Aren’t these beautiful beans?! Dark purple. Deep green. Mottled green and purple. They’re fresh lima beans and purple pole beans from the farmers market. The girls helped me shuck them; and they really were a big help. Even the two-year-old was able to sweep her fingers down the pod to slide out the beans. The tricks were to give them each their own container; also, I cracked open the pods for my younger daughter. Her big sister snapped and shucked like a champ.
We tossed them into this infinitely versatile recipe from the infinitely versitile Meal Makeover Moms cookbook. (Their new cookbook is due out any day and I'll be ordering a case of books for my friends!) The original recipe calls for broccoli and corn. But I always swap in the veggies I have. My cupboards were also bare of hoisan sauce; I substituted chili sauce, lime juice and fish sauce. So here’s my version of a kid-friendly dish with real Asian flavor:
Mixed-Up Tofu (adapted from The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers)
6 oz angel hair pasta
One 14-oz pkg extra-firm tofu, drained, and cubed on a paper towel covered cutting board (or a couple hot dogs, sliced, if your fresh tofu is fermented when opened!)
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup shucked purple pole beans
1/2 cup shucked fresh lima beans
1 puple pepper, sliced in thin strips
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh, peeled ginger, chopped
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Whisk together the soy sauce, chili sauce, juice, fish sauce and corn starch. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet high heat. Add tofu (or hot dogs,) vegetables, garlic, ginger and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add 2/3 cup water, cover and steam until veggies are tender. Stir occasionally.
4. Give the soy sauce mixture a stir and add to skillet, cook until liquid thickens about 2 minutes.
5. Serve in individual bowls over pasta, top with nuts.
While growing up on a ranch in Montana, I learned to appreciate food by watching my parents take it from the field to the plate. I helped my mother garden, preserve vegetables and milk the cow. Loving food led me to a career as a registered dietitian. And now as a mom, I enjoy teaching my children to cook and appreciate how food gets to their plate – here in a Chicago suburb. At the end of the day, it sometimes seems that all I've accomplished is to get dinner on the table. But if my kids helped, a lesson was learned and we most certainly had fun.