Green Pea Risotto

pea risotto

Once again a trip to the local market has to be an exercise in restraint as the bins and tables are bursting with beautiful local fresh produce of all kinds. But I can rarely resist picking up a bag of fresh garden peas in their pods, as the season for these always seems to be so short. I use frozen peas all year round, but there's nothing like the pop and sweet flavor of freshly shelled peas, and the methodical pace of shelling the peas is so calming besides.

Fresh Garden Peas

I've been especially indulgent with the garden peas this year, and although many of them are left around in a snacking bowl, I also like to take advantage of their culinary possibilities. So I combined them this time with one of my favorite dishes to come up with a simple but colorful summery risotto. Studded with fresh plump peas cooked until just tender at the very end of the cooking time, and flavored with a quick pea and fresh mint and basil purée, this creamy and classic risotto is easy to prepare, requiring only attention, and makes for a stunning gourmet way to enjoy the garden pea season.

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Gingered Mung Beans

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
gingered mung beans

Legumes are a vegetarian's meat. Generally speaking, legumes in some shape or form appear on my menu everyday. They provide a multitude of health benefits, are inexpensive, and for the most part are easy to prepare. In addition to all of those benefits, think of the vast array of legumes at our fingertips and the endless ways to incorporate them into your diet — it follows that meals are never boring, but are instead an exciting taste experience.

Craving mung beans and not wanting to fuss too much in the kitchen, I came up with a simple curry with lots of ginger for a zingy dish. Mung beans have a distinct sweet and earthy taste and occupy a prominent role in the dishes they appear in, including spicy curries. They take very little time to cook, with minimal soaking beforehand — split mung cooks even faster, with no soaking time, but I generally prefer the slightly plumper whole mung for more texture.

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Avocado Mango Salad with Cilantro and Roasted Cashews

avocado mango salad

This is certainly on the list of the most refreshing and vibrant salads I have ever enjoyed. Colorful chunks of sweet mango and creamy avocado are dressed up with a bold and tangy lime dressing that embraces the herbs and fruit for a extra boost to the palate without overpowering the balance of flavors throughout. I've added jalapeño here for a bit of a kick and stove-top toasted cashews for some nuttiness and texture. There's a lot going on here, but it all comes together texturally and textually for a stunning taste experience. Despite the complexity of flavors, putting this salad together takes very little time at all and should be considered an ideal summer meal accompaniment or light lunch.

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Baked Cherry Oatmeal Pudding

cherry oatmeal pudding

Fresh sweet wine-red summer cherries might be my favorite snacking fruit, which can make pitting enough of them to get past my mouth and into a recipe an uncertain exercise — always better to have far too many on hand, at least in my house. But when they do survive long enough to be put into something like this oatmeal pudding, the results are extraordinary — baking cherries elevates their sweet taste and, combined with the essence of almonds, fills your kitchen with heavenly aromas.

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