Living in California spoiled us utterly, Northern California & the Bay Area are a paradise where everything grows (except gooseberries – as I was told by Frankfurt taxi driver whose family farmed artichokes, of course, for generations around Salinas and Monterey and had tried in vain to get some decent gooseberries going) and you can still your homesickness by taking a drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains which in parts remind you of the alpine landscape, the lovely Napa Valleys vineyards & food (not enough money for the French Laundry but the gorgeous Bouchon bakery, picknick from Dean & Deluca & winetasting), Esther’s Germany Bakery for a dense, dark, seedy loaf and the German butcher on San Antonio Rd in Mountain View, where you could find leaf gelatine & Persil washing powder, Trader Joe’s with some surprise European finds and and and much more. As someone said to me, it takes about six months to feel at home and on the dot we truly did.
Wherever you live, lots of things become part of your life, your routine and your traditions. Now we are homesick for California and looking at this years Mavericks pictures does not help much. It has introduced us to many new things and I am happy to find some of them in Germany now – and we are (im)patiently waiting for others to become mainstream. Thanks to online shopping and the Frankfurt area being quite well equipped with fantastic farms, vineyards, grocers, butchers & specialty shops nearly everything is possible and one of my favourite CA food discoveries can be found in my local Asian grocer: Edamame beans. I buy them frozen in their pods and stockpile them in the freezer, they might run out, you’ll never know…
This is just a nice & simple side dish for lunch or supper, add anything from sashimi to tofu, Wiener Schnitzel, pork buns or soba noodles (my lunch the other day, coming soon) for a completely wholesome and colourful feel-good meal. You do not even have to do yoga.
for 4 persons as a side
about one handful dried shiitake mushrooms
1 small bag of frozen edamame beans in their pods (great if you could get fresh; use less if you are using shelled ones, maybe 250g or 9 oz)
1 red (bell) pepper, cut into small dice
2-3 spring onions, cut into fine rings
5 tablespoons sweetcorn kernels (fresh & cooked or roasted when in season otherwise tinned or frozen)
juice of 1 lime
toasted sesame oil
white or black sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan
toasted nori, cut into mini confetti
Place the shiitake mushrooms and soak them in hot water for at least 20 minutes until soft, then drain and place in a salad bowl. Cook the edamame beans for 4 minutes if frozen (they are precooked and just need to defrost) and for about 5-6 minutes if you are using fresh. Drain & cool in ice water for a few minutes, then shell the beans and leave to cool if they are still a little bit warm. Add edamame, (bell) pepper dice, corn, spring onions to the salad bowl, season with shichimi togarashi and make a dressing from lime juice, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle with nori and toasted sesame seeds.