Monthly Archives: October 2009

What’s the Deal with Stir Fry?

I don’t stir fry often.  Before I made dinner last night, I would have said I don’t really know why.  After dinner was made, I remembered.  Stir frying is unbelievably messy.  Yikes!   The oil (and I didn’t think I used that much) splattered everywhere.  The stovetop, and the floor, required heavy duty cleanup after dinner.  (Thanks, Howard!)  I even tried using a splatter guard, but I couldn’t stir the food at the same time.  I can’t get over the mess.

Peppers-BeforeDespite the mess, dinner was smelled great while it was cooking and tasted just as good. 

After a week of eating most meals with a spoon (stew and soups), I was happy to eat with a fork (or chopsticks).  I’ve had this recipe in my recipe box for years.  The recipe is for Beef with Peppers, but this time what I really made was Peppers with Beef.  I used up the rest of the CSA peppers and a small Delmonico steak from the Codman Farm Meat CSA.  I don’t make this dish often, but when I do, I wonder why?  It tastes so good.  Maybe it’s the housekeeping involved in stir frying.

Peppers with Beef
(Serves 2)

  • 1/2 lb beef, cut beef across grain into thin slices, then cut into pieces 1-1/2″ x 1″
  • 4 green and/or red peppers, cut into thin strips, lengthwise
  • Oil

Beef Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sake (rice wine)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp water

Minced Seasonings:

  • 1 Tbsp minced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

Oyster Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sake (rice wine)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Place pieces of meat in a bowl with Beef Marinade.  Toss to coat.  Let it sit while you cut up the peppers, mince the seasonings, and mix up the Oyster Sauce.

 Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add beef slices and fry, stirring constantly, until meat changes color.  (There will be extra marinade in the bowl.  Just cook the meat.)  Remove meat and drain.

Reheat skillet with 3 Tbsp oil.  Add minced seasonings and stir fry unitl fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add peppers, and stir fry about 2 minutes, over high heat.  Add oyster sauce mixture and heat until thickened.  Add meat and toss to coat.  Serve over rice.

(You could add more meat and peppers to feed more people.)

Here’s the end result:

Peppers with Beef

 

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Soup, Mm-Mm Good

It’s funny that when I was growing up, my mother cooked a lot.  However, except for chicken soup, I don’t remember her making soup from scratch. Soup came from a can.  (Campbell’s, mm-mm good)

Kale & Sausage SoupI haven’t eaten canned soup since college. I always make soup from scratch (though I admit to often using those tetrabrick containers of stock as an ingredient).  Soup is so easy to make and tastes so much better than the processed stuff.  You also know exactly what went into your bowl of soup (and stomach).  We cook for two at my house, but big batches freeze well for easy take-it-work lunches.  That works well for us.

We continue to enjoy our vegetables from the CSA. I made another soup, Kale and Sausage Soup. I used the lovely kale (and an onion) from the CSA and a packet of sweet Italian sausage from the freezer. The sausage was from the Codman Farm Meat CSA which we belonged to in the spring. According to Howard, I was a little too heavy-handed with the red pepper flakes, but I thought it was tasty just the way it came out. We also made salad from CSA vegetables to go with the soup — lettuce, peppers, and carrots. Mm-mm, good.

Kale and Sausage Soup
(Serves 8-10)

  • 1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage (if it comes in casings, just cut them off)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced (I put them through the Microplane)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 10 cups beef broth
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Over medium heat, cook the sausage and chopped onion until fat renders and the onion starts to get soft, about 15 minutes.  Break up the meat with a spoon as it cooks.  Add garlic, and cook over low heat, covered, about 10 minutes.  Drain off and discard any extra fat.

Add lentils, kale, tomatoes, broth, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.  Add salt, if needed, to taste.