Thursday, June 14, 2012

Minding My Peas and Mushrooms

I miss the way my grandmother used to say "mushrooms." It was "mushroonz" with a hard "n." I don't know why she pronounced it that way. Maybe it was a Rhode Island-Italian mash-up. Maybe it was just her.

When she was alive, I never missed an opportunity to remind her of it: "Hey, Nan, whatcha cooking over there? Some peas with mushroonz?" I'd say, suppressing a giggle. Invariably, she'd reply, "Ooh, you're so fresh." Then she'd make me sit down with her and eat some. Although I didn't like peas and mushrooms, I always liked Nan's, slick with butter and speckled with black pepper.

Even since Jeff and I moved away from Rhode Island 15 years ago, I've been cooking Nan's recipes — Italian chicken and escarole soup, Pizzelle Cookies, her famous Easter pies — and saying words like she did (well, only when I'm home). I'm not making fun of her. It's just the opposite: It's a way to remember her and talk about her.

The other night I had a pot of cooked fresh peas and mushrooms resting on the stove top. When Jeff came home from work, he walked straight to it, scooped a spoonful into his mouth, and said, "Mmmm.... good peas and mushroonz just like Nan's."

Yup, just like Nan's.

How about you? Did you grandmother or other loved one have funny ways of pronouncing words or doing things? I'd love to hear about them in the comment section below. 

Peas and Mushroonz (or Mushrooms)
Makes 4 servings
Printable recipe.

2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 (10-ounce) bag of sliced mushrooms
2 cups fresh peas (about 10 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add the shallots and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned all over. Add the peas and cook 2 to 3 minutes, if you like them al dente like I do. If you prefer them softer, then cook them longer. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy.

Since it's fresh pea season, here are more peas recipes you might enjoy:
Spring Pea Guacamole recipe from Everyday Southwest
Sweet Peas Hummus recipe from My Man's Belly
Orange Spiked Peas with Dill recipe from Food Blogga
Spring Pasta with Fresh Peas recipe from Arugula Files
Fresh Peas with Vegan "Bacon" recipe from May I Have that Recipe?
Warm Three Pea and Radish Salad recipe from Food Blogga
Creamy Minted Fresh Pea Almond Soup recipe from Healthy, Happy Life
Lemony Pasta with Fresh Peas, Ricotta and Mint recipe from Food Blogga
Spring Salad with Dandelion Greens, Asparagus and Fresh Peas recipe from Sass & Veracity