string beans

Stir-fried String Beans with Meat (Ants on a Tree)

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There's an old, ongoing joke about Jews and Chinese food. You know, the Jewish year is 5777 and the Chinese year is 4714; we love Chinese food so how did we get along without it for over a thousand years?

All kidding aside, there is a real connection among the Jews and Chinese going back -- in the United States at least -- to May 1903. 

In April of that year there was a terrible pogrom in Kishinev (now in Moldava) during Russian Easter. Several days of anti-semitic violence took its toll on the Jewish community: 49 dead, 500 injured and about 2,000 homeless. News of the violence reached the United States, where Jewish philanthropists raised money to help the victims.

But a Chinese businessman on New York's Lower East Side felt the outrage too.

His name was John Singleton, who understood the cruelty and sometimes barbarism inflicted upon minority groups. He and three fellow merchants Guy Main (Yee Kai Man), Dek Foon and Jue Chue arranged for a benefit performance at the Chinese Theater on Doyers Street on May 11, 1903.

The program consisted of a short play (performed in Chinese) -- all the Chinese actors donated their time. Then speakers. Guy Main and Rabbi Joseph Zeff (who spoke in Yiddish) talked about the common bond between the two people, noting the atrocities committed by Russians against both. Another speaker expressed Jewish gratitude to the Chinese and wished the United States to welcome them as Americans, a somewhat veiled protest against the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Finally? Dinner at Mon Lay Won, considered the "Chinese Delmonico's." A very special place. The famous Yiddish actress Bertha Kalisch attended, as well as many other prominent Jews. There is no record of the menu, but it was definitely NOT kosher. The restaurant, which usually served featured pork and shrimp, apparently tried to be sensitive to the Jewish dietary laws and didn't serve those items, but we know that among the dishes served were chicken, squab and reindeer.

The event raised about $280 for the Kishinev victims (that's about $7,300 in today's dollars).

Of course this is not the reason that Jews love Chinese food. But the gesture stands, the solidarity cannot be forgotten. And so, on this 114th anniversary of the event, I offer a tasty Chinese dish that's welcome for spring. If you can get Chinese long beans that's perfect, but I make the dish with common string beans. The authentic Chinese version calls for ground pork, but my recipe uses turkey. It's kosher.

Celebrate solidarity, unity, kinship, friendship, respect for all ethnic groups and minorities.

Stir Fried String Beans with Meat

  • 1/2 pound Chinese long beans, green string beans or haricots vertes
  • 3 scallions, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces ground turkey or veal
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 dried red chili peppers (or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

Wash and trim the beans. Shred the scallions by using a small sharp knife tip and cutting through from the root end through the greens. Cut away the root and set the scallions aside. Steam the beans for about 3 minutes or until barely tender. Drain under cold water and set aside. Preheat a wok or stirfry pan. Pour in the vegetable oil, let it get hot. Add the meat and stirfry for a minute or so, stirring constantly and breaking up the pieces, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the water, wine, soy sauce, sugar, peppers and sesame oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Add the scallions and ginger and mix them in. Add the beans and stirfry for a bout a minute, mixing the ingredients to distribute them evenly. 

Makes 4 servings

Roasted Green Beans with Aleppo Pepper

When my kids were young, they were like most other children I knew and refused to eat most vegetables. They did say okay to carrots and winter squash and they didn’t love, but reluctantly ate, green string beans. 
 They were required to eat 4 string beans when I served them with dinner. 
 I wouldn’t exactly call that child abuse and I don’t think it damaged their psyches. But they still talk about it, that I made them eat 4. 
 Actually, I think in the very depths of their beings they are happy I insisted on that because when they talk about the green bean requirement they have a smile on their faces. 
 I usually cooked the green beans straight. Steamed or poached. Nothing on top so they could dip it in oil or butter or ketchup or whatever. 
 I think they ate them straight though. 
 We still are a green bean family. Green beans are mild and easy to eat. If you’re gonna get a child to try a vegetable this might be a good one for starters. I think they “sell” a whole lot better than, say, broccoli. 
 Recently I roasted the beans. We all love roasted vegetables and I’d never tried it with green beans because I was so used to making them just plain. 
 I sprinkled some dried Aleppo pepper on top. If you don’t know about this spice, I can tell you it is one of the milder (but still slightly hot) peppers and the dried version is vaguely smoky. I guess you could substitute smoked paprika, though I’ve never actually tried that. Anyway, this recipe is a keeper: 

 Roasted Green Beans with Aleppo Pepper 

 1 pound green string beans 
 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped 
 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 
 1/4 teaspoon dried Aleppo pepper 
 salt to taste 

 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the beans and remove the ends. Dry the beans and place them on the parchment paper. Pour the olive oil over the beans and toss to coat them. Sprinkle the beans with the garlic, thyme, Aleppo pepper and salt to taste. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until tender but still crispy. 
 Makes 4 servings

When my kids were young, they were like most other children I knew and refused to eat most vegetables. They did say okay to carrots and winter squash and they didn’t love, but reluctantly ate, green string beans.

They were required to eat 4 string beans when I served them with dinner.

I wouldn’t exactly call that child abuse and I don’t think it damaged their psyches. But they still talk about it, that I made them eat 4.

Actually, I think in the very depths of their beings they are happy I insisted on that because when they talk about the green bean requirement they have a smile on their faces.

I usually cooked the green beans straight. Steamed or poached. Nothing on top so they could dip it in oil or butter or ketchup or whatever.

I think they ate them straight though.

We still are a green bean family. Green beans are mild and easy to eat. If you’re gonna get a child to try a vegetable this might be a good one for starters. I think they “sell” a whole lot better than, say, broccoli.

Recently I roasted the beans. We all love roasted vegetables and I’d never tried it with green beans because I was so used to making them just plain.

I sprinkled some dried Aleppo pepper on top. If you don’t know about this spice, I can tell you it is one of the milder (but still slightly hot) peppers and the dried version is vaguely smoky. I guess you could substitute smoked paprika, though I’ve never actually tried that. Anyway, this recipe is a keeper:

Roasted Green Beans with Aleppo Pepper

1 pound green string beans

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried Aleppo pepper

salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the beans and remove the ends. Dry the beans and place them on the parchment paper. Pour the olive oil over the beans and toss to coat them. Sprinkle the beans with the garlic, thyme, Aleppo pepper and salt to taste. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until tender but still crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Braised String Beans with Tomatoes

When my husband Ed asks for seconds on a vegetable side dish I know I’ve got a good recipe.  The other evening I cooked this string bean and tomato dish. We are so used to eating crispy, tender-but-still-firm vegetables that this dish, with its softer side, was a surprise wonder. Not that the vegetables are soft and mushy like people used to make them (I have a cookbook from the 1930s that instructed the reader to cook string beans for 45 minutes!). But they are not crunchy either.  I served this with chicken, but it could be a good part of a vegetarian meal or a meatless Monday meal. It would go well with mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower or cooked egg noodles, polenta, mushroom ragout and such. It would also be a good accompaniment to scrambled eggs.      String Beans with Tomatoes      1 pound green string beans  1/4 cup olive oil  1 medium onion, chopped  2 cloves garlic, chopped  2 medium tomatoes, or 4 plum tomatoes, chopped  1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley  salt to taste  1/2 teaspoon sugar  1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper  2 tablespoons lemon juice     Rinse the string beans, cut the ends off and cut the beans into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and green beans and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the beans are almost tender. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt and sugar and stir the ingredients to mix them evenly. Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Makes 4 servings

When my husband Ed asks for seconds on a vegetable side dish I know I’ve got a good recipe.

The other evening I cooked this string bean and tomato dish. We are so used to eating crispy, tender-but-still-firm vegetables that this dish, with its softer side, was a surprise wonder. Not that the vegetables are soft and mushy like people used to make them (I have a cookbook from the 1930s that instructed the reader to cook string beans for 45 minutes!). But they are not crunchy either.

I served this with chicken, but it could be a good part of a vegetarian meal or a meatless Monday meal. It would go well with mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower or cooked egg noodles, polenta, mushroom ragout and such. It would also be a good accompaniment to scrambled eggs.

 

String Beans with Tomatoes

 

1 pound green string beans

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, or 4 plum tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

Rinse the string beans, cut the ends off and cut the beans into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and green beans and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the beans are almost tender. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt and sugar and stir the ingredients to mix them evenly. Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Makes 4 servings