Normally we don’t make Asian food here, especially these days. We’re a little busy, you see. If we do try for a wee bit of flair from the East, it’s quick-and-dirty vegetable fried rice, and I’m not the one doing the artistic interpretation. We have an electric stove, no wok, and here in Kentucky it can be hard to find nice ingredients that would get us excited about learning the cuisine properly. Heck, it can be a stretch trying to find rice wine vinegar, much less black bean paste.
The fact that the only meat-eaters in the house have been the furry kind for quite a while (excepting during the incubation period, when I ate whatever I could choke down successfully) means that a lot of the lovely recipes I see on blogs like Pioneer Woman (and Tasty Kitchen), or Chocolate & Zucchini, or Smitten Kitchen, I don’t make. They call for meats I’ve never prepared before (which would be all of them, except for hamburger or pre-packaged kielbasa).
For all my elitist snobbery re: food, I’m actually a terrible hypocrite in that I don’t know how to do some very basic things, like…how to cook a chicken, or proof yeast dough, or figure out how the hell “flank steak” is labeled at the grocery store, since they apparently don’t call it flank steak anymore. (Tip: Around here, apparently the new nomenclature is so obscure that they are resorting to big orange stickers on each piece of meat with further descriptors. I found the flank steak I wanted thanks to a big orange “London Broil” sticker. Hooray, smartphones!) On the other hand, if you want something baked, I am your woman. Except for candy-making. I am scared of candy-making. You have to use a thermometer. It must be tricky.
Since we’re trying to eat better, I thought I might as well just bite the bullet and learn to cook these things myself, because we’re also trying to pinch pennies. So, I gave this recipe a try: Beef with Snow Peas, with some nice brown rice.
A couple of notes: Firstly, stir-frying goes fast and hard. You do not have time to chop up this last thing while something else is cooking; everything has to be ready to go before you turn on the heat. Secondly, I have no idea what I’m doing when trying to trim fat and gristle, and we need a better knife for meat-work. Thirdly, I added the marinade to the second batch of meat instead of waiting for meat to cook through, so it thickened and stuck to that hot, hot pan, and consequently burned. Now, I managed to not scrape up the burnt sauce into everything else, so the taste damage was minimal. I’ll know better next time.
Also, I kind of used the whole piece of ginger I bought, not just the minced tablespoon it calls for, so it was a bit strong. But, it was pretty good. Nyte appreciated the red pepper flakes, the Podling appreciated the rice (and not much else, although he did gnaw on a few snow peas before deciding that you weren’t actually supposed to eat them), and I appreciated that it was over and I didn’t have to wrestle with icky raw meat anymore.
If I had lived 100 years (or more) ago, I would probably have starved. There’s no freaking way I could have killed chickens to eat.