Wednesday 29 August
Last Saturday Holt bought a big hank of green and purple longbeans at the Farmers' Market, and as we spitballed for ideas on how to cook them, Barbara came up with the (over-) ingenious idea of disguising them as spaghetti, to be served with Chinese-flavored meatballs.
But first, of course, Dora had to explore the longbeans thoroughly, to see if they offered any prospect of entertainment.
Once we'd rescued them, we seared and simmered the longbeans in our wok, much as we had when we'd made them before, just adding some slices of fresh green Thai chile that David Warda had slipped to us instead of our dried red chiles.
In the meantime, we'd been putting together a batch of pork meatballs: a pound of ground pork, mixed with a Tablespoon of soy sauce, two teaspoons of shao xing wine, a Tablespoon of sesame oil, one beaten egg, a clove of minced garlic and a 2 Tablespoons of chopped garlic chives. This got rolled with wet hands into sixteen little meatballs, and fried in deepish oil in a skillet.
When the longbeans were tender, we set them aside. We made sure there was still a generous amount of broth and seasoning in the wok, fished out the meatballs from the oil, and added them to the wok to poach until they were done through.
After that, it was all manipulation. Put the beans on top of the meatballs until they rewarmed, then arranged them like spaghetti in our Chinese platter. The meatballs went in a mound in the center of the beans, and then we whisked up a little cornstarch in water and used it to thicken the remaining liquid in the wok to make a sauce. For once, thickening the sauce made sense, and as you can see, the illusion of spaghetti and meatballs was pretty good.