Some foods look beautiful in their raw form, but when you cook them they lose their aesthetic appeal.
In fact, I have several stir-fries and other saucy dishes queued up to post, but the visuals of the finished dishes leave something to be desired. And in an age when beauty passes for substance, you've got to wonder if people will turn up their noses when something doesn't pass visual muster.
Let's hope not.
Some delicious dishes are toe jam ugly. You want to push the plate away, but you know the first forkful will throw you into fits of ecstasy so you soldier on. I raise my glass to you! I'd take a lumpy apple cobbler over a plateful of spun-sugar roses any day of the week.
So here are some string beans in a drippy brown sauce. They're quick, they're easy, they're delicious.
And they're relatively ugly.
Recipe for Sweet and Sour String Beans
Tangy and finger-licking good, you can stir-fry some chicken or tofu with the beans to make this a well-rounded lunch. I personally prefer it as a simple side.
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons peanut, garlic, or canola oil
12 ounces green beans, wax beans, or a combination, trimmed and cut in half
Whisk together ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch and water and set aside.
Heat oil in a large well-seasoned or nonstick wok over high heat. Add beans. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce mixture and cook about one minute longer, or until vegetables are crisp tender, very hot, and browned in spots.