Charred Shishito Peppers with Furikake

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♪ It’s the most wonderful time of the year ♪: shishito season. Come summertime, I am all about putting shishitos in everything: in salad, in stir-fries, and simply by themselves. I usually give them a quick toss in a miso sauce after blistering them on the stovetop, but this quick and easy version inflected with lime and furikake is one of my new favorites. It’s the perfect summer app and comes together in about ten minutes.

Charred shishito peppers with furikake

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound shishito peppers
2 teaspoons furikake, plus more for garnish

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
1 teaspoon soy sauce

salt

1. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add half of the peppers and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and peppers. 


2. Add the furikake, the lime juice and soy sauce to the shishitos and toss to combine; season with salt. Transfer to a seving plate and garnish with more furikake.

Iranian Okra Stew (Khoresh-e Bamieh)

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For the uninitiated, khoresh is a general term for stews and curries in Iranian cuisine that are served alongside basmati rice, fresh sabzi (herbs), and torshi (pickled vegetables). From eggplant to fenugreek to split peas to pomegranates, there are countless varieties of khoresh and at gatherings you’ll see at least two types served alongside other dishes.

My favorite khoresh, though, is a less common one: khoresh-e bamieh. This okra stew hails from southern Iran and although both of my parents are from Tehran, my mom’s family grew up eating this. She introduced it to my dad when they were married, who counts it among his favorites too. And me? Well, I go crazy for this stuff. Luckily for me (and you), it’s easy to make. It’s not quite as good as my mom’s, but I’m getting there.

Like most khoreshs, it can be made vegetarian by simply omitting the meat. You can also substitute the chicken for leg of lamb that’s been cut into 2-inch cubes. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time and water accordingly.

Khoresh-e bamieh

Ingredients:

2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 pounds skinless chicken legs and thighs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tomato, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 pound fresh or frozen okra

1. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, brown onion, garlic, and chicken in the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and turmeric. Add the tomato paste and tomato. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water, cover, and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour until the chicken is tender, stirring occasionally.

2. When the chicken is tender, add lime juice and okra. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat. Check to see if okra is tender. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve warm with chelo (Iranian-style rice).

Miso Banana Bread

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Welcome to your new favorite banana bread recipe. Contrary to what you might be thinking, no, you can’t taste the miso in the final product here. Instead, it’s like someone took banana bread and amped up the taste, resulting in this deeply flavorful, showstopping treat. I’ve adapted this recipe from the original in Food & Wine, and my version is on regular rotation this days in casa yogurtsoda.

Miso banana bread

Ingredients:

5 overripe bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white miso
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. In a bowl, using 
a fork, mash 4 of the bananas until chunky. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the butter, sugar and miso at medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. At low speed, slowly add the buttermilk, then beat in 
the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated. Beat in the mashed bananas; the batter will look curdled. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Scrape into the prepared pan.

3. Slice the remaining banana lengthwise and arrange the halves on top of the batter side by side, cut side up. Bake for 
1 hour and 20 minutes. Let the bread cool for 30 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Roasted Pepper and Artichoke Antipasto

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Summer is finally here and I am all about it, y’all. Gimme all the greens, gimme all the corn, gimme all the tomatoes, gimme all the peppers. This simple vegetable antipasto is like summer on a platter. Best of all, you can make it ahead of time and let the flavors marinate. Now go outside and get some sun.

Roasted pepper and artichoke antipasto

Ingredients:

4 red bell peppers
3 yellow or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
a few drops of hot pepper sauce (optional)
4 canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 garlic clove, sliced
salt and pepper
1 handful basil leaves, plus more to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Lightly oil a foil-lined baking sheet and place the whole peppers on the foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, until beginning to char. Remove from the oven, place in a heatproof bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

2. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Remove the core and seeds from the peppers and peel away the skins. Slice each pepper into thick strips.

3. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and hot pepper sauce, then season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss the peppers with the sliced artichokes, tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Pour the dressing over and sprinkle a few more basil leaves on top.

Fried Eggplant with Spiced Cashews and Yogurt

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This recipe doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does, and brilliantly at that. Part Chinese, part Middle Eastern, buttery eggplant comes together with a kick of five-spice, vinegar, and yogurt. It’s a bit of work, but totally worth the super unique result. I cribbed the original recipe from Bon Appetit and adapted it to taste.

Fried eggplant with spiced cashews and yogurt

Ingredients:

2 pounds Japanese eggplant (about 3)
salt
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup full-fat Middle Eastern or Greek yogurt
Chopped green onions, for serving

1. Slice eggplant crosswise into 3-inch thick pieces. Cut pieces lengthwise into quarters. Toss eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit at room temperature 2 hours.

2. Pulse cashews in a food processor until you have some bigger bits and some finely ground sandy bits. Toss in a small bowl with cayenne, five-spice powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Evenly scatter sugar into a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof rubber spatula to help it melt evenly, until melted and light amber. While stirring, gradually add vinegar; the caramel will sputter, but keep stirring until it smooths back out. Let cool to thicken.

4. Pour in oil to come 1 inch up sides of a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high.

5. While oil is heating, drain eggplants and pat dry. Dredge in rice flour in a large bowl, shaking off excess.

6 .Working in batches, fry eggplants, turning occasionally and adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature, until cooked through and lightly golden, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

7. Spread some yogurt on a serving platter and place eggplants over the top. Drizzle with black vinegar caramel, spiced cashews, and green onions.