Salad-e Shirazi (Persian Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad)

3 to 4 Persian cucumbers (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 red onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons any combination of finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil or dill
1 teaspoon dried mint
2 to 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes), plus more as needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and black

Remove alternating stripes of peel on cucumbers and trim ends. Dice cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl with onion and fresh herbs. Using your fingers to break up any large pieces, gently grind the dried mint into the bowl. Remove tomato cores, dice remaining tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces and add to bowl.

In a small bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Just before serving, dress vegetables with vinaigrette and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lime juice as needed. This salad should be bright, crunchy and tart, a nice counterpoint for rich, buttery rice and unctuous stews. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.

Green Bean Poriyal (with variations)

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few, roughly torn
Shallots – 2 tbsp, chopped (can also use red onions)
Whole dried red chilies – 3-4
Green beans – 1 lb, washed and diced into 1/4? pieces (very short!)
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste

Heat oil in a deep skillet or pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to sizzle and crackle, add the onions and red chilies. Saute till onions are lightly golden.

Then add the chopped green beans and stir fry for a minute or so. Sprinkle some water and salt, reduce heat to low, cook and cover till beans are just cooked.

Open the lid, fold in the shredded or grated coconut and saute for a few more seconds to make sure there is no residual water in the pan.

Remove from heat and serve hot along with rice and sambar or dal.

Notes:

You can add 1/2 tbsp of urad dal (or dehusked black lentils) along with the mustard seeds and fry them till they just begin to change color. You can also add a pinch of turmeric and coriander powders along with the salt, but we actually prefer to have thoran without it.

You can cook vegetables like carrots, beetroot, cabbage, long beans and gourds the same way. You can also try combinations like carrots-beans, cabbage-carrots-beans or asparagus-green peas. Try it for yourself and see!

Green Bean Palya

1 tablespoon oil or ghee
3/4 pound green beans – cut into about 1/2 inch long pieces
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
3 fresh curry leaves (can use dry)
1 dried red chili – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder
2 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut – thawed out
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Heat oil under a medium flame. Put in a pinch of hing or asafoetida, mustard seed, urad dal and chana dal.

When the mustard seed starts popping and the dals start browning, put in the curry leaf and broken up chili pieces. Mix everything around for 10 seconds until everything is coated with oil.

Next throw in the green beans.

Mix it all up.

Add a little bit of water, turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are almost tender. Mix in sambar powder and cook until the beans are tender. Add the coconut and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the lemon and salt and mix well.

Vangi Baath (Eggplant Rice)

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
pinch of hing or asafoetida
2 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch long strips (can use different varieties)
1 green pepper – same size as eggplant
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vangi baath powder (recipe below)
1 cup cooked and cooled rice
juice of 1/2 lemon (or tamarind extract)
fresh frozen coconut – optional if not in powder

In a frying pan or wok under medium heat, add oil, mustard seeds and hing. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add in the curry leaves and coat with oil. Add in the onion and fry until translucent. Add in the eggplant and green pepper and the turmeric and stir well.

Cook the vegetables until the eggplant is half-cooked. Add in the vangi baath powder and stir fry thoroughly so that the spice mixture is on all of the vegetables. Turn the heat down to cook through and stir periodically.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the rice and stir well. Turn off heat. Squeeze lemon and mix together. Top with coriander leaves and serve with yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Notes: This was a rice for long car rides or on picnics. It’s quite hardy and since it’s so flavorful, you can just eat it as is. Traditionally, vangi baath is made with eggplants, but it can be made it with cauliflower too. You can also fried peanuts to the mix which was really good. Serve it with plain yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Green Yogurt Curry (Majjige Huli)

1 1/2 pounds summer squash (yellow or green zucchini), cut 1/2 inch thick rounds with large pieces cut again in half
3 cups yogurt (or combo yogurt and buttermilk)
small bunch cilantro leaves
1/2 cup frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
2 tablespoons chana dal
2-3 green chilis
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste

for tempering
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
pinch of hing / asafetida
1 dried red chili
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves

In a pan, fit a steamer with water below, but just at a level that is below the steamer and not touching it. Place cut summer squash in the steamer basket. Turn the heat to medium/high and when the water starts to boil, turn to medium and cover. Steam for about 15 minutes or until tender. Immediately immerse the squash in a bowl of cold water to avoid overcooking.

In a blender, put in the chana dal and grind until powder. Have about a 1 cup of water by the blender. Add in coconut, green chilies, cilantro, cumin seed, black mustard seeds, turmeric powder and slowly add water as needed so that you can a well ground paste. You want this to be as smooth as possible but by adding in enough water. For this recipe, I added in about 3/4 cup water. When you have a nice paste, add in your yogurt and/or buttermilk. Blend this well.

In a pan place the steamed summer squash, the yogurt curry and salt to taste. Put the heat on medium. You want the mixture to boil once. At this time, turn the heat off.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil under medium heat and add in the hing, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the cumin seeds start to brown, turn the heat to low and add in your curry leaves and dried red chili, broken in half. Coat everything with oil and pour this oil mixture on top of the yogurt curry.

Serve majjige huli with hot rice. You can also chill it if you like, but traditionally at home, we would eat it after it was just prepared.

*When eating curry the next day, do not heat it.

Paneer-Stuffed Mini Peppers with Green Pea Chutney

Paneer Stir-Fry
4 oz. paneer cheese, crumbled or cubed small
1 tablespoon oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 inch ginger piece, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Indian green chills (can sub in Serranos or jalapeño)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste

Green Pea Chutney
1/3 cup blanched green peas or thawed out frozen peas
3 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
squeeze of lemon
salt to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet pan.

In a pan under medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot add in cumin seeds. When seeds start to brown after a few seconds, add in shallot. Turn the heat to medium and cook until translucent, a few minutes. Then add the garlic, green chili and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds, mixing about until fragrant. Add in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala and mix well. Fry for a few seconds. If pan is getting dry, can add in a few drops of water. Add in the paneer cheese and mix well. Sauté paneer for few minutes. Add salt to taste and turn off heat.

Layer the halved sweet mini peppers on a greased cookie sheet pan. With a teaspoon, fill the pepper halves with paneer stir-fry. Place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are soft and drying out a little on top.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, add in the peas, cilantro and yogurt. Puree and transfer to a bowl. Add squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.

Line a plate with the baked peppers and drizzle the green peas chutney on top. Serve immediately.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tamarind Dressing

2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 thai chili peppers, red and yellow color
2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves, fresh
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground + extra if needed
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar or jaggery crushed
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander powder, freshly ground (see notes above)
100mL cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes

Thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Add the cherry tomatoes over them.
Slice the chili peppers lengthwise in half and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the tomatoes.

Take a 500mL mason jar or glass jar with a lid. Add all the ingredients from the tamarind to the olive oil. Close the jar tight with its lid and then shake vigorously until it forms an emulsion. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
Drizzle enough dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt flakes and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Stir-Fried Long Beans

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced) (30g)
2 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
2 tbsp fermented soy beans (drained and minced)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb long beans (cut into 2 inch lengths) (450g)
1/4=cup water (60mL)

Heat a wok or large fry pan. Add vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the wok or fry pan.

Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 20 seconds. Then add red chilies and sauté for another 20 seconds.

Add fermented soy beans and sugar. Continue to stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add prepared long beans and water. Stir fry for another 5 minutes or until long beans are tender and sauce has thicken.

Turn off stove and transfer vegetables to a serving dish.

Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Steamed Chinese Eggplant

3 chinese eggplants
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 small red chilis, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp spring onions

Marinade

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Wash and cut the eggplants to 2 1/2 inch lengths, discarding the stems. Place eggplants into steamer and steam for 25-30 minutes until really soft. Cut or tear each piece into bite sized shreds (I use a tong to grab the hot egglants and a knife to slice thru). Pile attractively into serving dish.

Mix soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic and chilis (if using) over medium heat until garlic is a golden brown. Carefully pour the garlic/chili/hot oil into the marinade. Stir until well mixed. Pour sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with spring onion and serve.

Perkedel Jagung (Bakwan Jadung – Indonesian Corn Fritters)

500 gr sweet corn kernels
6 oz shrimps cleaned, deveined and finely minced
80 gr rice flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Thai chili
Oil for deep-frying

AROMATICS:
2 shallots peeled
2 garlic peeled
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese celery leaves

Place 1/2 of the corn in a food processor along with the shrimp, shallots and garlic and pulse few times until finely chopped.

Mix the chopped corn mixtures along with the other half of the corn kernels, eggs, chili, celery leaves, flour, salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil for frying. Lower the heat to medium and then drop one or two spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You may want to fry one first and then taste to see if you need to add more salt (as you can’t taste the “raw” mixture) and adjust by adding more salt if needed before frying more.

You can try to use egg rings if you have some to help hold the round shape, but you really don’t have to. If you use them, fill the ring with the corn mixture and then use the back of the spoon to kinda smooth it out to make sure there’s no “hole” so your bakwan jagung won’t fall apart later. Once the fritter is golden brown at the bottom, you can remove the ring and flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with any of your favorite sweet chili sauce or just eat them as is.

Green Beans and Bean Threads

1 lb green beans trimmed both ends and remove tough fibers, cut into 2-inch sections
2 oz minced lean pork or any meat you like I used left over sausages
2 bundles of bean thread noodles/vermicelli noodles soak in cold water to let it soften and then cut into shorter pieces
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
3 Tbsp of canola oil

MARINADE:
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt to season
1 cup water
Dash of sesame oil

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and quickly submerge into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of canola oil and stir fry the minced pork and use the spatula to break up the meat, toss in chopped spring onion, add dark soy sauce, salt and water. Lastly add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the vermicelli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to reduce the gravy if you prefer. Lastly drizzle with some sesame oil.

Note on soaking vermicelli: If you want the vermicelli to further soak up the flavors and sauce of the dish you are cooking it in, soak it in cold water. If you are not cooking it in a sauce, soak it in warm water instead to allow it to swell more before cooking.

Pressure Cooker Sambal Terong Belado (Eggplants with Sambal)

INGREDIENTS:
500 gr long purple eggplants or you can use dark purple kind

SAMBAL BALADO:
100 gr cayenne pepper see notes
8 shallots peeled
3 garlic peeled
1 large tomato quartered
1/3 cup cooking oil

AROMATICS:
3 daun salam leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves tear edges to release flavor

SEASONINGS:
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 lime

PREPARE EGGPLANTS:
Prepare a large pot of water with 1 tsp of salt in it.

Rinse the skin of the eggplants clean with water. Pat dry. Trim off the stem. Halve and then cut into about 3-inch pieces. Make sure you cut them into roughly equal in size so they cook evenly.

Place the cut eggplants into the pot of water to prevent them from turning black while you are cutting the rest of tge ingredients.

PRESSURE COOKING THE EGGPLANTS:
Pour 1 cup of water inside the inner pot of the instant pot. Arrange the eggplant in a collapsible veggie steamer that you can fit inside the inner pot. Cover the lid and turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure, and set timer to 15 minutes.

When the timer is up, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure completely.

PREPARE SAMBAL BALADO WHILE THE EGGPLANTS ARE COOKING:
Place all the sambal balado ingredients in a food processor. You can either roughly chop them for that rustic look or process them into finer texture. The oil will help to move things inside the food processor.

Preheat a large skillet and pour in the sambal mixture along with the aromatics. Stir fry for about 5 minutes and then add the seasonings. Keep stirring to prevent sambal from scorching. Have a taste. It should be savory, lightly sweet, with a hint of tang. Add more salt and/or sugar if needed.

PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER:
When the eggplants are done cooking, add the eggplants pieces onto the skillet and stir to mix everything. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, with lots of rice.

RECIPE NOTES:
If you can’t find fresh cayenne pepper (cabe keriting), you can substitute with dried Chile de Arbol or Guajillo. Just soak them in water until soft and then proceed with recipe.

Spinach (or Arugula) Salad with Nectarines

4 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
4 cups torn Bibb or Boston lettuce
3 medium nectarines, sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

DRESSING:
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat.

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Spinach Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

2 cups cut-up heirloom tomatoes
1 cup multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced red onion

DRESSING:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage

Place tomatoes, spinach and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients; toss with salad. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.

Bean and Vegetable Posole

1 cup dried Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 cup dried heirlooms beans such as Pinto, Eye of the Goat, Lila, or Moro
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp. New Mexican Red Chile Powder
1½ tsp whole cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
1 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 small calabacitas (small squash) or zucchini, sliced ¼” thick
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans
1 T. vegetable bouillon
2 T. chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

Rinse and soak posole and beans, in separate bowls, for about 6 hours.

Drain posole and discard water. Add posole to a pot, fill pot with fresh water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.

Meanwhile, pour beans and their soaking liquid into another pot and add more water if needed to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until tender, adding water as necessary (timing will vary depending on type of bean).

In 4 qt. pan, saute onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin seed and oregano in 1 T. oil for 7 minutes until onion is soft.

Add squash and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooked beans and cooking liquid, posole, green beans and bouillon. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water if stew is too thick.

Add cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas.

Summer Posole

1 pound dried Rancho Gordo White Corn Posole (prepared hominy)
1 large white onion, finely diced?
3 cloves garlic, minced?
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano?
6 large New Mexico green chiles (or poblanos)?
1 bunch scallion, finely chopped?
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped?
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground?
1 pinch sea salt?
1/4 cup olive oil?
1 whole avocado, diced into chunks?
4 whole corn tortillas, slivered?
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced?
1 lime, quartered

Put the posole in a large soup pot with onion, garlic, oregano and a gallon of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender. This can take as long as 3 hours, so check pot occasionally and add water as it boils away. The posole will swell considerably, and the kernels will split open.

While the posole is cooking, roast the chiles, then place them in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam for 15 minutes. Slip off the skins, pull out the seeds and chop. Add the chopped chiles to the simmering posole along with 4 teaspoons salt. Continue cooking until the posole is completely tender. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the salsa, combine the scallions, cilantro, chiles, cumin and salt in a bowl. Stir in the oil, add water as needed to thin, and add avocado. Toast the tortilla strips in the oven until crisp, or fry them in vegetable oil.

To serve, stir the salsa into the posole and garnish with a nest of cabbage and tortilla strips and a wedge of lime. Accompany with warm tortillas.

Posole Verde

Serves 6

1/2 pound Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 1/2 onions, white or red, peeled and halved
Salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled
15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed
2 poblano chiles
1 serrano chile
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano
1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper

Soak posole overnight in water to cover generously. Drain.
Place it in a saucepan with fresh water to cover generously.

Add 1/2 onion, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer until the corn kernels are tender, 2 to 3 hours; many will split open. Season with salt and cool in the liquid.

On a hot, dry griddle or skillet, roast the remaining halved onions, garlic, tomatillos and chiles, turning occasionally, until they are charred and slightly softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

Put the roasted poblano chiles in a paper bag to steam until cool.

Transfer the other vegetables to a bowl and let cool, collecting their juices.

Skin the poblanos, discarding seeds and stems. Discard the serrano chile stem but don’t skin or seed.

Put all the roasted vegetables in a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over moderate heat.
Add the vegetable puree and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

In the blender, puree the cilantro, oregano and 1 cup of the broth. Add to the vegetable mixture along with 4 cups additional broth.

Drain the posole and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Thin with additional broth if necessary. Serve in warm bowls.

Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!