I am no expert gardener, though I do tend to have good luck with herbs… most of the time. We have a lovely collection of parsley, basil, rosemary and chives growing in the garden this year. Along with some sad looking broccoli, green bean and tomato plants.
We live in the suburbs, meaning that we have a fairly large backyard, big enough to have a little garden area with plenty of room left over for the pups to run and play.
Since we live in the ‘burbs, I feel isolated from society
sometimes most of the time. It’s almost like we’re in limbo, somewhere in between city and rural living. We decided to move out here for the space. And now that we’re expecting our first child in October, I will hopefully appreciate the suburbs more.
Thank goodness for great neighbors. If it wasn’t for them, I would’ve demanded that we move back into the city already.
On the left, we have fellow foodie neighbors who I can talk to about all things recipes and cocktails. They also have two pups that our furry kids love playing having play dates with.
On the right, a lady whose son’s dog visits every so often. My little boy dog loves running along the fence playing chase with his neighbor buddy.
Towards the back, a sweet elderly neighbor who has the most amazing vegetable garden. She always ends up with more produce than she can eat on her own and due to my failure of a garden, her vegetables frequently end up on our dinner table.
The other evening, she gifted us with a huge bag of green beans from her garden.
My favorite way to preparing green beans has always been in a stir-fry. Here are two ways to prepare this summer vegetable into a simple stir-fry.
The first one is a BBQ Tofu green bean, roasted corn salad:
The second is healthy Chinese buffet style green bean stir-fry, that I love to serve with this tomato-cucumber fried rice.
BBQ Tofu Green Bean Salad (2 Servings)
1 block of extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce (or honey barbecue sauce)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 ears of corn, husk still on
3 cups green beans
1 tablespoon Land O’ Lakes olive oil and sea salt butter
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, diced
1. Drain the tofu from the liquid that it is packaged in.
2. Slice the tofu into small pieces, either cubes or triangles
3. Mix the barbecue sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, red pepper flakes and garlic in a mixing bowl.
4. Marinate the tofu in the barbecue mixture, for at least 30-40 minutes.
5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Roast the corn in the oven for 30 minutes. Then remove and set aside to cool.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
6. Arrange the tofu pieces on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for about 18 to 20 minutes.
7. While the tofu is baking, heat about 1/2 cup water in a medium skillet to boiling and cook the green beans for about 4-5 minutes till the bean turn a bright green. Remove from the heat and drain the water.
8. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion to the skillet. Saute until the onion turns slightly transparent, about 2-3 minutes.
9. Add the green beans to the large skillet and saute for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to low.
10. Remove the husks from the corn, then using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels of corn off of the cob.
11. Add the corn and the parsley to the skillet and mix to combine. Then spoon the vegetables into a serving bowl.
12. Turn the tofu pieces over and bake for another 6-7 minutes, or until the tofu slices are a nice golden, brown color. It may take longer (or shorter) depending on the oven, so keep an eye on the tofu.
13. When the tofu is golden, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
14. Spoon the tofu over the vegetables in the bowl. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Chinese Buffet Style Green Beans – a healthy version (2 Servings)
4 cups green beans
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1. In a wok, boil 1 cup water. Then add the green beans and cook for 4-5 minutes until the green beans have turned a bright green.
2. Drain the water, and set the beans aside.
3. Heat the canola oil in the wok over high heat. Then add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
4. Add the green beans to the wok and saute for 2 minutes.
5. Turn the heat down to medium high, and add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Mix and saute for 3 minutes.
6. Drizzle the sesame oil into the wok, and saute for another minute.
7. Serve and enjoy!