Sunday, December 18, 2011

Caviar Not the Kind You're Thinking, Part One

If you're like us, you have holiday events to attend, and are scratching your head over what to take as your contribution. In Hawaii, the buffet table at potluck events groans with food: everything from homemade to takeout, from home-baked creations to trays of bought noodles and garlic chicken.

If I took some of each thing on the table(s), I'd need more than one plate, and afterward, I'd lapse into a serious food coma! So, I'm pretty selective about what I put on that plate, and I'm always on the lookout for something green (as in vegetables) to eat.

At the library potluck, my plate held small pieces of teriyaki beef, makisushi, finger jello, and a pile of wonderfully bright green spinach salad with grape tomatoes and tofu cubes tossed with a slightly spicy shoyu/sesame dressing. What I brought to the table was the following dip, which is pretty healthy, and several groups of ladies later asked me for the recipe (which is mainly an assemblage of ingredients - I'm better at assembling than cooking!):

Samurai Caviar

  • 2 bags shelled edamame (soybeans), cooked in salted water until tender. Drain and rinse to cool
  • 1/2 ounce hijiki seaweed, soaked in 2 to 3 cups water until reconstituted. Drain.
  • 8 ounces whole water chestnuts, drained and cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 3/8 to ½ cup Angelo Pietro salad dressing - shoyu or miso types
  • optional: 2 cloves garlic, cut into large slivers or finely minced
  • 10 ounces corn – frozen or canned – drained
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Dash of rice vinegar  
Combine all ingredients and serve with Tostitos scoops or shrimp chips. 

You can substitute water chestnuts with jicama, diced small. Add a can of Japanese seasoned baby clams, aburage (fried tofu skins) sliced fine, diced red bell pepper or agedofu (diced small). Try shichimi tongarashi, chipotle or Sriracha hot sauce instead of the usual

I know a lot of these ingredients may be unfamiliar to you. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have in the comments, and you can find most of them in the Asian food section of a large supermarket, or an Asian food store.

This is my original recipe, but if you are familiar with Cowboy Caviar, you will see the inspiration for this, for which I'll give my recipe in the next post. We were eating the last of this tonight, and the DH asked if I'd already written about it. "Because the rest of the world should know about it!" This is why I married him! Well, one of the reasons.

Do people really want to eat in a more healthy manner? I can see that the women in my age group do, whereas the younger folks and men in general head straight for the fried chicken and noodles. Well, if there were no other choices, I guess I would, too. There is usually a fruit salad or tray of crudites (cut vegetables) with ranch dip, but those were missing this time. 

There was SO much food, I can't remember it all, but here's a partial list: pumpkin and apple pies, spice cake with a glaze, coffee cake, bought trio of pound cakes, 2 or 3 kinds of cookies - home-baked and not, finger jello in 2 colors, 2 kinds of bread pudding. ~takes a breath~ Fried rice, fried noodles, sushi, garlic chicken, teriyaki beef, chili (and rice), other entrees I've forgotten. In addition to the spinach salad, and my edamame (soybean) dip, there were lovely, jewel-like slices of steamed Okinawan purple sweet potato. Mulled cider (non-alcoholic, but delicious!) and lots of coffee to save us from the inevitable drowsiness of food coma were the beverages. 

I got excited when I saw the pot that held the cider, because I thought it might be soup. The library is a bone-chilling 70 degrees, and it's drafty. A small bowl of lentil, Portuguese bean soup or chowder would have been great!.In the library, my accessories often include fingerless gloves, a wrap or scarf, and sometimes even a beret! Human beings are more comfortable when the thermostat is set at 74 to 75 degrees! 

Back on topic! People in Hawaii do not even think of chips and dip as a buffet contribution, so the above description is not unusual. This event was held in the morning, and by lunchtime, only the beverages, chili, rice and baked items remained in any quantity! 

No comments:

Post a Comment