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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.

Aren’t they?

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.

YES, PLEASE.

Green Beans with Pomegranate-Ginger Vinaigrette

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m thinking about starting a Thunder fan club. With t-shirts.

    November 16, 2011
    • And then we can go all meta by taking pictures of her wearing one of the t-shirts and then THAT picture could be on the next t-shirt, and so on and so forth, until we are millionaires!

      November 16, 2011
    • I’ll take 3. And a onesie.

      November 17, 2011
  2. Courtney #

    I don’t cook, but I have a pogo-stick-gift-giving-related Public Service Announcement:

    Unlike toys, which you can give to a five-year-old even if the packaging says “Ages 6+,” pogo sticks really won’t work for a 32-pound kid if they say “For weights 40-80 lbs.” In fact, it won’t work for a 40-lb kid, either, until an 80-lb kid has broken it in.

    In summary, you (and any adult) are doing a child a favor if you take his new pogo stick away from it and bounce on it a couple hundred times before giving it back.

    Also, I agree that pomegranate seeds are beautiful and Christmas-y. Also kumquats.

    November 16, 2011
    • Aha! I knew pogo sticks were not only annoying at nighttime but also dangerous/ineffective. I was always scared of them as a kid. They’re kind of a like a jack-in-a-box, but you are the “jack.” Terrible concept, if you ask me.

      I AGREE on the kumkwats, but I am going to have to look hard for them around here. Our local grocery store doesn’t even carry dijon mustard or chick peas or wheat germ or hazelnuts, and has like 5 types of cheese. I will get some when I make a trip to the fancy grocery store– thanks for the inspiration.

      November 17, 2011
  3. Jura #

    I am in a pomegranate-state-of-mind these days. I made pomegranate molasses (which is a very traditional meat and cheese accompaniment in Turkish, Georgian and that-part-of-the-world cuisine). And I am planning on making bru ….

    …ssel sprouts with pomegranate seeds – so I am partial to these flavor combinations.

    P.S. I am a big fan of the blog! Keep it coming!
    P.S.S. I am Jura and I met Scott in 2004 on the same day as I met my husband:) Ask Scott to tell you about my screen door story.

    November 17, 2011
    • Jura #

      between bru… and …ssel I had written
      “had to leave the building for a fire drill…. don’t you hate those?”, but wordpress for some reason didn’t like it.

      November 17, 2011
      • Ha. Well then I have to say that like wordpress, I hate fire drills. 🙂

        November 17, 2011
    • Jura! It’s so nice to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words. Scott has definitely told me about you but I think he left out the screen door part. I will have to ask. But in the meantime, let me say that if you walked into a screen door and met your husband on the other side of it, then bravo, Jura. Bravo. I’ve done that many times without meeting anyone in the process– like not even a new friend.

      I am going to post a brussels sprouts recipe soon! We’ve been making them at least once a week, and I agree that they’re delicious. Could you point me to a good pomegranate molasses recipe on-line? Would I need to can it, though?

      Cheers! Katherine

      November 17, 2011
      • Jura #

        If I had met my husband that way it would probably top the real story of us meeting, which involved words “Are you a pole-vaulter?”
        The pomegranate molasses is surprisingly easy to make (and no canning necessary). I followed Alton Brown’s recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pomegranate-syrup-or-molasses-recipe/index.html I used bottled 100% juice but if I had a juicer (or other device appropriate for juicing) I would have definitely used fresh pomegranates. Try dark (Scandinavian) bread with feta cheese and this molasses on top!

        November 17, 2011
  4. You really do have great stories. And I like the sound of that Flavor book…pretty cool. This seems like a very Thanksgiving-ish recipe, in a modern way. Kind of a substitute for green bean casserole and cranberry sauce. Will have to try it. But I sure wish they sold pomegranate seeds already out of the hull—it’s so much messy work!

    November 17, 2011
    • Yes! You might consider the book for Christmas– I think you’d love it. It’s just so fun to flip though even if you’re not sitting there with an ingredient wondering what to do with it. It’s like a picture book that organizes flavor affinities, some of which you knew intuitively from years of eating, and others you wouldn’t think of right away. Because of the book, I threw mint into a savory zucchini bread pudding I was making a few months ago and it was amazing.

      November 23, 2011
  5. Kate #

    God, Thunder, I feel exactly the same way today.

    Beautiful picture of the salad in the long bowl. Love it.

    November 17, 2011
    • I am not kidding, but I think Scott got that bowl at Lowes or Home Depot. Maybe it was Walmart, but I don’t think so.

      November 23, 2011
  6. ana #

    Hahah, love this video :)!

    November 22, 2011
    • Thanks Ana! I don’t know how Scott knew this was going to happen, but he apparently had the camera ready to catch it. 🙂

      November 23, 2011
  7. Jess #

    So good. I’m actually eating this right now…. I’ve had my eye on this recipe since you posted it, especially since I’ve been making this green bean recipe (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Beans-with-Toasted-Walnuts-and-Dried-Cherry-Vinaigrette-361791) with some frequency and more or less gorging on pomegranates for the last month (one every 24-36 hours isn’t excessive, is it?).

    Thanks for the great recipes (and study breaks)!

    November 22, 2011
    • Jess that’s awesome– I am glad you like it and thanks for your note. (Also for the recipe– I adore dried cherries.) I hope you’ve found some good Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving with– we miss you, beautiful!

      November 23, 2011

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