Jan 1, 2013

The Addictive "Edamame"

Collecting Edamame
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Edamame are basically boiled soy beans, and are commonly found in the cuisines of Japan, China and Hawaii. In East Asia, the soybean has been used for over two thousand years as a major source of protein. In this country, this tasty vegetable is commonly served at sushi bars and Chinese restaurants. Not only are they delicious, but these green beans add fiber, protein and vitamin/mineral content to your diet. You can usually find two types of edamame in the frozen vegetable section: shelled or with the pods.

I like the edamame in pods as a snack. They are very easy to prepare. Simply defrost a 1 pound bag of frozen beans in your refrigerator. Then boil 6 cups of water in a large pot. Add about 1 tablespoons of salt in the boiling water. Put the defrosted edamame in the boiling water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Drain them in a colander. Taste one to see if it's salty enough, if not, simply sprinkle more salt over boiled edamame and mix it in. Spread the edamame on a flat tray to cool until ready to eat, or serve them warm. To eat, simply squeeze the beans out of pods with fingers, and discard the pods.

I use the shelled edamame in casseroles, soups/stews, noodle or rice dishes, salads, dips, etc. For only 120 calories, 1 1/8 cup of the edamame in pods is very satisfying, thanks to its protein, and fiber. It's a good idea to keep a couple of bags of edamame in your freezer. 
Note: The United States produces half of the world's soybeans.

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Edamame Recipes:
Seasoned Edamame
2 pounds frozen edamame in their pods

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Optional Garnish:
pinch of chili peppers
roasted sesame seeds
chopped green onions

Mix ingredients for sauce and set aside until ready to serve. Defrost 2 pounds of frozen beans in your refrigerator. Then boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt in the boiling water. Put the defrosted edamame in the boiling water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Drain them in a colander. Place the cooked edamame in a large bowl, pour the sauce over the edamame and mix until well coated. Add desired garnishes. Serve hot or cold. Makes about 8 servings.

Roasted Edamame with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
16 ounces frozen shelled edamame
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
(or 1-2 teaspoons alternate seasoning)

Thaw the edamame for an hour or so in a strainer to reduce the liquid. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Spread the edamame on a clean dish towel and pat gently with another dish towel to dry them as much as possible. In a mixing bowl, toss the edamame with the olive oil, salt, and pepper (or other seasonings). Taste one of the edamame and add more seasonings if desired. Spread the edamame in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 30-40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes and watch for the edamame to begin puffing and turning golden-brown. Their color will also darken, the exterior will be dry, and you'll hear them "singing" as steam escapes from inside the bean. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the roasted edamame to a serving bowl. They are best if eaten within a few hours of roasting. Makes 2 cups.

Edamame Hummus
2 tablespons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 cups shelled and cooked edamame
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
4 to 5 tablespoons water
1/2 cup (about 3/4 ounces) snipped fresh chives
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, swirling occasionally, until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat to cool slightly. Place edamame in food processor and pulse until smooth. Scrape down sides of processor and add a generous pinch of salt. Add the cooled oil, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and pulse until smooth. Add water and pulse until mixture is airy and smooth. Add chives and pulse until evenly incorporated. Taste and season with salt as desired. Garnish with sesame seeds, and/or additional chives or scallions. Serve with crackers or assorted raw vegetables. (Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 7 days. If making ahead of time, leave out the chives and stir in when ready to serve.) Makes 2 cups.

Hawaiian Saimin with Edamame and Fish Cake
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Hawaiian Saimin 
with Edamame and Fish Cake
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 (8-ounce) package dried Japanese soba noodles*
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Toppings (see suggestions below)

* Soba noodles can be found in the Asian food section of most grocery stores or in Japanese food specialty stores.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 4 quarts of water and salt; bring to a boil. Add soba noodles and boil 4 to 6 minutes until al dente. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse under warm, running water. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add chicken broth and ginger; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and your favorite toppings; simmer for 5 minutes longer or until toppings are cooked. Remove from heat. Place cooked soba noodles in a large soup bowl; spoon broth mixture (with toppings) over the top and serve. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Topping Suggestions:
Edamame (cooked soy beans)
Kamaboko (fish cakes)
Sliced Spam
Cha siu or baked ham slices
Roast Pork slices
Sliced carrots
Shredded napa cabbage
Chopped bok choy
Sliced hard cooked egg
Sliced mushrooms
Scrambled or fried egg
Sliced green onions or scallions
Chinese parsley (Cilantro)
Cooked small shrimp

Edamame-Spinach Scramble
Don't let the list of the ingredients scare you. This is easy to whip up and very filling.
1 large egg
2 egg whites or 1/3 cup egg substitute
1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half or any type of milk
1 teaspoon olive oil (or substitute canola oil)
1 1/2 cup fresh raw spinach leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup shelled edamame, frozen or thawed
1/8 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/8 cup finely chopped sweet or yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup shredded grated cheese of choice (cheddar, Swiss, etc.)
1 medium tomato or 1 1/2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or basil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Add egg and egg whites or egg substitute and half-and-half to 4 cup measure and whisk until smooth; set aside. Add olive oil to nonstick medium frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add spinach, edamame, bell pepper, onion, and garlic and sauté until spinach shrinks down and onion is lightly brown (about 2-3 minutes). Pour in egg mixture and reduce heat to medium. Continue to gently stir and cook until eggs are soft and cooked throughout. Turn off heat. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Top with tomatoes and cover frying pan with lid. Let sit for a couple of minutes to melt cheese. Sprinkle fresh herbs over the top as garnish, if desired. Makes 1 large serving or 2 small servings.

Avocado-Edamame Salsa
1 cup frozen petite corn kernels, thawed
2.25-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup prepared light vinaigrette salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
1 avocado, diced
2/3 cup shelled edamame, thawed
pepper to taste, if desired

Add corn, olives, bell pepper, onion, and garlic to a medium bowl. Pour light dressing into the corn mixture and toss to blend. Add pepper to taste, if desired. Cover and chill in the refrigerator all day or overnight. Right before serving, add the diced avocado and edamame into the corn mixture and stir. Makes four 1/2-cup servings. Recipe adapted from webmd.com.

Lobster Linguine with Soy Beans
& Creamy Garlic Sauce
4 each 1 pound lobster tails
1 pound linguine
1 pound fresh frozen soy beans
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
1 dash Tabasco

Steam lobster tails in 1 inch of water in a pot with a steamer rack for about 14 minutes. When cooked, remove shell from tail meat by removing the flippers on the underside of the shell. I like to use kitchen sheers and cut on either side of the underside shell, then using a fork, pierce the exposed tail meat and slowly twist and pull it out of the shell in one piece. Discard the shell, chop the meat into bite-sized pieces. Cover to keep warm and set aside. Cook linguine according to package directions while making the sauce. When linguine is almost cooked add soy beans to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes, then drain immediately.

Procedure for Creamy Garlic Sauce:
Melt butter with olive oil. Mash minced garlic and parsley together. Cook this mixture slowly in melted butter and olive oil until soft, 2 or 3 minutes. Add sour cream, salt, pepper and Tabasco, heating slowly, taste for seasoning. Add lobster meat just before serving. Arrange linguine with soy beans on plates, top with sauce and garnish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Serve with Romaine Salad with Capers, Roasted Red Peppers and Creamy Anchovy Dressing, and hot crusty sliced bread on the side. Makes 4 servings.

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