Thursday, June 2, 2016

Do You Hate Vegetables?


I lived my early life thinking that vegetables were a necessary but evil part of a meal. At my house my mother used the boil-to-death method of cooking carrots, peas, broccoli and corn on the cob. Asparagus, spinach, mushrooms and green beans came out of a can. Luckily she had never heard of eggplant. Meanwhile, my grandmother's beet-red borscht looked like a bowl of blood.

Eventually I grew up and, after tasting fresh peas right out of their pods, realized I had been misinformed. I ate real borscht in Moscow, fried artichokes in Rome and okra in New Delhi. I liked the spicy garlic eggplant someone ordered for me in Hong Kong. Now I happily drive 5 miles out of my way to stock up on super-fresh vegetables--including bok choy, kale and chard. I even tried mustard greens the other day.

I was reminded of my one-time vegetable aversion this morning when I got an email from a 40-year-old acquaintance named Eric, who is about to become a first-time father. In answer to my request to pick out a sandwich I was getting for him, he said, "I'll take the grilled pesto chicken breast (no lettuce or tomato, because I am a four year old)."

To Eric I dedicate this very easy recipe.

Two-Minute Sugar Snap Peas - serves 3-4

1/2 pound fresh sugar snap peas

1 teaspoon olive or canola oil

Rinse the sugar snap peas. Pull off the strings on both sides of each pea pod by snapping 1/4-inch off the stem end and tugging.

Add the oil to a medium pot, frying pan or wok and begin heating over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until a few of them start getting brown and blistery. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Photo by Nancy Mills

Connect with Nancy Mills at momscookinghelp

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