Friday, April 2, 2010

Sizzling Beef and Scallions with Black Bean Sauce (no page #)

Despite what this blog may reflect, I have been cooking. Why haven't I written about them? These wonderful tasty treasures? Well, I haven't been using recipes from the Joy of Cooking nor Jamie Oliver's tome; I have been using a few tried and true oldies peppered with a few new internet discoveries. The reason I'm writing something tonight is because, although the recipe is not from the Jamie Oliver book I bought, it is one of his recipes; with the premiere of his new show, Food Revolution, it seems like his stuff has pinged through the virtual world like bed bugs in a flop house. Everywhere!

...but, unlike bed bugs, good recipes are a good thing to find in your comfort zone...

Tonight I decided to try 'Sizzling Beef and Scallions with Black Bean Sauce' because it was the only thing which could be constructed with the bits and pieces my cupboards and fridge contained. It's true, I missed the fresh lime, cilantro, and egg, but lemon juice and dried cilantro worked in a few of the missing flavours.

Sliced beef, garlic, ginger, scallions...mix it all up in a bowl with sesame oil. The smell was to die for! Then add the cilantro...I used a pinch of dried flakes since the fresh stuff regularly eludes me up here. Not the worst thing that could happen. Unfortunately, the meat was bought for a slowcooker meal, so it wasn't the best cut for this sort of thing; it had also been in the freezer and got a bit burt.

Anyway, throw all this in the frying pan (or a wok if you have it) with a bunch of sesame oil. In the 'oh-so-clear' words of Jamie Oliver, "pour a couple of glugs of sesame oil in the pan and heat until it's very, very hot". How succinct is that? I don't know if my Nova Scotian glugs are the equivalent to an Englishman's glugs, but I tried.

After a bit of frying, add pepper, black bean sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce. And keep it moving, moving, moving, always moving.

Well, with the steam and smoke starting to rise, I needed to flip on the fan; I was nervous that the smoke alarm would start to go off (even though it's been hanging out of the ceiling since its last outburst). It seems that every time it goes off, I get a 4 lb terrified chihuahua frozen and pooping on the floor uncontrollably. I know it sounds weird, but that's the state Gryphon ends up in...poor thing.

Fortunately, the fan did its job tonight and I didn't have to pick up any blobs.

Rice, is the rice. Cook, fry, add soy sauce, et voila! I know this picture looks lethargic and without taste, but remember that it's supposed to be covered with some tasty stuff. This is just the carb filler.

Anyway...ta da!! It would definitely look a lot nicer with the fresh cilantro and lime wedge it's supposed to be served with, but it doesn't look too bad if you pile it on a colourful plate.

My issue with the whole thing was that there wasn't really any salt. Don't get me wrong...I'm not like the person who actually puts salt on her KFC (yes, I know someone who does this), but I like a bit more flavour. More flavour that the sharp tang of lime. The soy sauce added a bit, but I usually use the low sodium stuff (I find the regular just way too much). could be the juice; it was a bit old, and I think I might have put in a bit to much. Maybe my glugs, dabs, and pinches aren't quite right.

Overall? It was nice to be puttering around in the kitchen again and, with a ricemaker, it's a pretty simple dish to make. One that could even be completed on a weeknight. This is a big thing to say because my 'weeknight meal' generally consists of tea with instant pancakes of the 'just add water' variety. Not so bad. Next time I'll use less juice, more salt, and try my darndest to find some fresh cilantro.

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