Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beef and Broccoli

Most of the time cooking is fun.  Preparing your own meals can be pleasurable.  If you do it right, home-cooked meals taste good.  It's also nice to know exactly what you're putting in your body.  But it's not always easy.  On occasion, there is some not so joyful stuff like washing dishes and scrubbing ovens.  You may even have to tend to a burn, laceration, or grease fire.  One of the hardest aspects though, is the meal planning.  You've got to hit the trifecta- dinners that are tasty, can be prepared in a certain amount of time, and are within your budget.  Oh yeah, and you need to have a bunch of recipes so you're not eating the same thing all the time.  Shouldn't they also be nutritious?  Stretching ingredients is key and repurposing leftovers can be challenging.  Having leftover protein usually starts the process- what to do with the extra chicken breast from Sunday's roast bird?  It's going on this delicious bbq chicken and mushroom pizza right here.  


What about all that remaining cilantro from the bunch after devouring that pie?  Some of it will be used to make this yummy and healthy salmon, a quick weeknight meal.  The rest of it will decorate a giant pulled pork nacho platter for this Sunday's super bowl.  Before Sunday gets here though, we're having pulled pork sammiches with tangy slaw and homemade pickles.  You seeing how ingredients can work in circles?

However, some of the best home-cooked meals are the exact opposite of careful planning.  As in when have a crisper drawer full of veg that needs to be eaten, cause you're gonna feel bad throwing it out and wasting money. In that situation, and desiring a change of pace in going Asian, puts this Beef and Broccoli (with a ton of other stuff) on the dinner plate.  As you see from my mis en place below, I used red and green peppers, carrot, red onion, bok choy, pea pods for both of us, and just for me a serrano and jalapeno pepper cause I like it hot.  The broccoli is cut up, sauce is made, ginger and garlic are mingling, and the flank steak is in a quick marinade. Everything in place to start cooking. 

Beef and Broccoli (and other stuff)
4 servings

1 TB rice wine vinegar
2 TB low-sodium chicken stock
5 TB oyster sauce
2 TB light brown sugar
1 ts toasted sesame oil
2 ts cornstarch
3 TB soy sauce
1.5 lb flank steak, sliced with the grain into 1/2" slices, then against the grain into 2" strips
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
1" fresh ginger, miced (about 1 TB)
1 head broccoli, about 1 lb, cut into small florets
 3 green onions, halved and sliced lengthwise
assorted vegetables, optional
2 C cooked brown rice

Combine the rice wine vinegar, stock, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Whisk together and set aside.

Marinate the strips of flank steak in a medium bowl with the soy sauce for at least 15 minutes, up to 30, covered with plastic wrap.

Assemble your chosen vegetables, or just broccoli if you want to keep it simple. 

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a TB or so of EVOO.  Cook the strips of flank steak quickly, in batches, for just a minute on each side- you don't want to overcook them and have tough meat.  Set aside. 

Cook your vegetables in the same manner- a bit of oil, high heat, quickly.  You want them to be tender but crisp.  The broccoli will cook for 2-3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and then cook whatever else you got.  Add the garlic and ginger last, and only cook them for a minute.

Add the beef back to the skillet and the sauce, turn down the heat to medium-low.  Stir everything together, the sauce will thicken after a couple minutes and the meat will be heated through. 

Serve over brown rice and top with the sliced green onion. 

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