We don’t have that many hot days here in the Seattle area. When they come, I relish them, drinking that hot air into my skin as though I’m trying to photosynthesize. The memory of February never leaves me. And when we have fewer 90-degree days than there are fingers on my hand? Well let me tell you, I’m not complaining.
A few weeks ago, when the hot air pulsed against the screen windows, Lucy helped me slither mango slices into the blender. She dolloped in yogurt, proudly. I squeezed orange juice as she ran to the garden for a handful of fresh mint. Proudly, she poured in thick honey, the last ingredient on the counter. With a roar of the ice cubes crushing, the blender presented us something perfect for that weather: mango-mint lassis.
Thanks to The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods, Lucy, Danny, and I drank these glasses filled with cold goodness together on a hot, hot day.
I like any book that inspires me to cook, no matter what form it takes. This new cookbook has been making us stand in the kitchen, trying new dishes.
The book’s subtitle — A Tastier Take on Whole Foods — made me think about how we eat now. These days, I look in the pantry and find whole grains in jars, several alternative forms of sweeteners besides sugar, at least seven gluten-free flours, shelled nuts, olive oil, anchovies, and dried beans galore. There are very few packaged foods in our pantry. They’re an occasional treat, intended for traveling or truly busy mornings. Whole foods? That’s just called food here.
However, before I went gluten-free, I ate plenty of packaged foods. I never really looked at the labels on my food, except to worry about the calories. That last year before I was diagnosed with celiac, I had deli salads, takeout, and tv dinners, all the time.
Now, I cannot imagine eating that way.
Transformation takes time.
I think the idea of cooking without packages or already-chopped onions frightens a lot of people. What if dinner comes out bland? What if we mess it all up? Eating with whole foods sounds like an earnest hippy endeavor, doesn’t it?
If you have good ingredients, and a what-the-hell attitude, you’re bound to have some kind of adventure in the kitchen.
And if you have good, solid recipes like the ones in The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods, you might find yourself buying fewer and fewer packaged foods at the store.
This edamame mash? It’s so good I wanted to eat it for breakfast the morning after we made it. It’s tinged with ginger, singing with the lightness of rice wine vinegar, seasoned with tamari and fish sauce. The sesame oil binds it together and flavors it all with some mild darkness, a bit of a mystery. It’s only six ingredients. They only seem unusual until you start cooking with them. With a bit of practice, you can’t believe how easy good cooking can be.
Thanks, Sara and Hugh, for your thoughtful recipes inspired by the seasons and your gorgeous photographs. You’ve got us cooking in this kitchen.
You can buy The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods here.
It looks fancy, doesn’t it? The kind of dish you might make to impress company? What might make you happiest is how little time it takes you to make. Chop up some pistachios, boil some edamame, whirl up a mash in the food processor, and cook the salmon. Dinner’s ready now!
Think of this as a template recipe. You could use any firm fish here, if you want. Try walnuts or almonds instead of pistachios. If you can’t find edamame, then fresh peas and lima beans could stand in well. Play. It’s your kitchen.
3 cups shelled edamame
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
1 tablespoon fish sauce (make sure it’s gluten-free. we like “>Red Boat.)
1/4 cup sesame oil (you might even need more)
1 cup pistachios, shelled
4 4-ounce salmon fillets (we prefer wild Alaskan salmon)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
2 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil
Preparing to cook. Heat the oven to 450°.
Making the edamame mash. If your edamame are frozen, boil them until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Drain immediately. Pour the edamame into the bowl of a food processor. Add the ginger, rice wine vinegar, tamari, and fish sauce. Whirl them all up in the food processor. They will be a pretty chunky puree. With the food processor running, drizzle in the sesame oil until the edamame mash is smooth and holds together well. (If you the hash still needs more liquid, you can add more sesame oil or a bit of water.) Taste the edamame mash. Season to taste with any of the ingredients you wish. Move the mash to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel.
Chopping the pistachios. After you rinse out the bowl of the food processor, pour in the pistachios. Whirl up the pistachios until they are very finely ground. (See photo above.) Watch out to not grind them too fine. You don’t want pistachio butter.
Cooking the salmon. Season the salmon with salt. Put the beaten eggs in a wide bowl, the flour in another, and the ground pistachios in another. Set a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in the oil. Working quickly, dip the side of the salmon fillet without skin in the flour, then the beaten eggs, and finally the pistachios. Lay the salmon fillet down in the hot oil. (Be sure the lay the fillet away from you, to avoid splattering yourself with hot oil.) Repeat with the remaining salmon fillets.
Sear the salmon until the pistachios are slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Flip them over in the pan and slide the pan in the oven. Cook in the oven until the internal temperature of the salmon has reached 120°. (Depending on the size and thickness of your fillets, this could take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes. Watch them carefully.)
Dollop some of the edamame mash onto a plate and top with the pistachio salmon. Serve immediately.