A warm welcome for vegetables on hand

The Baltimore Sun

The windows were rattling as the cold wind swirled recently. I was wishing for warmer weather and, with it, the fresh vegetables that come with it.

But no English peas or baby artichokes were in sight. There were, however, frozen vegetables in the freezer and artichoke hearts in the cupboard. I combined them with a pilaf made with rice and ham. It wasn't a spring dish, but it satisfied my cravings.

Carol Mighton Haddix is food editor of the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Too-Early-for-Spring Vegetable Pilaf

Serves 4 -- Total time: 35 minutes

1 package (9 ounces) frozen baby peas with pearl onions

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup basmati or long-grain rice

1 can (14 ounces) quartered artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed

1/2 cup slivered cooked ham (optional)

1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed or tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Prepare peas in the microwave, according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a heavy 10-inch skillet; add the green onions. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice to the skillet; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked peas, artichoke hearts, ham, if using, dillweed, salt and pepper. Stir in the broth; heat to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Per serving: 358 calories, 8 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 19 milligrams cholesterol, 57 grams carbohydrate, 13 grams protein, 947 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber

Menu Too-Early-for-Spring Vegetable Pilaf; crunchy garlic toasts; chocolate cupcakes

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