### adventures in cooking: yardlong beans

i have been running into these really long beans at the farmer's markets and even at safeway and finally decided to give them a try. the beans technically aren't a yard long, but they are way longer than any bean i'd ever met!

i found a recipe in an old sf chronicle cookbook, "sichuan dry fried long beans" and and went for it. people, they were delicious. then again, quick fry anything and add ground pork and chilies and you're bound for glory. we had some spring rolls and brown rice on the side.

here's the recipe & beans before/after:

Sichuan Dry Fried Long Beans:
2 lbs. Chinese long beans
2 c. plus 2 T. peanut oil (or as needed)
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 T. chopped fresh hot red chiles, seeds and all
1 T. chopped fresh ginger
1 T. dark soy sauce
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. dry sherry or Shaoxing wine

Rinse and cut the long beans into 3" lengths; dry thoroughly.
Heat 2 c. oil in a wok or heavy skillet to nearly smoking.
While oil is heating, chop the ground pork briefly to a finer consistency.

When oil is hot, add beans and cook 5 minutes, until they wrinkle;
remove and drain.

Drain off oil and reheat the pan. Add 2 T. oil and the pork. Cook, stirring
over high heat until the granules are broken up and the meat changes
color. Add the soy, cook 30 seconds, then chiles and ginger; cook another
30 seconds. Add the beans, sugar, salt and wine. Cook stirring until
piping hot.

martha said…
erin, you should do a cook book!
Martha
martha said…
erin, you should do a cook book!
Martha
martha said…
erin, you should do a cook book!
Martha
martha said…
erin, you should do a cook book!
Martha

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…

### The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…