Pea Salad

Pea Salad is one of those great side salads that you often see on salad bars in these parts. I’ve always been a fan but then I’m also a fan of peas. And salad. So pea salad is just right up my alley.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t like peas because they are “mushy”. Well, just as Sheriff Andy Taylor said that little old ladies ought to never clank, peas should never be mushy. Sadly, many folks’ pea experience is with canned peas which are on the mushy side. Frozen peas deliver a much crisper, fresher taste that is just almost-but not quite-as tasty as a fresh garden peas. And much easier to come by, too.

Peas are an early spring vegetable. Growing up, I looked forward to the spring crop of peas. Back then, my dad didn’t have his trusty tractor so we were dependent on our farming neighbors to plow our garden each year. Some years, they’d come by early enough for a pea crop, other years they didn’t. Even as a small kid, I LOVED garden peas and was amazed at how much better they were than peas from a can. And though I now live in a town with multiple farmers markets, it’s still difficult to find fresh peas.

A few summers ago, I spotted an elderly couple selling peas out of the back of their truck at my local CVS. I bought from them a couple of times that year then cruised the lot the next year looking for them, and lo behold, eventually they showed up.  That’s right you all, I HAD A PEA DEALER! Sadly, I haven’t seen them in a couple of years.

So, this recipe…it’s based loosely on the Pioneer Woman‘s and my mom’s which are basically the same. I subbed Greek yogurt for the sour cream and left out the parsley that Ree (I call her Ree) used, and omitted the bell pepper that Loretta uses (I call her Mom). I made this for my Easter lunch.  I prepared it on Saturday so that it could set overnight and all the flavors could mix together. It’s delicious, and a great way to eat your veggies.

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Pea Salad

1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
Salt And Pepper
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
4 cups Frozen Green Peas, partially thawed*
8 slices Bacon, fried crispy and chopped
1/2 whole Small Red Onion, diced small
6 oz Cheddar, American, or Colby cheese, diced into small cubes

*I put peas in a colander and let them thaw at room temperature for about a half hour. You want them to not be ice balls but not totally thawed either. This will keep you from heading into the dreaded “mushy” zone.

Mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and vinegar together to make the dressing. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed. For a true Southern taste, add in a dash of sugar.

Stir dressing into the peas until the peas are well coated. Stir in the bacon, onion, and cheese until all combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 to 4 hours before serving.

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Lord Willin’, I’m a Goin’ to the Food Show

Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise…

That’s a popular expression here in Appalachia. It basically means “Barring any catastrophe, I’m planning to…” but more specifically it means, “If it’s God’s will then I’m going to..”

My upcoming plan is to finally make it to the Incredible Food Show in nearby Lexington, Ky this weekend. I’ve been trying to go for years. Usually, the food show falls on Eastern Kentucky University’s Homecoming which I try to never miss. Last year, I was in labor on Homecoming so I didn’t make either event. This year though, the stars have lined up and I have tickets in hand to attend.

The food show is basically an expo where over a hundred local food producers will sell their products and allow foodies like me to sample their wares. There’s also demonstrations and information sessions going on all day, a bookstore section with cookbooks and the headline grabbing event-a demonstration by a celebrity chef. This year’s celebrity is The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

I’m not a huge Ree follower but I do like her show and I have a bunch of her recipes on my “To Try” list. I’m anxious to see her live demonstration. I’m also excited to try a bunch of yummy food and bring some home…maybe even do some Christmas shopping while I’m there.

The weather prediction is bleak, there’s an 80% chance of rain. Hopefully, it won’t make travel too much of a headache.
I told my husband that there’s a good chance, I will spend too much money this weekend. His response: “It took you 5 years to get there, it may be 5 years before you get back, go live it up!”

He’s a good one.

If you follow me on Twitter, I plan to try to do some live Tweeting from the show. If you don’t follow me, join up! You can find me @MindaCompton

Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

I’ve known about Pioneer Woman the blogger for several years but was never a follower. It wasn’t until she began her show on Food Network that I really paid attention to her recipes. And I really wasn’t enticed to try anything until I saw her make these bars a couple of Sundays ago.

I mistakenly thought I had plenty of oatmeal when I began making these (d’oh!) so I ended up being a half cup short. I increased the amount of flour by a half cup. Because of this, my bars are not as oat-y as they probably should be. Still, these are delicious. They remind me of a homemade biscuit with strawberry jam. I love them with a cold glass of milk for breakfast or as an evening snack. I took samples into the office and got rave reviews. I will definitely make again, possibly with blueberry jam or apple butter in place of the strawberry jam.

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Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.

Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.
Note: I used unsalted butter and no one was the wiser.

Per serving: Calories: 177; Total Fat: 7 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 2 grams; Total carbohydrates: 28 grams; Sugar: 18 gram; Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 18 milligrams; Sodium: 72 milligrams