My Little Victory Garden: Peashoots, Rain and Tornadoes in Oklahoma

Pea shoots cut in the evening sun. Everything is so green...

We’ve been sent a mixed blessing from the weather gods here in Oklahoma.  On the one hand, we’ve received a wonderful Spring rainfall and our state is green. The vegetables in my garden are green.  The trees, the wheat and the landscape…all green.  It’s beautiful here.

But on top of all that green, at least in some locations across the state (notably Norman and Woodward…ESPECIALLY Woodward) is now a blanketing of debris strewn about by tornadoes.  And in a few cases, there are also grieving people who lost family members, including children.  The losses also go past the people, however. And even if we know and understand that people are what matters, businesses, homes and a large variety of property now has to be cleaned up, rebuilt and managed.

I felt strange today.  And lucky.  Although I slept through the night both Friday and Saturday, and felt assured that we had warning systems in place as well as a storm shelter buried into our garage floor, many Oklahomans didn’t.  People are tired, they’re sad, and they’re trying to help manage their lives as well as figure out how to help those in need.

I was thinking through these various thoughts as I went to one of two patches of peas I’m growing.  One I’ve grown simply to use the shoots and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.  The other, I’ll let grow to fruition and enjoy peas in a few weeks.

Pea shoots, cut early and properly, are an incredible addition to a healthy and balanced meal plan.  There are literally endless ways to eat this beautiful plant that tastes just like the mild side of English peas.  A Chinese graduate student was visiting our home Wednesday night and he said the people in his village ate them all the time, stir fried along with other vegetables.  But you can also use them fresh in salads, on sandwiches as a lettuce substitute, cream them into a beautiful coulis, or in so many other ways.

I urge you to check out this website for all you ever wanted to know about pea shoots, recipes, and beautiful photos of the possibilities.  And, if you’d like, you can grow them inside your home by a window like people grow bean sprouts or wheat grass.

Tonight I used them for a “local Okie” ingredient meal and I must say, this is one of my favorite Little Victory Garden creations to date:

How do these taste? The word "Yahtzee!! (Thx TLO)" comes to mind. "Wowzers" and "Nomz" are also contenders.

“Green Un-wich Peashoot Sliders”

You’ll need:

½ pound ground beef or sirloin – I use local and grass fed

½ large yellow onion, 1 quart sized bag of freshly cleaned pea shoots

Brown spicy mustard, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper

One or two medium sized green tomatoes

Instructions:

This is a very simple “build it” recipe.

Meat:  Prepare your  2oz (approx) slider patties by shaping into a flattened ball then brushing with a 60/40 mixture of spicy mustard and Worcestershire sauce, blended into a nice basting paste.  Grill over med-high flame until desired level of done-ness is reached.

Green tomatoes: Brush with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Grill over same flame as meat, flipping occasionally, until tender, slightly browned and shriveled, with grill marks visible.

Onions: Slice very thinly and caramelize in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  The trick to caramelizing is to sauté on medium heat, taking care to toss or stir frequently for even browning.

Pea Shoots: After you wash your pea shoots, pat dry so the dressing will stick nicely.  You might eat a couple of the shoots to make sure you are not including any shoots too thick to be tough to the bite.  They should be fine, but testing the thickest shoot yourself will ensure an excellent dish.

Dressing:  Whisk together 1 part red wine vinegar, 2 parts olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the pea shoots to coat in dressing.

As soon as you pull your tomatoes and meat off the grill, build your dish and serve.  You can see how to build the dish from the photo I believe, but just in case: place a grilled slice of tomato on your plate, center the meat on top of that, arrange a nice pile of caramelized onions over the meat, then top with a nice portion of dressed pea shoots.

Beautiful, delicious, and you’ll probably want to eat more than one.

I sat out on the porch and ate mine, looked at our very full rain gauge, thought about our tornado victims…and thanked God for our family’s safety and for my garden.

Take care, friends…

[kelly]

Eating now...lettuce, chard, green onions, pea shoots, rhubarb and asparagus.
Oh NO! My outdoor 1995 leather Teva sandals need Gorilla Glue!

Comments

comments

16 thoughts on “My Little Victory Garden: Peashoots, Rain and Tornadoes in Oklahoma”

  1. Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plans. Talk about sweet Oklahoma, your blog photos exude sweet Oklahoma big time, with its sweeping wind and sweet-smellin waving wheat. Thanks for your posts. Look forward to reading more, now that I’ve added you to my favorites list.

    1. Hello, Andrea – so glad you stopped by. Thanks for all you do in Western Oklahoma, where the plain is swept by the winds all the time. Take care, RDK

  2. Your burger had me drooling at 9:00 am! I have never seen pea shoots…I will look for them in the farmers market …Nothing really is ready up here yet..I will definately make them. I did grow stringbeans and tomatoes last year.. I am off to check that link. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Winnie – there are a few chef’s around OKC I know who were trained in NYC and they mention pea shoots from time to time. I’ll bet your farmer’s market offers them when the timing is right. Good luck! ~ RDK

  3. Kelly, you are such a lovely writer. Yes, people are sad and distressed today. Bill and I watched the news and discovered we knew one of the families whose house was destroyed in Woodward. I love Internet for two days from the storms, and I missed finding out about friends. It felt odd to not know how people were out west. My daughter hid out in the basement of her sorority house in Norman, and texted me on the phone. Such is life in the 21st Century. Tornadoes are one crazy, unpredictable fact of this life, and sometimes, they outsmart the tech.

    As for your unsandwich, I must try it. It looks so unbelievably good. A friend of mine from the Great NW wrote a cool book about using all the different parts of the plants we grow. Grow, Cook, Eat was the name of it, and I loved seeing the different parts eaten so well. Happy Spring.~~Dee

    1. Dee – happy Spring to you! Thought about you today as I saw no less than five or six different varieties of wildflowers in full bloom along the byways. I’m so sorry about your friend’s home. Thanks for the book reference…I may see if I can rustle up a copy from somewhere. Take care, RDK

  4. I’m a new gardener and am completely intimidated by all this gardening talk. I have a tiny, little plot in my backyard where I plant tomatoes and peppers. I’m trying to get up the nerve to try something else.
    I’m glad you’re ok. I’ve been thinking a lot about those who were hit this weekend. Mother Nature is a fickle lady, growing our crops and then tearing down homes. Circle of life, I guess.

    1. Dear sweet Jewels…I think there should be some printed “rules for new gardeners.” 1) give seeds enough warmth and water and they’ll probably come up. 2) Give plants enough sun and water and they’ll probably grow. 3) watch out for crazy hungry worms 4) when necessary and only if necessary, use Sevin, and only until your bug/worm problem is gone… 5) Every garden EVERY year is and experiment that will help you learn for EVERY next year. You are awesome, whatever you try is “love” to our fickle Mother Nature, and to you…Good luck! Love, RDK

  5. Pea shoots, huh? I’m intrigued. I’m also a smidge envious that you’re already eating from your garden, but my gut says you started earlier and are more experienced at it than we are.

    This looks totally fab and I can’t wait to try it! Our corn, beans, and okra (Hubs is an Okie, after all. ;-)) are sprouting and looking healthy. Our tomato plants have little yellow blossoms on them, and the squash and cucumber plants are already almost out of control. We even have little “hairs” of green onions poking out of the fabulous dirt (thanks to three bags of manure from The Lazy W). I’m betting that if our housesitter takes care of the garden (probably better than we will!), we’ll have fabulous produce when we return from our gallivanting.

    1. Hello friend ~ I love the first spikes of onions. I’ve actually only been gardening for three or four years, but used to help when I was a young girl at my parents’ house. Yes, I’m very happy to be eating from ours, but am SO glad you are growing some favie Okie food 🙂 And yes, pea shoots are intriguing indeed. And, delicious. Take care…and I hope your day has wonderful moments.

  6. Kelly,
    As always – LOVE your writing! We spent the weekend in OKC and personally felt safe in our hotel, but received an automated “Code Red” call on Sunday morning that a dangerous storm was descending on our home in Tulsa. It was surreal as we simultaneously processed the tragic news in Woodward and watched the radar images from 100 miles away as a similar storm swallowed our small community. As it turned out, we were spared – a tornado briefly touched down in an undeveloped area of a town west of us and then vanished. A small rural community next on it’s “whistle stop” track was spared today. When I arrived home last evening I marveled at the lush and shaggy green blanket of our back yard – which DESPERATELY needs to be mowed, and I took stock of my broccoli and cabbage that is now RIPE – inconceivable to this Buffalo N.Y. gal who is more accustomed to April snows than harvests:)

    Looking forward to trying your recipe – YUM!

    Jaime

    1. Jaime – I’m so terribly glad that Tulsa was spared. We were watching as my husband’s has family members there. Can’t believe your broccoli and cabbage are RIPE! YUM! Happy eating your beautiful harvest – take care, RDK

  7. OH MY GOODNESS! I did not know you could eat the greens. I have a wonderful crop of pea greens and am going to make that TOMORROW night! Looks so yummy. Unfortunately the rabbits have demolished my lettuce this year and the early heat has not allowed it to grow. I’m going to have to retry the lettuce for wilted lettuce salad!

    1. Jill – we had wilted lettuce salad last week. I thought I made a large bowl but Hubby and I woofed it down! I DO hope your lettuce regrows, but you are right about the early heat…it’s been slightly strange. Bunnies are such a mixed blessing – so cute, and SO destructive to gardens. Thanks for checking in, and happy garden eating this year!~ RDK

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