Category Archives: green beans

Tofu Eggplant Stir Fry

tofu stir fry

Another weeknight, another stir fry. Sam Sifton of NYTimes Cooking recently re-pointed out his list of Asian essentials to make weeknight meals more easily delicious, and I am in utter agreement. Buying sesame oil, miso, and rice vinegar is well worth the initial investment.

There are a few important components of a stir fry—although if you’re in a hurry and neglect one or the other, sometimes good quick food is better than the best food (not a philosophy I generally subscribe to, but no one likes being hangry, and the beauty of stir fries is that they can still be damn good)—how you chop the ingredients, the order you put everything in the pan, and the amount of seasoning.

1. Chop everything so it’s all the same size. I tend to like long rectangular pieces.
2. Cook on high or medium high (and keep watching and stirring!), but make sure to put in the harder vegetables, and tofu, in the pan first. That way they can cook a bit before the flash-cooked ingredients, like green beans.
3. Season well! Add a variety of sauces, taste as you go, keep adding, let it cook down a bit, taste more, try something else… have fun!

I’m sure this would be better in a wok, but I don’t have one so I shall continue to praise my lovely cast iron.

An update re: life on Mars (thanks, Modern Farmer): apparently we should be able to grow crops there! But they’ll be missing some key nutrients that we may have to import, and could be lethal if we don’t rinse the soil. Wash your dirt and save your poop, kids. 

In keeping with the end of eggplant season, this particular stir fry (and another similar one the next week) made the vegetable a star, with a few chunks of crispy tofu and other veggies thrown in too. Add whatever veggies you want. I’ve been enjoying sweet potatoes recently, and onions of course, and something green like broccoli or beans or kale.

Tofu eggplant stir fry
8 oz tofu (or whatever you'll eat)
1/2 large eggplant, or 1-2 smaller ones
Sweet potatoes, or carrots
1/2 onion, or more if you like onion
Hot peppers or red pepper flakes, if you feel like it
Green beans, or other green vegetables
Garlic
Ginger
Vegetable oil
Sauces! Sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, maybe miso
Scallions, parsley, cilantro if you want

Start by chopping all the ingredients, at least roughly the same size (carrots I cut in half lengthwise, then in slivers, so you get thin half-moons that will cook quickly). Peel the ginger and mince, along with the garlic (large pieces are fine). If you have time to marinate the tofu in soy sauce, do so.

Heat up oil in the pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add tofu and a little soy sauce and fry for a few minutes on each side until slightly golden, flipping around a few times. Add the eggplant and sweet potatoes or carrots and cook for a few minutes, stirring often (you stir and it fries). At this point, start putting in a few other sauces, tasting, and adjusting. If you use miso, dissolve it in soy sauce or something else first, or you’ll get little potent chunks. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and cook a little more, then the beans (I like my beans remaining nice and crisp). Taste and make final adjustments, then turn off the heat and add the scallions and any other last additions.

Serve over rice. Or become full picking right from the pan.

bean tofu stir fry

P.S. You can grow fruit on tiny tiny (bonsai) trees! Sounds like my dream.

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Maple Dill French Toast for dinner

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I love it when experiments work out. This is another come-home-need-something-fast kind of meal where I also felt like cooking something real (although unclear what exactly real means), especially since it was CSA-pickup day (always exciting).

I ate this for dinner but I can also imagine it performing spectacularly on a brunch menu. The onions lend just enough sweetness to tie in the green beans and maple syrup, and the dill finishes melding everything together. I don’t even really like dill. But I don’t think this would work without it, and I very much enjoyed this dish. So.

Maple Dill French Toast with green beans and onions
Green beans
1/2 an onion
Salt
2-3 pieces of bread (depending on thickness)
2 eggs
A splash of milk, or water
Butter
Fresh dill
Maple syrup (must be real!)

Toast bread if it is cold/frozen.  Beat together eggs and milk with a fork and place is a flat dish with sides (like a pie pan). Put the bread in (as long as it isn’t too hot) to soak up the egg, turning it over every now and again.

Meanwhile, chop up the onions: I like slicing them longways (along the longitude lines, if each onion was a planet) for this, because they hold together a little better (this is also what you want for grilling, if you have a grill). If you want them more caramelized, slice them the other way because they’ll break apart a little more. Pinch the ends of the beans and break/chop into a few pieces. Sauté them together on high, stirring often, for a few minutes until soft. Remove from pan and place on plate (if you have two pans you can do this and cook the French toast at the same time (what a concept!)).

Put some butter in the pan and make sure it is hot, then carefully place the soaked bread (they should have soaked up all, or at least almost all, of the egg by now) in the pan over medium-high heat (very thick toast should be cooked lower so the inside gets cooked before the outside gets burned). Cook until brown on one side, then flip over and brown on the other. When they are almost cooked, melt a little butter in the corner of the pan and added chopped dill, sautéing just enough to extract some flavors. Remove toast from pan, top with dill, veggies, and a little maple syrup (go easy on the syrup—you want it to add flavor, not too much sugar). I think you could add some syrup to the pan with the dill/butter to make more of an official sauce, but I didn’t feel like getting my pan all sticky so I didn’t bother.

Enjoy!