There are two stories to be told here. One is the story of a wedding. Well, a wedding reception. Well, a backyard barbeque eight months after the wedding that was my way of providing the couple with a reception. The other is the story of a van. Both occur in mid-July. Let’s start with the latter.
I had completed my first year as a bona fide college student and was, like any bona fide college student, enjoying the summer in between shifts at my first job. I was changing into a tank top in the back of my friend’s car at the Santa Clara beach boardwalk before heading out to the beach when I saw a van parked a few spots down. Okay, so it wasn’t a van, it was a vintage old style VW bus, complete with tie-dye paint job, beads in the window, and Grateful Dead stickers everywhere. But there was, as I discovered after straightening myself out and exiting my friend’s car, only one bumper sticker. It read “Envision Whirled Peas.” Read out loud, of course, it emerged as the hippie/peacenik/ flower child ultimate mantra. Peace + food + word play = my day was made. Maybe my week.
But back to the wedding story. Ah, weddings.
The love, the beauty, the glowing smiles…
On the eve of my own wedding anniversary, a hot, beautiful day three years ago, I bring you a tableau of another. A reception, at least, where my role was slightly different:
The heat of the kitchen, the stress of catering, the need for perfection…
I’m being overdramatic. I’ve never catered a wedding before, and I still haven’t. I simply cooked for our dear friends K. and T. this weekend. I made a whole collection of things (full list is here), but I want to tell you about the crostini.
Thanks to A. and her delectable food sense, I made a pea, lemon, and mint puree to spread on crostini. She called it “whirled peas.”
I defrosted one 16 oz. bag of petite peas and jangled them into the food processor.
Joining them: the zest of about ¾ of a lemon (one spot didn’t look so nice),
the juice of half that lemon,
probably ¼ cup of mint leaves,
freshly ground black pepper.
This fragrant mixture received an ample dose of olive oil (½ cup or so? I didn’t measure) as I whirled it in the food processor for a good minute or two. I wanted it as smooth as possible, but I still wanted it to be impossibly bright green.
As the time for the party approached (our first guest’s feet were practically climbing the front steps!), I sliced a slim sourdough baguette on an angle and, shielding each slice with a glug of olive oil, broiled them until they turned golden and crisp. While the little toasts cooled, the lovely and accommodating K. helped me pick some nasturtiums from our front garden to top our creation. Even a simple backyard barbeque needs a fancy-pants appetizer option!
I spread a generous helping of minty, citrus-y bright “whirled peas” onto each crostini before gently pressing the calyx of each flower gently into the emerald spread. They looked like flower arrangements – miniature edible gardens that looked and smelled of springtime and fresh birth.
K. and T. loved them (and seemed to love everything about the evening – a hostess-and-wanna-be-caterer’s dream!), but I was a bit nonplussed. The flavor was minty and fresh, but seemed to be missing something. Perhaps tang. Peas are naturally sweet, and mint paired with some sweetness reads as more sweetness. I wanted something to tell my tastebuds this was a savory bite. The pepperiness of the nasturtium was too mild to do the job.
Because I have plenty of leftovers, I am considering adding some lime juice, perhaps some basil and a zinging shaving of Parmesan, and turning this into something more like a pesto. Whirled peas pesto. Say it out loud with me… “world peace” pesto?
Envision it: One little crostini, two happy people, global cooperation and betterment.
Stay tuned for results and additions!