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June Cottage Cooking Club, Macaroni Peas

 

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Welcome to our June Cottage Cooking Club gathering together as our group collectively cooks through all of the recipes in the cookbook, River Cottage veg everyday! by British author and television cooking host, Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall. Each month our highly talented and fearless leader, Andrea of the Kitchen Lioness, Notes from a very small German Kitchen, provides a list of seasonal recipes from each section of the book. Members then prepare their individual recipe choices from among the selection over the month until we meet again, at months end, sharing online our tables together, our experiences, techniques and observations, including those we shared them with and how they were enjoyed.

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The idea of the Cottage Cooking Club is to encourage incorporating more vegetables into our meals. While I grew up with meals each day including a bit of meat or fish or chicken, I also grew up with an aunt, today, 89 year old Conga Line Aunt Betty, who not only cooked an extensive vegetable repertoire but who used to literally serve around 16 different vegetable selections at every holiday meal. We used to count just for the fun of it. One time a guest didn’t like succotash, lima beans mixed with the corn. Can you imagine Aunt Betty jumped right up offering to also prepare either some fresh corn she had shucked and frozen at summers end, or, some corn relish she had put up. With fifteen other choices I think the children at the table should have jumped on the guy and wrestled him. But oh well, that was Aunt Betty. Given that my mothers family had some farming background and were quite fond of vegetables, this might also explain why early on in my blog I prepared a dish calledTen Vegetables in the Beef and Veal Stew.’

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I never heard Aunt Betty, or her husband, my Uncle Mike, refer to vegetables as being ‘local,’ but I do recall with fond memory high energy surrounding the seasons of vegetables and fruits, visits to area farms getting this or that which was in season, or picking our own. Uncle Mike had a flourishing garden and all around there was a certain continuous excitement around procuring the best of what was available and preparing it in a simple way, and, always ‘putting up’ extras in the big freezer set at the bottom of the basement, or, alternatively canning foods in a pressure cooker. Now Aunt Betty was a pro with a pressure cooker but I do admit to it being the one continuous lifetime fear I gathered in this process for Aunt Betty and Uncle Mike were so fearful of me getting near this kitchen appliance and being burned that it has sort of stuck with me. I’m hoping to learn to use one shortly. Meanwhile, I’ve a grand new canning pot from a Mother’s Day gift and Aunt Betty and I have a date for canning some pickles and beets and whatever else in the next few weeks.

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This value and treasure of fresh simplicity is most what inspires me even today, and a common feeling I hope to instill in my grandson as each day I have him participate in the garden in some way, such as clipping from among the ten plants of rainbow chard that currently line the corner of our vegetable selections for today’s Beet Top (or chard) and ricotta tart. Currently abundant in this vegetable, the J-Dude clipped the leaves from the stalks setting aside a greater number of pink and pale yellow ribs for preparing a rainbow rib gratin. Around once a week I had been cooking sliced onions about ten minutes before adding in some chopped garlic adding the leaves cut chiffonade following their clipping and serving this as one of the vegetable dinner selections so the process of preparing the tart was quite similar to me with the exception of cooking the ribs in with the onions until softened before adding the greens. Most certainly a lovely combination  between the chard ribs, greens, and the ricotta. We all enjoyed this Chard and Ricotta tart very much, simple, earthy, and tasty.

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I suppose in some ways since I have been gathering and preparing so many vegetables in so many ways for what seems a lifetime that what makes the Cottage Cooking Club most special to me are the people, and our dear leader Andrea who has worked ever so hard to create something special with this group, it is just plain fun. And then, there are the peas. Peas, peas, peas. Yes, like today’s Macaroni Peas. This dish is quite delicious and has an interesting twist whizzing half of the cooked peas together with garlic very lightly cooked in butter, hard cheese, and a bit of the cooking water from the peas. Tossed well with the macaroni and remaining whole peas, seasoned with salt, lots of pepper, of course, all topped with a bit more Parmesan and some snipped fresh basil and parsley from the herbs on my deck, well, lets just say, that when I awoke this morning after Sooky, my eldest, leaving early to take my grandson on a river rafting trip for the day, that the container of remaining Macaroni peas was empty. Can you believe they even heated it and ate it for breakfast? Yes, while I have found that many of the recipes in this cookbook have already always been in my repertoire, still, there have been others quite special and unique, one of these categories in particular, the peas. I have been smitten, for we also really love the unique Cheesy Peasy Puff Turnover, and also the delight on using peas in my summer Vegetable Frittatas. I told you we love those peas.

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 There were a couple other recipes I would have enjoyed preparing over the month but trying to make the most of the summer events has provided for lots of road trips over the past few weeks, and then, when I am home, needing to cook up what is going on in my own garden, feeling inspired with the energy surrounding the season, treasuring and appreciating those memories earlier shared as a child, with Aunt Betty and Uncle Mike, and those that I hope to pass along too, in a most common natural way to my grandson. Indeed, in the journey of life there are many reasons why incorporating vegetables into our preparations includes even so much more than a nutritional meal.

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To see what other members of the Cottage Cooking Club have prepared from River Cottage veg everyday, click here.

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28 Comments

  1. Posted June 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Your Aunt Betty sounds like a fabulous woman who was well ahead of her time in promoting vegetables. What a fantastic influence to have had growing up. Your tart looks delicious made with that beautiful chard and the macaroni peas sounds like the perfect breakfast!
    Zosia recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – June 2015My Profile

    • Posted June 29, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Hi Zosia, thanks so much and yes Aunt Betty is such a terrific woman and nearing ninety she can run circles around many fifty year olds, she has been a fantastic influence throughout my life. That’s just the thing, I’m not sure she was ahead of her time with the extensive vegetable repertoire so much as that is the way she and the people around her ate. I’ve often heard stories of her grandmother preparing these massive meals every single Sunday for her 6 kids and spouses and grand kids with this huge spread of all different sorts of vegetables to go along with a fresh meat or chicken. This woman, my great grandmother, was so beloved to my Aunt Betty that I do believe her huge spreads with diverse vegetables were likely inspired by this woman, a continuous, wanting to be like her. Tart was delicious, and lol yes I suppose the Macaroni Peas might make a delicious breakfast too. See you soon on CCC.

  2. remyasean
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Good clicks and and tempting dishes!!!!!

    • Posted June 29, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Hello Remmy, yes, the Cottage Cooking Club does offer the opportunity to cook some quite delicious vegetables recipes from the River Cottage veg cookbook. Love the Macaroni Peas especially this month. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Love your post and reading about your Aunt Betty! You are lucky! Those cheesy peasy puff turnovers look delish!
    EmilyC recently posted…CCC (the Cottage Cooking Club) ~ River Cottage Veg Everyday!My Profile

    • Posted June 29, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Emily, thanks so much and welcome to the Cottage Cooking Club, I’ve enjoyed your post earlier this morning. The Cheesey Peasy puff turnovers are positively fun and delicious and one of my favorites in the book, though there are many fantastic choices. Yes, my Aunt Betty is certainly special, I’ve been so blessed to have her in my life!

  4. Mary Hirsch
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    What a fabulous post, Peggy. I always enjoy reading your blog but this is your best yet. I would love to spend a summer at your house working in your garden. If nothing else, you demonstrated the reality of what Andrea is trying to do with her girls and with this blog – make eating vegetables just a common part of every day. Although I didn’t grow up on a farm, I lived in a little Iowa farming community of 4,000 people and many of my friends were farm kids. Their familes always had huge gardens and did canning and preserving and fermenting, blah, blah, blah. I have told this story before but my mom also used a pressure cooker until the day she was cooking beets, the pressure cooker blew up and the beet juice went flying up and hitting the ceiling. Nice, nice stains. My brother and I laughed like crazy. Not funny and never was funny to my Mom. So much for MY ever using a pressure cooker. Although I have mentioned this week that I don’t like peas, I recall loving the Cheasy Peasy Puff Turnovers. Using chard with the ricotta was a great idea. All of you made the tart – yours looks beautiful also. A must try for me, I guess. It sounds as if you are having a busy and wonderful summer. Cannot wait to see what you’ll be cooking from your garden next month.

    • Posted June 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much Mary. You know our garden is not that large just very long running the length of the deck but it insures plenty of production throughout the summer and in the fall until frost. Your hometown in Iowa sounds interesting. I’ve been learning some interesting little tidbits of land from years ago in my mother’s family- quite a large amount of it serving as farm and producing for horse and carriage sale to the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. I am extremely eager to learn more of this and how many generations ago this occurred. Your story on the pressure cooker is hilarious, but I can see why it wouldn’t be so for your dear mother. I imagine a newly painted ceiling was in order. Looks like we still share a similar pressure cooker aversion/or otherwise. I was fond of the ricotta and chard tart and think it would be nice for a luncheon. I’m planning to use the remaining ricotta with some kale and seafood for stuffed squash blossoms and am looking forward to that. I’m so excited on what will be coming from my garden next month too. Looking forward to seeing you over the summer on your upcoming adventures and shared posts.

  5. Mary Hirsch
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, Peggy, your nice comment did go through. Thank you.

  6. Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, what a great post….love the stories about your Aunt Betty, she sounds wonderful. And your tart looks delicious, wish I would of prepared that one as well.
    cheri recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club JuneMy Profile

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cheri, thanks so much and I hope you have been doing well! Aunt Betty is really something. The tart was quite delicious, as always some terrific recipes each and every month on River Cottage veg everyday. See you soon on CCC.

  7. Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Peggy, what gorgeous photos! I can picture all those chard plants in a garden–they’re beautiful, particularly the rainbow ones! Little jewels of color among the big green fan of leaves. I also loved the tale about your Aunt Betty . . . that’s my kind of veggie eater. 🙂

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much Katie, oh I am enjoying the garden immensely, as well as my deck planters filled with herbs, hot peppers, even some patio tomatoes and bush bean plant, so much fun, and such tasty food! So happy you joined in with the Cottage Cooking Club this month and look forward to seeing you again in the future!

  8. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, what a fabulous post – you write the best and most entertaining blog posts, my dear and it is always such a pleasure to come over here for a visit. Your dear Aunt sounds like one of a kind, a very special person indeed. My beloved grand-mother used to have the most wonderful of gardens and grew the most delicious of produce and she canned and pickled and canned some more – she was a fabulous cook and I like to think that I kind of inherited a bit of her passion for good food. Your Tart with that wonderful chard looks scrumptious and absolutely wonderful – the mac & peas are one of the best recipes in the book – one of our daughters fell totally in love with this and placed the last little bowl in the fridge, wrapped it tightly and put a sticker with her name tag in the fridge – she did NOT want to share the leftovers. We all share a passion for good food and lots of seasonal vegetables and I am grateful to all of you lovely members for sharing all your ideas, pictures, posts and talents with all of us!
    Thank you also for your amazing comment on my blog – I am sending you a big hug from afar!
    Andrea – I will “see” you soon…

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Hello Andrea, so wonderful to see you and it appears I’ve a bit of comment responding to catch up on following vacation. Your grandmother seems to have had many similar kitchen preparations as Aunt Betty and it seems you must have inherited some of your tendencies at least from her for your food selections are always quite marvelous- one of the many reasons I enjoy spending some time on your posts. The story on your daughter surrounding the peas is hilarious! So much fun. Thanks for all you do to make our Cottage Cooking Club experience a fun one! Big Hugs from afar!!!

  9. Posted June 30, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I think Aunt Betty, like my Nana and other women in those days, cooked with common sense, not because it was trendy or eclectic, but because it’s what was available, or something their own mother cooked. Today, heirloom or heritage or traditional cooking is trendy, but it’s more of a return to simple, proper cooking…respite from the chain, fast-food, or curated meals sought out by foodies. Cheers to Aunt Betty for exposing your family to so many variations on veggies and cheers to you, Peggy, for including J-Dude on every step of the food chain.
    Kelly recently posted…Weekend Scenes…Vacationing in TampaMy Profile

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, so great to see you after crossing paths on both of our vacations. Happy you had a great trip to Florida! I so agree with you on the common sense cooking of generations past. I try not to get too caught up in trendy or eclectic but mainly the proper combination of ingredients and that it tastes good, and that even includes willingness to try new things- if they make sense from a culinary standpoint that is. It is so great to include the dude in proper eating in a fun experiential way too!

  10. Posted July 1, 2015 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    hello Peggy, I love the Cottage Cooking Club. And I love Aunt Betty! 16 vegetables..oh my.. hard to see so many different vegetables at the same time.

    All the photos are so pretty..the ricotta tart looks good enough to devour….i have a mac and green peas dish i made a lot and its in the offing as far as the blog is concerned..

    and yeah, if there is mac and cheese in the fridge, i will eat it for breakfast 🙂
    pragati recently posted…Driving across I-40 in the United StatesMy Profile

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much Pragati, the dishes from River Cottage veg everyday cookbook are quite delicious and well suited to both those who are familiar with cooking a broad range of vegetable dishes to those who are just starting out or may need some inspiration along the way. Yes, Aunt Betty was quite the vegetable cooker in her day- and she still prepares at least a couple vegetables for herself for dinner each day, pretty good for 89!

  11. Posted July 1, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    16 vegetables and she offered to make up a separate kind of corn?!!! That’s really awesome. What an absolutely great story. I’m good about serving a vegetable every night, but it makes me think I should try harder to serve multiple vegetables most nights. The recipes were great this month, weren’t they? I love that they ate leftover macaroni peas for breakfast.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jora, I know it is kind of astounding to offer that kind of a spread and then to jump up and offer to provide something else, but then that’s Aunt Betty. I like to have at least a couple vegetables each evening meal, sometimes combined, sometimes individually. I have really enjoyed many recipes from River Cottage veg everyday and the macaroni peas would be one among my growing list of favorites! Thanks so much for stopping by and see you soon on CCC!

  12. Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Aunt Betty sounds like an amazing woman. Sixteen different vegetables, oh my! That is one table I would like to be at, especially during the holidays. All your dishes look lovely – and I must make those turnovers again, they were so good.
    Cathleen recently posted…The Cottage Cooking Club | June RecipesMy Profile

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cathleen, thanks so much, I know, can you imagine serving that many vegetables at one spread, its kind of hard to imagine, but oh so true. I did love to be at the table of my Aunt Betty and Uncle Mike, so welcoming, so delicious and simplicity in the freshness and preparation. The turnovers, I know are just so good! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Posted July 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Your Aunt Betty sounds like my kind of woman! I was born in the wrong era. I enjoyed reading about your choices this month, as always. I really enjoyed the tart too, and I want to try the macaroni peas. I need to make those peasy turnovers some time as well. Delicious, Peggy!
    Betsy recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club: June 2015My Profile

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Betsy, Thanks so much, yes Aunt Betty is quite a woman. I’m not sure you were born in the wrong era because we need all this collective spirit in the fresh preparations to be renewed everywhere, and there is a hunger for it too. I think you would enjoy the macaroni peas, and the easy peasy with puff pastry, so simple and delicious both! I’m looking forward to reading your new adventures now that Dorie is completed, and I always enjoy reading your assessments!

  14. Posted July 4, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Hope you and your family have a great July 4th weekend! Enjoy and have fun. I am sure you will be eating some great food!
    Phil recently posted…The Times They Are A-Changin’ in NYC and Across the LandMy Profile

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi Phil, thanks so much and hope you had a good Fourth, it was a terrific vacation on my end- and lots of friends crabs including all you can eat on the Maryland Eastern Shore- I ate a lot!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.