Green as a Bean: Another Class Visit and Miso Green Beans

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I thought today it would be appropriate to share some green artwork and some green food. 🙂

Earlier this month, I did my third visit to the Kindergarten classes at PS 142 and read one of my favorite book that I have illustrated, called Green As A Bean.  It is based on a wonderful poem, written in the 60s by the late Karla Kuskin.  The poem was recast as a picture books and was published several years ago.  Written in lyrical rhyme, the verse asks the reader to imagine what they might be like if they were green, soft, loud, fierce, bright…

I painted this soon after my son was born, so I had to include him -- he's the hanging baby bean.

If you were fierce...

I loved painting the illustrations because the story is so open-ended.  It was such a pleasure to create the “world” of this book.

I read it to the children in class and spoke to them about “words that describe things” (i.e. adjectives).  Then we narrowed it down to colors, since they have been studying color charts during their regular class time.  I had them imagine if they were a particular color, what would they be?

It was a nice way to ease the kids into writing down their thoughts and illustrating them.  Here are some of their creations.

blue flowers

a purple princess

a green dragon

Getting back to the color green…
It is sometimes difficult getting my son to eat enough green food.  Today I made him some special green vanilla yogurt (with the help of food coloring, not scary spores!) and he gobbled it up.  But I’m talking about real green food, namely green veggies.

One of the very few green vegetables he’s been eating since he started eating solids, though, are green beans.  I think it’s because early on I developed a recipe he loved:  Miso Green Beans.  I use Trader Joe’s French green beans — they are so good and reasonably priced. (I just hope they don’t discontinue them, as they have a tendency to do with food I love!)I make a thin paste with miso and some water and season with a bit of sugar.

"shiro" (white) more mild than "aka" (red) -- the darker the miso paste, the stronger the flavor

Then I drizzle this over cooked green beans and saute them until they are slightly browned and a bit caramelized.

They have a nice sweet and savory flavor.  You can garnish with some toasted sesame seeds for added crunch.  It also brings out the nutty sesame flavor of the sesame oil the beans are sauteed in.

Miso paste can be found in Asian food stores and health food stores.  I also love to use it in salad dressing.

Miso Green Beans

3 cups of fresh or frozen French beans

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 ½  teaspoon miso paste

½ teaspoon sugar

  1. Steam green beans until crisp tender in steamer or microwave. Drain.
  2. Saute beans in oil until softened a little.
  3. Mix miso paste, sugar and about 1 teaspoon of water in a bowl.  Add to beans and saute vigorously until beans are slightly carmelized.
  4. Serve immediately.


Filed under Art Related, Children, Sides, Vegetables

7 responses to “Green as a Bean: Another Class Visit and Miso Green Beans

  1. What a lovely post. Your beany illustrations are beautiful and I’ll bet the kids loved the visit from a real live author/artist. The green beans look tasty. I’m always looking for some easy but creative ways to serve veggies.

  2. Love your illustrations, Melissa, and your son “hanging” is beautiful! My Mom used to make a miso dressing for a salad I used to love but she hasn’t made it in ages. I should give her a call about that! I am thinking of making your chicken recipe tonight that you posted not too long ago. I will let you know if I can pull it off. 🙂 Have a great week!

  3. Your illustrations are just gorgeous!

  4. Pingback: Chicken Katsu | The Hungry Artist

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