I got both side dish recipes from the Moosewood cookbook Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Kantzen. I love this cookbook, but find that there isn't much protein in many of the dishes, perhaps because they are meant as sides. I found a recipe for the beans with a protein component called Green Beans with Crunchy Peanut-Lemon Coating, which I found posted online here.
The recipe was fairly easy to make, although I did have to bring out the blender to chop up the peanuts. I wondered how it would have tasted if peanut butter had been used instead of the chopped peanuts, since I think it would have coated the beans better. It was a great recipe and we all liked it for dinner. It said to serve hot, so I prepared the peanut mixture ahead of time and then cooked the beans right before dinner. The leftovers tasted great right out of the fridge the next day, so I might just make the whole dish in advance next time, especially on a warm summer day. The only disappointing thing was that the beautiful purple beans turned green when I cooked them, which was kind of fun to watch, but my 3-year-old had been excited about eating purple beans. Thankfully he munched on a few raw before I cooked them!
The eggplant dish I chose from the cookbook was even easier to make, and really good. It's called Stir-Fried Eggplant with Ginger-Plum Sauce.
1/3 cup plum jam (don't use the big chunks)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I just used regular mustard)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes to taste (optional) -- I left these out
1. Mix the first four ingredients in bowl.
2. Cut the eggplant into small slices. I used a Japanese eggplant so I cut it in half and sliced it, but with a larger eggplant the recipe says you can make 1/2" thick sticks.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add eggplant and salt. Stir continuously to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the eggplant is tender and half the size it was when started.
4. Mix in the sauce. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
Since this part could be served at room temperature, I made it in advance. It was really easy to make and really good. The only tough part was finding plum jam, which I found at Whole Foods. (After tasting the plum jam, I realized that I probably could have substituted baby food prunes, which we always have on hand, but that certainly didn't sound as delicious as plum jam.) I was thinking this dish would be great with tofu added too, and then it could be a main dish if served over rice or quinoa. This also tasted great right out of the fridge the next day.
The last thing I made was Zucchini Pancakes, using this recipe. The nutritional information was a little frightening, but I decided to skip the step where you rub the pancakes with butter. The recipe was easy and the pancakes turned out great. The kids were very excited to be eating pancakes for dinner, and we served them with a bit of sour cream on top. I thought we'd be having the leftovers for breakfast, but there weren't any leftovers!