This recipe is inspired by some “Asian” noodle salad from a local market’s prepared food section. I grab it when I swing by for their house-made frozen cod cakes. I did the online search for “Asian” noodle salad, mixed and matched a few things and came up with this.
It seemed to go over well and the leftovers were as good, if not a bit better, after a couple of days rest in the fridge.
This recipe was inspired by a search for some kind of grilled vegetable to go along with some oven-barbecued pork. I originally thought I’d make a summer squash sort of thing however my search results were underwhelming. When I expanded the search to just grilled vegetables I found one reference to grill green beans. I used the basic technique from that recipe, adding the sesame rather than their overly complicated onion/garlic/rosemary mash-up. I enjoyed the charred beans, which were a bit smoky ’cause grilling.
Grilled Green Beans with Sesame
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
Heat your gas grill to medium high for 10-15 minutes. Once the grill is started I trim the green beans.
Combine the prepped green beans, vegetable oil, a generous pinch of kosher salt and a dozen grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Toss the beans until well coated with oil.
Place the grill pan over 2 active burners on the grill. Transfer the oiled green beans onto the grill pan and spread the beans across the pan. Close the cover and ignore for 2-3 minutes.
Stir the green beans, spread across the pan once again and cook for another 3-4 minutes, cover up this time. While the green beans cook toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for a minute or so. You want the sesame seeds to be lightly browned. Once toasted transfer the sesame seeds to a small bowl to prevent burning in the hot pan.
Check a green bean; if it is not done to your liking then toss, spread and cook for another minute at a time until you are happy with the done-ness. When done remove the grill pan from the heat.
Transfer the grilled green beans to a bowl. Add the toasted sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. Toss, adjust salt and pepper if necessary and serve.
Green beans can be prepped up to 2 hours in advance. Cover with a barely-damp paper towel and stash in the fridge.
Healthy living (and my dietitian) suggest that the dinner plate should be half filled with non-starchy vegetables. I’ve never been great with this on the best of days and weeknight meals I often struggle to make a main and starch. So I’ve been poking through my brain to figure out vegetables we like that I can look with a minimum of fuss on a weeknight.
Weeknight Green Beans
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
1/2 lb. fresh green beans
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Trim the stem ends off of the green beans and cut into 2″ pieces. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash (call it a tablespoon) of water and cover with plastic wrap. Heat at full-power for 5 minutes. Drain water and set aside.
While the green beans cook combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add green beans and distribute into a single layer in the pan. Good for 2 minutes without disturbing to develop a bit of browning.
Toss and stir to redistribute the beans. Cook for 2 more minutes. Check a green bean. If done to your liking go on to the next step, otherwise toss, stir and repeat until your happy with the doneness.
Drizzle the mustard mixture over the green beans. Toss green beans so that the sauce coats as many of the beans as possible.
Taste a green bean, add salt and pepper as desired, and serve.
No reason this couldn’t be doubled except maybe your skillet size. If you can’t get a single layer of beans when doubling then bump the heat up to high and redistribute every minute.
Whenever we get a Chinese takeout order over $35 the restaurant adds a small order of white rice and a small order of over-steamed broccoli. The broccoli ends up in the compost pile however the rice usually ends up in the fridge for a couple of weeks before it is dumped in the trash as questionable.
We enjoyed Chinese takeout last Friday night so I knew the rice was “fresh”. So I crafted this recipe to make use of it along with some chicken breasts I had defrosted over the weekend.
Chicken and Peppers with left-over Chinese takeout rice
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, plus extra for drizzling at the end
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 chicken breast (about 1 lb.), cut into 3/4″ cubes
3 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
2 bell peppers, cut into 3/4″ squares
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 3/4″ squares
1 sm. container leftover Chinese takeout rice (or 2 cups day old plain white rice)
1 bunch scallions, whites finely chopped and greens cut on the bias into 3/4″ pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, fish sauce, sesame oil, coriander, a pinch of kosher salt and 10 grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Added diced chicken. Use hands to coat chicken with marinade ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a non-stick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Added onions and peppers to the skillet; toss to coat in oil and evenly distribute. Ignore for 2 minutes. Toss or stir to redistribute. Ignore for another 2 minutes. Toss or stir to redistribute. Ignore for another minute. Edges should be lightly colored and onions should be opaque. Transfer to a bowl and cover; set aside.
Add remaining oil to the skillet and return to the burner over high. When wisps of smoke start coming up from the oil add the marinaded chicken. Shake to evenly distribute and ignore for 5 minutes. Break up chicken pieces that may have clung to one another and toss to redistribute. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
While the chicken cooks microwave the rice for 1 minute just to take the chill off of it.
After 9-10 minutes of total cooking time check temp on a largish chicken piece. If it is less than 160° continue cooking, checking every 30 seconds until you hit the mark. Once over 160° add the cooked vegetables along with the leftover rice. Stir to incorporate and cook for another 2 minutes to allow the rice to heat through.
Taste and adjust salt, pepper and toasted sesame oil as desired. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve.
Don’t want to get your hands extra dirty by mixing the chicken with the marinade? Toss the chicken in a zip-top bag, wash your hands, add the marinade ingredients, seal the bag and squish the chicken around until everything is well and rightly coated.
You can totally use all peanut oil in the recipe, no need to have both vegetable oil and peanut oil out. Both are handy when I cook and I was making it up as I go. I do prefer peanut oil for high heat frying.
It takes longer to cook a pot of white rice than it does to make this dish. So start your rice and then take your time prepping your ingredients. Once the rice is cooked throw a clean towel between the pot and cover to absorb steam. Then spend 3-5 minutes cooking the shrimp.
Shrimp Stir-Fry II
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 13 minutes
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
kosher salt & black pepper
Combine the sherry and soy sauce in a bowl; add shrimp and toss until coated with the liquid. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate. Combine the chives, garlic, ginger and 1 tsp. peanut oil in a bowl; set aside. Mix water, sesame oil, Worcestershire, sugar and cornstarch together; set aside.
Put the remaining 1 Tbsp. peanut oil in a non-skillet and heat over high heat, 3-4 minutes. Add the shrimp in a single layer and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, tossing frequently, for about 1 minute. Move the shrimp to the edge of the pan.
Add the chive mixture and press into a flat disk; cook until fragrant then toss/stir into shrimp.
Quickly remix the cornstarch mixture and add to the skillet. Mix in with the shrimp and cook until it thickens, 30-40 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and serve over rice. Add freshly ground black pepper and/or Sriracha sauce to taste.
I try to buy already deveined shrimp because deveining shrimp is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks. Just remember that you are removing the vein on the outside curve of the shrimp, not the one that is on the inside curve. The outside one is the intestine, the inside one is just a regular blood vessel. For a nice visual on how to devein shrimp visit SimpleRecipes.com