Cook’s Corner


It’s Spring Break and we have all been enjoying our time off from school and getting that first whiff of it-will-be-here-before-you-know-it summer vacation. The days have been lazy, the sun has been shining, and we have been binge watching “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

We haven’t had satellite or cable since 1993, so you could say our family doesn’t watch a lot of TV. But we do enjoy accessing movies and shows on Amazon Prime and other online streaming sources.

So when my daughter came down with a cold just before the break started, she camped out on the couch with a box of tissues, a hot drink and the TV remote. She had seen “The Dick Van Dyke Show” before a few times, but now she was enjoying episode after episode after episode.

And one by one, we sat down to watch it with her. Dick Van Dyke was so agile! Mary Tyler Moore was so young! Rose Marie was so good as a singer! But the funniest person on the show? Morey Amsterdam.

Sassy sidekicks are a standard of television lore. Think of Lucy’s Ethel, Mary Richard’s Rhoda, and Seinfeld’s George. While the main characters in each of the shows were reason enough to tune in, each of those supporting characters helped make the shows unforgettable. And hilarious.

As the Buddy Sorrell character, fellow comedy writer to Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie and Rose Marie’s Sally, Amsterdam always had a quick quip on his lips for every situation. His perpetually ready insults for producer Mel Cooley never fail to make me laugh. Mel Cooley: “Rob, as the producer of this show, once more I must insist that you instruct your staff to show me a little respect.” Buddy Sorrell: “We’re showing you as little respect as possible.” With exchanges like that, our spring break TV viewing has been full of laughs.

Our spring break has also been full of fresh new food. With warmer weather and a little more time on my hands, experimentation with new recipes has yielded good things to eat.

If you will remember, one of my goals this year was to add alternative sources of protein to my and my family’s diet. It has been fun to research and learn about all the different plant-based proteins that are available to add punch and variety to our meals. Things like nuts and seeds, beans, grains, and vegetables are all plant-based proteins. It’s hard to believe that protein can be green, but this week’s recipe proves just that.

Peas, featured in the recipe this week, are plant based protein, providing eight grams of protein and nearly 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs per one cup serving. Additionally, peas are lower in starch than beans, are fat free and provide plant-based omega 3 fatty acids.

Fresh peas are in season now that it is spring, but I find frozen peas work just as well in this dish. The cayenne adds some heat, so adjust the amount you use accordingly. Half a teaspoon was just right for my family.

This week’s recipe comes from the website and is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free. It can be an entrée served with rice or used as a sassy sidekick to the main dish. And we all know that sometimes that sidekick is what makes the meal.

Indian Mushrooms and Green Peas


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion, grated using the large side of the box grater
  • 2 cups of thickly sliced White Button mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of green peas, fresh or frozen
  • Fresh chopped cilantro to garnish


Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and toast the cumin seeds until they become fragrant and begin to sizzle. Add the grated onion and sauté until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to sauté until mushrooms soften and start to brown. Add the salt, powdered coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper and the black pepper and mix well. Add the green peas and gently stir. Cover and cook for five minutes. Top with cilantro and serve.



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