The challenge: bring over a side dish to a our friends’ house for dinner; keep it simple to not distract from the main course; have it be aesthetically pleasing and, preferably, green; make sure it can be easily heated and/or assembled so as not to burden our hosts in the kitchen when we arrive; and make it toddler friendly? A tall order, I know, but I thought that the Lemony snow peas and mixed mushrooms recipe would be able to stand up to the test.
This shopping trip was particularly fun—a new grocery store had opened up in our neighbourhood only two days earlier. Although it’s just a reincarnation of the previous grocery chain, the new name, fresh colours, pleasing font and improved layout made it feel like a whole new family outing. Too bad our two year-old slept through all the excitement in his stroller, but it definitely made it easier for Mommy and Daddy to meander up and down every aisle ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the new selection and placement of products.
The mushroom section of the store offered more than the requisite button mushrooms—10 varieties in all—but, oddly, no cremini mushrooms were to be found. I settled on shiitake and button mushrooms. I also poked around for a mushroom brush, but to no avail. Cleaning the mushrooms with a damp kitchen towel instead would have to do. It is a relatively small grocery store, after all.
I decided to try to make this dish at two locations: prepare most of it in my kitchen and then transport the browned mushrooms in sauce to our hosts’ abode where I would fry the mushrooms with the fresh snow peas on their stove top, just minutes before eating. Not too much of a bother, right?
I prepped the snow peas by washing and slicing off either end. I consciously chose not to pull the strings from each pod as I deemed it too time consuming for my liking and, I was hoping, unnecessary. I think I tried to overcompensate by cooking the snow peas longer than I should have. Since I was reheating the cooled mushrooms, I added the snow peas and cooked them for 4 to 5 minutes rather than the recipe-instructed 2 to 3 minutes. Perhaps they would have been crunchier with a little less cooking time. When I made the Chicken on cilantro-ginger noodles last week, the snow peas were perfect. Oops.
The youngsters (a 4-year-old and our 2-year-old) were not impressed that the peas were cooked as they prefer them raw. They nibbled half-heartedly at the meal and then took off to play with a miniature kitchen, assembling ‘pizzas’ and then serving them to the adults. How many more years until they can help with the cooking?
As for the adults, we all enjoyed this dish. It was both eye and palate pleasing. And, without having to share with the children, there was more for us!