A few things conspired together this week to leave me in the kitchen on a Friday night, making mushy peas. 

(Now I've never made mushy peas before, and though I have traveled to and in the UK, I've never had them. I'm not sure how this is possible because it's the kind of simple dish that I jump at on a menu, especially served with a nice fish and chips.)
First, I'm reading James Joyce's Dubliners. In one of the chapters, The Gallants, a man feasts on "a plate of hot grocer's peas, seasoned with pepper and vinegar...He ate his food greedily and found it so good that he made a note of the shop mentally." This always happens to me - I read something that starts a craving! But who knows what hot grocer's peas are? An annotation in Dubliners says that grocer's peas are large, pale processed peas, closer to pease pudding than to fresh peas. Pease pudding (or pottage) is, as it turns out, a thicker pea mash, and the ancestor of boiled peas. Regardless, I read "hot grocer's peas" and thought...mashed up green peas...yum.

Secondly, this morning I had four wisdom teeth yanked out of my head. Since I got IV sedation, I couldn't eat this morning and didn't want to eat after the surgery...until about 10pm. That's when I thought...mushy peas would be perfect! I can't really open my mouth that much and can't chew at all. I related this to my boyfriend, who inquired what in the world mushy peas were. My explanation was somewhere along the lines of - it's a British dish of mashed up green peas with salt, pepper, milk, and butter. Oh, he replied, baby food. Nooooo. So much better. And so much more complicated.

Researching on the good ol' internet, I found two basic camps for mushy peas. One in which frozen and/or canned marrowfat peas are acceptable. One in which only dried marrowfat peas are used. This latter group seems much more the purist, and I like that. Baking soda is added to the soaking process. This is what breaks up the peas. I vow to try the long version one day. But tonight, I took the easy way and made a single serving of mushy peas broken up with a potato masher. (I used English peas because that's what was in the freezer.) 

1/2 cup frozen English peas
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
pinch of black pepper
1 Tbs milk
1/2 Tbs butter 

  1. Boil the peas until they are done done.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Add the milk and butter.
  4. Mash mash. Until the done done peas are broken up and the milk and butter are absorbed.
I will definitely be making the longer, more Britishly correct version soon with dried Marrowfats peas and baking soda.  


I'm making history today people. This is the first Tuesdays with Dorie posting for which the dessert is already made, given, and long gone. You see, a few weeks ago a friend had a birthday. I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, and to my horror she shook her head, "I don't like cake." What? Okay, it's her birthday so she gets what she wants. "Well what would you like?" "I don't really like sweets." Alright, now this was getting a little crazy. I know people who don't like sweets, my brother being one, and it usually just means more for me. However, we were talking birthday here. So I tried one more time and got...brownies. Brownies?! I can live with brownies.
A big thanks to Beth of Supplicious for picking Chipster Brownies. In case you haven't guessed, chipster brownies are brownies topped with a layer of chocolate chip cookie. Oh yes, you heard right, this duo is out to blow other little brownies to pieces! Everything went smoothly with the recipe...until I got to the part where you spread the chocolate chip cookie dough on top of the brownie batter. My cookie dough was so heavy that it wanted to plummet straight to the bottom of the pan. I had brownie batter sputtering out in mini geysers. It was kinda a mess, and the resulting brownies look more marbled in the middle than they're probably supposed to. I was happy when I finally got the dough covering the whole top and popped it in the oven. As I set out to clean-up, I found an egg in the 1/4 cup measuring cup. Huh? Who put that there? Wasn't that supposed to go into the...cookie dough. Huh, I wonder if that's why it was so hard to spread?  
The forgotten egg made me a little nervous. The brownies smelled good, looked good, and were a bit dense and gooey (my fave-type of brownies). The chocolate chip top was a bit crumbly but hey, I had a birthday bbq to get to. So I boxed up the brownies and headed off hoping for the best. And people loved them! Deemed them "crack brownies." Finished them before anything else. Success. Even without the forgotten egg. There were a couple of people who could only eat a bite, before calling it quits. These brownies are not to be take lightly. They are double the dessert. I will definitely be making these again.  


I like the idea of pasta salad so much more than I like the real thing...
I love cold noodles...leftover Thai is the best! I'm not a mayo-hater and I love veggies. 
So what's the problem? I'm not quite sure. There's something about the way it all comes together that always seems stale, soggy, bleahhhhh.

So I decided to make one that was better than the rest. 
whole wheat pasta, boiled according to instructions
frozen veggie mix, added when pasta is almost done
1 red bell pepper, added after cooking when pasta is cool

1 Tablespoon sour cream
salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Safflower oil
1 teaspoon rosemary

The result - it was colorful and pretty. I enjoyed it the first day. After that, it sat in my fridge waiting, becoming stale and soggy as the way all pasta salad seems to go. I'll try again though. Any great recipes out there?


And Mango was it's name-o!

Yes, this more than slightly annoying little ditty has been playing through my head. But it doesn't take away from the fact that I looovvvee mangoes! I practically lived off mangoes for an entire month while backpacking through Southern Africa. I grabbed handfuls of the small, stringy kind off trees for the juice and the fruit. Love 'em. 
Thanks to Kelly of Baking with the Boys for this week's pick. It's a sweet bread filled with fresh mango, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, lime zest, ginger, and (I added) coconut. Living in Miami, I get to have mangoes a lot. I usually try to buy them from the local farmer's market on the weekend. Since I was out of town this past weekend, I settled for the grocery store mangoes. What did they have? The ones I think look like wooden shoes with funny little pointed toes. I'm not sure if there's anyone out there who can see the resemblance...but it's there.I got two mangoes and needed both to make two cups diced. This variety from Haiti is sweet and a little stringy. I don't mind the stringiness. I'm not very discriminating when it comes to mangoes; small, large, oval, shoe-shaped, stringy, sweet, green with chili pepper, it's all good. The stringiness was a little weird in the bread though, so I would probably opt for a less stringy variety next time. 
I definitely think this bread is kickin' and the perfect summer sweet alternative to heavier chocolate desserts. I also like fruit desserts in the summer months. I turned my bread out too soon, and a bit of the top stuck to the cooling rack. I used powdered sugar and coconut on top to cover up the resulting blemishes. But since that was the biggest mishap of this kitchen episode, I think it was a pretty good baking night. 
In the recipe, Dorie mentions that the bread is best the day after baking. I have mine covered now, sitting on the table just waiting for tomorrow. 


I imagine this pie is the kinda thing all little Lemon Ice Box Pies aspire to. It's what they dream of being if only someone would have given them the whole lemon. Using a whole lemon for a recipe was a first for me, and it turned out great. I love that idea. Partly because using the whole of something is more eco-friendly, and partly because it's less prep and clean-up work for me. 
I used regular organic lemons, whatever kind Wild Oats had in singles. I saw some people used Meyer's lemons, which probably made theirs less tart. I love sour stuff - those awful Tear Jerkers, the fluorescent gummy worms - and this reminded me of a sweet kick of sour candy. I used Dorie's sweet nutty tart dough, adding a handful of coarsely chopped walnuts for texture. The crust was tasty, though it turned out crumbly and wanted to break apart coming out of the pan. Hmm, I wonder what I did wrong with the dough. The lemon filling was great, smooth and tart and not too jelly-like. 
My tart was tart...so much so that I moaned myself to sleep with a bellyache after eating a whole piece. But it was almost worth it because this is really delish. Thanks to Babette of Babette Feasts for choosing something citrusy and different! 

TwD: Tira-mini-su Cake

I went on a trip to Italy when I was a sophmore in high school and I remember trying very hard to like tiramisu. It was just so cool, with it's layers of creamy stuff. I couldn't stand the smell or taste of coffee and so I could never muster even a bite. But hey, as I've aged I have grown to love coffee, out of habit or necessity after long nights who knows. The only for sure thing is that I love my cup of joe. 
And this week I found out that I love my cup of tiramisu. I cut the recipe in 8ths and assembled it in a wine glass. Perfect for the mini tiramisu cake. Though the chocolate chips do like monstrous! 
I'm not a big fan of marscapone, so I substituted another creamy cheese - Neufchatel. It was yummy! This was a great little 'pick me up' chosen my Megan of My Baking Adventures