Stir-Fried Green Beans with Red Pepper

I made this recipe using the All-Clad non-stick frying pan that Michael bought me for Christmas for the first time. It worked great. I use haricots vert here because they’re slimmer and less watery than regular green beans, and so easier to get to the texture I want in this dish. Yes, they cost more, but they usually come pre-lined up in a little plastic box, making washing them and lining them up to trim a snap.

2 lbs. haricots vert, trimmed
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 T. ginger, minced
1 T. garlic, minced
1/2 t. hot pepper flakes

canola oil for the pan
sesame oil for the pan

1/2 c. Heaven and Earth Chili-Black Bean Sauce (found this at Whole Foods)
1/2 c. water
1 T. mirin
1/4 c. tamari

1 t. cornstarch
1 t. water

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add a little bit of oil. When the oil is hot, place about one-third of the beans in the pan. Stir-fry 5 to 10 minutes, until bright green and spotted with brown. Set aside. Repeat until all the beans are done, then cook the red peppers in the same way until spotted with brown. Remove the peppers and add to the green beans. Add a little bit of sesame oil to the empty pan and heat it until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic, ginger, and hot pepper flakes, and stir. Do not let the garlic brown. After a few seconds, add the ginger-black bean sauce and the other sauce liquids. Mix the cornstarch and water together, and when the sauce begins to bubble, add the cornstarch-water slurry and stir until the sauce is thickened. Add the green beans back to the pan and toss them with the sauce. Remove from the heat and serve over rice.

Roasted Teriyaki Tofu Steaks with Glazed Green Vegetables

Another one from New Vegetarian by Celia Brooks Brown. This would be a good dinner party dish for a group that included both veggies and non-veggies. I tried this recipe because I liked the picture. Like her potato salad recipe, I looked at the ingredients on this and thought to myself, “Fennel and leeks? With teriyaki?” but I was right to go along with her idea here. It’s all quite harmonious. I’ve made some minor changes to the preparation method & ingredients, though (not enough cornstarch in the original). I marinated the tofu all day, something Brown doesn’t suggest, but I had a chance to start the preparation in the morning. It wouldn’t hurt the recipe terribly not to. She suggests to serve this over egg noodles, but being anti-egg as I am, I served it over whole-wheat noodles. Udon, whole-wheat spaghetti, and rice would all work fine.

Tofu:
1 lb. firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 4 pieces

Marinade:
1/2 c. dark soy sauce (I used tamari)
1/2 c. mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1/2 c. sake
1 T. sugar
4 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms, cleaned

To make the marinade, put the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar in a large skillet and heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the tofu and mushrooms, if using. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, turning the tofu over halfway through cooking. Leave to marinate here or transfer the tofu steaks to a lightly oiled baking dish or roasting pan. Spoon a little of the marinade on top and roast in a preheated oven at 425 for 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Remove the mushrooms from the remaining sauce, squeeze dry, and slice finely. Reserve the sauce.

Vegetables:
2 T. oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 c. broccoli rabe or rapini florets, cut in 4 in. long pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts finely sliced
8 oz. baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
4 t. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 c. cold water

To serve:
2 scallions, finely sliced diagonally
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until golden brown

To make the glazed vegetables, heat a wok or large skillet until hot, then add the oil. Add the garlic, broccoli, leek, and sliced mushrooms, and stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan, add a little oil if necessary, and place the bok choy and fennel in the pan. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place with the broccoli mixture. Add the reserved sauce, heat, and then add the cornstarch mixture. Stir until thickened. Remove a few T. of the sauce and pour it over the tofu to glaze it. Place the vegetables back in the skillet and mix briefly into the remaining sauce. To serve, put a nest of noodles or rice on the plate, then pile on the vegetables and top with the tofu. Sprinkle with the scallions and toasted sesame seeds and serve. Serves 4.