Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just So I Don't Forget. . . Sesame and Ginger Beef

Today, I tried to do something enticing with flat iron steak.  I'm actually a pretty big fan of the stuff - it is cheap relative to other cuts, it tastes good, it's fairly easy to break down, and it has a pretty good texture, especially if you cut it across the grain.  The only problem is that I'm always tempted to make fajitas when I'm feeling lazy.  I needed something new.

I decided to go Asian.  Remember that I was feeling lazy (went to a Dragon Con parade today, and didn't sleep much last night), so I did not want to get too fancy.  I decided to walk the line between Chinese and Indian.  I made a rub out of powdered ginger, onion powder (omit if a problem), garlic salt, a bit of coriander, some cumin, and the tiniest bit of chipotle powder.  I never put black pepper in Asian food, so chipotle (smoked jalapeno - common in Indian food) adds some warmth.  Chili powder works as well, but you can use more.  I tasted the mixture and ended some kosher salt so that saltiness would dominate.  You should taste and adjust as well.

I started the rice (Have you learned how to make rice in the microwave yet?  Cheaper than instant and harder to screw up than the real stuff on the oven) and started cutting up veggies.  Then, I opeined the meat.  (Always cut veggies on a clean board!).  The one downside of flat iron steak is the connective tissue, usually limited largely to one long skinny strand embedded in the meat.  You can either dissect it out of the meat, cut the meat on either side away from it, or slice against the grain and chop the bad stuff out of each piece. That's probably the most labor intensive, but it is the easiest way to keep slices a consistent size.
I threw some oil in a pre-heated pan, heated the oil, added the meat, and sprinkled the rub generously on the meat.  Then, I put some MSG-free oyster sauce on it.  Depending on your tolerance, you can add a bit of soy sauce.  I like to  cook the meat medium to medium well.  Taste a tiny piece to make sure it is adequately seasoned, and add salt or rub as needed.  When the meat is cooked, move it to the edge of the pan and put the veggies in the middle.  Cook until done.

While the veggies were cooking, I put some sesame seeds in a small heated pan, and shook occasionally until toasted. I added those and a couple of drops of sesame oil to the big pan.  Sesame oil is very easily overused, so literally count drops.  Although I would usually work in a sauce, flat iron steak (at least mine) creates one when stir-fried.  Healthy family members can add soy sauce to their portions.

This is better with real garlic and ginger, but the powdered version is simpler.  It was still a hit with the shortcuts, so it's not strictly necessary to break down the ginger (one of our least favorite chores) and press the garlic.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Meatless Meal of the Day

I was prospecting for recipes that are migraine-safe and low-cholesterol when I came across this cheap, 100% compliant idea:  black beans with mango and cilantro.  Unfortunately, my wife has further limited my choices with her dislike of sweet entrees, so I apologize for not trying this before posting it.