Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Obsessed: Spicy-Sour Edamame

I can see that this won't make your mouth water, what with it being a bowl of hairy green pods, but it should.
Oh, you guys, I so loved your comments on that last post. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you for treating me like your wayward but beloved cousin who is finally making good, and I love you for wanting to pre-order a book that is two years from existing, and I love you for being so. . . loving is really the word that comes to mind. Thank you.

But you are here for a recipe, I know. And I have one.

Do you live nearby? If you do, and you haven’t been to The Quarters yet, you are missing out. It’s all retro pinball and arcade games (everything 25-cents a pop), and then there’s great beer and excellent bar food: deep-friend Brussels sprouts with spicy mayo, perfect sweet-potato fries, mini hotdogs (veggie dogs, if you prefer) with toppings like kimchi and mac and cheese. 

I love it all, but the thing that surprised me the first time, because there was so much deep-fried deliciousness that was inherently more exciting to me, was the edamame. I could not stop eating it—even when there was a basket of fries literally next to it on the table.
This is meant to be more inspiringly simple-looking than unappealingly ruined-seeming.
 I wrote The Quarters guys beggingly for the recipe, and got this back: “It's a mix of lime juice, sriracha, water, salt n pepper. Glad you enjoy!” So this is my interpretation, below. I confess (heresy, I know) to not loving sriracha typically, even though I love almost every other hot sauce. But I love it here. And don’t be dismayed by the amount of salt: you’re seasoning the pods heavily, so that when you bite the beans out of them, they’re seasoned too, if that makes sense.

Trader Joe's.
I cannot enough recommend that you try this. 

The edamame are sensational, in the sense of crazy good and in the sense of there being a lot of sensation: they’re too sour and too spicy in a way that everyone in my family loves. You’ll have to see if you do too. Thank you for everything, Quarters.
All gone. 
The Quarters’ Spicy-Sour Edamame
For this recipe, you want the Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers kind of edamame that’s still got the pods.

1 (1-pound) bag frozen edamame
1 tablespoon sriracha
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper

Steam the edamame until they are tender. I do this in one of those UFO steamers, the kind that’s always weirdly missing one of its hinged segments, over an inch of boiling water, for about 10 minutes, even though the bag says “5.” (Then again, I don’t really like my pasta al dente either, so use your judgment.)

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the hot edamame and toss well to coat. Eat.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Perfect Quinoa Bowls

The superfood of the Andes is, as everybody knows, kosher for Passover because. . . Come on! Those Andean Jews weren't about to be growing any treyf quinoa. Natch.

So. Perfect Quinoa Bowls. Yes, this used to be called "Make Your Own (Quinoa) Sundaes," and yes it's a recipe you've seen before. But it is such a persistent favorite that I'm putting it up on this site, to claim for my very own. The quinoa-cooking method alone is worth a look. I never make it any other way. [Note: I backdate recipes when I add them. So all the older stuff will say "November 2005," but it's not really from then. It's just so it doesn't gum up the current posts. If that makes sense.]

Chappy Pesach, dear ones.

In other news: how about Goldfinch winning the Pulitzer? Right? But you already read and loved that and you and your dad already complained to each other at length about the ending, and you need another book. So read Home Away. It's like A Year in Provence, but refracted through anguished domestic comedy and very mild alcoholism. In other words, my life (except in France). Plus, every time you read about the husband character "Bill," you can imagine the guy who lived next door to you freshman year, the one who was crazy nice and kind of dorky and later turned out to have been a secret hunky catch all along. In other words, Bill is a real person, and he lived next door to me freshman year.

Also (Lean in for this. I am going to whisper, because of my superstitious nature.): I am publishing another book! With Little, Brown! And it's because of you, it just frankly is. When I was making a long and labored case to my new, lovely, wonderful editor there, I sent so many cut-and-pastes of things you'd written--things like "Write another book!" and "What's with not ever writing another book?"--that she finally said, kindly and gently, that she thought she had enough material of that type. (I omitted all the comments that were like, "Enough already with the mildly alcoholic comedic angst. I just need a chicken recipe.") So, as always, thank you, thank you, thank you. The book should be called: The Kids: They're great. They're annoying. I'm afraid they're going to die. Instead it's going to be called, in a similar vein, Field Guide to Catastrophic Happiness. It will come out in spring of 2016. Knock wood. Thank you, my darlings. xo

Monday, April 07, 2014

Miso-Lime Coleslaw

Coleslaw is such an April recipe—a bridge from the slushy shores of winter cold-storage leftovers to the sunny banks of spring picnics and barbecuing. It feels wrong to keep at it with the spongy turnips and the thick-cored parsnips, what with the tinkling thaw and the peepers starting up so gamely. But, then, there aren’t actually asparagus yet, at least not here, and there aren’t peas or radishes, either, or mint or, really, anything. Just a couple inch-long chives, but Birdy already ate them all. We do still have cabbage, though. And coleslaw just feels kind of optimistic.

You don’t need a recipe, I know, but this is a good one anyway, and I offer it with a special nod to the folks with one or more vegetarians in the house. Because miso has become my go-to vegetarian funkenator. Times when I might typically turn to anchovies, fish sauce, or bacon, I reach for miso instead, and count on its profound savoriness to change it up a little, to turn a recipe from bland to lip-smackingly edgy. 

My boyfriend.
Not that I’m a coleslaw snob, because I’m not: I like it sweet and mayonnaisey or sharp and vinegary and my favorite, back in the day, used to be the finely-chopped highly-celery-seeded version you could get at KFC. (Yum.) This one is bright and citrusy, but with a little of that miso baritone humming along the bottom. It’s a creamy, delicious foil for burgers or pork, or for veggie burgers or tofu of all kinds. Until asparagus: coleslaw!

p.s. I am compiling all those awesome book recommendations into a list. More soon.

Miso-Lime Coleslaw

I wish I’d taken a picture of the cilantro I used. It was just the rubber-banded-together stems after I’d already used all the lovely leaves in something else. But the stems were just perfect here. This coleslaw would benefit from something crunchy, such as toasted pumpkin seeds.

6 cups shredded cabbage (I still love, and use constantly, this cheapo mandolin)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
½ cup slivered cilantro leaves and/or stems
1/3 cup Hellmann’s or Real Foods mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons white miso (I love, and use exclusively, Miso Master Mellow White Miso)
The juice and grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
A dash of something spicy (I used Serrano-spiked vinegar, but hot sauce is a good idea too)
Additional salt and lime juice or vinegar

In a large bowl, sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and squeeze it around with your hands until it feels juicy. Leave it while you whisk together first the mayo and the miso, and then whisk in the lime juice and zest, the sugar, the vinegar, and whatever spicy thing you might like to add.

If the cabbage has given up any liquid drain it, then fold in the dressing along with the cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more acid or salt or miso or spice if it needs a punch. Serve right away or chill it. If you chill it first, then stir and taste it again before you serve it.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

still here, just thinking

should we compile all those amazing book recommendations into a list? how do we do a pdf here? do we like my use of the word "we"? more soon. . . in the meantime, we could always make spelted donut cake.