Peas, Peas Let Adam Lambert Win

orzo and peas with mint and lemon zest“Hello? Yeah. No. Okay. Yes. Sure. Great. Yeah right! Ok, bye. It was nice talking to you too.”

That’s how this story starts, because that collection of very literate sentences was uttered by me and is just one side of a very brief phone call.

Do you have one of those friends who start every phone conversation as if they had been on the phone with you a half hour already? It’s like they just pick up where they left off when they last spoke to you a week ago.

They could spout off their SS# and give you the combination to the safe without first confirming with whom they are speaking.

But in this instance I was indeed the intended reservoir for the information being conveyed. And believe it or not, the information being conveyed was a party invitation.

frozen peas are usually just as good as fresh peasThe other side of the conversation went something like this (there was no “hello”. No “how are you?” No “is this Greg?” No “this is so-and-so.”).

Just this simple set of questions and commands:
You gonna watch American Idol tonight?” (Yeah.)
“You had dinner yet?” (No.)
“You wanna come over?” (Okay.)
“Can you be here in 30 minutes?” (Yes.)
“Can you bring something to eat?” (Sure)
“Don’t go to any trouble.” (Great.)
“ust grab some chips or something.” (Yeah right!)
click-dial-tone…(Ok, bye. It was nice talking to you too.)

The“Yeah right!” was said with some irony because he and I both knew I would not be “grabbing some chips or something”. He knew I

d be cooking something. He also knew I would not be late. I mean what if Adam Lambert went first this week? He knew I would not want to miss that.

I knew a few things about him too. I knew he could always be counted on to have a few bottles of a grassy New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc chilling. I also knew there would be very little else in his refrigerator. But he is a cheese fiend and I was wagering I could find the dregs of at least one or two goat-cheese logs in there somewhere too.

I decided to do a pasta salad. Orzo and Peas with Mint and Lemon Zest. It could easily be enhanced with the goat cheese once I got there. Even with out the goat-cheese, it would seem like a meal enough.

As I also decided on orzo and peas and mint and lemon it was obvious I was thinking about his wine.

Besides I think frozen peas are the greatest short-cut known to man! 

Frozen peas are tasty. They are one of the two veggies I buy frozen (artichoke hearts are the other. I do a really good roasted artichoke bruschetta that starts with frozen artichokes…but that is another day and another post).

Today I am going to tell you how I threw together dinner in 20 minutes (I needed 10 minutes to drive there) with the only cooking being boiled water and wilted shallots.

I grabbed a 1‑pound bag of frozen peas and emptied them into my serving bowl.

I filled a pot with water and added a good amount of salt. I placed this over a medium-high flame to boil.

While I was waiting I zested 2 lemons, into long thin strands. I divided the zest into two equal piles. I then quickly juiced those two lemons and added the juice to the pea bowl (I guess bowl of peas sounds better).

I chopped three shallots. And I ran a knife through a big pile of mint leaves.

I set a small sauté pan over medium heat. To this I added 4 tablespoons of butter and 3 chopped shallots. I stirred this mixture around in the pan until the shallots were translucent. I turned the heat off and tossed in one of the piles of lemon zest stirring to make sure they were well coated.

By now my water was boiling so I added 1 pound of orzo and made sure to give the pot a good stir. Orzo can clump together something fierce!

pasta salad with peas and mintI figured I had 6 or 7 minutes ‘til al dente. So I decided to jump in the shower and pick out something to wear that I thought Adam Lambert would like to see me in  (If he could see me. I realize he can’t see me through the TV. I am not crazy you know!).

Just in time I zoomed downstairs and drained the pasta. I certainly did not rinse it. But at least I remembered to pour it into a fine mesh strainer and not the colander I usually use. My regular colander has holes that allow the orzo to slip through them slinking down the drain and out of reach.

I poured the hot orzo over the pea mix. The heat from the pasta is all the cooking those frozen peas need to be perfect. I added the shallots and lemon. Then salt and pepper, as well as about 1 cup of loosely packed chopped mint leaves. Another good stir and I was ready to garnish this salad with the remaining strands of lemon zest!

Then it was off to my friend’s house to watch Adam Lambert’s date with destiny.


Greg Henry