Peas and Cheese

What do you do with the first of the seasons fresh peas?

We have been harvesting a few things from the garden; baby beets, turnips, carrots, even a few cucumbers, but for us peas are just coming on. It is the second week of July, and the thermometer is reading 98F. The first picking was on Tuesday, enough for dinner and a bag blanched for the freezer.

My Mom used to make creamed new potatoes and peas. They seemed so fresh, tasting of the earth and sun. We wanted something a little lighter, a creamy hot-dish sounded too heavy, so we settled on one of our old favorites “Matter Paneer” (Peas and Cheese)

There were a couple tubs of firm ricotta in the walk-in, so we used that for the paneer.
The ricotta was made with apple cider vinegar and paneer is traditionally made with lemon juice. I believe the firm whole goats milk ricotta works fine in this recipe.

You can find recipes for Matter Paneer on line. The recipe I used came out of my head, just like this recipe for Quillisascut Paneer (some of you might recognize it as the ricotta recipe we use here on the farm)

Quillisascut Paneer

1 gallon whole goats milk
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Heat milk to 195 degrees, with a slotted spoon, slowly stir in the apple cider vinegar, when the curds form stop adding vinegar. Give the pot a couple more stirs then let the curds rest in the hot whey for five minutes.
Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour in curds and whey. Twist the curds up in the cheesecloth and press with a weight. Let it sit over night in the refrigerator.
It should be firm enough to slice and fry.
Save a quart or so of the whey to use as the liquid in the Matter Paneer.

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