Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 17, 2017: This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Edamame

Cooking with this Week's Box!

It’s hard to believe we’re already half way through August!  Summer is flying by, but look at this full box!  We’ve had some pretty cool weather over the past week, but we’re seeing the peppers start to change colors and the tomatoes are finally ripening…a little slowly, but that’s ok.  I’m sure we’ll be flooded with tomatoes before we know it! 

This week we’re excited to be picking our first crop of fresh edamame.  If you aren’t familiar with how to work with fresh edamame, take a moment to read this week’s vegetable feature which includes information about how to cook them, shell them, etc.  We’ve also included two recipes in this week’s newsletter and I’d consider either to be a good option for using your edamame this week.  If you’re looking for a hot preparation, go with the Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms & Edamame.  If you’re feeling something on the cool side, you might want to consider trying the Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles with Cucumbers & Edamame (See Below).  

We do have quite a few cucumbers in this week’s box, so I think this is the week to try a recipe I’ve had on the back burner for awhile.  This is a Cucumber and Green Grape Gazpacho garnished with a fresh tomato salsa. This will use about half your cucumbers as well as most of your pint of small tomatoes and some or all of your jalapeno, depending upon your desire for heat.  This is a great recipe to make on a hot evening when you don’t feel like “cooking” and the leftovers will travel well for lunch the next day. 

Now that we have fresh tomatoes, it’s time to make Tabbouleh!  This is a dish that screams “SUMMER!” Fresh tomatoes, diced cucumbers and lots of fresh parsley from your herb garden all combined to make a light, refreshing salad that is quite nice on its own or you could pair it with a protein of your choosing or eat it with a pita bread spread with hummus for a light lunch.

The red curly kale in this week’s box is gorgeous!  If you’re looking for ideas for ways to use this, check out Bon Appetit’s “47 Kale Recipes That Go Beyond Salad” which includes this recipe for Spicy Kale and Ricotta Grandma Pie.  It’s basically a sheet pan pizza that looks really good!  If you’re looking for something a little more simple or want something you can take with you on the go, consider making Kale Chips with Almond Butter & Miso featured in one of our newsletters last summer.

Last week in our Facebook group a member shared this delicious recipe for Roasted Broccoli with Nacho Toppings!  I would have never considered turning broccoli into nachos, but what a great idea!  Another recipe idea that was shared in our Facebook group was for this Silky Zucchini Soup that received good reviews.  It is a super-simple recipe using just a handful of ingredients and it can be served either chilled or warm.  I think I’ll serve it with some crusty bread and a few slices of fresh tomato.

We’re likely in our last week of green beans, so go wild and try something new like Tempura Fried Green Beans with Mustard Dipping Sauce which is part of a collection of 15 Great Green Bean Recipes featured at

So here we are left with our lovely carrots, purple majesty potatoes and French orange melons.  This week’s carrots are going to be cut up at the beginning of the week and put in a canning jar in the fridge so they are easy to see and ready to go as a quick vegetable snack for those times when you just need something to hold you over until dinner.  The gorgeous purple majesty potatoes are going to become simple roasted potatoes for Sunday brunch.  Just a little olive oil, salt and pepper is all the treatment they’ll get before going into the oven.  Just before serving I’ll toss them with some fresh, chopped herbs from the garden.  I’ll serve them with scrambled eggs, bacon and a few slices of tomato for a simple brunch that we’ll finish off with some delicious, sweet French orange melon.  Have a great week and enjoy this week of summer cooking and eating!---Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature:  Edamame

Edamame (eh-dah-MAH-may) is a fresh soybean that has grown in popularity in the United States over the past few years, but has been a part of Japanese and Chinese cuisine for much longer.  In Asia, edamame is often sold on the stem with leaves removed, however in this country edamame is most often found in the frozen section either in the pod or shelled.  American fine- dining restaurants traditionally offer a bread course before the main event, whereas in Japan or China you would usually sit down to a plate of steamed and salted edamame. True edamame intended for fresh eating is quite different than oil-seed soybeans and tofu beans most often grown to make tofu and other processed soy products.  The edamame varieties we grow were developed specifically because they produce a sweet bean that doesn’t have a “beany” aftertaste and is the preferred variety in Japan and China for fresh eating.  Edamame seed is very expensive to purchase and for many years the varieties for fresh eating were very hard to find.  We were able to source some seed over 15 years ago, paid the high price, planted it and decided to save our own seed for the next year.  We’ve continued to reserve a portion of each year’s crop to harvest for seed to plant the next year.  Our varieties have become acclimated to our growing area and do very well for us.

Edamame resembles a small lima bean encased in a pod.  The beans are sweet and tender and best eaten lightly cooked. Unlike sugar snap peas, edamame pods are not edible and should be discarded.  Edamame is hard to shell when it’s raw.  It is easiest to cook edamame in its pod first and then remove the beans from the pod.   To cook edamame, first rinse the pods thoroughly with cold water. Bring a pot of heavily salted water (salty like the sea) to a boil.  Add the edamame pods and boil for about 3-4 minutes.  You should see the pods change to a bright green color.  Remove the edamame from the boiling water and immediately put them in ice water or run cold water over them to quickly cool them.   After the beans are cooked you can easily squeeze the pod to pop the beans out, either into a bowl or directly into your mouth!  This is a great skill to teach children so they can eat them as a snack and help you shell edamame!  Once you’ve removed them from the pods, they are ready to incorporate into a recipe or eat as a snack.

You can also roast edamame in their pods.  There’s a basic recipe on our website, but basically you toss the edamame pods with oil and seasonings of your choice.  Some of our favorites include Teriyaki and Wasabi-Roasted Edamame  Spread the seasoned edamame on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven until the bean is tender.  Serve the beans whole with their pods still on.  While you won’t eat the pod, you can use your teeth to pull the edamame out of the pod and in the process you’ll pick up the seasoning on the outside of the pod!

You can store fresh or cooked edamame for up to a week in the refrigerator, but it is best to eat them soon for the sweetest flavor and best texture.  If you are interested in preserving edamame for later use, simply follow the cooking procedure above for boiling, cool and freeze the beans either in their pods or remove them and freeze just the bean. It’s a nice treat to pull something green out of the freezer in the middle of the winter to enjoy as a snack or incorporate them into a winter stir-fry or pan of fried rice.

Children and adults alike often enjoy edamame as a simple snack, but you can also incorporate edamame into vegetable or grain salads, stir-fry, fried rice, steamed dumplings or pot stickers to name just a few suggestions.  They pair well with any combination of traditional Asian ingredients such as sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger.  They are also a nice, bright addition to brothy soups such as a miso soup.  If you follow the suggested method for boiling edamame before shelling them, the bean will already be fully cooked, so if you are adding edamame to a hot dish or recipe, do so at the end of the cooking. 

Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles with Edamame & Cucumber

Yield:  6 servings

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

⅓ cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter
3 Tbsp sugar or maple syrup
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp rice wine, sake or white wine
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp tahini
5 Tbsp roasted peanut oil or unrefined sunflower oil, divided
12 oz dried Chinese egg noodles or traditional spaghetti noodles
1 medium or 2 small cucumbers, halved & sliced thinly
½ to 1 whole jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
1 cup shelled edamame 
½ cup chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
Roasted, chopped peanuts or almonds, to garnish (optional)

  1. In a blender, combine the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut or almond butter, sugar or maple syrup, vinegar, rice wine, garlic, tahini and 3 Tbsp of peanut or sunflower oil.  Blend until smooth, then transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to add to the noodles.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente.  Drain and rinse under cold running water until chilled.  Shake out the excess water and blot dry;  transfer the noodles to a bowl and toss with the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil.  
  3. Add the cucumbers, jalapeño, edamame and cilantro to the bowl.  Drizzle with some of the peanut-sesame sauce and toss well to coat.  Add more sauce if needed.  Allow to rest for a few minutes, then taste.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.  Serve cold or at room temperature and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and/or toasted peanuts or almonds if desired.   

Recipe adapted from one originally featured in Food and Wine magazine, May 2012.

Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms & Edamame

By Andrea Yoder                                                             
Yield:  4 servings

2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced, fresh ginger
4 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup Arborio rice
⅓ cup white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, warmed
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste (optional)
Lemon zest, from one lemon
1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup shelled fresh edamame

  1. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a 4 quart sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and ginger.  Saute until softened.  Add the remaining Tbsp of butter to the pan along with the shiitake mushrooms, 1 tsp salt and freshly ground black and white pepper (if using).  Saute just until the mushrooms start to soften.  
  2. Add the rice to the pan and stir continuously for about 30 seconds, just long enough to slightly parch the rice kernels.  Add the white wine to the pan and allow the wine to reduce by half.
  3. You will add the warm broth in 3-4 additions.  Once the wine is reduced by half, add about 1 cup of broth to the pan.  Stir periodically until nearly all the liquid is absorbed, then add another 1 cup portion of broth to the pan.  Do this three times.  After the third addition, taste the rice to see if it is still starchy or if it is al dente.  You want it to still have a little bite to it, but it needs to be fully cooked.  If the rice needs a little more cooking time, add a little more broth and cook just a tad longer.  You want enough liquid remaining in the mixture to keep the rice creamy.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the edamame, lemon zest and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.  Taste the risotto and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice to your liking.  Serve immediately.

This dish is delicious served on its own, but would also pair nicely with fish or seafood.

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