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Quick Fix: Edamame and Peas

by | Aug 6, 2008

We are all in a hurry sometimes. I happened to be in a hurry tonight. I won’t bore you with the details, but I got held up at work today and had more things to do when I got home than I could really fathom (including writing this post). I needed dinner, I needed it to be healthy (I’m going out twice tomorrow and for dinner Friday–wish me luck) and, most important, I needed it to be quick.

What to do?
I can’t stress this enough: stock frozen vegetables.
One of my most reliable dinners is sauteed soy beans (edamame), petite peas, pistachios and basil. To prepare, heat some olive oil in a pan, toss in half a chopped shallot or any mild onion like leeks or Maui (you should always have onion, garlic and some kind of fresh herb in the house–this is what weekends are for) and some kind of nut (these also have a long shelf-life). I prefer the roasted, unsalted pistachio “nut meats” from Trader Joe’s, but you can choose whatever you like or have available (walnuts, cashews and almonds are all delicious).
Let the onion and nuts cook for a few minutes until just starting to brown, add sea or kosher salt, then dump in about 1/2 cup of frozen, shelled soy beans (per person). If you are unfamiliar with soy beans, they look like lima beans only a little smaller (and they taste better). Stir them to cover in oil. Once shimmering, add an appropriate volume of frozen petite peas (petite peas are far sweeter and more delicate than regular peas) and mix. While cooking, crush and chop a clove of garlic. Clear space in the center of the pan and add garlic in a single layer. When garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds), stir contents of pan. Add a handful of whole or chopped basil leaves (or any other herb you have in the house), salt and pepper to taste, and mix another few seconds. Remove from heat when beans and peas are bright green and the herbs have wilted. Do not let brown.
Usually I eat this dish on a bed of (1/4 cup) brown rice. Today I threw in some chopped raddichio (with the basil) and served it on a bed of brown rice and purslane, because I had it. This added depth (and nutrients) to the dish, but is not necessary. Spinach is another nice accompaniment that can be added with the herbs. Please do not over-cook, this shouldn’t take very long.
Whole grains should be prepared in large batches and frozen in individual servings in plastic wrap. To thaw, run under warm (not hot) water for a minute or two until you can remove the plastic, then microwave (covered) for approximately 1 minute.
What is your favorite quick, healthy dinner?
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