanch the pods whole and serve edamame-style with my favorite flaked local river salt…

Or pure the fresh blanched peas with a little fresh garlic, a few mint leaves and fresh lemon for a bright green dip for chips, spread on a sandwich or bead for for my favorite seafood off the grill…

And thinking of grilling, slather the pods in mayonnaise or bottled dressing if you like, or simply coat with grapeseed oil and grill until the skins are slightly blackened…or take the flavor over the top by tossing the coated pods with a blend of dried oregano, thyme, paprika, a touch of cayenne pepper, onion powder, maybe some garlic powder and salt…what great finger food to serve with my famous spiked tea at the next patio soiree…

Or in a skillet with what I have.  I always keep extra cooked quinoa, beans or peas in the freezer for dinner in a pinch.

Fresh Garbanzo Bean, Baby Turnip, Lemony Quinoa

Serves 1, makes 2 1/2 cups

2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons diced red pepper
¼ cup onion
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa – made with diced carrots in vegetable broth
A handful of baby white turnips, cooked tender, peeled and diced
A handful of fresh garbanzo beans, shelled
Fresh ground black pepper to taste, I used quite a bit  – about 1/16 t
Juice of ½ large lemon
Salt to taste
Zest of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

Over medium heat, heat a medium-sized sauté pan.  Add oil and let it get hot.  Add the red pepper and onion and listen for the sizzle.  Reduce the heat to sweat the vegetables stirring regularly until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the garlic and heat for an additional minute, stirring to prevent browning.  Add the quinoa, turnips, fresh garbanzo beans, black pepper, lemon juice and salt to taste.

Serve and top with lemon zest and parley.

To save a step, cook the peeled and diced turnips with the quinoa.   They should be fork tender about the same time the quinoa expands and the germ (a thin band around the grain) detaches.

And, don’t discard the pod shells.  They make great composte.

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