06 August 2012

Sesame-Glazed Edamame, (Attempted) French Macarons

The number of Heath Ceramics I own just tripled, from one to three. I guess I should be precise - I joint-own the two I just got. E moved in with me, and her wonderful former roommate got us a pair of large bowls. This adds to my happy cup, purchased for hot drinks at work. An aside on that - SFMOMA has a Blue Bottle on the top floor in a beautiful, well lit space next to the sculpture garden. They serve coffee in cocoa-colored Heath mugs and these mugs make me quite happy. After some investigation, I found to be custom-made just for that location but an almost-identical mug is sold at their store. It may seem stupid to spend that much for a single mug, but it does make me quite happy. End aside.

The most remarkable feature of the bowls is their size. My standby dinner bowls, pictured in many previous posts, aren't really big enough for single-dish dinners. Maybe chili is filling enough given the volume, but definitely not my more standard rice-and-tofu dishes. To inaugurate them, I cooked a rather  unremarkable udon and silken tofu soup. About halfway through making the soup, I knew it would not astound and hatched a plan to make at least something good. A few handfuls of edamame, pre-steamed and laboriously popped from pods, were intended for the soup. Instead, they met their fate in my cast iron with mirin, cayenne, and sesame seeds. I was a little influenced by that little chickpea dish I've made before. The end result was a slightly crispy sweet and spicy bite, perfect for adding some flavor to a meal. Not so good for finger food - much too sticky.
The same weekend, I also endeavored on a standard trial of bakers: French Macarons. In short, if you don't care about them looking perfect and you own something for beating eggs, you have no reason to not make these. The ingredient list is impressively small, ignoring the filling, and the result is that combination of soft and chewy and sweet and sticky that begs to be savored. Again, assuming you don't care how perfect they look. Case in point, the macarons I baked up:
I think my flaw was using the wrong recipe. I should have just used the one a friend of mine does; instead, I Googled for "Miete French Macron Recipe" and took the first hit. It gave me weights for all the ingredients but the egg whites. It said 6 for the double recipe, so I halved it down to 3. But, alas, my batter was runny. Before you ask, yes, I'm sure my whites were stiff enough. They clumped in the beater and looked like meringue; they held a point. I may have deflated them too much in the mixing, but I'm going to bet if I used a recipe with weights on the egg whites and scaled around that, they would have come out at least the generally correct shape. Not bad for the mess it created.
Sesame-Glazed Edamame
More an idea than a recipe
1/2 cup edamame beans, pre-steamed and removed from pods.
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (reduce if desired)
dash salt
dash chinese five spice

Make sure the beans are fairly dry. Toss them with spices and salt, and put them in a pre-heated cast iron over medium. Allow to cook for five minutes, stirring once. Pour in the mirin and the sesame seeds, and stir actively to make sure the edamame gets a nice coating. Once the mirin starts to gum-up, leave them alone in the pan for a few minutes so they can brown; repeat on the other side.

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