Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Unexpected Dinner (or What to do with Green Beans and Shitake)

I have no idea what to call this, but it sure was good.

As so many dinners do, this one began with triage, a look in the fridge to see what needed to be used most urgently.
What I found:
  • green beans
  • shitake mushrooms  
  • turkey bacon* (or smoked tempeh)
  • green onions
These were the necessities. The ingredients suggested a stir fry, as often happens when trying to connect a bunch of disparate ingredients.

Other players, things that happened to be on hand, included:
  • carrots
  • vegetable broth 
  • carrots 
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • an endless supply of peppers and jalapanos
Add some pantry items:
  • spaghetti noodles
  • safflower oil
  • Sherry
  • Vegetarian "oyster" sauce
  • sesame oil

... and what did I get?

 I pre-cooked the end of season green beans. They were of mixed sizes. So the fat ones were snapped into smaller sizes and thrown in first to cook longer. Depending on the beans you may cook them for just 3 minutes or they may need more time (6-8minutes). Test them until they are the way you like them.

Slice the carrots into narrow sticks and throw them in with the beans to cook for about a minute. Scoop all the beans and carrots out of their pot and set them aside.
Using the same large pot of  water, cook the noodles until al dente.

Finely chop the turkey bacon and saute in some safflower oil until it no longer looks raw. Add the sliced shitake mushrooms to the same pan and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced white or yellow onions and one chopped jalapeno continue cooking over medium heat. Add the chopped ginger and the minced garlic. As everything starts to stick to the pan, add a bit of vegetable broth and about a tablespoon of sherry to deglaze the pan.

Check your noodles. When they are cooked, drain them, throw them back into the pan in which they were cooked and drizzle them with a tablespoon (more or less) of Sesame oil. Toss the noodles around to coat them with oil. This adds delicious flavor and keeps them from getting stuck together. 

Time to finish the dish. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of oyster sauce. If the dish seems to need more liquid, add another dash of veg broth. Add the cooked beans and carrots and the sliced green onions and toss everything around to heat up and get coated with sauce.

Serve over the noodles.

Notes: * Turkey bacon is more like ham or Canadian Bacon than like regular pork bacon. So if you need a substitute, use ham, not actual bacon. For vegetarians and vegans, try using smoked tempeh and taste for salt, you may need to add a bit.
Because of the turkey bacon and oyster sauce, this is a slightly salty dish, much more so than my usual cooking, but I actually liked it quite a bit.
For those of you who may be wondering, yes, there is a Hobbit reference in the title

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