This weekend went by way too fast and I’m still in denial that it’s Monday. Friday night was spent in New Rochelle, visiting Kramer’s family, which was nice because we hadn’t seen his grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousin in a while. We had Italian and chatted for a few hours, ate way too many desserts, then Kramer and I made the trek back down into Brooklyn. Two Grand Central trips in one day. I felt like such a commuter. On Saturday, I did a lot of baking while Kramer worked on homework for what must have been eight hours straight, then we headed out to our friend’s birthday party, which is why I did all of the baking: apple and rhubarb strudel and peanut butter brownies. The recipes will be posted here soon enough, obviously. We stayed out a little too late and slept in until almost 10:30 on Sunday morning – an unheard of occurrence in our house – then got ourselves together for brunch in Long Island City, followed by a few margaritas and episodes of Lip Sync Battle before it was time to call it a night, catch up on Last Man on Earth and go to sleep. The hardest decisions I make on Sunday nights are to go to sleep and not force myself to stay awake to watch Mad Men, but that’s fine because then we have something to look forward to on Monday or Tuesday. My life revolves around TV. I’m fine with that.
Weekending: brownie batter, poached scrambled eggs (from the new Food52 cookbook) and making some strudel dough.
I’ve made these Szechuan green beans a few times now and always to rave reviews. I generally don’t care for green beans – I find them to be boring otherwise, but when paired with sesame oil, ginger, garlic and tongue-numbing Szechuan peppercorns, they’re hard to resist. This is my favorite method to use on green beans because it preserves the crunchy green bean texture that I love so much, while still blackening some other parts of varied texture alongside the punch of flavor from all of the spices and sauces. You don’t need to spend much time on these, either – the whole dish will come together in 25 minutes, making it perfect to pair with something like a simple steak or pork chops. I even brought these to a “friendsgiving” get together and a few people actually asked for the recipe, which delighted me because I was a little afraid people would find them too spicy. Not the case, apparently – I guess you just need to serve these to the right crowd. Szechuan peppercorns are an essential ingredient in this dish, though, so don’t just add extra chile oil. The peppercorns add a wonderfully numbing sensation that you won’t get with anything else – you’ll be simultaneously feeling your mouth burn just a bit while still wanting to go back for bite after bite. Trust me on this and don’t be scared.
What you’ll need to make the beans.
Cook your ginger and garlic in sesame oil, then add your chile mixture and cook until just slightly reduced.
Add in your green beans.
And cook until just beginning to blister.
Garnish with scallions and serve hot!
- 1 pound green beans, cleaned and trimmed
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili oil or paste
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorns (or more, depending on your heat tolerance)
- 6-7 dried chile peppers
- 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Clean and trim your green beans. Set them aside and heat a wok or large, heavy bottomed pan over medium - high heat. Add in your garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute or so, until fragrant.
- Whisk together your soy sauce, chili oil, rice wine vinegar, peppercorns and chiles and cook for 1 minute or so, until beginning to reduce just a bit. Add in your green beans and cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes, until the beans are beginning to blacken in parts and blister. Serve hot and garnish with sliced scallions.