My Christmas present from my sister last year was a custom Ingredient of the Month Club. Near the end of each month, a package would arrive enclosing a foodstuff she had selected just for me! Some I’d tasted but never before cooked myself. One I’d never even heard of.
Most were non-perishable. A good thing, not just due to shipping practicalities. Despite my best intentions, and the smile each IOTM package brought to my face, my plans to indulge in recipe research and experimentation kept falling by the wayside. But I’m filled with resolve in this new year, and bringing you the first installment of my Ingredient of the Month series for 2012, featuring Dry-Roasted Edamame.
Edamame are immature green soybeans picked while still in the pod, often served boiled in Asian preparations.
Photo and more edamame health info from WellnessInChicago
I, however, was working with a product the package described as “Lightly Salted Dry Roasted Soy Bean Nuts.”
Google presented me with lots of hits about the health benefits of this vegetable and a number of suggestions for roasting or dry-roasting edamame yourself, but very few recipes using the dry-roasted version once you have it. I guess most people eat them straight out of the package as a snack. But, hey, I’m supposed to be cooking here.
Alton Brown’s Dry Roasted Edamame Brittle, with soy sauce, cayenne, and kosher salt, sounded interesting. But I kept scrolling for more ideas. I found suggestions for using them as a crunchy salad garnish in place of croutons, grinding the dry-roasted edamame into powdered form to season vegetarian dishes or use when breading meat or veggie “cutlets.” Even dipping them in dark chocolate, using them in chocolate chip cookies, or using them in a trail mix with dried blueberries and raw pumpkin seeds.
The dish I finally decided to make was inspired by this “Japanese Chex Mix” (which was no doubt inspired by a product-placement opportunity). “Party mix,” as we call it in my family, has always been one of my guilty pleasures. I am always the one digging through it for the nuts – especially the cashews. Why not try switching it up with some ingredients that might be healthier, or at least different? In case you’d like to try it for your Super Bowl party, I bring you:
Not Your Grandmother's Party Mix
1 c. dry-roasted edamame (not quite all of my 4.4 oz. package – I might try some dipped in dark chocolate later)
1 1/2 c. wasabi peas (or full 4.4 oz. package)
2 c. sugar snap pea crisps
4 c. veggie chips
4 c. wheat Chex (because what would Party Mix be without it?)
3/4 c. mixed nuts (my favorite part)
Combine dry ingredients in oven-proof pan if you're baking, or in microwavable container if you want to try to nuke this in 15 min. (per new instructions on the Chex box).
Separately, melt 6 T. butter (mine was unsalted) and your chosen flavorings. I started with the suggested 1 t. soy sauce for this "Japanese" version, recognizing that many of my "healthy" ingredients were already salted as compared to the old-time version featuring sweet-ish cereal products.
Halfway through baking at about 275 degrees for a total of 1 hour (stirring every 15 minutes), I tasted it and decided to tweak. And of course, that's when I got impatient with measuring and did what I usually do here in the Intuitive Eggplant Kitchen. I melted a couple more tablespoons of butter, added a liberal dash of Worcestershire, some Tobasco, garlic powder, celery salt, and seasoned salt to replicate the tastes from my youth..
My verdict? Not bad. But not quite as satisfying as my nostalgic favorite. And I will still be hunting for the cashews.
Stay tuned next month, when I'll tackle another ingredient and share more recipes you might want to try in your own kitchen.