West Tennessee folks have always been proud of their gardens. I have known this since a young child when everyone, rich or poor or in the middle, had a vegetable garden…some small…some very large…all very neatly planted. Rows and rows of succulent peas, beans, tomatoes, corn and squash!
Your vegetable garden reflected who you were and your connection to your community. Sharing the bounty was a big part of it as well. One neighbor grew too much corn so it was shared with neighbors…another grew too many cucumbers to eat or pickle so the extra got passed on.
This beautiful cold soup was made from yellow crookneck squash grown in the West Tennessee garden of my friends, Anita & Larry Mullins. A gift from their garden is an always a very deliciously welcome gift! The sharing tradition continues all the way to my Middle Tennessee kitchen.
I combined these squash with some green peas from the Nashville Farmer’s Market I had frozen a month or so ago with an onion and some low-fat & low sodium chicken broth. Quickly simmered together until softened……
….then blended until smooth & chilled for an hour or so.
Right before eating I stirred in a dollop of cold cream. Topped off with a handful of chopped up homegrown cherry tomatoes, sea salt & cracked black pepper.
Every bite deliciously creamy and cool…every spoonful a “West Tennessee summer day! A big thanks to my garden friends!
- 4 cups of chopped Yellow Crookneck Squash
- 2 cups fresh, shelled green peas
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 4 cups low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chilled cream
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- sea salt & cracked black pepper
- Add chopped squash, green peas, chopped onion, salt & pepper to a pan along with the broth. Cook just until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat.
- Blend in batches in a blender until smooth.
- Chill until ready to serve. Right before serving stir cream into soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top each serving with some chopped cherry tomatoes & more pepper & salt if desired.
Recipe: Teresa Blackburn http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com
I have been traveling (check out my Instagram for photos on where) for a couple of weeks and away from my kitchen…lots of eating, but no cooking. Many recipe ideas are crammed into my brain from the trip and after some experimentation I hope to share some of those with you in later posts…a similar but not-creamed spinach dish topped with goat cheese that was sublime….a light-as-air three-layered dessert using sponge cake, whipped cream and phyllo dough…gnocchi-like noodles with a simple beef stew…chard chopped and sautéed in olive oil & garlic….oh my!
But for today…..peas and pasta.
A few weeks ago I picked my solo crop of green peas from my little garden and this is the easy dish I made, “Garden-Grown Green Peas, Crisp Bacon & Parmesan Tossed with Pasta”, a Carbonara riff.
A cool, sunny spring with just the right amount of rain gave my pea plants an extra boost and within a month or so I had vines laden with plump green peas! I was pretty thrilled as fresh peas have always been a favorite of mine.
The hot pasta was tossed in a quick sauce of chicken stock with a splash of cream, sea salt & black pepper for a leaner version of a classic Carbonara-style dish. I quickly added the steamed green peas, crispy lean bacon & a generous amount of shredded parmesan cheese. Bon Apetit!
Garden-Grown Green Peas, Crisp Bacon & Parmesan Cheese Pasta
- 1 lb fettucine or spaghetti noodles (regular or gluten-free) cooked, saving 1 cup of hot pasta water
- 1 cup chicken stock, low-fat
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 cup fresh green peas (or frozen) quickly steamed in microwave
- 8 slices crisp bacon
- 1 cup shredded good quality Parmesan cheese
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- In a deep stock pot over low heat toss cooked pasta, pasta water, chicken stock, cream and salt & black pepper until noodles are hot and coated with sauce.
- Portion into 4 bowls and top each serving with peas, bacon and a generous portion of cheese. Top with additional black pepper. Serve immediately.
This dish is fresh, quick and very good for a spring dinner after a long day at work served with a crisp, cold, dry white wine.