Noodles with broccoli, scallions and black beans

Broccoli, black beans, and scallions

My little Isaac has mastered the art of bicycle riding. It’s not just that he can ride a two-wheeler, but that he rides his bike exactly as a bike should be ridden. It’s all about the journey, with him. Isaac is not a practical man. He’s dreamy and glowy and delightfully meandering, and that’s how he rides his bike. He’s like a little gnat, flying along in dizzy spirals, darting unexpectedly at passersby, weaving happily from side to side. Sometimes he’ll take off at top speed for about half a block, and then he’ll stop to take off his itchy helmet for a moment, and ask me what my favorite dinosaur is, and if it has little yellow eyes. Then he’ll laugh and say, “You couldn’t know that! Nobody could know that.” Then he’ll get himself going again, and sway happily down the street. He has no sense of urgency about getting to school on time. I feel like such a traitor to the world of childhood when I hurry him along, and lecture him about lateness. I feel like the kind of person who would use the word “tardy,” I feel like I’m working for the man.

Isaac is not a very practical eater, either. He seems to live on fruit and sunshine. He’s a vegetarian who doesn’t like many vegetables. He’s not hungry at mealtimes, but he’ll be ravenous fifteen minutes later. He only likes certain shapes of pasta, and swears that every pasta has its own flavor. He does eat a lot of pasta, so maybe he’s preternaturally discerning. As David said, “fifty words for snow…” When Isaac does eat something of a substantial meal-like nature, with vegetables and protein, it’s like seeing a rare and wonderful bird. I’ll point it out to David with quiet gestures, and he’ll gesture back not to disturb the exotic creature at the watering hole, or he’ll bolt, and leave his meal uneaten. Last night I decided to cook up some scallions and broccoli I’d gotten from the CSA. I was extremely tired after a ridiculously busy shift at work. This was quick, and had a nice mix of salty, hot, and sweet. Isaac approached it slowly. First he picked out the broccoli. Then the beans, one at a time, then he began to eat everything together, by the forkful. Huzzah!!

I’ve been waiting to cook with scallions so I could post Booker T’s Green Onions.


Thin spaghetti, or any other type of long noodle you like, cooked how you like it.

2 T olive oil
1 plump clove garlic – minced
1/2 cup chopped scallions, mostly white, some bright green, too.
1 small bunch of broccoli (about 2 cups) mostly florets, cut long and thin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 t mustard seeds
1/4 t ginger powder, or 1/2 inch cube grated fresh ginger
1 T raw or brown sugar
1 T tamari or soy sauce
1 t balsamic vinegar
cayenne to taste
1 cup diced tomatoes and their juice (fresh or canned)
freshly ground pepper
small handful fresh basil, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, scallions, fresh ginger if you’re using it, and mustard seeds. Cook till the garlic starts to brown and the mustard seeds pop. Add the black beans, stir and cook for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tamari, balsamic, powdered ginger, cayenne and about 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and return to a simmer.

Add the broccoli and cover the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, till the broccoli is bright and starting to soften, though it still has some crunch. Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper (it shouldn’t need salt because of the tamari, but add some if you like!). Sprinkle with fresh basil. Toss with the pasta, or serve alongside, so people can have exactly the ratio they like.

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4 thoughts on “Noodles with broccoli, scallions and black beans

  1. steenbeck, I was thinking about the word ‘tardy’ and how much I hate it, just yesterday. Or perhaps it was this morning – when you’re retired you don’t care about time. I will never ever use that word. (I know I have just written it. But please note the inverted commas.)

    • TFD, it always makes me think of the David Lee Roth video Hot For Teachers (that was DLR, wasn’t it?), because he says, “I don’t feel tardy!”

      • The word doesn’t have any school association over here, so I don’t really know why I dislike it so…and I’m afraid that though I know who DLR is, I wouldn’t recognise one of his videos if it leapt up and bit me.

        By the way, I’m so behind with your blog posts that I’m now reading through them backwards till I get to one I recognise. So that’s why you may notice me commenting in the wrong order.

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