Tuesday, October 14, 2008

expanding tastes

It's late, and I should be asleep or at least lying in bed wakefully, but for now I'm going to write about: green beans. I grew up eating and enjoying canned green beans, and I'm ashamed to admit that I've never really recovered enough to start enjoying fresh green beans. (This goes for peas as well.) They're just so... crisp. I don't know. But it's something that irritates me about myself, and I've been thinking about it perhaps more than is slightly necessary lately.
Whenever I think of foods I don't care for, I remember a conversation I overheard/perhaps slightly participated in or commented on in Tucson. In essence: my friend said that she was trying to find at least one way to cook things that she disliked in a way that she actually liked and could eat. This concept has been simmering in my brain ever since: is there any sort of preparation that could convince me to like, say, bell peppers? I doubt it, but perhaps some of the more marginal foods, things I merely dislike instead of hating, could be more palatable if prepared differently. (And actually, come to think of it, I ate some squash with peppers in it at the candida dinner and I didn't self-destruct, so there you go.) So I've decided to occasionally put this into practice, and the first test food is green beans.
So tonight, I made a recipe I got from my friend Jesse's blog a while ago, and actually, it was pretty damn good. Definitely the most enjoyment I've gotten from fresh green beans before, so I think I'm on my way. Here's the recipe:

Chinese Style Green Beans

1 lb fresh green beans
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb water
1 Tb rice wine
1 Tb sugar
1 ts starch (I used corn starch)
garlic chili paste

Wash the beans and chop off the ends.In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, water, rice wine, sugar, starch and garlic chili paste.
Heat a wok and add the oil.When the oil is very hot, add the beans and cook, stirring frequently until the beans are wrinkled slightly, 5-10 minutes.Scoop out the beans and drain off the oil. Drain the beans on a paper towel.
Return the beans and the sauce mixture to the dry pan and cook until thickened

Delicious! I loved the sauce, and the green beans were a better texture for me than they are when boiled. Definitely a winning recipe for me.
Incidentally, I'm thinking of putting together another cookbook zine... I'm already thinking of titles :)

1 comment:

Madeleine said...

I've found that my taste in food has expanded a lot in the past couple of years for a pretty obvious reason - I was eating and cooking at a veggie co-op. We ordered veggies in bulk but we were kind of at a low capacity (in terms of membership) for doing that so we didn't usually have much variety about what to cook for fresh veggies. If we ordered eggplant, I'd eat an eggplant dish every night. Same for all the other veggies I wasn't so keen on - cauliflower, kale, cabbage, squash, chard... And then there were all the other veggie sort of things I never ate much and never liked much, such as lentils and various sorts of beans (especially chick peas - yuck!), tofu, tempeh. But that's what was for dinner so that's what I ate. And once I started eating these things, I started liking them a lot better. Now I love chick peas! Cauliflower is pretty damn tasty, too. (I still hate tempeh. And I don't like rutabagas.) But then again, some acquired tastes aren't worth having. I'm glad you're enjoying green beans, though!