Edamame are young soy beans that have been harvested before they have ripened or hardened. You can purchase them shelled, still in the pod, fresh at the farmer’s market or frozen. I have never seen my local grocery stores carry them fresh. I like to keep a package or two in my freezer. They are great additions to chicken salad, quinoa, vegetarian chili, pasta dishes, veggie soups, or miso soup. Or if you are adventurous, you can make an edamame hummus dish, in lieu of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Each cup of hulled edamame yields approximately 17 grams of protein!
Always try to use organic ingredients when possible. The grocery bill can add up quickly and not all produce are covered in harmful pesticides. As a general rule, I follow the Dirty Dozen, Clean 15 list.
Super greens are leafy greens packed with vitamins, nutrients, and sometimes, iron. Some of the popular ones are kale (curly or “dinosaur” aka lacinato), beet greens, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, radish greens, mustard greens, and watercress.
- cooking oil
- 1 large shallot ~ thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic ~ thinly sliced
- 1 package frozen organic edamame ~ thawed and well drained
- 2 bunchs of any organic “super greens” (see notes section above; I like to use lacinato and Swiss chard) ~ tough stems removed, chopped
- 2-3 small organic carrots ~ skin left on, cut into 1/4 inch discs
- sea salt ~ to taste
- pinch sugar ~ to taste
- fresh black pepper ~ to taste
- cooked red or tri-colored organic quinoa (optional)
- In a large stainless steel pan, heat some oil on medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic and shallots until aromatic and golden-brown. Add carrots and cook until mostly tender (about 5 minutes). Add in edamae and cook for a few minutes to warm them. Add a litte water to the pan if the ingredients start to stick.
- Add greens and quickly sauté until the greens are wilted, or tender if you prefer. Season to taste.
- Serve with red or tri-colored quinoa.
Shiitake mushrooms are an edible mushroom with medicinal properties. They are mainly in Asian cuisine and are very fragrant. They are the 2nd most popular mushroom in the world, right after the standard white button mushroom!
Dried shiitake mushrooms have more flavor and aroma than their fresh counterparts. Dried shiitakes are rehydrated by letting them soak in water for several hours or overnight. The water is then strained and used to flavor dishes and soup stocks like dashi. The stems can be added to soup stocks for added flavoring, but are typically discarded afterwards because they are too chewy.
I find shiitakes intimidating to use in recipes, but was so pleasantly surprised to find that a Japanese recipe I recently tried was simple and fuss-free! They provide a vegetarian meal with some satisfying substance, thanks to the “meaty” texture. 🙂
- 1 large shallot ~ peeled, thinly sliced
- 2″ ginger ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, julienned
- 2 cups dry shiitake mushrooms ~ see prepping instructions below
- 1 medium organic carrot ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, cut into thick matchsticks
- 2 cups snow peas
- 1/2 cup shiitake liquid ~ strained
- 4 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons shoyu
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- fresh ground black pepper ~ optional
- chopped cilantro ~ optional
HOW TO REHYDRATE REHYDRATE SHIITAKE
- Place the dried shiitakes in a large bowl or cooking pot. Cover the shiitakes with filtered water (1:2 ratio; 1 cup dried shiitakes to 2 cups water) and set it aside on the kitchen counter. Place a lid or plate over the bowl as the mushrooms can get a little “aromatic.” Let the mushrooms soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Squeeze all the liquid from the mushrooms. Cut the stems from the mushroom. Cut the shiitakes in half or to desired size for you recipe.
- Strain the liquid and reserve it in an airtight jar for later use. This liquid should keep for about 5 days, stored in the refrigerator.
- Stir the shiitake liquid, evaporated cane sugar, and shoyu in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Very lightly brown the shallots and ginger. Add the carrots and cook them halfway.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the prepared shiitakes and sauté them until they are mostly brown. Add more oil as needed to avoid sticking.
- Pour in the mixture from step #1. Gently stir contents. Bring the liquid to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and let the liquid to simmer until mostly evaporated.
- Turn off the heat, remove pan from the stovetop, and add the sesame oil. Stir all the contents. Gently fold in the snow peas.
- Serve with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles (my favorite!) and garnish with black pepper and cilantro.
(This is a repost from December 1st, because I somehow had this scheduled to post without a photo, ingredients, or cooking instructions!)
One of the nice things about having a mircogarden is getting to harvest the produce whenever you need. Snow peas and sugar snap peas are super easy to grow, tolerate frosty temperatures, have very few pests, require little maintenance, and the best part is the tendrils and flowers are edible! BONUS! 🙂
Tendrils are the young shoots, stems, leaves, and flowers/flower buds of the plant; they’re essentially the tips/top part of the pea plants. You can see the difference in the “older” leaves as those have a slightly tougher appearance; young leaves are a brighter green.
You can eat the tendrils fresh in a salad or on sandwiches, toss them into your homemade soups at the last minute, sauté them, or even make a veggie stock with them.
- fresh snow pea tendrils, flowers, and baby snow peas~ tendrils and flowers shrink down considerably, so the more you have, the better
- 3 cloves fresh organic garlic ~ peeled, minced
- organic cooking oil
- splash of white wine
- sea salt ~ to taste
- fresh ground black pepper ~ to taste
- Head out to your garden plot and harvest as many fresh tendrils and baby snow peas as you’d like. If you don’t garden, head over to the Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, or your local Asian grocer. Ask for “pea shoots.” Aim for at least 2 lbs.
- Heat some cooking oil in a large stainless steel pan or pot. Lightly brown the garlic.
- Toss in the tendrils and baby peas; add a splash of white wine. Be careful not to burn yourself if the wine reacts with the oil and sputters!
- Very quickly sauté the tendrils and peas as they wilt quickly. I find that a pair of stainless steel tongs are the best tool to use.
- Remove the pan from the stove and season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!
This is a marinade recipe for the adventurous palate. I used it to marinade the chicken for some banh mi sandwiches. Since I don’t have a working grill, I sautéd the chicken thighs in a skillet, over the stove. They browned and caramelized nicely and tasted delicious! Even the kiddos that were over for an event wanted this recipe so that “their mommies can make it at home too.” 🙂
- 3 lbs organic skinless, deboned chicken thighs ~ rinsed, drained
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 3 tbs toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs mirin
- 3 tbs granular sugar
- 3-5 tbs lemongrass ~ minced (you can buy this pre-minced at your local Asian grocer)
- 3-5 tbs fresh ginger root ~ grated
- 6 cloves garlic ~ peeled, minced
- 1 large purple shallot ~ peeled, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper ~ optional
- In a large container with a lid, combine the liquid ingredients and sugar. Stir until sugar has somewhat dissolved. Add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallot, and black pepper.
- Wear some disposable gloves. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the meat.
- Cover the chicken and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 1.5 hours. It’s best to let it marinade overnight.
- The next day, when you’re ready to cook the chicken, simply heat some cooking oil in a stainless steel pan over medium-high heat. Brown the pieces on both sides, adding more oil as you need to avoid the meat sticking to the pan.
- Once you’ve browned the meat, add the marinade sauce to the pan. Let the marinade bubble and simmer, then reduce the heat and cook until the marinade caramelizes. Flip the chicken a few times so that it’s coated on both sides. Cut into the chicken to make sure it’s cooked.
- You can serve the chicken in banh mi sandwiches, with a fresh salad, or top it on a bed of fluffy rice, with a side of steamed veggies. Super healthy and delicious! Enjoy! 🙂
There were about two months over the summer when I think I subsisted mostly on spring rolls and this amazing dipping sauce. The addiction started when I went to a tea house nearby that served the best (and fattest!) napa cabbage rolls I’ve ever had. They were crammed with finely chopped cabbage; shredded carrots; and chopped basil, mint, and cilantro. They served the rolls with a house peanut sauce and Sriracha. I decided I wanted to make my own for the dinner cravings, rather than ordering them daily and nightly. 🙂 I scoured the inter webs for this sauce recipe because I knew that I detected coconut milk in the sauce, which seems to be a rare thing for peanut dipping sauces. Thanks to the Food Network, I was able to modify this and I love it! Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
- 1 (8-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves fresh garlic ~ peeled
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger ~ washed with veggies scrub; skin left on
- freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
In a blender or food processor, mix all the ingredients (except the pepper) together until the texture is how you like it. I prefer it on the smooth side. Add the red pepper flakes and stir.
Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatic) is an edible semiaquatic plant, cousin to the beautiful, but poisonous garden morning glory (Ipomaea violacea). They have a plethora of names, some of which include swamp cabbage, water morning glory, river spinach, and Chinese spinach. It’s the main staple food of many people and is the livelihood for many farmers in various Asian countries.
This seemingly harmless looking plant has made quite a reputation for itself in the last two decades. It spreads and grows aggressively quick, as much as 4” in one day, and has been known to clog up waterways, landing itself on the USDA list of noxious weeds. Even transporting it within state lines is illegal! In states such as Florida it is actually ILLEGAL, on a federal level, to be in possession of any part of water spinach. In other states like Texas, farmers must obtain an APHIS permit and adhere strictly to state regulations (e.g., no flowers can be present on the plants at any given time, plants cannot be within range of waterways, and plants can only be grown in greenhouses).
If you don’t reside in Florida, make your way to the Asian market and pick up a couple bundles and try out this veggie. If you happen to see these growing wild, by all means, please jump on the INVASIVORE bandwagon; if you can’t beat them, EAT them! 🙂
NOTE: Please do NOT discard unwanted parts of water spinach into your compost if you live in warmer climates and/or near any bodies of water. Mother Nature (birds, squirrels, et.c) has a way of transplanting things. The plant can sprout roots and grow from the stem nodes.
- 2 bundles water spinach ~ procured from an eco-conscious, reputable, legal source
- 1 bundle sweet potato vines
- 5 cloves garlic ~ peeled, minced
- ½ red onion ~ peeled, sliced thinly
- cooking oil ~ I’m using a coconut/canola blend
- white wine ~ I used Chardonnay
- organic tamari
- chili peppers
- Thoroughly wash your veggies in a tub of water. Rinse 2-3 times to remove any dirt or critters (e.g., aphids, caterpillars).
- Pick the leaves from the stems for both the water spinach and sweet potato vines. Separate into two piles: stems and leaves (tender young stems should be in this pile as well). Cut the stems into 2” sections.
- In your pan, heat some cooking oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until partially cooked. Add minced garlic and sauté until a light golden brown.
- Add the stems and sauté until they turn a brighter green.
- Add the leaves.
- Splash some white wine on top of the leaves and quickly cover the pan. Leave lid on for a few minutes.
- Remove lid and turn off the stove.
- Add some tamari and gently toss the mixture.
- Serve this dish hot with sliced red chilis. YUM!
Article Research Sources:
One of my favorite edible flowers is the garlic chive blossom and its long blue-green stem. Garlic chives are flowering plants that belong to the onion family (Allium genus) with flowers in a beautiful assortment of colors: purple, white, pink, and even yellow. You can eat them as buds or when they open up to “pin cushions.” The genus also comprise of green onions (aka scallions), garlic, onions (i.e., white, yellow, and red/purple), shallots, and leeks. Alliums typically produce buds and bloom during spring and fall, depending on the region.
With spring right around the corner, you can expect to see these in people’s gardens or growing wild in open fields and even your own backyard. Not only are they beautiful and add a fresh touch to dishes, they taste delicious!
TIP: You can find these in your local Asian market. Whole Foods may carry them as a specialty item in the produce section. They are sold in bundles, sealed in clear plastic wrap because of the pungent odor they emit. If it’s a little warm where you are, you will want to leave these in a cooler while you run your other errands, otherwise you will come out to a fairly smelly car. 🙂
- Cooking oil
- 5 garlic cloves ~ peeled and smashed
- 1 bunch of garlic chives ~ washed, woody ends discarded, stems cut into 1.5-2 inches
- Snow peas ~ washed, “side strings” removed
- Cremini mushrooms ~ lightly rinsed, sliced
- Soy sauce
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or stainless steel pan.
- Sauté the garlic until lightly brown and aromatic
- Add chive flowers, sugar snap peas, and cremini. Sauté until they are lightly or half-cooked.
- Add desired amount of soy sauce and toss evenly.
- Serve with coconut brown rice or noodles. ENJOY!
This is the first recipe of the new “Jardin” (French for “Garden”) series.
The mercury is soaring pretty high! I can tell we are well into summer when I step outside and I’m cloaked in a heavy blanket of warm air and my ears are delighted by the sound of the cicada orchestra in the evening.
Today I harvested a purple Asian eggplant, some baby okra, chives, and hot chilies. With these ingredients, along with a few others that I happen to already have in my pantry, we will be making a simple dish of roasted eggplant and okra, drizzled in a chive oil. I’m also using my small convention oven since I don’t want to contribute to the heat by using the large oven for such a small dish.
- 1 large purple Asian eggplant ~ cut into 1.5-2” sections, then sliced in half, lengthwise
- 5 baby okra ~ left whole
- 4-5 sprigs chives ~ washed, chopped
- 2 hot chilies ~ chopped (and optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried chopped garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried chopped onion
- avocado oil
- fish sauce ~ optional
- Lightly coat the eggplant and okra in avocado oil. Spread evenly in a small baking cookie sheet.
- Pop them in the convection oven, on the top shelf. Broil for 15 minutes at 425°F, or until golden brown around edges.
- While the eggplant and okra are roasting, step over to the stove and heat one (1) tablespoon of avocado oil in a small stainless steel saucepan. I’m using medium-high setting and allowing it to heat for about 3 minutes.
- Add the dried garlic and onion and stir it around until they start to turn a light brown color. Add the chives. Stir all the ingredients until they all turn an aromatic brown color. If you like things charred, you can aim for a darker color. Remove from the stove. Let cool for about 3 minutes.
- NOW, this is the adventurous part. Drizzle just a touch of fish sauce into the fried chives concoction. Add the chilies. Mix it up.
- Top your eggplant and okra with the fried chives and serve hot.
Back in April 2012, I posted a recipe for making Vietnamese bánh-mi sandwiches, in which I mentioned pâté.
I’m no food historian but from what I understand, this traditional Vietnamese street food originally started out as French baguettes with butter and pâté. When you combine French colonial influence with the exotic flavors and abundant fresh herbs of Vietnam, along with some culinary innovation of the Vietnamese people, you are presented with an exquisite combination of color, texture, flavor, and history! It’s essentially an umami experience!
Without further adieu, here is the chicken liver pâté recipe I conjured up in my kitchen. Enjoy! 🙂
- 1 lb. organic chicken livers ~ thoroughly washed, trimmed, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1 large yellow onion ~ peeled, sliced
- 1 large shallot ~ peeled, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic ~ peeled, smashed
- 2 tbs organic butter ~ I used frozen organic butter sticks
- sea salt ~ to taste
- freshly ground black pepper ~ to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup white wine ~ I used Naked Grape chardonnay
- In a large stainless steel skillet, heat the butter, on medium heat, until it starts to lightly bubble.
- Add the onion, shallot, and garlic. Sauté until golden-brown and/or aromatic.
- Add the liver, wine, sea salt, and black pepper. Gently stir until the liver appear half-cooked. Toss in the bay leaves.
- Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes, or as long as it appears the liquid is mostly evaporated/absorbed.
- Remove the skillet from the stovetop and let it cool. Discard the bay leaves.
- Use a food processor or hand-held blender to blend the cooked ingredients into a smooth paste. Voila! 🙂