Taking a classic side dish like peas and making it a tad bit tastier is the kind of cooking I live for.

A little butter, a smidge of garlic, a glug of wine and some friendly mushrooms to help soak up all those ingenious flavors make this new side dish an exemplary addition to our Thanksgiving dinner. I’m sort of auditioning a few recipes these next couple of weeks.

Though the favorites will always be present at the huge feast I have planned, I always like to add something new just to spice up the conversation and possibly make a few new traditions.

I just returned from Napa, California. My son and I visited my sister for a few days and, true to her nature, she had an adventure planned.

New foods, new ideas and new memories were on the agenda for this trip, and it wasn’t a surprise that it delivered huge amounts of all three.

Thomas Keller has several restaurants in Napa Valley. Though some are quite pricey, we found a more reasonable place he owns to dine. Their menu was genius as it was already predetermined.

The chef — famous, of course — designed a family-style meal with four courses which no doubt his faithful followers placed their confidence and trust in his ability to satiate their hungry palate because their establishment boasted a packed house with little room, if any, for walk-ins.

Each course was delicious, to say the least, but this little side dish has stirred something in me. I do not like peas but decided if anyone could change my mind about these little green, paste-filled balls, he could. And he did.

This is so simple it’s mind-blowing I never thought of it. (I’m sure that’s the case with any simple invention, like yellow Post-it notes. Why didn’t I think of that?) If you’re looking for a classic side dish that will heighten and complement the main course, this is it.

The depth and brilliance the combination of all the flavors lend to the peas and mushrooms changes the whole meaning of comfort food. But not just that; it’s a simple course that supports the main entree beautifully — so much so it deserves an Academy Award for best supporting dish, which is why this one will be a tradition in my house for many Thanksgivings to come.

GARLIC PEAS

1 package frozen or fresh peas

1 stick of butter

3 tablespoons red wine

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 quart mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, place the butter and saute the mushrooms and peas for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and wine. Allow to cook for 4 minutes to cook down. Salt and pepper. Serve.

Janet McCormick is the owner of Let’s Eat Cafe in downtown Huntington. More of her recipes can be found at http://www.10-minutemeals.com.

Source: The Associated Press