Emily Cooks: Spicy Mint Beef

From Giada de Laurentiis’ Weeknights with Giada

This is really good, and fast: the only thing I would note is to do the prep work (slicing, etc.) before you start the heat! 

Variation: I omitted the basil since I didn’t have any, and used teriyaki sauce because I was (inexplicably!) out of soy. It does make it a bit saltier, but I found it to be within my range of tolerance.

I have also simplified the soy sauce: in her recipe, she calls for two types of soy sauce—sweet and black—but the kind I subbed in is her suggested substitution. 

This is a Thai inspired dish, per the intro to the recipe. Great for nights when you need something quick. (It’s like 8 minutes in the pan)

Spicy Mint Beef

3 tbsp. oil, for pan (I used EVOO)

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 Thai or serrano chiles, cored and thinly sliced (be sure to get all the seeds out to lessen the heat)

3 small shallots, thinly sliced

1 red bell paper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced

1/4 c. Thai fish sauce

1/4 c. regular soy sauce + 1/4 c. sugar (to sweeten the dish)

1 tbsp. chili paste or Sriracha sauce

1 lb. sirloin, sliced very thin

1 1/2 c. basil leaves, torn

1 c. mint leaves

1) In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chiles and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add shallots and bell pepper and cook for one minute. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, chili paste. Bring the mixture to a  low simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes. 

2) Add the steak and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes for medium doneness. Remove the skillet from the heat and add basil and mint, stirring until the herbs are wilted. Serve.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Another weekend, another…tornado warning. This is getting to be a habit. And if it’s going to continue, my basement needs lamps and a couch, post-haste.
  2. Tonight I got to do something fun—I got to design my birthday cake!  I have NEVER done this. It was supposed to be a surprise, but since my mom is sick, I went with my dad. It’s a Wizard of Oz cake, of course, with red velvet and milk chocolate layers. The ruby slippers, Toto and the yellow brick road are all incorporated. It’s going to ROCK! (And cream cheese icing) I’m having it with my family on Easter Sunday since my birthday is a rehearsal night. I will, of course, post pics. 
  3. While doom and gloom is being predicted on my TV, I made crab quiche, from a Whole Foods recipe. It’s currently got about 30 minutes to go. I love quiche, but have never tried it, and this recipe sounded easy and perfect. Also this weekend, I’ll be making my basic tomato sauce for pasta puttanesca next week. 
  4. Rehab is going well—done on Wednesday! I can’t believe it. Today was hard but it’s supposed to be at this point. I definitely have more energy and feel a lot better. 
  5. I watched HOP this week: it’s really cute! If you have kids, or just like cute movies, I recommend this one. Neat animation, great voice work (Hugh Laurie!) and it’s just sweet and funny. I might even watch it again. 
  6. Reading: Finished Ahab’s Wife, and really liked it! 
  7. The Play: Going well. We’re off book Act I tomorrow so checking my lines tonight, but I think I Have them all. Acts II and III are harder for my character. 

A Hunger Games Recipe: Katniss’s Craved Cheese Buns

I have The Hunger Games Cookbook on my Nook—and yes, I find it somewhat ironic that something called the HUNGER GAMES has a cookbook—and have just made my first recipe from it. It was DIVINELY easy and really yummy—think Red Lobster cheese rolls (except probably healthier). 

The recipe is called “Katniss’s Craved Cheese Biscuits” and is described thus: 

Katniss loves Peeta’s family’s cheese buns, and throughout The Hunger Games trilogy the buns become a symbol of home and of Katniss and Peeta’s lives before they became tributes. This symbolism is so pervasive that Katniss’s preference for cheese buns becomes part of Peeta and Katniss’s “Real of Not Real” game to help Peeta find himself after the Capitol violated and changed his memories.

The yield is about 12 buns. You can probably get about 14 if you’re using a regular spoon. 

NOTE: For the non-cooks out there: Old Bay seasoning is usually used with seafood dishes, and can be found near the seafood section (fresh or frozen). It’s amazing! And you use the garlic powder twice—once for the biscuits themselves and once for the topping.

So, here we go: 

2 c. Bisquick

1/3 tsp. garlic powder (NOT GARLIC SALT!)

1/4 c. sugar

2/3 c. milk

3/4 c. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated/shredded (either works)

1 stick butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder (NOT GARLIC SALT!) 

1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a large cookie sheet. 
  • Mix Bisquick, garlic powder (1/3 tsp.), sugar, milk and cheese until well-blended.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes. 
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter. When melted, stir in 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, Old Bay and kosher salt. Generously brush mixture over the tops of the cheese buns. 
  • EAT! 

The book notes that in Brazil and parts of Northern Argentina, buns like this are eaten for breakfast, as well as snacks. I say they are yummy anytime!

(I adapted the recipe slightly: in the cookbook it says to combine all topping ingredients (from butter onward) in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until butter is melted. But I don’t have a microwave, so I went the old-school route.) 

Weekend cooking!

SO MUCH weekend cooking happening here!

Today: Making Gwyneth Paltrow’s tomato sauce. It really is a great basic tomato sauce—which is the title of the recipe, “basic tomato sauce”. It’s great plain, but also as the base for her fantastic pasta puttanesca. 

Also starting The Barefoot Contessa’s brioche. If you know me, you know this is something I make just about every three day weekend I get. It doesn’t require a lot of kneading (and the bit it does require…helllloooo stand mixer!), makes two great loaves, and keeps forever in the freezer. It’s a perfect bread. With this, I’ll be making Croque Monsieurs, which I’ve never tried. (These are both from her Barefoot in Paris cookbook). 

Sunday: Also from BIP, Lemon Chicken with Croutons. There was a sale on whole chickens at Whole Foods this week, so I grabbed one (should’ve grabbed two, in retrospect, but I don’t make whole chicken that often). I have a TON of roast chicken recipes, but since Ina Garten is a Roast Chicken Fanatic, I decided to try this one. The croutons are french bread, so very appropriate. Also serving a big salad with it, and possibly some veggies. Not sure about that part. 

Ins and outs…

  1. ENT check up today. All is well. He removed some of the “packing material” (AKA, gauze) that hadn’t dissolved or been blown out, so that it wouldn’t get infected. I see him again in 6 weeks. He is so fast—love it.
  2. Stopped at the market. It’s a long weekend and that means—EMILY COOKS! Brioche is on the menu, as is Nigella Lawson’s “Schmalzy Chicken”, because there was a beautiful organic bird at the market that was calling to me. Also, Croque Monsieur (because Gruyere was on sale!). ALso some beautiful blood oranges that shall make their ways in salads. So I’m excited. 
  3. Also, on the food front? Chocolate Cherry coffee. Yes. Right now. 
  4. I have the herbs for my herb garden! Well, the seeds. So far I have: dill (which I LOOOVE above many herbs), Italian flat leaf  parsley, 2 Genovese basil (I use a LOT of basil), and slow bolt cilantro. I would still like to get thyme and mint, perhaps parsley. I’m planning a container garden for my back/front porches, since my place faces E-W, and I get a lot of sun. 
  5. Today was a strange driving day. We have people going 50 in a 65 MPH zone, and then men in minivans acting like they are qualifying for Daytona. Note: If you’re in a minivan….you’re not racing. Full stop. 
  6. Reading a LOT right now. A lot a lot. Also have all my Lent books selected and ready to rock out for next week. 

Simple Woman’s Daybook–January 30, 2012

Outside my window…sunny! It’s going to be almost 60 degrees tomorrow. This is January? I’ll take it. 

I am wearing…jeans and a peach sweater. My body isn’t being super-cooperative today so I’m at home. Sigh. Body can’t wait for the sinuses to be drained! 

From the kitchen…citrus couscous w/ edible flowers for dinner. Later this week: asparagus, goat cheese, pesto and proscuitto sandwiches, and tequila lime salmon w/ black rice. 

Around the house…It’s actually (shock) pretty clean. So a light housekeeping load this week.

I am reading…some of Mother Angelica’s books on prayer and scripture. Also Purgatorio (only 10 more cantos!)

In the CD player…The best of Simon and Garfunkle. 

Some plans for the week…Candlemas on Thursday; audition on Sunday. 

Thankful for…the Monday list. 

Daybook–January 23, 2012

Outside my window…dark and windy. The weather has been insane this year. It was maybe 10 degrees on Friday and now it’s in the 50s? Huh? So confusing.

I am wearing…a camisole and sweatpants—just out of the tub and going to do some bookshelving/yoga/ballet beautiful after this. I need to get a chair for reading in the book room, post haste.

In the CD player…Eva Cassidy, Songbird

I am reading….Purgatorio; Letters to Gabriel

From the kitchen…Pasta e fagioli (soup w/ pasta and beans) for dinner. It was really good. I am doing well on my resolution to eat at home at least four times a week. Going through Rachael Ray’s first cookbook (Thirty Minute Meals) really helps, because the recipes there are quick and doable. 

Around the house…the tree and all Christmas ornaments (except the creche) are packed away. Sigh. The little wall looks so bare now. So there’s vacuuming and dusting to be done in that are. 

Thankful for….LIFE

To live the liturgy…Mass, rosary, Divine Mercy, Vespers today. Shooting for Mass on Thursday and Friday as well. 

A few plans for the rest of the week…it’s busy! Reading of a play on Saturday; trivia night at St. Pat’s, also Saturday; auditions for Moby Dick: Rehearsed at the Civic on Sunday (I have my Shakespearean monologue picked, just have to rehearse it some more). Lots of theater! 🙂 Session tomorrow. Parents over for dinner (pizza) on Wednesday. 

Learning…Italian! Using the molto bene program from the Chrome app store. It’s such a fun way to learn. From the music room: “Tell Me Why” from A Man of No Importance, Mozart’s Ave Verum, and a hymn Br. H wrote.