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Posts Tagged ‘green beans’

I really, really don’t like mayo, so I don’t eat most people’s versions of potato salad. This one, however, is perfect. It’s fresh, easy, and absolutely mayo-free, coated instead with a dressing made of whole-grain mustard, spring onions, and olive oil. If you are still finalizing your Memorial Day menu (like me), try adding this salad to the list.

Red Potato-Green Bean Salad (adapted from Epicurious)

8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
2 tablespoons champagne (or white wine) vinegar
1 spring onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon whole-grain (or Dijon) mustard
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes* and boil about 15 minutes, until tender. Add green beans to the water about 4 minutes before potatoes finish cooking. Empty potatoes and green beans into a colander to drain.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Combine onion, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small food processor and process until smooth. Place potatoes and green beans in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix to combine. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. You can make this a day ahead, but I like it warm.

*I used to avoid boiling potatoes because I hated getting splattered by boiling water when I dropped the potatoes in. Then, I realized that if I used a small strainer like this to lower the potatoes into the water, I’d stop being splattered. Now, my family gets mashed potatoes a lot more often. Try it if you have a strainer laying around and are also tired of being splattered.

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I’ve had some people ask how they can make weeknight cooking easier. Boy, I understand that. I have a two-year-old and a full-time job. It’s hard to come home from work and get dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time. Here, I try to provide recipes that can be cooked on a weeknight (most of the time), and if the recipe isn’t inherently fast, I try to come up with modifications that make it quicker to prepare. Just so we’re on the same page, “fast” to me means getting dinner cooked and on the table in under an hour, including prep time.

My advice for weeknight dinners is this: First, plan ahead. Use the menu plans I provide on this blog, or make your own. Either way, take a day a week to look through your pantry and your fridge and figure out what you need to buy at the grocery store to make enough food for the week.

Then, as you plan your week’s menus, pick one element of each meal to concentrate on, and make the rest of it easy. By that I mean, if you are serving a side dish that takes some preparation, like this summer squash gratin, fix easy grilled chicken or pork as the entree. You get the idea.

This recipe should help your weeknight dinners come together quickly. Some foods just lend themselves to fast preparation, and green beans are one of them. This stir-fry only has six ingredients, plus some water, and cooks in less than 10 minutes. It’s also really tasty. I used some of the baby onions and leeks I had on hand in place of the 1/2 onion in the original recipe, and the oyster sauce adds some salty depth to the beans’ flavor. If you don’t have it, just season with soy sauce at the end instead. Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go when you start cooking.

Easy Garlicky Green Beans (adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 baby onions, cut into slivers about the same size as the green beans
1 leek, cut into slivers about the same size as the green beans
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water (plus a bit more if you check and the pan seems dry)
2 tbsp oyster sauce (comes in a bottle near the Asian foods in the grocery store)

Heat the wok or a heavy frying pan over high heat for 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it. Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds more, then add the garlic, onion, and leeks and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring the whole time.

Add beans and salt and cook about 2 minutes, stirring several times. Then add water, cover wok, and let beans steam for 5 minutes. Check about halfway through to see if the pan is dry, and added about 1 tsp more water if necessary.

Uncover the pan and add oyster sauce, then cook 2 minutes more, stirring so all the beans are uniformly covered with the sauce. Beans should still be slightly crisp when they’re done. Serve hot.

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I usually do one of two things when I’m trying to use up a bunch of produce at once: add it to marinara sauce and serve over pasta, or make a stir-fry. I served this one over good old brown rice, but it would be yummy over quinoa, barley, or whatever grain you’re in the mood for. And as for the veggies, use what you have! That’s the beauty of stir-fry. Just make sure all of your veggies are cut to similar sizes and thicknesses (so they cook evenly) and that you have everything cut and ready to go before you start cooking, because this comes together really quickly.

For proteins, mine had baked tofu (cooked last night) and Mason’s had pork from Richardson Farms. I’ve pretty much stopped using tofu right out of the pack. The baked or broiled stuff has a firmer texture and doesn’t break up when you stir it around. I varied the veggies a little in each of our versions based on our preferences, but again, do what you want. Just about any vegetable combo works here.

See those two ramekins of purple carrots (purple on the outside, anyway)? Pretty, and tasty too!

Baked tofu even looks nicer than straight-out-of-the-package tofu. (Oh, and that pink stuff on the cutting board is where some beets stained it a while back. Don’t want you to think I’m a dirty cook.)

Pork mixture cooking in my cast-iron skillet. The nonstick one had my tofu version in it. The cast iron worked fine, but you may need to add extra oil if the food starts to stick.

Tofu Stir-Fry

1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1/2 cup green onions, sliced into 1-in. pieces
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (we got purple ones this week!)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used a combo of shiitake and white mushrooms)
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and baked (see link above)
2 tsp. cornstarch
Chopped cilantro (optional, but I love it)

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Swirl oil around when it gets hot, to coat the pan. Add shallots, green onions, and carrots. Stir fry about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and green beans and cook another 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms soften. Add tofu and oyster sauce mixture. Whisk cornstarch with a little water until the mixture is smooth, and add that to the pot. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook 1-2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired, and serve over rice or other grain.

Pork Stir-Fry

1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 lb lean pork, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/2 cup green onions, sliced into 1-in. pieces
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
2 tsp. cornstarch
Chopped cilantro (optional, but I love it)

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Swirl oil around when it gets hot, to coat the pan. Add pork and cook 3-4 minutes, until browned and almost cooked through. Add shallots, green onions, and carrots. Stir fry about 1 minute. Add bell pepper and green beans and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the peppers start to soften. Add oyster sauce mixture. Whisk cornstarch with a little water until the mixture is smooth, and add that to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook 1-2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired, and serve over rice or other grain.

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