Thursday, May 19, 2011

Singing for Supper

You've heard the expression, "Sing for your supper?"

Well, I didn't have to sing for my supper. But I did have to cut onions.

Jill can't cut onions without crying. Eric is usually elected for the job. But I took the task off his hands during our recent visit to Omaha. If someone else is planning and executing the bulk of the meal, cutting onions is a small price to pay.

Jill and Eric made an Oriental Beef and Noodle dish as a Mother's Day meal for me and Eric's mom, Christy. The dads got to eat, too, even if it wasn't for their special day.

Jill used the modern-day cookbook equivalent ... a link to the internet. I'm a dinosaur who still likes my old-fashioned cookbooks, but she had her laptop by her side.

She used several ingredients that aren't readily available in my kitchen, telling me I'd better take a photo for my readers (See ... she was thinking of you guys!)

(Ground fresh chile paste and squeezable garlic)

Though I can't find them in my hometown grocery store (Jim at Paul's would probably order if I asked), you can find the ingredients in the Oriental section of a larger supermarket.

Here's how it turned out. It was yummy, especially since I didn't have to cook ...except for that whole cutting onions thing.

Oriental Beef with Peppers

1½ pound flank steak, sliced very thin against the grain
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons cooking sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or sprinkle in a little ground ginger, if you don't have fresh, but don't use as much!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red chile paste (or a few dashes of red chile oil)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 whole medium yellow onion, sliced
2 whole red or green bell peppers, cored and sliced into rings (Jill just had me slice them)
1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno or 1 teaspoon diced hot pepper, opt. (Jill didn't use this)
Red pepper flakes, for sprinkling, opt.
Cilantro leaves, opt.
A box of rice noodles

Preparation Instructions

Put water on stove and bring to a boil while you prepare other ingredients.

Mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, and chili paste (or chili oil.)

Place sliced beef in the mixture and toss to coat. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. When it is very hot, throw in the onions and cook for less than a minute. Remove to a separate plate. Return skillet to flame, allow to reheat, and add bell peppers (and hot pepper/jalapeno if using.) Cook for a minute, tossing, until peppers have brown/black bits but are still firm. Remove to a plate.

Return skillet to heat and allow to get hot. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture, evenly distributing over the surface of the skillet. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 seconds, then turn with tongs.

Cook for another 30 seconds, then remove to a separate plate. Repeat with remaining meat until all brown.

Reduce heat to low. Add all meat, onions, and peppers to the skillet and toss to combine. Pour in remaining sauce (the sauce the meat marinated in) and stir. Allow to simmer on low for a few minutes. Sauce will slowly thicken. Turn off heat.

Turn off boiling water, then throw in noodles. Stir, then allow noodles to sit in hot water for 8 minutes or so (check package directions to be sure.) Drain, then add 1/2 the noodles to stir fry. Toss together, then add more noodles to taste. Add very hot water if needed to thin.

Top with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately. Jill made another batch of the sauce and served it on the side for drizzling on the completed meal (Because of food safety, don't use any of the remaining sauce from the marinating process without it being cooked).


If you want to see gorgeous, step-by-step photos to go along with this recipe, it's found on The Pioneer Woman website. Click here. But, they don't have my gorgeous model. Just sayin'.


By the way, May is Beef Month. So if you needed a reason to try this recipe out, celebrate! More than 30,000 farmers and ranchers manage and care for a grand total of 6.3 million head of cattle, which is over 2 ½ times the state's population. There's the beef!

We have fewer head of cattle after a trip to the Pratt sale barn. They will be on the auction block today. This was a group of older cows and their calves, along with some other cows that would fit in that game, "Which of these things is not like the other?" They'd lost a calf, hadn't calved yet or didn't fit with the group in some way. He was going to feed them this summer and then sell them in the fall.

But with the heifers and the bull continually getting out, he needed to move the older cows out and put the heifers in their location. Let's hope that works! It's going to be a long summer otherwise.

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