I have a daughter who attends college 650 miles away from home. She loves her school and it is the perfect place for her. The only drawback is that the school is in a small college town in the Midwest and the food choices there are quite limited. Since she is so far away from home, she misses home cooked food most terribly. So sometimes I have resorted to making her favorite foods and freezing them in single serving containers for her to take back with her. I know this is not quite a solution to her dietary problem but it is an emotional comfort for her to know that she has some home-cooked food stashed away in her freezer. When she is under a lot of academic stress, she is able to get some comfort foods to cheer her up just a little bit. This mashed peas dish is one such comfort food for her. Yes, I know, peas are thought to be the most boring of vegetables but believe me, this is a great tasting side dish. This time, I froze some boxes of mashed peas with a slice of my daughter’s favorite meat loaf (will put up that recipe another time) and some herbed orzo to go with it.
1. One 16 oz bag of frozen petit peas (I got mine from Trader Joe’s) but if you can’t find frozen petit peas, use fresh very young soft lightly boiled peas.
2. A couple of springs of fresh mint
3. 3 tablespoons of Labneh or plain Greek Yogurt (if you can’t find Labneh, substitute with some heavy cream and some plain yogurt)
4. 2 tablespoons of milk
5. One teaspoon of red chili flakes
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1. In a medium sized sauce pan, pour a tablespoon of olive oil and heat on low heat.
4. Add two tablespoons of milk and Lebneh and stir.
5. Cook for another 2-3 minutes (until the creamy sauce is heated up) and then add thinly sliced fresh mint leaves to the peas and cook for another minute. Do not overcook the peas or they will lose their appetizing bright green color.
6. Using a handheld blender, give a rough grind to the peas and creamy sauce. Do not mince the peas completely, just partially mash them.
7. Pour the second spoon of olive oil over them and serve them while they are still hot as a side dish or as an appetizer – using the mashed peas as a dip served with chips or crackers.