Recipe: Spicy Szechuan Green Beans

I've been looking out the window every half hour since last night when I learned we were under a winter storm watch. Things have since been downgraded to a rain snow mix for this evening turning to rain in the wee hours, but the little kid in me can't help to keep hoping, wishing and checking for those delicate white flakes to grace us with their beauty. Two weeks ago when the peak of the busy season was upon us, we had a freeze. Instead of snow, we woke to little balls of frozen ice crystals. They were all over like someone had sprinkled a layer of styrofoam on the ground and covered everything else with twinkling crystals of light. It was magical and worth going out into the freezing morning air with my camera.

We are now in week two of the new year and I'm still catching up and tying loose ends from 2010. One of those on my to-do list is blog all the yummy vegan fare we've been eating. As of late, there has been a lot of Thai take-out and I won't be blogging about that except to say, Yay!, we found a local joint I'm proud to announce is my favorite. My knitting has been on hold for a while, but I still managed to aquire some new stash from Spincycle Yarns at Seattle's Urban Craft Uprising. So with an apology for an excess of blurry camera-phone photos, and a snowy nod to this happy New Year, here is the latest from my so-called crafty life.

I stood and stared, picked a color, changed my mind, picked another, changed my mind again. I'm not one for hasty decisions. Two gorgous hanks of handspun did go home with me to be whipped into treasures I'll use as photo props. And dang that camera-phone for failing me. This yarn was such a treat for the eyes to look at, believe me.

Anyone who was at the Urban craft uprising this year probably agrees with me that it was packed. It may not look it from the photo, but once you were in th crowd, you got to know the people around you very well.

Szechuan Green Beans and mixed greens with Goddess dressing. Seriously my favorite way of having green beans; salty, garlicy and spicey. Recipe below.

A vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Ginger mustard seed brussel sprouts, vanilla cranberry and pear compote (which makes killer martinis! More on those later.) complete with Bryanna Clark Grogan's vegan turkey, but with a twist. I was able to incorporate some okara into the "turkey" for a nicer texture and more protien. Recipe mod below.

I managed to pull of a whole meal that looked pretty while cleaning out the fridge. This is a quinoa with steamed asparagus, steamed Chioggia beets (color drained from camera phone and a little over cooking. my bad.), raw carrot-turnip salad lightly drizzled with Meyer lemon olive oil, and roasted cinnamon pepper sweet potato wedges.

Szechuan Green Beans
1 lb green beans
1 T garlic, chopped
1 T ginger, chopped
2 scallions white parts only
1/2 t chili paste
1 T dark soy sauce
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt, or to taste
Pepper to taste, optional
2 T vegetable or peanut oil

Wash and trim the tops and bottoms of beans, then cut diagonal into slices approximately 2 inches long.
Chop the garlic, ginger and white part of the scallions.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.
Add beans and stir fry until they start to shrivel or "pucker" and turn brown (5 - 7 minutes). Remove beans and drain in a colander or on paper towels.
Heat 1 T oil in the wok on high heat. Add garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the chili paste and stir-fry for a few more seconds until aromatic. Add the beans and the remaining ingredients. Mix together and serve.

Vegan Turkey

This recipe is one of Bryanna Clark Grogans, but for the life of me I cannot find a link to it. If you do find it, and would like to use up some of your left over okara, I simply substituted 1 cup okara for 1 cup of the tofu. I liked the texture a bit more this way than the original recipe.