Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Meager Plenty

I returned home from New York to a day of preparing the house for my parents' arrival, then a six day visit with them. I feel like I've talked so much in the last two weeks—catching up with and making new friends in New York, revisiting memories and analyzing our present here with my family—that I don't have a lot of words to throw down for the moment. Or, maybe it is just the heat. It's ridiculously hot.

My garden is surviving the heat though and spitting out tomato after tomato and lots of green beans and Asian long beans. Every night my parents were here we ate huge tomato salads, and most nights we had beans too. Last night I dry-fried a pound of Rattlesnake (green bean) and Red Noodle (Asian Yardlong), and my mama loved them so much, she asked me how to make them. Usually, she's the one telling me how to make something.

Here's how I told my mother to make dry-fried beans.

Dry-Fried Green or Asian Long Beans
Take a big bunch, maybe about a pound, of green beans or Asian long beans or a combination of the two. Rinse them off and cut them in two inch lengths. Pour a glug of vegetable oil into a wok or heavy frying pan over high heat, dump in the beans, and fry them, stirring occasionally until they are blistered and have plenty of brown spots.

While the beans are browning (you might want to put a splatter screen over those buggers), mince a thumb of ginger, a clove or two of garlic (depending on how strong your garlic is), and a shallot. Once the beans are cooked through, dump them onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain the extra oil. If there isn't any oil left in the frying pan, add about a teaspoon of oil, and in it, fry the ginger, garlic, and shallot until fragrant. Add a teaspoon or so of chili paste, depending on how hot you want your beans to be, and stir for another 30 seconds over the high heat. Splash in a couple glugs, maybe about a scant quarter cup, of soy sauce, about a half teaspoon of sugar, and stir the sauce and sugar into the aromatics. Let the sauce cook down a bit to get a touch syrupy, then dump the beans back into the sauce. Stir the whole mixture together, and serve.


Lucy said...

Tomatoes amaze me - how do they survive?

Bookmarked for my beans, which are wee babes, right now.

Christina said...

Hi Lucy: Here, the stop setting fruit once it gets too hot, and occasionally a variety that grows better in different conditions gives up the ghost a little early, but for the most part, tomatoes keep on trucking. I'm so happy to have a good tomato year after last year's bust. I know you're going to love those beans of yours.

June said...

We are going to love beans this way. Slugs ate ours as they sprouted. Farmers' market here we come...