In the mood for something Asian and not too heavy, I pondered a fridge full of leftover this (tofu) and that (pork tenderloin) and went to the grocery for something else (skinny, expensive haricots verts) and proceeded to merge two West Chinese favorites (ma po tofu and Szechwan spicy green beans and pork) into one quick stir-fry. I held back on the spice to make it wine-friendly, and it worked very well indeed with a dry red wine.

It went like this. Lots of finicky steps, looks complicated, but actually took only about 30 minutes to do:

I took a small piece of fat-free pork tenderloin (about 6 ounces) and cut it into smallish dice. Put them in a bowl; and let them marinate in a Szechwan-style marinade featuring a well-blended mix of 1 tablespoon hot bean sauce, 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

I minced two fat garlic cloves and an approximately equal amount of peeled fresh ginger, and chopped about 1/2 of a fresh green bell pepper, enough to make about 1/2 cup. Minced the white part (and part of the green) of three scallions and set aside; sliced the rest of the green ends for garnish and set aside separately. Toasted 1 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns in a small skillet until they got really aromatic, then ground them to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

Washed and trimmed the ends from about 6 ounces of hoity-toity French green beans (haricots verts) and set aside.

Drained, rinsed and cut into smallish dice about 4 ounces very firm tofu (left over from the tofu dish I made with the other half of it a few days ago).

Thawed and set aside about 1/4 cup chicken broth from my frozen stash.

Ready to stir-fry: Fire up the wok until it's very hot, then drizzle in a spoonful of peanut oil and bring it up to heat. Stir-fry the ginger and garlic; before they start to burn, add and stir-fry the chopped green peppers, then the chopped scallions and Szechwan pepper, and then the minced pork with its thick marinade. As soon as the pork loses its raw color, add the broth and bring to a simmer, then lower heat and put in the green beans. Cover and let simmer for 4 or 5 minutes, then add the tofu and cook just until heated through. Garnish with the remaining scallions, and serve with steamed rice.

It tasted great, although if I do it again, I may blanch the green beans in boiling water first. They were good, not raw, but not very tender; I think that's the nature of the animal, but I wouldn't have minded them being a little easier to chew. I also went back and forth about whether to thicken the sauce with cornstarch before deciding not to, but it could have gone either way. And if I hadn't been worried about keeping it wine-friendly, I probably would have gone for more fire by adding dried chile peppers to the initial garlic-and-ginger fry.