Pogo Sticks + Pomegranates
Yesterday, I got crimson juice all over myself while cooking with pomegranates. We’re talking a violent-crime-amount of crimson. I looked like I offed myself because my upstairs neighbor wouldn’t stop bouncing on a pogo stick while blasting Aerosmith at 3 in the morning.
This actually happened in New York, except that I let my rage fester before I did anything about it. Eventually, I tried to rally my building together for an intervention. I thought we should at least confiscate the pogo stick or sign her up for some kind of gymboree, where she could pogo in a structured environment during normal business hours. I was out-voted. The other tenants backed off when they learned she was bouncing because it increased her artistic productivity.
I take my hat off to Pogo Stick Girl on that one. It was a brilliant move. My building was full of opera singers and actresses, and they were total suckers for artistic creativity. Heck, they are probably collaborating with Pogo Stick Girl right now on an incredibly loud, multi-media installation piece that they will unveil, without warning, one night at 0-dark-30 on my roof in Alabama.
If it has to happen, I hope it’s an interpretive dance to Aerosmith’s Crazy (I know she has that one memorized) and that they make it rain pomegranate seeds.
Because pomegranate seeds are so pretty.
The upshot is this: if you’re wondering what to get that special struggling artist in your life, try one of these pogo sticks. My favorite is the one called “Jumparoo Boing!” According to the product description, it is fit to break the record for long-distance pogo-sticking, which is 23 miles. I was hoping the record was shorter than that, because at that rate, Pogo Stick Girl could get to Alabama in 39 days.
For everyone else, you could make these green beans with pomegranate vinaigrette. Just don’t wear a white silk shirt while you do.
This dish made me feel like I was in Turkey. There is something bold and exotic about it–the flavors are layered and unusual, but it works. Really well. I am used to just salting my green beans or tossing them in butter and almonds. This was way more exciting. I pulled it together by looking at the flavor affinities for pomegranate in The Flavor Bible, which is like a cross between a dictionary and a choose-your-own-adventure book. One of the groupings is pomegranate + honey + cinnamon + ginger + almonds.
Green Beans with Pomegranate-Ginger Vinaigrette
1 lb. green beans
2/3 c. pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on the size)
a nub of ginger root, about 1 1/2 inch long
1/3 c. almonds, slivered or chopped
Chop the almonds roughly. Toast them in a toaster oven or on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until browned and aromatic (only a few minutes, so watch them very carefully!)
Put a pot of water +1 tbsp. of the salt up to boil.
Break down a fourth or a half of a pomegranate until you have 2/3 c. seeds.
Rinse the green beans and snap off the ends.
When the water is boiling, toss in the green beans. Boil for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the beans.
While the beans are boiling, prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to hold the beans.
Check the beans for doneness by piercing one of the beans and tasting it. It should be firm and crisp but not raw.
When the beans are done, transfer them to a colander. Then plunge the beans immediately in the ice water so they stop cooking. When cold, pour the beans through the colander again and transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the 1 tbsp. honey, the 2 tbsp. olive oil, the 1 tsp. lemon juice, the 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, the 1/2 tsp. mustard and 1/4 tsp. of the salt. Peel the ginger root and press it through a garlic press into the bowl. Also press the 2-3 cloves of garlic through the garlic press and into the bowl. Whisk to combine (or use a tupperware container with a sealed lid as the bowl, and shake).
Toss the green beans in the dressing. Add the 2/3 pomegranate seeds and the 1/3 c. roasted almonds, and toss once more to coat. Serve.
(You could reheat the beans before tossing on the pomegranate seeds and the almonds, if you like.)
This is how dazed and tired I’d be on mornings after Pogo Stick Girl had gotten really artistically inspired, or what have you.