Using Frozen Veggies: Creamy Gingered Peas and White Fish

Yesterday’s post offered advice for dealing with “vegetable exhaustion:”  Take a break every now and then by using frozen vegetables, which require little to no prep time.  Here’s a great, “take-a-break” one dish meal, made easy with not only frozen peas, but also a convenient frozen fish fillet.

Creamy Gingered Peas and White Fish

  • 2 10-oz. pkgs. Columbia River Organic Peas and Pearl Onions

Place peas in medium-sized saute pan with a lid.  Turn heat to medium, cover and cook about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas and onions are thoroughly cooked and moisture has evaporated.

  • 2 Tbsp. freshly sqeezed lime juice, divided
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 6-oz. frozen Mahi Mahi filet, thawed and cut into roughly ¾” cubes

While peas cook, combine half of lime juice and all of soy sauce in a soup bowl.  Gently squeeze fish cubes to eliminate excess moisture, then place in lime juice mixture and toss to coat.  Reserve.

  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4  to 1/3 cup coconut milk, to taste

Once peas are done, reduce heat to medium low and push to sides of pan.  Into center of pan, pour oil and allow to warm for 10-15 seconds.  Stir ginger into oil and cook about 30-45 seconds.  Dump reserved fish over ginger and spread into a single layer.  Cook a minute or two to lightly brown one side, then pour in broth and coconut milk.  DEGLAZE pan, then reduce heat to low, cover and allow fish to cook another minute or two, stirring a couple times, just until fish is cooked through.  Avoid overcooking fish.  Immediately remove pan from heat.

  • 1-2 tsp. fish sauce, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked Forbidden Rice, brown basmati or other whole grain brown rice or quinoa.

Sprinkle with fish sauce and remaining lime juice, to taste, then serve stew nestled into a bed of rice that has been warmed in microwave.

Notes and Options

Snap or Snow Pea Option: Try substituting fresh snap or snow peas for the frozen peas, when in season.  Slice them about ¾ to 1” thick and SIMMER-STEAM in about ½ cup broth, just until crisp-tender and still bright green.

Fish Options: Cod, snapper and talapia make good substitutes if Mahi Mahi is not available.

Brands: Columbia River peas are called for because they are so sweet and flavorful.  Another brand can be substituted, however.

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Q & A: Are Carrots and Peas Too High in Sugar?

That was one of the questions from a talk I gave the other night.  A young woman had heard that peas and carrots should be avoided because of their high sugar content.

Do I try to answer her question from a scientific, technical standpoint:  Put peas and carrots in the witness stand and cross examine them?  Or do I step back and ask, “Where did that question even come from?”

On average, we consume 142 POUNDS of sugar each year (that’s as of 2003, up 19% from the 119 pounds we consumed in 1970.)*   Every day, on average, we consume 13.5 teaspoons of sugar, just in the sodas we drink.  A quick perusal of Starbucks’ nutritional information shows that we get another eight to 15 teaspoons in our morning coffee drinks.  The morning muffin we wolf down–even a “healthy” Whole Wheat Honey Bran one–has another 6 or more teaspoons of sugar.  That’s a total of 27.5 to 34.5 teaspoons of sugar–and we haven’t even gotten to lunch yet.

Ever wonder how tough and rough stalks get turned into pure white crystals?  Image from grain.org

Ever wonder how tough and rough stalks get turned into pure white crystals? Image from grain.org***

Given these facts, does it not seem just a little preposterous, a little audacious, to criticize peas for having 1 tsp. of “sugar” per 1/2 cup?  What’s more, peas’  “sugar” is a far cry from the white stuff we spoon into our coffee, or the high fructose corn syrup we gulp down in our sodas.  It requires none of the test tube processing required to mutate a stalk of sugar cane into crystals of white sugar or an ear of corn into a sweet syrup.  And unlike those sweet mutations, the “sugar” in peas isn’t void of nutrients but comes bundled with an amazing assortment of valuable vitamins and minerals (**see below for details.)

A Goggle search pulled up an article that might be prompting these kinds of questions.  That article pronounced peas “high” in sugar based on comparisons to spinach and broccoli (having 8.2 grams, 0.13 grams and 1.5 grams per cup, respectively, but with no mention made that a cup of spinach is one sixth the weight of a cup of peas.)   The article warned that consuming foods high in sugar, even from fruits and vegetables, is likely to cause weight gain and an increased chance of developing diabetes.  It cautioned against eating peas “unless you really enjoy them.”

All I can think is that we should be so lucky if people would eat peas!  In a nation where only one person in ten eats the recommended number of fruits and vegetables and where we consume toxic amounts of processed, refined foods in oversized portions, it would be tremendous if we would eat whole, natural vitamin-and-mineral packed food like peas–and carrots, too.

Maybe, instead of dissecting and worrying about the sugar and calories in peas and carrots, we should be looking at their sweetness as a little gift from nature–so we aren’t stuck eating bitter dandelion greens and bland spinach all the time.  Maybe we should say “thank you,” instead of being horrified–and then sneaking in the freezer for a dip of Chunky Monkey (7 teaspoons of sugar in a 1/2 cup serving).

The bottom line:  Eat your peas and carrots, just like your mother said!

* From GOOD, October 8, 2007, drawing on statistics from Center for Science in the Public Interest. By the way, 142 POUNDS of sugar is the equivalent of 13,995 teaspoons of the stuff–another reason to wonder why we would worry about the 1 teaspoon of sugar in a serving a peas that would amount to only 365 teaspoons annually if we only would eat a serving a day

**From WHFoods.com:  Green peas are a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, folate and thiamin (vitamin B1). They are also a good source of vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin B6, protein, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), copper, iron, zinc and potassium.

***Transforming sugar cane into sugar also has serious environmental and social justice implications according to an article in Seedling, July 2007

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