June 2009 Archives

Pasta With Fresh Shelled Peas And Fava Beans

peas and favas 2

I look forward to eating this dish all year long.  The window of opportunity for it is very short, so you have to enjoy it while you can.

 pasta peas 2

Serves 4 generously or 6 moderately

2 large onions
2 cups fresh shelled peas and/or fava beans*
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces pasta (I love angel hair but I think any will do)
salt and pepper to taste


Slice the onions in thin rounds then into quarters.  Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on med/hi heat, add the onions when the oil is hot.  To caramelize onions you want to stir them frequently and once they begin to clarify, turn the heat down to med.  The onions will be done when they are all caramel colored and soft.  Be careful not to burn them or they will taste bitter.   While your onions are cooking, boil water for pasta.

At the same time your pasta is cooking, add the peas and favas to the saute pan with the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  You don't want to over cook the peas and beans.  Drain your pasta and add it to the saute pan with a small amount of the cooking water.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I use about a teaspoon of salt and about 10-15 grinds of fresh pepper, but I think most people would like this better with more salt).  Toss everything together really well.

Optional: add crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Recipe notes: this is such an easy dish to make and because there are few ingredients it allows the delicate flavor of the fresh shelled peas and the fava beans to shine.  I often like strong flavors such as garlic and herbs but this is an exception.  It only takes me about a half an hour to make.  Shelling the peas and beans takes time but you can do it while the onions are sauteing.

*If you are using fava beans be sure to remove the outer skin first by blanching and then dunking in ice water.

Strawberry Milkshake


strawberry milkshake

Pouring the milk into the blender.

milkshake 2

This is a recipe that uses your frozen strawberries to make a milkshake that is low in sugar, high in flavor, and got my picky eater child to get some protein and fruit in his system.  It is simple, fast, and a great alternative to the more traditional shakes made with ice cream.

8-10 frozen strawberries
1 cup milk (whole or low fat)
1.5 Tbsp sugar

Put everything in your blender and pulverize it until it is completely smooth.  How many strawberries you use depends on how large yours are and how thick you like your shakes.  Start with the proportions here but feel free to improvise until it suits your specific tastes.

This recipe makes 16 ounces of shake.  (One large one, or two medium ones).

Pico de Gallo: Easy, Healthy, Mexican Food

Pico De Gallo2

En la Cocina with Casa de Lulu

Here in the cocina, we are mixing up a batch of delicious Pico de Gallo today.  We are BIG fans of Mexican food and often prefer to make it rather than run down to the local taqueria.   Mexican food, especially in California, is fresh, delicious and actually very nutritious if you make your own.  We make tacos about  once a week with different fillings and always have fresh pico de gallo or salsa to top it off.  There seems to be some confusion about the difference between to the two, especially in the supermarket.  Salsa is actually sauce and the ingredients are cooked, (or rather roasted), for a smoky spicy flavor.  Pico de gallo is fresh, and can vary depending on the seasons and what you have on hand.

Pico De Gallo 1

So here's a basic recipe that's easy to make and delicious to eat.  All the ingredients can be found in any store- super simple.

For 3 generous cups of pico de gallo, you will need:

3 medium ripe tomatoes

2 tbsp minced red or white onion (not yellow!)

½ cup chopped cucumber

½ cup chopped radishes

2 tbsp of minced pickled (in the can) jalapeños

¼ cup minced scallions (optional)

¼ chopped cilantro

Juice of one lime

¼ tsp of granulated garlic powder*

1 tsp kosher salt**

Fresh ground pepper

Pico De Gallo 2

First, take the minced onion and let it soak in water for about 5 minutes- this greatly reduces its potency and allows the flavor to marry well with the other ingredients.  Place all ingredients in a bowl, then add juice and salt and pepper.  That's it!  Es muy facil, no?

*Heads up all you Twilight fans- notice I add garlic powder not fresh garlic to this recipe.  This is up to you.  I find that fresh garlic is just too potent and overpowers the other flavors.  So if you want to hang out with that pretty boy vampire and knock down some margaritas, you'll want to go easy on the garlic,  okay?

**Be careful about adding too much salt to this recipe- if you plan on eating this with chips, there's already plenty of salt on them and you don't want to sully the flavor too much.

Here's some variations of the basic recipe that I've tried:

  • With beef tacos, I add oregano and lemon juice instead of lime
  • With lamb, I add fresh mint and orange juice
  • With fish, I add some mashed up avocados and chopped red cabbage

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