Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Szechuan Green Beans and Hope



When I was a 14 year-old-girl a tumor the size of a softball was removed from my ovary. I kept that damaged ovary for another 14 years because doctors were afraid to remove something of importance from someone so young. When I had an emergency hysterectomy at 24 and cancer cells in my cervix I still kept that damaged useless ovary. Until I was 28, when it became obvious my health, and therefore my life, was at risk. Then it was finally removed.


I consider myself lucky. Staying one step ahead of full blown cancer at all times. I can no longer have children, but I’m alive and healthy. There are many women who find out about cancer so late in the game that the battle can be overwhelming and devastating.


Thanks to Foodbuzz and Electrolux I will attend the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund event in New York City. I am in awe that I get to go, and feeling quite overwhelmed. I’m not sure I deserve this, but am grateful for the opportunity.


As I comb through OCRF I can’t help but find myself drawn to the survivor stories, and finally to the tribute page. These pages are filled with vibrant women with beautiful smiles. All of them fought this dangerous cancer. Some won, others lost, and all strove to survive. Their stories are amazing, and worth reading. I hope you’ll take some time to do so.


It’s important, this cause, because ovarian cancer is typically found much to late as there isn't a good tool currently for early detection. If found sooner, there would be a better chance of survival, and hopefully an opportunity for these women to have children of their own.


So today’s recipe is dedicated to living joyfully and to flavorful healthy food to feed our bodies and spirits. I hope that one day cancer will be detected much earlier, and be better treated. Through foundations like OCRF there is hope that our own daughters and granddaughters won’t need to worry about fighting for their lives, when they should be living them instead.


Szechuan Green Beans

I serve these tender garlicky green beans over perfectly cooked brown rice for a fresh, flavorful, healthy meal.


Ingredients

1 ½ pounds fresh or frozen green beans

1 ½ Tablespoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons chopped ginger

1/2 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chili paste or chili sauce

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons peanut oil


Instructions

1. If using fresh beans wash the beans, drain thoroughly, and trim the tops and bottoms.

2. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the beans and stir-fry until they start to shrivel and turn brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the beans and drain in a colander or on paper towels.

3. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in the wok on high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the chili paste and stir-fry for a few more seconds until aromatic. Add the beans and the remaining ingredients. Mix together and serve.


Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish.


Recipe adapted from Rhonda Parkinson from About.com. Picture by Laura Flowers.



27 comments:

Dawn said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Thank God you stayed ahead of the cancer! And thank you for the delicious recipe idea. I can use this recipe (subbing the peanut and soy sauce) as an allergy free meal idea for my family! I hadn't thought of fresh green beans and brown rice. I'm going to definitely try this!

POD said...

I had no idea about the ovarian cancer. I am waiting results that should come this afternoon from a retaken xray to see if the cancer I had (uterine) has spread to my lungs. I'm not dead yet so I'm not whining. I know a lot of ovarian cancer survivors online. For some reason they have come to my blog (write more about uterine and day to day life than cancer) Am friends with many of them on FB too. This is a beautiful, informative post. I'm glad you found your issues before cancer found you.

And green beans are one of my favorites. A cancer cure fer shure!
Thanks again.

Chef E said...

Oh Laura, I just want to give you a hug. Your story is important! I come from a family of longevity, people who basically never get sick and die of natural causes. I know I am lucky to not have serious health issues, but my daughter did, and she passed away at 14. I leaned more about disease than I ever thought I would. Each word, each moment counts to everyone. My nine and half year travel to overcome her loss has made me question and feel great pain for people who suffer no matter how little or how serious...

The dish sounds good, and I want to know more about what you will be doing?

Also, is that wok cast iron, because if it is I am coming to your house while you are gone and stealing it! Or you could tell me where you got it :)

I want details of this trip!

Chef E said...

Oh Laura, I just want to give you a hug. Your story is important! I come from a family of longevity, people who basically never get sick and die of natural causes. I know I am lucky to not have serious health issues, but my daughter did, and she passed away at 14. I leaned more about disease than I ever thought I would. Each word, each moment counts to everyone. My nine and half year travel to overcome her loss has made me question and feel great pain for people who suffer no matter how little or how serious...

The dish sounds good, and I want to know more about what you will be doing?

Also, is that wok cast iron, because if it is I am coming to your house while you are gone and stealing it! Or you could tell me where you got it :)

I want details of this trip!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Chef, I am so sorry about your daughter. That is a journey no one should have to take. Ever.

That is a cast iron wok! I love that darn thing. I got it at Ross for $15 bucks. I felt like I'd won the lotto!

And we'll be learning how to decorate cake there I believe. I have some basic skills, but no more than that. I hope I am teachable!

Laura

The Cooking Photographer said...

POD I am thinking about you today. Big happy positive thoughts! Thank-you for sharing. This post makes me feel so vulnerable, but you make me feel that it is ok somehow.

Laura

l'optimiste said...

Love the recipe - I have a penchant for ginger, as it is documented somewhere that it destroys ovarian cancer cells. Although I am sure you'd have to drown in the stuff in reality for it to make any difference. ;o)

I am a friend of POD, and I had ovarian cancer 2 years ago. Now I am waiting for a biopsy on 'something' that appeared on my last scan. In the meantime, I am eating lots of nice things, drinking good wine and enjoying myself tremendously.

Have a wonderful time at the event - what fun! I will look forward to seeing the post about it. I shall definitely be trying the bean recipe. Thanks!
x

Ginger said...

Laura,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It means a lot!! You do deserve to go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!!

On a lighter note, can I send myself and my "new" camera to you so you can teach us how to take pictures?? :-)

Gin

Mimi said...

Laura,
Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration. Enjoy your time in NYC.
Mimi
btw the green beans look yummy.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Laura, I'm glad that you were selected! Like most readers, I didn't know about this experience. Please contact me if you have time for coffee in the city, I'd love to meet you! xo, Christine

Sue Sparks said...

Oh Laura, Thanks for sharing your touching story. I am so happy that you are a survivor!!! My mother and older sister both died of ovarian cancer in their 50's. I am so happy that you are able to participate in such a great cause! I would be thrilled to see an early detection method devised, especially for my daughters and granddaughters!!!

P.S. I'm home now:)

biz319 said...

What an amazing story! You deserve to go of all people!

Fingers crossed you stay healthy and happy.

As a side note - I am stealing your green bean recipe! I love all things spicy.

Pink Little Cake said...

Wow Laura, thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
I can wait to meet you here.Stay healthy!

shaz said...

The more I learn about you Laura, the more I'm amazed at your courage and strength and indefatigable sense of humour.

Hugs to you on your journey, thank you for sharing.

Coleen's Recipes said...

What an inspirational story!! You are a very courageous woman and I'm so glad you get to go.

Gulmohar said...

What an inspiring story..You are so brave !I too sincerely wish , soon they will find a cure to cancer !
Your blog name brought me here :D Love szechuan dishes..and this sounds really healthy :-)

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Laura. You belong at that event. Hugs...Mary

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Wow Laura. It is well. Thanks for sharing your story, your pain and your hopes.......Stay strong

Fresh Local and Best said...

L - Thanks for your message and kind offer, I'll meet with you for lunch, dinner, breakfast, etc. Please no treating...:) I'll just be returning from Provence on the 7th. Pls. e-mail me at christineinnewyork(at)gmail.com, so we can coordinate.
Best, Christine

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

Thank you so much for sharing your journey, your strength - and your recipe. I've learned from you today.
Susan

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

Thank you for sharing your heart touching story! I wish you all the best on your trip and look forward to hearing all about it.

Your string beans sound delicious! Spicy and loaded with tons of flavor.

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Thank you for sharing your story. So thrilled for you! Just found your blog. It is just beautiful and creative!

Debbie said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You deserve this trip and can't wait to hear about it.

ButterYum said...

Oh wow - sounds like a perfect event for you to be invited to! Thanks for sharing - I'm so happy you're here to share!!!

:)
ButterYum
PS - I LOVE garlicy green beans!!

Jamie said...

I'm in shock. A very good friend food blogger just told me about the loss of her sister to ovarian cancer when her sister was 21 - you and those who love you are very lucky! We should all appreciate every single day on this earth - that sounds clich├ęd but it is so true. And bringing up these issues - telling your story - is so important to making everyone aware of the need for medical research and finding cures for this and other terrible diseases. I am glad you have the opportunity to attend this event. Hugs to you!

Diana's Cocina said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Feb.4th will make two years that (colon) cancer took the life of one of my BFF.

Okay, I'm a follower and i can't wait to try this recipe, I will never leave the kitchen! =)

You do deserve to go!
You are an inspiration!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I am so glad that I found this post despite clearing my reader after my hiatus. Like others above, I thank you for sharing your story with us, for calling attention to this disease in such a positive light.

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