October 25, 2008

Everything in moderation.

Too much of a sweet thing, whether it's pastries or love, is just plain bad. Per usual, Shakespeare said it best:
Enough, no more. 'Tis not so sweet as it was before. - Orsino, Twelfth Night
The idea that sugar pleases best in moderation never really resonated with me until this afternoon, when I made green bean dessert soup with tapioca pearls. I was too greedy with the sugar, adding spoon after spoon of the white crystals which mesmerized me as they melted into the bubbling pot of beans.
The idea that even sweetness can sicken you so much that it's not as "sweet as it was before"... now there's a paradox that makes sense to cavity victims. In this case, I just added more water and it tasted fine.
Asian green bean dessert soup with tapioca pearls
2 parts green beans
sugar to taste
1 part miniature tapioca pearls (amount also flexible)
1. Bring green beans and water to boil, then turn down heat to medium and let simmer uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed (you just need enough to cover the beans so they can cook).

2. When green beans have burst open and water level has declined, add sugar to taste (remember: you can always add more). The green beans should be mushy and tender, not hard on the inside.

3. Add tapioca pearls. I used multicolored ones for a festive effect, but any sort will do, as long as they are tiny. Simmer until the tapioca pearls develop a clear layer, about 10 minutes. You may have to add more water in these stages, depending on how dry or wet you want your soup to be.

Dig in, and when adding the sugar, don't hesitate to take Orsino's cue and say, "Enough, no more." You won't regret it.