Test the Recipe: Peas with Sesame Butter
“Test the Recipe” is a recurring column on PCFG where we test vintage (anything published before 1990) recipes and see if they stand the test of time or need updating. In this post we test the recipe as exactly as possible for the most accurate outcomes. Those recipes that need updating will be featured later in a “We Can Do It Better” post.
I realized when looking through recent posts that the first two “Test the Recipe” posts were desserts. Not that there’s anything wrong with dessert, but we here at Poor Couple’s Food Guide believe in eating a balanced diet. So for this edition I turned to veggies. It was actually harder to find a good recipe to test than I thought it would be. There was a fair amount of vegetable recipes, but I had to narrow it down to ones that seemed quick, since this was going to be a side dish and not a main course, and also contain vegetables that everyone eating dinner would eat (which is easier said than done). There were a lot of recipes for vegetables I don’t like. Why so many asparagus and mushroom recipes guys? There weren’t even any I really wanted to use in the first book I looked through, but luckily I found one I felt like testing in Betty Crocker’s Working Woman’s Cookbook from 1982. I’ve always been a fan of sesame, so peas with sesame butter it was.
First I gathered all my ingredients, which was easy enough. I already had everything on hand.
The way I see it there were two ways to approach this recipe, the faster way or the “less dirty dishes” way. The faster way involves cooking the peas in the microwave and making the sauce while they cook. The “less dirty dishes” way involves cooking the peas on the stove, then cooking the sauce in the same pan while the peas drain. I opted for the latter.
So first I cooked my peas. Cooking time for the peas was pretty much the same on stovetop as it would have been in the microwave, with just a bit of added time waiting for the water to boil.
Once the peas were draining in the sink I put together the sauce. It came together super easily – I just tossed everything in the pan and waited for the butter to melt and then whisked away.
It took a few minutes for it to be done. If you do cook the peas in the microwave the sauce and the peas will likely be done cooking around the same time.
Then I combined the peas and the sauce in their serving dish and mixed well to make sure all the peas got coated. Then it was time to eat!
If I weren’t following the recipe exactly, I probably would have halved it. That was a lot of peas. Supposedly the recipe makes four servings but I don’t know anyone who takes that many peas as a side dish.
It was kind of hard to tell if the sauce was the correct color and therefore done because the sesame seeds made it look darker. I pretty much just had to guess and hope nothing burned.
The only problem I really ran into was that somehow some of my sesame seeds clumped up. These clumps actually almost formed a salty little sesame candy which was surprisingly tasty. But it wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing. I’m not sure what caused it, so I can’t really recommend what to do to avoid it.
So how did they turn out? Pretty yummy! As one person who ate them said, “You made peas not taste like peas, how’d you do it?” So I’d say this is probably a good recipe to trick non-veggie eaters into cleaning their plate. The flavor is tasty, but subtle enough to work as a side dish to numerous main courses.
Overall I’d say the recipe is good to use as is, but don’t be afraid to fiddle with it a bit yourself if you want. I had to fight back the urge to add some fresh ground pepper to it, since I was following the recipe exactly. You could also add or subtract the amount of salt to your liking. It could also be interesting to substitute some of the butter with sesame oil if you want to increase the sesame-ness of it.