I’d like to begin by saying how important this post is to me. It is so important, in fact, that I’ve posted it to both of my blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. You see, this post is not just about my grandmother’s (Nana’s) recipe for peas and eggs. For me, it’s about remembering and celebrating two of the most important people in my life. My grandparents.
My grandmother, Nancy, died in October, 2005, from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Dealing with her death was very difficult for me. She was one of my best friends. By far, my Nana was one of the toughest, coolest chicks I’ve ever met. And man, oh, man, did she love to cook!
I am still reeling a bit from my grandfather’s (Papa’s) death. (So, please pardon me if this post borders on overly sentimental.) He passed away just last month, on July 19.
I spent two weeks out of last month with my family in Pennsylvania. Going through my grandparents’ home. And sorting through the photos and other keepsakes they held onto over the course of their 45-year marriage.
I must say, I was beyond thrilled to find some of my Nana’s old recipes! She was an old-fashioned, Italian-American cook, who rarely ever wrote any of her recipes down.
Some of her best dishes, including her tomato sauce (Of course, it’s the best I’ve ever had!), were passed on to me in the form of pinches, dashes, and handfuls. And, I must say, it comes out perfect every time I make it!
One of the simplest and tastiest dishes Nana made was Italian peas and eggs. My grandfather used to like it (sans garlic, which I include below) with a few slices of Italian bread. And it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Since I do not eat eggs, I make Nana’s peas and eggs with scrambled tofu. And I love it with a side of toast slathered in vegan butter and jelly.
Every time I make this lovely little dish, I think of my grandparents. I remember them fondly. So, here’s to you, Nana and Papa! For all of the wonderful memories you’ve given me. And to my Nana, especially, for teaching me the art of cooking. And the joy that comes with cooking for the ones you love.
Nana’s Peas and Eggs (Vegan or Non-Vegan)
1/4 block firm tofu, drained and crumbled (If you eat eggs, simply replace the tofu with 1 or 2 eggs.)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
small handful chopped onion (anywhere from 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup, depending on how much onion you like)
small handful frozen peas (or however many you’d like. I use about 2-3tbsp, depending on my appetite.)
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
salt and black pepper, to taste
In a small saute pan, heat olive oil, onion, and garlic for 1-2 min, or until onions begin to soften. Add tofu, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Stir frequently with a spatula, and continue to break tofu into smaller pieces. Cook for 3 more min. Add frozen peas, and cook for 1-2 min. Serve with Italian bread, butter, and jelly or preserves.