Friday, November 19, 2010

Quick and Easy: Beef Fried Rice

Years ago I won a silent auction item that contained a wok, Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking cookbook and lots of staple Asian cooking ingredients like sesame oil, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, black bean paste, etc. I used the wok once and because I have those stupid coiled burners on my range, it didn't really work out. I need a gas range. UGH. So I have to use a large skillet to stir-fry instead.

Back to the story. I'm not a great Asian cook. I think I do pretty well with lots of cuisines, but I don't feel confident in most Asian applications. But last night I was craving Chinese food. Knowing I had a great cookbook and the right tools at home, I purchase some a Petite Top Sirloin from the grocery store and some asparagus. I was going to try to make fried rice. I used this recipe as a base and it came out to be almost as good as I've had from some restaurants. Kudos to the cookbook!

Beef Fried Rice
2 cups uncooked microwavable brown rice (cooked according to package directions)
2 Tbsp chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp freshly minced garlic
1 pound beef, appropriate for stir-fry (I used Petite Top Sirloin), cut into thin slices
1 package frozen vegetables, stir-fry mix, thawed
1 bundle fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp macadamia nuts, chopped

Cook rice and set aside. Mix broth, sauces, sesame oil and salt in bowl and set aside. Add vegetable oil to large skillet (lots of surface area for a stir fry) over med-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir for 20 seconds until fragrant. Add beef, stir and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add vegetables, stir and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Move beef and vegetables to the sides of the pan. Add eggs in the middle and stir, until cooked through, about 1 minute. Mix all ingredients together.

Add rice to mix and stir. Pour sauce over mixture and stir. Serve with chopped macadamia nuts on top.

This made four very large servings.

We added a little Siracha on top, but it didn't really need it

Chimichurri Beef with Orange Cilantro Couscous

I love my job. I say that quite often. Not long ago we got some beef to take home since the freezers were being cleaned out for a new shipment. I got a mixed bag of items including a Schwan's Chimichurri "Marinate on Demand" product that is, sadly, no longer available. So I won't go into that too much, but needless to say, it was really good!

I wanted something to match the chimichurri sauce on the steak, so I opted for something fresh and citrusy. This is based off a Weight Watchers recipe but I used couscous instead of the quinoa they called for.

Orange Cilantro Couscous

1 cup(s) uncooked couscous
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup(s) carrot(s), shredded (I used my vegetable peeler to make ribbons)
1/2 cup(s) scallion(s), sliced
2 tsp ginger root, freshly grated
1/2 cup(s) orange juice, fresh
1/3 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped

Cook couscous according to directions on box.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, scallions and ginger; cook over medium heat, stirring, until carrots are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Stir in couscous; cook, stirring, until well mixed.

Remove from heat; stir in orange juice and cilantro and serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

3 WW points per serving (for couscous alone)

Random Weeknight Dinner: Steak and Eggs

New York Strip (aka Kansas City Strip, aka Strip Steak, aka Top Loin Steak) (one of the many lean cuts of beef) was on sale at my grocery store the other night so I bought it. When I got home my first thought was, "Yikes, I didn't buy anything to go with this!" Fret not, the fridge had plenty of items to work with! I had accidentally bought eggs when I didn't need them, so I needed to use some up. I also had spinach that was about to go bad. Perhaps the most random of all was a small amount of hashbrowns and frozen french fries. So how to use all this randomness up? Steak and eggs with potato hash and sauteed spinach. Sounds good to me!

I used a two-step cooking method on the steak. I started it on the stove top in an oven-safe pan. I browned it nicely on both sides for about 3 minutes on each side. Then I put it in a preheated (350) oven for about 10 minutes. It was a PERFECT medium rare and so juicy. I salted it after I let it rest for about 3 minutes. I only had one rather large steak, so I split it in two for our servings.

For the hash, I sauteed the frozen fries for a bit and then I added the refrigerated hashbrowns and some sliced red onion. Once I got some browning on them, I put them in a pan in the oven as well.

I then added the spinach to a saute pan with a little garlic salt and let that wilt.

I cooked the eggs over-medium and put it all together on a plate. Brent has requested it again, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to recreate it seeing how it was basically a bunch of leftovers and about-to-go-bad items. Either way, I call this a success.

Steak and Eggs with Random Hash and Sauteed Spinach

Catch Up Time: Mushroom Risotto

Being married is somehow keeping me really busy. Who knew that adding a person to a household would take so much time? Really though, being married is great. It's wonderful to have someone around to talk to, someone to laugh with and most of all, someone to share my meals with. I'm going to play catch up on our first meals as a married couple. I've taken pictures of almost all of them--even the terrible FLOP that you'll read about soon.

But this one is a winner. It's a mushroom risotto that I've made a couple times, but it hasn't been on the blog yet. Adapted from Weight Watchers, this is comforting and filling even with no meat. Risotto is a labor of love, so be prepared to stand over the stove top and stir for at least 30 minutes.

Mushroom Risotto

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp unsalted butter, divided
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced or shredded (I've used a mix of cremini, shitake and white)
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups uncooked arborio (risotto) rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Parmesan-Reggiano is the best)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm. You'll use this to cook the risotto. It needs to be warm or else your risotto won't turn out right.

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon butter and melt.

Add onion; cook, stirring, until onion begins to caramelize, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release moisture, about 5 minutes. Add wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; reduce liquid by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan; set aside.

Add remaining teaspoon of butter to same pan; cook until melted. Add rice; stir to coat with butter. Pour about 1/2 cup warm broth into rice; stir to keep grains from sticking to sides of pan. Keep stirring until all of broth is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup warm broth and repeat process. Keep adding broth and stirring in this manner until all of broth is used and rice is just cooked but not mushy (should still be slightly chewy), about 18 to 20 minutes. At this altitude, I've found that I have to cook my rice a bit longer in order for it to be the texture I like--more like 30 minutes.

Stir in vegetables and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in parsley. Makes about 6 servings if you do1 1/3 cups per serving.

5 WW points per serving.

Brent loves this too--always going back for seconds.

Served with a nice Pinot Grigio