Behind The Meal: Garlic Green Bean Cashew Stir Fry
I often get asked where I get my ideas for our meals, and my son Henry will tell you that I am CONSTANTLY thinking about food. I pester him with recipe ideas, scribble flavor profiles in notebooks, read cookbooks just for fun. Exploration of food is a long tradition in my family and it continues to this day. Occasionally my father and I will make a meal together then sit at the table eating and dissecting the result, discussing what we might do differently next time.
For us this is a big part of the enjoyment of the meal, and by no means indicates dissatisfaction with what we’ve prepared, just a fascination with the possibilities ahead of us.
The exploration goes back decades; I started receiving cookbooks as gifts when I was old enough to read them and took my first cooking class when I was just 17, a Chinese cooking class at a community college.
I don’t remember why I chose it, but to this day I remember the techniques learned in the class, and the experience of creating food that was not at all familiar to me. I still thrill at the thought of tasting something unknown, a new experience in my mouth, but at times what I crave is the ultra-familiar, the tastes I’ve grown up with. With this in mind, a few years ago I asked friends what meals they would love to have on the trail but couldn’t find. I got a wide variety of responses, and one friend came back with STIR FRYS!
This was intriguing, and of all the ideas I was given this one resonated. Thinking back to that first cooking class, I wondered how I could recreate that combination of fresh crisp vegetables, savory sauce, and toothsome noodles of a stir fry. I think green beans are particularly wonderful as just-done, bright and crisp vegetables, and paired with sweet carrots and onions, you get both a bright eyeful of color and a great texture in the mouth.
We cook in small batches in the kitchen at Food for the Sole, so this means we have a couple of woks going at the same time, carefully timing the addition of ginger and garlic to hot oil in the wok, tossing until just fragrant before adding the onions, green beans and carrots.
Stir frying is a very quick method of cooking, and careful attention must be paid so that you don’t overcook the vegetables. We create a savory sauce to coat the veggies, and toss the end result with lovely yakisoba noodles and some cashews for that sweet-salty crunch. The end result is both comforting and satisfying. If you take Henry’s advice you’ll add just a bit more water than is necessary to rehydrate the meal, so that you can slurp up that broth at the end, warming your tummy on a chilly day.
Want to learn more about the meals we make? We recommend looking at the next blog in our BTM series: