A Table: Sugar Snap Peas and Tea

My name is Lauren Cerand, and I'm delighted to be a core member and new recipe editor. Please visit every Wednesday morning for a recipe or two inspired by the preview newsletter.

Above, a tea set made by my pottery teacher at the Educational Alliance. I took a class there a few years ago, discovered I had no natural ability whatsoever, and could not cultivate any new skills when it came to molding clay. At a certain point, I just relaxed and enjoyed the process. This is also my attitude towards the seasonal fluctuations of the CSA. I would make a terrible farmer, and so enjoy celebrating the bounty of the season, reading about the process and awaiting pictures of Comfrey & Co.

This week's recipe is a commentary by culinary icon James Beard on sugar snap peas, from a tattered and much-loved old vintage edition of The New James Beard (Alfred A. Knopf; New York, 1981): "In the last couple of years a new variety of pea has appeared, called the sugar snap, an edible-pod type of great flavor and distinction. It is different from the flat Chinese snow pea because the peas are fully formed inside the sweet, crunchy edible pod. All you have to do is remove the stem end and little strings, and then eat the whole thing, either raw or cooked very simply–– blanched and tossed with butter or sauteed or stir-fried until the shells just turn green."

Won't these be a lovely complement to your fresh green salad that the other ingredients so nicely add up to on their own? Melissa's comments about savoring the current yield remind me of the necessity for mindfulness and cultivating gratitude that I had plenty of time to work on when I spent a week at Green Gulch, the working farm of the San Francisco Zen Center. Certainly, there's nothing nicer than a steamy cup of tea nestled in hand after pitting plums for hours.

This might be the weekend to check out the New Amsterdam Market, "dedicated to promoting economic development and building a new Market District in Lower Manhattan." Honestly, it's the best market I've been to anywhere in the world, and my favorite discovery a couple weeks back was Bellocq teas. Their No. 40, Charleston blend, pictured below, is "created for and inspired by the magnificent gardens at Charleston, the country residence of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant." If you enjoy reading about gardens and the artsy set, don't miss Adam Nicolson's Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History: The Quest to Restore a Working Farm at Vita Sackville-West's Legendary Garden.

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