Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stir Fried Beef with Green Beans & More

Here is a new recipe that I tried last week.

Actually, I had a very funny conversation with my sister Merrill about people who don't follow recipes - Oh, they are short butter, so they put in oil (fat is fat, right? - not really, but...or yellow food coloring for an egg - yup, it's happened) Or, like I did last week with some rhubarb bars that I made for church - the recipe called for a 9x13 pan - but I wanted to make more than a 9x13 pan would yield - so I used my lasagna pan, which is 11 x 17 -

The recipe was actually quite good, (found it on the Land'OLakes butter web site - they have a WHOLE mess of rhubarb recipes PLUS good recipes for just about anything you want to bake). It had an oatmeal shortbread crust with a rhubarb/strawberry compote on top of that, then a little bit of the crust mixture was crumbled over the top. Conventional wisdom would say that if you are using a pan that is about 1/2 again bigger than what the recipe calls for, you make your recipe 1/2 again bigger, right? No, I was asleep at the wheel (or maybe just napping) - so my crust was just a weeee bit skinny which allowed the compote mixture to kind of soak thru and make the bars a weeee bit soggy - but they tasted good, and that what counts, right?

Anyhow, I digress - I get several cooking/recipe magazines - and I always try to find a new recipe in each magazine to make - generally for dinner - sometimes to take to church, whatever - If The Shepherd doesn't like it, things will oft times end up at my office - there are 40 hungry people there who will generally try anything, once.

"Cooks Country" is one of the magazines that I enjoy reading - It is put out by "America's Test Kitchens". They find old recipes and update them, they have "equipment review" and "food review" sections that grade different products and have lots and lots of recipes. Like a few other magazines ("Taste of Home", for example) they have no advertising, which I like. They also have eight bound in recipe cards for "30 Minute Recipes" - those I really like.

When I saw this recipe for Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans and Water Chestnuts, it looked interesting. Remember what I said about not following a recipe, though - sometimes you just have to make changes. this recipe called for 8 CLOVES OF GARLIC, for pete's sake - The Shepherd would never go for that, that's for sure. Which is probably why there were no onions (who needs onions when you have 8 CLOVES OF GARLIC!?!?) It also called for two TABLESPOONS of grated fresh ginger. Now, I like fresh ginger as much as the next guy, (well maybe not) , but whew - two tablespoons? I guess that was to offset all that garlic.

It also called for 1/3 cup of oyster sauce (who really has a fresh jar of oyster sauce in their kitchen? Who really needs a jar of oyster sauce in their kitchen?) Since Oyster Sauce is basically thickened soy sauce, I just used soy sauce and cornstarch. I also thought it would be good with some sliced mushrooms, and while I'm at it, lets have it on noodles rather than white rice.

Anyhow, here is my revised recipe for
Stir Fried Beef, with Green Beans, Water Chestnuts, Onions & Mushrooms with Noodles(serves 4-6)

1/4 cup reduced sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth (you will use another 1/2 cup when you cook the noodles)
2 tsp. rice vinegar (ok, so I didn't have any rice vinegar either - a tsp of white wine vinegar worked just fine, thank you)
1 clove garlic, minced finely or pressed in a garlic press
1/2 - 1 tsp fresh ginger (I use my Pampered Chef garlic press to do fresh ginger too - just peel a little chunk and pop it in the press - much easier than grating your knuckles)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil (and I always end up using more)
1 and 1/2 lbs steak - (the recipe called for flank steak and the store didn't have any, so I got a flatiron steak. According to Better Homes & Gardens, it is really one of the most tender steaks - I don't know about that, but I froze it enough so I could slice it REALLY thin, like 1/8 inch thin - It was very flavorful and I had enough left over from the package that we had fajitas later in the week - made good fajitas too)

1 medium sweet onion, sliced into ribbons

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces - I was really disappointed because our grocery store (which shall remain nameless) has really been falling down on the job in the produce department - the fresh green beans were actually moldy! - ick. So I bought a 1# package of frozen green beans - worked like a champ - you just have to cook them a teentsy bit longer.

1 8 oz. can of sliced water chestnuts, drained
Another garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/3 lb fresh button mushrooms sliced

Yakisoba (Japenese style) noodles, fresh (refrigerator case with other fresh pastas) if you can get them, or find the dried noodles in the Oriental section of your grocery store. (Cook them first - also, you won't need to stir fry them as long as the fresh ones)
1/2 cup beef broth (put the rest in the freezer for when you make soup the next time)

Whisk the first six ingredients (soy sauce thru the ginger) in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until just just before smoking point. Cook half of the steak until browned, about a minute or two per side. Transfer the cooked steak to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the steak, using the 2nd tablespoon of oil. (transfer it to the large bowl as well.)

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same pan (do not wash) Put the green beans in and stir around a little. Cook for a few minutes until they start to get bright green. Push them to the side and add the onion ribbons, the water chestnuts and the mushrooms. Cook until the onions and the mushroom slices are limp and the green beans are almost done. Add the garlic right at the end and stir in - about 30 seconds. Transfer all the vegetables to the large bowl with the meat.

Yakisoba literally means "fried noodle" in Japanese. In our local grocery stores I have been able to find a brand actually called "Yakisoba" and it is a pack of fresh noodles about the size of a pack of dried ramen noodles (oh, please don't use ramen noodles for this recipe). I got a "three pack" of noodles, because I knew I was cooking with the idea of left overs so I wouldn't have to cook again the next night. Open the packs of noodles and put them in the skillet. (DON'T use the seasoning packet - throw it away, it's mostly salt anyhow) Let them fry for a minute or two til they start to soften - then pour 1/2 cup of beef broth over them and put the lid on the skillet so they heat up faster - 30 seconds to a minute - I don't know how to describe it, but they will "come apart" from a "lump of noodles" into individual noodles...

Ok, your noodles are cooked - Now, pour all the meat and vegetables from the bowl back into your skillet. Remember the sauce you made with the first six ingredients? Pour this sauce over your meat, vegetables and noodles and carefully toss so your vegies and your noodles don't mush up. Cook for about a minute or two so the sauce thickens the dish (about one minute)

Since this has vegies in it, you don't need another vegetable - maybe some Oriental style coleslaw or a green salad with a nice sesame dressing? We just made it a one dish meal.

Hope you enjoy it.


Tammy said...

Hee..hee... You just gave me an idea for making up my own 'variation' of this. I've been trying to think of things to cook for Mom as her appetite isn't that great, plus she has to be low sodium etc. So I like the idea of beef stir fry (or even chicken) over noodles. I even have the special low sodium/no egg noodles just waiting! Thanks for idea... looks yummy!

Kathy said...

So it did turn out fine! Good onya! (We were talking when you were getting ready to do this - remember?)

I haven't dropped off the Earth, just busy with those darned cute kittens, their sick momma, our cats, and getting ready for the Wool Festival! we go....

Lavendersheep said...

Mmmm..that sounds really tasty. I might have to try that for dinner in the near future!