New Ingredient: Young Garbanzo Beans (Young Chickpeas)

We’re well on our way to summer!

 

Temperatures are reaching nearly a hundred degrees this week. Seriously? What IS nice is that the mornings are now like, 70 degrees (instead of a chilly 50 earlier this year, ugh), so I can comfortably wear the same outfit all day. No shedding sweaters for me anymore! That being said, I’m only a student, so that prime time between when the sun rises and hits the very top of the sky, at the perfect temperature: I’m stuck in class. 

 

Yes, boo hoo for me. At least there’s only a month left until we’re out of those cold, air-conditioned classrooms. Temperatures aside, let’s enjoy the season while we have it! There are so many new vegetables coming in; spring is prime for young ones, too, and I stumbled upon some of these beauties when I was at Whole Foods. 

What are they? Young garbanzo beans! (Or chickpeas as you may know them). They were sold in their shells, and inside each shell is a little green bean. How cute! I bought a small handful, knowing how time consuming it would be to peel them. That being said – I have no experience with these little guys. The only time I’d ever seen them was on the tv show Chopped; I vaguely remembered they were sautéed, but this wasn’t enough to quell my curiosity. So my research began! 

 

Turns out you should never boil them, but they’re good prepared steamed, roasted, sautéed, or even raw! When they’re boiled, they’re akin to nasty over-cooked lima beans, ew. Dorothy over at shockinglydelicious gave a ton of suggestions at her site, too, one that I found particularly interesting being to roast them in a pan with a bit of oil and blend of salt, cumin, chili powder, and other spices for 5 minutes. That’s a pretty amazing sounding recipe over there!

What I did was simply steam them for about 6 minutes, and snack on them plain. They’re something like fresh peas or edamame, I can’t put my finger on what, but mighty tasty to just mindlessly munch on if you find yourself sitting by the pool sometime. 

So if you run into these, buy them! They’re fun, healthy snacks that are just so adorable. 

Green Papaya Salad (Vietnamese Style)

Not my photo! I didn't get one of mine because I ate it too fast ;)

Not my photo! I didn’t get one of mine because I ate it too fast 😉

So I’ve been meaning to post this recipe – I first made it when I got my mandolin slicer for Christmas (!!). But with summer just around the corner, weather in the 90’s forecasted this week, and lots of available, fresh produce, I decided that now would be the perfect time to share such a refreshing recipe.

 

Green papaya (unripened papaya) is shredded, and tossed with a salty-sweet dressing, and topped with fried shallots, beef jerky, and crushed peanuts. This dish comes originally from Laos, but I’ve been familiarized with it through my Vietnamese mother.

 

It’s helpful to have a mandolin to shred the papaya quickly. Also, any beef jerky will work (I prefer spicy), and you can find green papaya at your nearby asian grocer. Most western grocery stores DO carry papaya, but sometimes even though it looks underripe, it’s not. It’s best to go to an asian grocery to eliminate any doubts.

 

in the making...

in the making…

Green Papaya Salad (Vietnamese Style)

  • shredded green papaya
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar OR agave nectar (or any neutral, dissolvable sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup beef jerky, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup thai basil (or regular basil), sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts, or more to garnish
  • sliced serrano or jalapeno peppers (optional)

Shred the green papaya with a mandolin or knife into fine strips. Place in a colander and toss with a pinch of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to remove sliminess and some of the excess water. Rinse, and pat dry. In a seperate bowl, mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, water, and sugar until all are dissolved.

Toss the papaya, dressing, basil, half the beef jerky and half the peanuts in a large bowl just before serving. Put onto a large plate, garnish with the remaining peanuts, beef jerky, and optional peppers. Serve immediately!

 

¡Ceviche!

Yes, I know, this post is going to be about the perfect summer food. 

When I just made one about winter food. 

Oh well, I simply couldn’t wait to post this recipe!

Ceviche is a Latin American seafood dish marinated in citrus juice, often accompanied with diced fresh vegetables. It’s a great way to highlight summer’s bounty, as well as use up those lemons/limes. Most commonly I’ve had ceviche with the bare minimum of white fish, lime, and onion, but I’ve seen some crazy variations, like Ceviche with tuna, scallops, sriracha, plum, or clams

Ceviche is the perfect appetizer to a mexican feast, or could even make a great light meal. The key in the process is to allow the fish to marinate for adequate time, while not over-marinating. I typically use cheaper fish, like tilapia, since I like to save my expensive fish for sashimi or cooking. Finely diced vegetables also add a nice textural contrast, as well as my favorite addition, avocado, to bind the whole thing together. 
image

Basic Ceviche

  • 4 fillets of flaky white fish (tilapia, cod, snapper, etc.)
  • Juice of 3 limes (enough to cover the fish)
  • Pinch salt & pepper
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced (heirloom are too watery)
  • 1/2 medium Red onion, diced
  • 1 handful Cilantro, chopped
  • Jalapeno, finely diced (optional)
  • Avocado, diced

Dice the fish and place in a bowl with lime juice. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, cover with plastic. Marinate for 10 minutes or so (Check out this post for the science behind marinating). 

Meanwhile, dice tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, and toss in a bowl with a bit of salt and pepper, to taste. Add jalapeno, if desired. Stir in cubes of avocado (Can’t cut avocado? No worries, learn how here!). 

After the fish is done marinating, drain the lime juice from the bowl, and add the fish (which should be white now) to the chopped vegetables. Mix, gently, and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly. Serve chilled alongside chips, warm tortillas (I prefer corn), with lettuce cups, or sliced cucumber. 

So, there you go, Ceviche. Buen Apetito!