Friday, June 29, 2012

Spicy Schezuan Green Beans

Sometime in the last few months as Mel became an electrician's widow (her husband travelling out of the area for the first 6 months of the year for weeks at a time), her and I started getting together about once a week for dinner and a weekly B&M session. 
 No, it's not like S&M - it's b!%@# & moan.

When she told me she was making salmon handrolls for dinner
 (uhh yeah!! - I had been craving them all day), I told her I was committed to cleaning up the house and why didn't she stop by and make them at my place so we could "talk about the blog"
 while I finished stuff up around the house. 
 Easy enough..."can Dave tag along?" she text back.  
Oh yeah, the Hubs is back.  Sure.  The more the merrier. 

As I did a quick clean up in the kitchen so Mel could work her magic when she got to my place, I had some little reminder in the back of my mind that I should make something and I had pinned a recipe for spicy, shcezuan green beans a few months back that I had yet to try out.  
Score one for the pantry, I just happened to have everything I needed. 

As I started cutting, steaming, mixing, and sauteing, Mel's Hubs came into the kitchen declaring "Man those smell good, it smells like PF Changs in here!"  


Literally, this dish took about 15 minutes from prep to finish and not only did it smell like PF Changs, it tasted like it too. 
little sweet, little salty, little bit of a kick of spicy at the end
these beans mean business!!

1. wash and trim green beans
2. place in a pot, cover, and steam with approximately 1/4 of a cup of water for 3-5 minutes
3. Prepare the sauce:

{now I must interject that I am a cook-by-taste and an "eyeballer", it's just how Mama taught me.  Cooking was never complicated in our house growing up, it was good ingredients, taste as you go, and keep it simple.  Mama is a great cook, her methods stand both the taste test and the test of time}

Nonetheless the sauce as I eyeballed it:
2 T fresh ginger
2 T fresh garlic
2 T cooking oil (I used olive)
2 T* chili flakes  (I used chili paste)
*if you're not a fan of the heat, try with a t first and measure up from there, these dish packed a punch by the time it was all said and done, but I'm a fan of the heat, so I don't have to get out of the kitchen!)
2 t sugar
2 T soy sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar
place all the ingredients in a bowl and give it a stir while the green beans steam
4. After steaming the green beans (it steamed my camera lens too), I threw in some sliced mushrooms that were hanging out in the fridge and cranked the heat up to high and threw in the sauce and let it all come to a nice bubble for about 6 minutes until everything was well cooked through and the sauce thickened.!
Of course, in my kitchen we do spills, we do clumsy, and we do clean up.
Spicy green beans were no was like a crime scene and before I could get to it, the dog came over and took a lick.  It was like the peanut butter reaction, poor thing just kept licking and licking and licking.
A spicy lesson for the pooch but she lives to bark another day.

I let the beans and mushrooms cook down until they were just cooked through enough that everything was well combined but still had a good bite to it.   Spicy?  Yes, but both Mel's Hubs and I could handle it...yeah, there might have been a little sweatin' and a little nose blowin' but what's life if not a little spicy!?'!
Mel's handrolls (recipe here), my green beans, and my absolute new Summertime love, Raspberry Shock Top  with muddled fresh raspberries made for an incredible, impromptu dinner on the back porch.

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