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The farmers' markets are filling up with the season's vegetables like asparagus, spring onions, artichokes, and peas.

Peas are . There are two categories of peas: snap peas/snow peas, where the whole pea pod is used, and English peas or green peas, which have their outer shells split open to reveal tiny green peas inside.

Maybe you have memories of chasing your peas around your plate as a child, and you don't cook with them today. If you want to try again, check out these interesting and lively recipes.

1. Mushy peas with mint is a favorite side dish in England. Traditional versions call for marrowfat peas, soaked in water overnight. , uses English peas and is super-simple to make as a side dish. Oliver's recipe for minty mushy peas calls for cooking the peas with potato, and finishing with fresh mint leaves, for a bright flavor. This method gives the peas a porridge-like consistency.

2. Joanne Weir got me out of my pea rut a few years ago. On her television series Cooking Confidence, she shared some great suggestions for working with peas. One of her recipes , to make a guacamole dip to be served with tortilla chips. The sweet pea flavor paired with the creamy avocado makes for an addictive snack. You can also toast some slices of a baguette and spread the guacamole on the slices to make crostini. Toast slices of bread, drizzled with some extra-virgin olive oil, in a 375 F degree oven for 10-12 minutes. When the bread has toasted, spread the rich avocado and pea mixture on the crunchy toasted bread slices. Zest some lemon over the crostini.

3. Weir has an interesting riff on pea soup: she was craving gazpacho, but tomatoes weren't in season yet, so she came up with instead. The sweetness of the peas is a nice balance for the zing of sherry vinegar that gives gazpacho its distinctive taste.

4. Weir also has a recipe for a light soup that is filled with the flavors of spring using snap peas or English peas, fava beans,asparagus, and farfalle, in a light chicken broth. It's , which translates to "pasta in broth."

Use these ideas for cooking with peas asthey arrive in your market this season.

is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook, grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. Her work has appeared in Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys' Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n' Scribble and an America's Test Kitchen Cook's Country Cookbook. She is the author of and a regular blogger for KIDS DISCOVER.


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