Monday, July 21, 2008

What can I say?

I love Chinese food. So do Husband and Kids. I don't like paying for it, or wondering what is really in it or the tons of sugar and cornstarch and MSG. So, I ask myself, "Can I possibly make Chinese as good as they do?" And I try. And miracles happen.

Beef and Broccoli:
1 lb. beef steak, sliced thin (I used chunks from the freezer)
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 T. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 heads broccoli, cut up into florets

Combine beef, water, soy, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger and cornstarch in a bag or bowl and marinate 10 minutes or more. Drain well, reserving marinade. Place broccoli and a bit of water in a microwave bowl covered in plastic wrap and microwave it 4 minutes until tender-crisp (or, hey, you could steam it "the real way"). Heat oil in a wok or skillet and brown beef and onion together about 3 minutes. Add marinade and bring to a boil at least 5 minutes and until beef is done and sauce is bubbly. Stir in drained, hot broccoli and serve on rice. It's good. REALLY good.
Don't forget my Cashew Chicken when you set up your buffet. I have been promised an egg roll recipe to die for (Joni--that's your cue) or you can try this one. Have yourself an asian night.

Speaking of, Toni, do you remember eating cream cheese wontons on the floor with no shoes? That's a good memory.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Your freezer is your friend

Did I ever mention that I freeze everything? Yes, that extra half a can of mushroom soup or coconut milk. Half & half and chopped jalapenos from my garden. So, I'll let you in on a few secrets so you'll stop crying over what you can't buy because the rest will go bad before you get to it.

1. Tomato Paste. You know you never use the whole can. It's okay to buy it now, it won't go to waste. Scoop it out in tablespoons and place between two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze and plop in a bag. Mine were lovely plump mounds until a two-year-old decided to poke them. Oh well, at least it made her laugh.

2. Cilantro. And other herbs. But mostly cilantro. Pull leaves off of stems. Soak stems in red wine vinegar and eat as a meal-preparatory snack. Place leaves in bowl.

Chop leaves with kitchen shears. Chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. Chop.

Pack 2 tablespoons of cilantro into one ice cubicle. Add 1 tsp. of lime juice and pat with finger (important). Freeze. Place cilantro cubes into a bag.

3. Limes. This one does not warrant a picture because the one I took looks like a dirty green freezer bag. Zest limes carefully into a bowl. Place zest in freezer bag. Juice lime and pour into ice cubicles. Lick your fingers.

4. Ginger root. I won't show mine. I put up three cilantro pictures to make up for what you won't be able to recognize, so let it go. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off all skin. Place in a freezer bag. It will last forever and take it from me, it grates much better when frozen. You may have to hold it with a rag or the bag. It is cold and let's not grate our knuckles.


Who you callin' desperate?