Edamame Salad

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When did Edamame come about?  This is in my opinion a new food.  I only started noticing edamame about eight to ten years ago when it started showing up in recipes I read, farmers markets I visited, and restaurants menus.  In that time, it has gained some popularity and quite a bit of followers.

This family never really caught on to the squeeze the pod and eat the edamame thing.  I find it interesting how many kids enjoy doing this and really like steamed edamame.  Is it because the pods usually get some salt tossed on them and they like that flavor?  Because I really think if you are going to eat something from a pod, snap peas are a lot sweeter.  Just my thoughts.

I gave edamame a try and found it to be something I could take or leave, but then we received some in our CSA box one summer I started looking for recipes and began doing more with it than just tossing it in a random salad.  Over the years, I have come to enjoy it in recipes such as Kale, Edamame, and Quinoa Salad, ChickpeasTomatoes, and Edamame, and Edamame, Cranberry & Feta Salad.  I have also come to enjoy Trader Joe’s edamame hummus and chocolate covered edamame.  Chocolate covered edamame is a great protein rich item to toss into mixture.

In fact this salad is one that I make throughout the year as Little Miss Mixture really enjoys it.  This is a salad that is requested in lunches some weeks.  Now that makes a mom happy.

When edamame is in season it is an easy food to steam and prep for the freezer for later use.  Trader Joe’s also has fresh packaged or frozen edamame from that make this recipe simple to put together in minutes.  The recipe below is adapted from Edamame with Cranberries, Feta and Basil and while I have provided measurements, I really do not measure and in fact the salad can be made with any amount of edamame you have on hand.

Edamame, Cranberry and Feta Salad

Ingredients
16 oz. Edamame
1/2 cup Dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh Basil leaves, chopped
1-2Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup Feta crumbles
pepper to taste

Directions
Cook edamame in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Pat dry and remove from pods.
Toss edamame, cranberries, basil together.  Pour olive oil over salad, and add pepper. Gently stir in feta cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Simple and satisfying.

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Presto and you have Pesto

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Pesto is one of those sauces that has such versatility.  It is super easy to make and almost completely foolproof.  Once you get the hang of making pesto there are endless possibilities.  The hardest part of making pesto is cleaning the equipment, or at least until last year when it got a whole lot easier.

I love kitchen gadgets and I have had a lot over the years and will attest some are completely worth it, others are a waste, and others though necessary are a pain.  The food processor is one of those.  I have it because I need it though I cringe at times when I have to use it due to how cumbersome it is to clean.  There are so many parts and amazingly what I need to use it for knows exactly how to stick to evey little hole and crevice.

So how did it get easier?

You guessed it that amazing machine that many of us have invested in or wish we could have if it were on the NYSE, the vitamix can make a beautiful pesto.  The even more beautiful part it is one piece of equipment and easy to clean.

Classic Pesto

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

3 medium garlic cloves

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups fresh basil leaves

All above ingredients needs to be combined.  When using the vitamin to make pesto, you simple add all ingredients in the order listed.  Turn on the vitamin and slowly increase up to variable 6 or 7.  Careful not to over process as a nice pesto takes on a slightly bumpy consistency and it is easy to over process and end up with a puree.  Though great tasting not a true pesto.

If using a food processor, you want to add all ingredients except the olive oil.  Combine and then slowly add the oil to mix in.

Pesto   This link will allow you to print the recipe for Classic Pesto

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Note:  The pictured pesto is a variation of this classic pesto recipe.  I used 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, 1/2 cup baby spinach for a milder and slightly more nutritious pesto.

Now you have a beautiful pesto sauce that can be used in a variety of ways – garnish meat, tossed with pasta, spread as a condiment, or as we used it last week the base to a pizza.

Be sure to check out how to use this fresh pesto to create a fabulous Shrimp Pesto Pizza

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