Hi! We’re back. We got back a week ago, but you know how that always goes. If you want to take a look at where we were and what we were doing, from my perspective (which means with very few pictures of me!), check out this Flickr set.
One lucky thing about this pregnancy is that it hasn’t changed my vegetable obsession, it’s just made me a bit lazier about cooking things myself. Salads, especially those that don’t rely too heavily on lettuce, make me very, very happy these days, and we ran into a brilliant combination several times on the Scotland leg of the trip: Peas, edamame, some sort of greens and a bit of cheese.
The first (and best) encounter was in the charming town of Plockton, near the Isle of Skye, which despite a tiny population is blessed with a handful of very good restaurants. At the Plockton Inn (needs redecorating but the food was excellent), we ordered the pea/edamame/asparagus salad as a starter, and then I tried to eat as much of it as I could without Ben noticing. Sadly, I’d already divided it between two plates before realizing how great it was.
Super, super simple, but incredibly tasty. The sweet English peas and earthier edamame are a great pairing.
Later, in a random pub in Edinburgh, we ordered something similar, this time with rocket (arugula) as the green, no asparagus, and with the addition of chunks of feta. This photo is truly terrible, but it was very dark and the one light was coming straight over my shoulder, making big shadows!
When we got to France, I was still thinking about those salads, so on our first night in the house we’d rented I made my own version, using little fava beans instead of edamame.
We just don’t have local produce like this here yet. It was luxurious.
Ben had never prepped fava beans before. He was taken aback by the layers of steps, but was an instant pro, especially at getting the pods open in one fell swoop. He cut the prep time by well more than half.
I popped a steamer basket in a pan of boiling water so I could use the same water to blanch the favas and the peas separately. Then I used it to steam the asparagus.
Such a tiny number of favas. I ALWAYS forget that you have to buy them by the kilo to have enough.
I mixed the blanched/cooled vegetables (I shocked everything in the coldest water I could get after cooking; I didn’t have any ice!) together with a mustard vinaigrette. That was a mistake; the mustard overwhelmed the little fava beans. But it was nice with the peas and asparagus.
Quiche for me, pizza for Ben, and bread, to go with the salad.
Last night I went for it again, this time using frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, and a handful of rather elderly-looking English peas from Whole Foods (via god knows where; LOCAL VEGETABLES, PLEASE ARRIVE).
Once again, I cooked the vegetables separately (the peas need 30 seconds, max, and the frozen edamame closer to 5 minutes), then shocked them in ice water to stop the cooking.
This time I just dressed them with lemon juice and good olive oil, salt and pepper (same for the salad greens, in a different bowl):
When Ben got home, I topped the greens with the peas/beans, to which I had added a bit of marinated feta from the WF antipasto bar.
And we ate on the porch—hurray!
With a handful of cherries for dessert:
I hope Ben doesn’t get sick of this anytime soon, because I’m planning on making a million versions of it this summer. Slightly mashed and spread on bruschetta! Served with buffalo mozzarella! On top of fish!