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Posts tagged ‘green beans’

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

Nothing like a good stir-fry loaded with veggies!

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

I often extol the virtues of a stir-fry; and while my go-to for a long time has been a simple Tofu and Broccoli stir-fry, I’ve been trying to expand the list of ingredients I fry up in the skillet. Eggplants fit this bill perfectly, especially since eggplant in general is not a food I tend to eat. I’ve only recently begun buying eggplant on my own free will to prepare in dishes, and when I found some adorable miniature eggplant at the farmer’s market last week, I decided that a stir-fry was just the ticket.

Itsy bitsy teeny weeny purple stemmy eggplants!

To start, I cut up two miniature eggplants into coins. Do this first if you’ll be ready to add them to the skillet within five minutes; otherwise they’ll start turning brown from oxidation. This doesn’t hurt them, it just makes them look a little less appealing. Anyhoo, I then diced up the whites of two spring onions, setting aside the stems for later to add as a garnish; and two cloves of garlic. I heated up my go-to blend of olive and toasted sesame oils on medium, then sauteed the onions and garlic for about one minute before adding the eggplant.

After letting the eggplant cook a bit, I added Braggs liquid aminos, mirin, and rice vinegar to really give this somewhat neutral vegetable a punch of flavor. I then allowed the eggplant to cook for awhile before adding additional ingredients – eggplants are very moist, and need more time than sturdier veggies to heat through and really soak up the flavor! After a few minutes I added the green beans, stirring to get them coated. I wasn’t particularly concerned with getting the seasonings cooked into the green beans because I think they have a swell-enough flavor on their own; they just needed to heat through a bit. Up next, I added a couple large dashes of cayenne to spice it up, then topped off the stir-fry with my not-so-secret but all-too-important ingredient: nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast adds some amazing flavor as well as texture to a stir-fry, especially one with soft ingredients like eggplant. Give it a try!

While the veggies finished up and the soba noodles finished boiling (you can prepare your noodles while stir-frying everything up), I chopped my spring onion stems into small circles to add as a garnish. To make the meal, I spooned out some soba noodles, topped them with my sauteed vegetables, and garnished with the spring onion stems and sesame seeds. This meal is great for a relatively fast, hot lunch that satisfies; and it features seasonal ingredients front and center. Enjoy!

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles (Serves 1)

Prepared soba noodles, hot

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 spring onions, white parts chopped, green leafy stems set aside

2 miniature eggplants, cut into coins (or 1 cup eggplant chunks)

1 TB Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce

1 tsp mirin

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 cup green beans, chopped into matchstick pieces

Cayenne, to taste

2 TB nutritional yeast

Sesame seeds

If your soba noodles are not yet prepared, boil them while you cook your vegetables.

Heat oils on medium in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about a minute. Add the eggplant, stirring to coat with oil and mix with the onions and garlic. Add the Braggs, mirin, and rice vinegar. Cook for a few minutes, allowing the eggplant to brown. Add the green beans, mixing well. Add the cayenne and mix, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast and toss. Cook for up to a minute more. While the vegetables finish cooking, chop the spring onion stems into small pieces.

Spoon vegetables over soba noodles. Garnish with spring onion stems and sesame seeds. Serve hot.

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Green Bean and Apricot Salad with Mint

Fruits + veggies = awesome salad. I think Pythagoras came up with that.

Green Bean and Apricot Salad with Mint

I’ve loved green beans (sometimes called string beans) since I was a little kid, especially raw green beans. Some of my happiest memories involve munching on raw green beans while Mom wheeled me around the Stop and Shop in the grocery cart. Canned, salty green beans have their place, but nothing tops the crisp, sweet freshness of a raw green bean. My grandma, however, used to flip out when I ate raw green beans, because apparently someone started a rumor that raw green beans were terrible for you. My aunt informed me that the rumor when she was growing up was that raw green beans gave you worms, and a quick Google search led me to other rumors such as toxicity. Well, I’ve eaten tons of raw green beans in my lifetime and lived to tell the tale; so unless I’m some kind of mutant, I’m thinking this is just a rumor (maybe one started by the Jolly Green Giant company).

Because raw green beans are sweet, I figured they would go great in a salad with fruit, mint, and a sweet dressing. In further pondering, I decided to pair them with raw apricots. Raw apricots, unlike their dried counterparts, have a bit of a sweet/tart flavor, which complements sweet green beans very well.

To start, I chopped up some green beans into small matchstick pieces, as shown below. I also removed the tops and bottoms, which are generally  pointy, stringy, and/or stem-y (stem-y is an adjective now) – characteristics I don’t necessarily want in a salad.

I then sliced up two apricots. I used one standard orange apricot, and one red velvet apricot (sometimes called black apricots). The latter is a deep red and tastes kind of like a plum. If you see them at the store, give them a try! I sliced both into large coins and added them to the green beans, along with a carrot, slivered almonds, and spearmint. I happened to have spearmint lying around so that’s what I used; but I’m sure any mint will do. I then whisked together some olive oil and agave nectar to create a light dressing, poured it over the vegetables, and tossed. While allowing this mixture to sit, I tore up some kale and placed it on my plate. I then added the properly-dressed veggies and fruits, seasoned with pink peppercorns, and voila! A refreshing summer salad that’s made with several seasonal ingredients. Enjoy!

Green Bean and Apricot Salad with Mint (Serves 1)

1 cup chopped raw green beans

2 apricots, thinly sliced into coins

1 carrot, cut into coins

2 TB slivered almonds

1-2 TB minced fresh spearmint

1 TB olive oil

1 tsp agave nectar

2 cups torn kale

Pink pepper, to taste

Combine the green beans, apricots, carrot, almonds, and mint in a small bowl. Whisk together the oil and agave until well-blended, then drizzle over the fruits and vegetables, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Place the torn kale on a plate, then top with the green bean/apricot mixture. Top with fresh pink pepper and extra mint leaves, if desired.

Swiss Chard and Broccoli Quiche with Fried Green Tomatoes and Green Beans

Nope, we’re not reviewing a movie with Mary Louise Parker – we’re frying up some tomatoes!

Swiss Chard and Broccoli Quiche with Fried Green Tomatoes and Green Beans

This blog is no stranger to Southern-style dinners, and especially with the current heat wave reminding me of summers in NC, I’ve been inspired to do more Southern-style dishes as of late. Despite my time in NC, though, I’d never had fried green tomatoes until last year. I’m always a little wary of cooked tomatoes, because cooked red tomatoes don’t always agree with my stomach. But I finally tried a fried green tomato, and now I’m hooked. Fortunately my local farmer’s market just started selling green tomatoes again, meaning my habit can be prepared easily at home!

I found this recipe for vegan fried green tomatoes online. I may love fried green tomatoes, but I don’t want to make them with eggs! Fortunately I found a recipe which uses a flax egg as opposed to Ener-G egg replacer – nothing against Ener-G, it’s just that I have a bag of flax meal at home already, and I didn’t want to have to run to the store to make these. I began by slicing one green tomato from top to bottom in half-inch slices. This is very easy to do, as green tomatoes (simply a tomato that hasn’t ripened or turned red) are very firm and sturdy, and won’t spill everywhere like their red counterparts often do!

Yummy

I sprinkled each slice with some salt and pepper on each side, then prepared my dredging plates. I created an assembly line of bowls chronologically lined up, starting with almond milk and continuing to all-purpose flour, my flax egg, and corn meal, with the corn meal being closest to the oven/skillet. Before I started dredging, I heated some olive oil in a skillet so that it would be hot and ready by the time my first tomato slice was. Then, it was as simple as taking a tomato slice, dredging in milk-flour-flax-corn meal, then throwing it on the skillet!

I cooked each slice for about 2-3 minutes on each side, so that they got nice and crispy. I then transferred each slice to a plate with a paper towel, and sprinkled each slice with a bit more salt and pepper while they were still hot. I made my fried green tomatoes last, but they can safely sit for a bit while you fry up the whole tomato, as well as while you serve up the quiche and green beans; since they are of course very hot right off the skillet!

As good as fried green tomatoes are, they alone do not make a meal. I decided to serve them with a vegan quiche as the main course. I love quiche, and I have been cooking with this recipe for a spinach and broccoli quiche for a few years now. It’s a simple recipe and will impress vegans and non-vegans alike!

To start, I sauteed some spring onions, garlic, broccoli, and swiss chard in a skillet for a few minutes. I used swiss chard because I didn’t have any spinach on hand. I used a small crown of broccoli florets, as well as six medium swiss chard leaves, stems removed. This may seem too large an amount when you’re tearing the leaves and adding them to the skillet, but trust me, they reduce quickly and vastly!

The incredible shrinking swiss chard - yes, there are six giant leaves in there!

The rest of the quiche is really easy to make, especially if you’re using a pre-made pie crust. In a food processor I combined half a block of extra firm tofu, half a block of firm silken tofu, almond milk, yellow mustard, Indian black salt, nutmeg, and an even blend of paprika and cayenne for the ground red pepper in the recipe. For those wondering, Indian black salt is a specialty salt that adds an egg-y flavor to dishes thanks to a natural sulphurous flavor. You can usually find it in specialty spice shops (I got my bag from the Tea and Spice Exchange). However, regular salt will do just fine if you don’t have Indian black salt (or don’t want to spring for it). I then poured the mixture into a bowl and folded in the vegetable saute; then added the mixture to the pie crust. The recipe calls for vegan parmesan as an option; and instructs you to blend it with the tofu. I used nutritional yeast instead, and sprinkled it over-top the tofu mixture once it was in the crust. I then baked the quiche for 35 minutes on 400 F, leaving the quiche on warm as I fried the green tomatoes.

I wanted a simple side veggie to complement the heavy fried green tomatoes, so I simply simmered some green beans for about 10 minutes in water and salt. You can use canned or frozen if you like; but I chopped up some fresh beans and they were delicious, and a nice, quick addition to the meal. Once the cooked beans were on the plate, I seasoned them with cracked black pepper.

This meal is perfect for a warm summer night, and the quiche feeds a lot of folks; so unless you’re serving this at a dinner party, you’ll have a lot of leftovers! The quiche and the fried green tomatoes fill you up without making you feel bloated; and many of the ingredients can be purchased locally right now, as they are in season (I bought the green tomatoes, green beans, swiss chard, spring onions, garlic, and broccoli all at the farmer’s market). Enjoy!