Thursday, January 22, 2015

Impressing Myself

I have always had a fear of cooking Asian. It starts with knowing darn well that I will never get my pan as hot as it needs to be to get that classic stir fry taste. That, coupled with the long list of "non-standard" ingredients that end up costing a small fortune, (especially if you don't use them often), has always minimized my desire to recreate the cuisine at home despite my love of it. Well, the other day I found myself staring at the most gorgeous steaks in the meat case that I simply had to buy. They were labeled Kansas City Sirloin Strip (or something like that). I have no idea what the hell that is but the marbling of this meat reminded me of USDA prime! Because they were so thin I didn't want to put them on the grill. Instead, since I also had 3 pounds of red bell peppers, I decided this meat was destined for pepper steak. Oh yeah! I did some research, tweaked a few recipes and truly impressed myself with what I put together. I will admit that because I had to work late, I didn't cook this exactly as written, which is the best way. I just kind of threw it all together and hoped for the best. I was hungry, it was late, and I was in no mood for fussing! So sue me.

Chinese Take Out Style Pepper Steak

2 lbs beef steak - whatever cut you have that isn't too lean, sliced thin and across the grain
1/2 Tbs sesame oil
2Tbs Vegetable oil
3 Bell peppers rough chopped
1 large sweet onion, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger
1/4 C Mirin

1/3 C soy sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1/2 C beef broth
1 Tbs cornstarch
few shakes black pepper

Combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Add beef and set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour

While beef is marinading, prep veggies

Heat vegetable and sesame oils in wok or sloped pan until hot. Add beef and quickly stir fry to brown. The beef does not need to be cooked through. Once browned, remove beef from pan and set aside.

Deglaze pan with Mirin and let cook down.

Add peppers, onions, garlic and ginger to pan and saute. When about half way cooked return beef to pan and continue to cook until veggies and beef are done. If more sauce is desired, add marinade to pan and cook until thickened.

Serve with rice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Loving Those Leftovers

Husband still isn't feeling great. He feels a LOT better but has this god awful cough that keeps him (and me) up at night. He sounds terrible. Poor guy. To combat the cough he has been limiting his dairy intake. This is no easy task for him as he is a bonafide milk junkie. He finally broke down this week and started drinking it again. Since he was doing the dairy thing anyway, I decided to let him have some of the leftover pot roast that I had transformed into Beef Stroganoff. He looked at it funny at first but as soon as he had a bite he was hooked. Even I will admit the stuff came out super good. But I had a great start with that delicious pot roast. Here is what I did:

Beef Stroganoff

1Tbs oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small container mushrooms. (traditionally white mushrooms are used but I prefer Cremini, i.e. baby portobellas, they just have a richer flavor to me)
Leftover pot roast and reserved liquid
1/2 C beef broth + 1Tbs cornstarch, mixed
Sour cream
Cooked egg noodles

Heat oil in a large saute pan.
When hot add onions and mushrooms and saute over medium heat until softened
While veggies are cooking, separate out fatty pieces from the pot roast and shred the meat. You don't have to go too crazy, some large pieces are just fine
Add beef and pot roast liquid to the pan and let simmer until heated through. If needed, add additional beef broth. The mixture should be on the soupy side.
Add beef broth-cornstarch mixture a little at a time and stir until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat

Serve beef and veggies over egg noodles and top with a generous dollop of sour cream. Stir everything to combine before eating. YUM!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Comforts

So, I have been craving pot roast for the last few days. I mean REALLY, REALLY craving it. But, since I just defrosted the freezers, I knew I didn't have any crock pot worthy cuts of beef on hand. Sorry, but prime rib will never see the inside of a slow cooker at my house. Anyway, the past few days hubs has been feeling terrible so I stopped at our local market for some meds and OJ for him. I know I have mentioned the fabulous meat department at my local market before. I tried to avoid it but I had to go look. There it was, the perfect chuck roast. It literally called out to me, beckoning me to bring it home so it could satisfy my cravings and bring me utter joy and happiness. I HAD to have it. I bought, prepared it and I have to say that it was one of my best roasts EVER! I am sure the decent wine I cooked it in was key. Here is the drill:

Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker

3lb chuck roast - not too fatty and not too lean
kosher salt
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1-2 Cups Cabernet - something drinkable (I used 14 hands)
1-2 tsp thyme
1-2 tsp rosemary
2 bay leaves
3 juniper berries

2 cups beef broth

Place oil in a large frying pan and heat until shimmery
While oil is heating, generously salt the roast on all sides
Once oil is hot place roast in pan and get a nice sear on all sides - even the edges. Be patient and let the meat brown.
Once meat is seared, remove from pan and transfer meat to the slow cooker
Deglaze with the wine scraping up and browned bits.
Add thyme, rosemary and bay leaves
Pour wine from pan over the roast in the slow cooker
Add beef broth to cover
Add juniper berries
Cook on low for 8 hours

Before serving skim fat from liquid and use the liquid for a delicious au jus!

Leftovers make great french dip sandwiches!