Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Twice-fried Chinese green beans


 
 
What do you do when you have a great recipe and a pretty mediocre picture of it? Do you wait till the next time you cook it and then make sure it is for lunch and not dinner, thus ensuring good light, and that you have your camera handy?
 
Well, if you have thousands of followers, a cookbook out and a nomination for best photography you might not even have to think about it.
 
If you are me, however, you consider the pros and cons.

You are a perfectionist. Good or at least decent photographs are a must on the blogs you read because you love eye candy. If a newcomer happens on your blog, you don't want them to recoil at the site of what you cooked and never come back. 
 
Then you remember how you used this back before that awful cab ride and you observe a minute of silence and dry a tear or two.
 
Finally, you remind yourself that photography has never been one of your strongest points. That with winter around the corner you won't have that much daylight to photograph in anyway. And, most importantly, if you do wait to make that same meal again, you will be robbing your readers of a very tasty meal for months.
 
So here is the Chinese classic twice-fried green beans as posted by Mark Bittman. I had a ton of beans that needed using before they went from crisp to limp. I had some fresh sausage (80% beef, 20% pork) bought the day before on a farm (the man who sold it to me made me promise I would cook it - or smear it raw on crusty bread, as per his suggestion, which I did - before the end of the weekend because it contained no preservatives. I was set to go, I just tweaked the ingredients a little according to what I had readily available and to make it child-friendly.

 
 
 
Ingredients
Peanut oil or other neutral oil
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
5 ounces ground meat (beef, pork, turkey), sausage or tofu
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce 
 
Chop the garlic. Heat enough oil in a wok or deep pan to deep fry the green beans. I had a lot (over 2 pounds) so I fried mine in three batches. Fry about 8 minutes, until they start turning golden. Take out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Next, pat them with some more paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
Pour out most of the oil, keeping just enough to fry your meat in. break up and stir until cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes (and other ingredients such as chopped scallion and chile if using), then mix in the green beans again. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle in the sugar and the soy sauce. Mix well and serve with rice or as a side dish.
 


13 comments:

  1. I think it looks awesome: I'd eat it! (I've so pathetically given up even trying to take decent-looking photographs of food in this cave of an apartment we live in. So heartbreaking to scroll through all these zillions of high-style blogs and see how much care and time they can invest in it. Sigh...)

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    1. The tofu version is for you! I know what you mean...

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  2. Ah, the food blogger's dilemma! I know exactly how you feel - sometimes I have complete inner turmoil about whether I should post something because it's delicious, or whether I should leave it because my photos aren't up to scratch. Sad but true :-)
    With the long dark evenings ahead of us I think it's important to capture what you eat at the time, and I'm glad you shared this recipe with us - it looks lovely.

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    1. Telling me... I have tons of "maybe" posts that usually don't make it onto the blog.

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  3. I find myself asking the same question. Looks and sounds great!

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    1. Hi Ami, good to know we are not alone in our dilemmas!

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  4. I still thinks that it looks really tasty! And sometimes, it's really hard to photograph something and it's made all the more frustrating when you know that it is really tasty! :)

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    1. Yes, especially when most of what you are cooking is for dinner, in bad light, with famished kids waiting at the table. :o)

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  5. I am definitely going to try these beans. They're a dumpling house favourite of ours when we go out.

    As for the picture, I have that happen sometimes with the last shot of the final product being SLIGHTLY out of focus, because my camera's autofocus tracked the edge of the plate instead, and there's nothing to do but roll with it.

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    1. You must, they are so easy to make! Let me know.

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  6. I use all the pictures I have... with 2 small kids I barely have the time to take ANY picture! Yes, sometimes they are not as good as I'd have liked... but, I tend to care more about the taste than the image. I see so many posts around with amazing pictures of poor/tasteless recipes... (oops... I didn't say that, ok???).

    I think your recipe is amazing and my kids will like it too!!! :-)

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  7. This looks delicious!

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