In Season - TM

March 2011
 
  
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Events in Season

Natural Products Expo West 

Anaheim, Calif.
March 10-13

Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives 

CIA Greystone
St. Helena, Calif.
March 17-20

Fallbrook Avocado Festival 

Fallbrook, Calif.
April 17

Pebble Beach Food & Wine 

Pebble Beach, Calif.
April 28-May 1


 
In Season Vegetable: Fresh Beans & Peas     
Spring marks the arrival of fresh legumes at farmer's markets, including shell beans, such as favas, and English peas. Other fresh shell beans, like mottled pink-and-white cranberry beans and Peas in pod via Wikimediapale green lima beans, arrive as spring unfolds into summer.

Savvy cooks know that while fresh shell beans and peas require added preparation - removal of the shell and, with favas, the skin - the extra work is worth the effort.

Peeled fava beans, for example, are great in pasta sauces, risotto, and scattered atop salmon. Our featured chef, Hugo Matheson of The Kitchen restaurant in Boulder, Colo., serves bruschetta topped with cooked young fava beans dressed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, chopped mint, and finely grated pecorino cheese.

"Fava beans are a labor of love, but so worth it," Matheson exclaims.

Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello likes this simple preparation for fresh shell beans: quickly boiled until tender, then dressed with good EVOO, salt and pepper.
Fresh Fava Beans by Thelmadatter via Wikimedia
Photo by Thelmadatter


In his book, The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country (Chronicle Books, 2008), Chiarello also notes freshly picked English peas, like corn, are extremely sweet.

"Sometimes, they are so sweet, it seems a shame to cook them at all," Chiarello adds. "If so, you may just want to dip them in boiling water to bring out their color."

Health benefits: Shell beans are loaded with protein and fiber, calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium. Peas are considered a good source of protein, folate, vitamins A and C, and zinc. A caution: Some people can suffer a type of anemia called favism from eating fava beans. 

Legume stats: Top five states harvesting fresh green peas: Minnesota, Oregon, California, Georgia, and New York. Top five producers of fresh green lima beans: North Carolina, Alabama, Fllorida, California and New Jersey.
Peas
Photo by biskuit


Preparation: "Sprinkle green favas or precooked limas at the last minute into any sauté of fish, seafood or poultry to add a colorful and tasty accent," writes Aliza Green in Field Guide to Produce (Quirk Books, 2004). She also suggests stirring them into rice, couscous, and orzo just before serving. English peas can be eaten raw as well as steamed or parboiled shortly to preserve their green color. Use them for soup or in a risotto.

How to buy/store: The pods of shell beans should be leathery. Cranberry bean pods should be "firm and brilliantly colored," Green says. Fava bean pods should be shiny and bright green, she adds, while lima bean pods should be firm and dark green. While best eaten within a day of purchase, shelled beans can be frozen for longer storage. Green says English pea pods should be "bright green and velvety to the touch."  Peas are best eaten the day they're bought, but can be refrigerated a few days in a plastic bag.

 
 Our Favorite Shell Bean & Pea Recipes  

Recipes Courtesy of Our Featured Chef Hugo Matheson


Fava Bean and Pecorino Bruschetta
FAVA BEAN AND PECORINO BRUSCHETTA from Hugo Matheson
Spring Vegetable Pappardelle

  Spring Vegetable Pappardelle from Hugo Matheson 

Additional Recipes


Greek Salad Sandwiches
Greek Salad Sandwiches Jessie Cool

Recipe credit: Simply Organic (Chronicle Books, 2008), byJesse Ziff Cool 

Reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books  

Fava Beans and Orzo Salad

Fava Beans and Orzo Salad - Jesse Cool

Recipe credit: Simply Organic (Chronicle Books, 2008), byJesse Ziff Cool 

Reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books 

Barely Smoked Salmon with Pea and Potato Salad
Barely Smoked Salmon with Pea and Potato Salad - Chiarello

Recipe credit: The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country 

(Chronicle Books, 2008), by Michael Chiarello with Penelope Wisner

Reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books 

Peas with Mint and Parsley
Peas with Mint and Parsley Ray Garcia

Recipe courtesy of Chef Ray Garcia, FIG Restaurant , Santa Monica, Calif.

 Q&A with Our Featured Chef
 

Hugo Matheson

The Kitchen

1039 Pearl Street
Boulder, Colo. 80302 

(303) 544-5973 

 

Bon Appétit magazine calls Boulder, Colo., "America's foodiest town," saying it's a place "where residents enjoy great food as much the great outdoors." One of the restaurants credited with Boulder's success: The Kitchen, headed by co-owner and Executive Chef Hugo
Hugo Matheson of The Kitchen

"My belief has been to try and keep it simple. Not messing with the ingredients too much."

Matheson. The eatery is known for its seasonal  menu, as well as it eco-friendly practices like composting and recycling.


The British born Matheson is all about keeping food simple. He sources his ingredients as close to home as possible. Matheson has nurtured close relationships with local and national farmers and food purveyors. The 42-year-old chef honed his skills at London's famed River Café.

How did you become a chef?

I always loved cooking and began at a very young age, about 3 or 4. When I became an adult I had to start working. Cooking was the path I followed. I went to cookery school for a year in England, not realizing that would be the path I'd ultimately pursue as a career.

What's your philosophy toward cooking?

My belief has been to try and keep it simple. Not overcomplicate it. My time at the River Café in London was about learning the quality of the ingredients. Not messing with the ingredients too much. I was only 25 or 26 and working for the founders, Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray. I learned about simplicity. Also, the people I used to cater for in London preferred simple dishes: really great meats with salad, for example.

How would you describe the dishes you prepare today?
Hugo Matheson of The Kitchen 2

"One of our things is to try and focus on America produce. There are many people doing great things in this country: Curing meats, making wines, making olive oil."



I think everything we make at The Kitchen you could cook at home. No complicated techniques or methods. If you have a good piece of meat and a hot pan or a hot fire, you can make something taste good. It's about caring about the food, nurturing it. I tell the cooks at The Kitchen to treat food with respect. They should treat food like their girlfriends. I'll tell them: 'You don't beat up your girlfriend!'

The Kitchen is very environmentally minded. How do you bring that approach to your cooking?

It's really trying to source produce as close to home as possible. There are many people doing great things in this country: Curing meats, making wines, making olive oil. That's why we ended up with California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. We'd previously been buying oil from Italy. And so it was a huge thing for us when bulk California extra virgin olive oil became available at a reasonable price.

Generally I try to start as close to home as possible. Even at this time of year we get some local produce here in Colorado: salad, carrots and beets. We get stuff here all year round. But obviously we get more in the summer. 
I also try to use any produce or food that isn't processed. I want to keep things as they are, using the raw ingredient.

Who has influenced your cooking?
The Kitchen, Boulder, Colo.

"I think everything we make at The Kitchen you could cook at home."



Both my mother and her mother were good cooks. We were very fortunate growing up. The food in my family was very good. The quality of the ingredients also was very good. My mother never had her own organized vegetable garden. But she'd grow potato plants, fennel plants and other vegetables amongst the flowers in her garden.

Rose Gray and Ruther Rogers, the founders of the River Café, are the main people who set me in the direction I've been keeping. It's about the simplicity. My mother also took a simple approach to her cooking.


What do you like to cook at home?

I try to prepare things that aren't going to take very long. We often grill meats and serve a salad. Or we prepare pasta. Our kids (8-year-old twin boys) love broccoli pasta. They also love grilled meats and salads.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like building furniture and mirrors and things like that. I like projects. I'm always at home making stuff and puttering around. We'll also have friends over often and cook for them and their kids.

 Thank You

Stay Healthy in 2011 with California Olive Ranch!


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