Things have been a bit quiet around here, at least you haven’t been hearing much from me. I apologize for being behind on visiting with all of you and in responding to your comments here. I assure you there’s plenty going on behind the scenes and I expect to return to a more frequent posting schedule when all the work is done. What is going on?
Aside from normal life busy-ness, I’m excited to say that next week will mark my first blog anniversary—on St. Patrick’s Day to be exact. And while I don’t have plans for a big party (oh, I might have a giveaway for you), I’ve been working on moving to my own domain. For normal people, this would be easy. Alas, for a tech-dummy like me, it’s been quite a task. I’m embarrassed to admit that the “new” site has been on maintenance mode for almost as long as I’ve been blogging. It just kept getting placed lower on my priorities list (until very recently).
The good news is that I have been working hard the last couple of weeks and that I’m getting great help. I’m finding, however, that some of the changes I want are requiring manual implementation. Hard when you have over 100 posts. That said, I’m not planning major changes, the layout remains essentially the same but I’m trying to make the site a bit cleaner and more navigation-friendly. As a couple of friends mentioned on Twitter, our site work is never “finished”, so very true.
In the meantime, I’ll share with you what has quickly risen to the top of my weeknight dish list. I was craving Chinese food this week but since we’ve been traveling and dining out more than usual lately, I wanted to prepare it myself at home. I was having a particularly strong craving for stir-fried green beans and decided to go with an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.
This version may be non-traditional but the finished dish is spot on. The green beans were (virtually) dry-fried to get some charring on the skin and the minimal sauce coating the ground meat was spicy and fragrant. I might add that I used ground turkey instead of pork but there is absolutely no loss of flavor, just unwanted fat. Served with freshly cooked steamed rice, this was comforting and satisfying. I had not planned on sharing this with you at all but I’m glad for the impromptu photo session after preparing this for the first time. 1.) I’ve prepared this dish twice this week so that makes it worthy of sharing and 2.) I left my cooking notes at the office for the pasta dish I did plan to share with you so that will have to wait. I think you will enjoy this, though.
Sichuan Green Beans
from America’s Test Kitchen
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (I used Xaoxing rice wine)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 pound ground pork (I used about 1/3 pound of ground turkey)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 scallions, sliced thinly (I omitted since I didn’t have any)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- I served with sambal oelek (optional, pictured above)
Stir together all the ingredients from the soy sauce to dry mustard. Set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat until just smoking. Add the green beans and stir-fry for a few minutes until you they are crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes. Stir frequently until you get some charring on some of the beans. Remove from pan and set aside.
Reduce your heat to medium-high and add ground meat to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes or until no pink remains in the meat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about half a minute. Add beans then the sauce and stir until the latter has thickened, just a few seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the scallions (if using ) and sesame oil. Serve or hot rice.