Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Marilyn and the Beanstalk

A friend of my husband recently gave us a sack of home grown green beans. A sack of green beans that weighs about three or four pounds. Now, how can just the three of us eat these lovely green beans before 1) they go bad and 2) we get sick of eating green beans?

When I told my darling daughter that I needed to find some more recipes for making green beans, she asked why as she loves our usual method. As good as that recipe is, I am thinking we need just a bit more variety than that.

With that thought in mind, I present you with two variations.

Bean dish number one:

Aren't these home grown green beans beautiful? I trimmed the stem ends.

Then cut the beans in half for this particular dish.

A quick blanch and the beans are spread out to dry for an hour or so.

I pulled out this pre-made batter mix and opted to add water rather than beer for the liquid.

A bit more water and we have a quick tempura batter for the beans.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees and keep an eye on it. The temperature of the oil will go down as the beans hit the oil. I found that by the time the temperature began to rise again, the beans were ready to be pulled out and drained.

I had some leftover batter, so I fried that too. Darling daughter was happy with her mom.

These were good. Next time I will skip the blanching part as the water that was still trapped in the beans made the oil splatter something awful. Live and learn.

And now on to the rest of our lunch.

One of the things I miss most after learning that I am allergic to chicken is going to my favorite Chinese restaurant. But as most of the menu is chicken, I have found it to be a wholly unsatisfying experience to eat only the things I can safely have while staring miserably at all of my formerly favorite dishes. This has left me with the task of finding decent recipes that I can make at home, substituting either turkey or pork for the chicken.

I found a recipe for Two-Onion Pork Shreds that sounded similar to Pepper Chicken, so we will try this.

My local grocery store only had bone-in thinly sliced pork chops, so I started with that.

I trimmed off the fat (and fried that up as a treat for the cat and the cook - nothing healthy about that!) and cut the meat away from the bone. I then sliced the meat into 1/4 inch wide strips.

On to the marinade: The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns, but as that particular ingredient was missing from my local grocery store, I substituted coarsly ground black pepper. Per instructions, I carefully toasted the pepper over medium low heat until the aroma of pepper filled the air. And it's not a bad aroma at that.

The marinade consists of:

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons soy sauce (I always use low sodium soy sauce)

2 teaspoons white wine (the recipe called for dry sherry, but that I have not gotten around to purchasing any for my pantry)

1 and 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

Mix together with the peppercorns and pour over the meat. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

I grabbed three rather pathetic "green onions" from my garden along with the remainder of the vidallia onion I had in the fridge. As you can see, my "green onions" decided to skip that step and went immediately into the "let's form an onion bulb" step. They still taste good though, in case you were wondering.

And we've sliced the white onion into slivers while the greens of the onion were cut into two inch pieces.

Mise en place for the remainder of the dish: soy sauce, white wine, red wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, dark sesame oil and the marinated meat.

The sauce is mixed:

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons white wine

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat some canola oil in a skillet and cook the pork over high heat until no longer pink.

This happens quickly, so don't walk away.

Add the white onion and cook for one minute.

Add the green onion tops and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the sauce and cook for another 30 seconds. Finish with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and remove from heat.

And we have our finished dish.

It wasn't bad as is, but needs more pepper (or the right kind of pepper) for the dish to really sing. I will keep looking for a good recipe to replace my pepper chicken.

Bean dish number 2:

Again I am cooking for just two, but this time my husband is joining me in our evening repast.

I trimmed and then blanched some more green beans at the same time I was doing the beans for the earlier dish.

I decided to do spicy garlic green beans for dinner. In deference to my husband's mild tastes, I drastically reduced the amounts of sesame oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Here we have sesame oil, garlic, red pepper flakes (mine need to be replaced as the flakes are more brown than red now) and green beans. Salt and pepper will season the dish later.

Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup water and the beans. Heat until the water has evaporated.

I then added 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, one garlic clove that was thinly sliced and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Continue to cook for another minute or so, being careful to not let the garlic burn.

These were good, but I greatly prefer to oven roast my green beans. Also, two green bean dishes in one day is a bit much. My husband seemed to enjoy the dish, even if he did pick around the garlic and red pepper flakes.

Alas, even after making several green bean dishes this past week, I still have quite a few sitting in that bag in my refrigerator.

Now, I find myself wondering: what would Rosie Hawthorne do?

1 comment:

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hmmm. WWRHD? I like the sound of that. I can see a bumper sticker there. Right now, I'm working on your daughter's evil suggestion. (I knew I liked that girl.) I'll put on my thinking cap and come up with sumpin' for you in the not too distant future. Hopefully before the beans go bad.