Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Peanut Ginger Beef Stir Fry

I genuinely like chopping things... now, anyway. Didn't used to. Didn't have any truck with hanging out with sharp, stabby knives. But I got used to it eventually, AND we got a decent set of knives for our wedding (it really makes a difference), and now, I'll chop up anything. I also have the freakish superpower of not crying over onions. I could rub those babies on like a pink-eye salve and not a tear would form.

Anyway. This recipe is fun if you have the extra chopping time. Or, you can do what I sometimes have to do and chop them up earlier in the day or week and then bust them out later for dinner. If you do that, make sure you loosely cover them in a damp paper towel so that they stay fresh. You can also substitute quite a bit on the veggies. Use whatever you like.

Peanut Ginger Beef Stir Fry
You'll need:
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T. creamy peanut butter
1/4 C. white wine (or water)
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional; for those who don't like spice, omit)
3 t. asian sesame oil
3/4 lb. lean steak, sliced into thin strips
1 t. ginger
2 carrots, chopped into sticks
1 bunch scallions, cut in 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
(You can easily substitute other veggies, like broccoli, water chestnuts, and those baby corn. Green beans are nice, too. I've used those in a pinch)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T. roasted soy nuts or chopped peanuts, optional, for garnish

Get a large skillet scorching hot over high heat. While it's heating, combine: soy sauce, peanut butter, red pepper and wine/water. Set aside. When your skillet is ready, add in 2 of the 3 t. oil and let it get a little shimmery. Turn your oven fan on, unless you like the sound of your smoke alarm* and add the beef. Stir fry it quick, getting all the sides brown, so flipping constantly. When JUST browned, add the ginger and cook for about 1 more minute. Remove beef to a small dish and keep it warm.

Add into your pan (you can turn the heat down a little now) the remaining oil and then the carrots. Cook those for a minute before adding: the other veggies, the garlic. Stir fry until cooked through, then add 1 -- 2 T. of water to the skillet. Cover the veggies for two or three minutes, simmering. Then remove cover and add in your beef and peanut butter sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to coat beef and veggies.

Serve over hot brown rice with nuts on top. Crunchy and creamy and delicious. My husband inevitably ends up licking his plate when he thinks I'm not looking. It's also only 275 calories per serving (not counting rice), or 6 WW points! Makes 4 servings.

Stir-Fry Songs:
"Babylon Sisters" by Steely Dan
"Aja" by Steely Dan
(Hey, Steely Dan just goes good with Stir-fry!!)

* Boy oh boy do I have a long, complex relationship with the smoke detector. When we lived in a little duplex, that thing went off if you left your toast in the toaster a minute too long -- and, Dumplings, this was back when I was setting EVERYTHING ablaze. If it wasn't on fire, it wasn't dinner. Anyway, the detector possessed the ear-drum shattering qualities of a newborn with colic. I hated that thing. Luckily, because our duplex was fairly ghetto, the smoke alarm was not fully attached to the wall. It was hanging by one lazy plastic nail that easily came off. This was another problem -- ocassionally, UNprovoked by my cooking, the thing would just maliciously fall off the wall and start howling. I became gifted at the snatch and grab, where I'd bolt across the kitchen at the first siren call, leap into the air (it was considerately placed three feet above my head), snatch the thing with all my might, and then beat on it until it shut up.

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