Saturday, August 15, 2009

rocking the chinese wife thing

I don’t have a favorite chef. Is that strange? Do most people? So, for this challenge I used Somebody’s favorite Taiwanese chef (Pei Mei, as I mentioned before) and attempted another Chinese dinner. Behold, the Quick Stir-fried Beef with Green Onion.

Let me just begin my saying that you really need super-de-duper, paper-thin sliced beef for this. We did not have paper-thin beef. It was more like cardboard thin. It worked, but I think thinner would have been better. We attempted to get ours paper-thin. Honestly, we did.

Before you begin here, Somebody read through this post and determined that it was kind of boring. Feel free to skip right to the recipe at the end if you find yourself falling asleep.

Scene One: Saturday night at the meat counter in the grocery store.
Me (to the butcher): If we buy a piece of meat here, can you put it in your freezer until it is more solid and then slice it paper-thin for us?
Butcher #1 (played by a teenager): I have no idea. Let me go ask. (He goes into the back and reappears with an older and apparently much wise butcher.)
Butcher #2: What do you want?
Me: If we buy a piece of meat here, can you put it in your freezer until it is more solid and then slice it paper-thin for us?
Butcher #2: Sure. You just purchase it and then bring it back here with the receipt. We’ll put it in the freezer, then slice it for you, then have it ready for you on Monday.
Me: Wonderful. I love you. I will always shop here for, lo, your customer service, it is awesome.

Scene Two: Monday afternoon at the meat counter in the grocery store.
Me (to the butcher): Hi, do you remember me? I left the meat here on Saturday and you were going to slice it paper-thin for me.
Butcher #1 (played by a teenager): Uh…sure. Hold on. (He goes into the back and reappears with our meat, most certainly frozen to a solid block and NOT already sliced. He begins to unwrap the meat to get going on the slicing. Enter Butcher #3.)
Butcher #3: What are you doing?
Butcher #1: Just slicing this up for her.
Butcher #3. You can’t do that. Our meat slicer won’t slice meat that is frozen.
Me: Actually, it has to be mostly frozen in order to get it as thin as we want it.
Butcher #3: We can’t do that here.
Me: On Saturday, someone here told me you could.
Butcher #3: Well, not this frozen. You’ll have to take it home and thaw it out and then bring it back.
Me: Can you just do that here? Keep it in your refrigerator and then when it reaches the correct thaw/frozen ratio just slice it up paper-thin for me?
Butcher #3: No. There’s, uh, some liability or something, blah blah, and we can’t keep your meat in our freezer. What if we lost it?
Butcher #3: So, you just take it home and bring it back later when it is more thawed and we’ll slice it up for you.
Me: I hate you. You think I’m going to come back here with my meat? You, mister, have another think coming.

Scene Three: Tuesday evening at the meat counter in the grocery store.
Somebody (who had been given this chore because I refused to return to the meat counter as my loathing and frustration were still running deep. I had, however, taken the meat out of our freezer at precisely 3pm so that it could reach the perfect thaw/frozen ratio by the time Somebody got home and could go to the grocery store.): Hi, I brought this meat back for you to slice up paper-thin for us.
Butcher #3: What? Why? We can’t do that here. This here meat slicer is only for already cooked meat. We can’t put raw meat on there.
Somebody (eyeing the meat counter with NOT ONE piece of already cooked meat in the display case. All the cooked meat was over on the other side of the store in the deli section. The meat section had ONLY raw meat.): Uh, what? This is the third time we’ve been here.
Butcher #3: (Big sigh.) I GUESS I can use the saw in the back. Hold on. (Goes into the back. Returns a few minutes later with CARDBOARD-THICK slices of meat.) Here you go. Have a great day. Come back and see us again!
Somebody: My wife was right. You guys pretty much suck.

Curtain closes.

Pei Mei’s Chinese Cook Book Volume 2
My notes and observations are in parenthesis. We doubled this recipe because we were feeding more than two people.

Quick Stir-fried Beef with Green Onion
250 g. sliced beef (Do you love having your meat portioned by grams? We do NOT.)
2 cups shredded green onion (Shredded? We just cut it into 2-inch pieces, then sliced then in half length-wise.)
3 Tbsp sliced garlic (We used minced garlic because that was all we had.)
4 Tbsp oil
To marinate beef:
¼ tsp salt
½ Tbsp wine
1 Tbsp oil
1/6 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp cold water
½ Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Prepare the beef marinade in a bowl. Then add the sliced beef (The beef slices should be paper-thin. Good luck with that.) Mix thoroughly with your fingers. Set aside and marinate for at least 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Turn the pan around so that the oil covers the base of the pan.
3. When the oil is smoking hot, put the sliced garlic in. Then add the sliced beef. Stir over high heat for about 10 seconds (10 seconds? Only super paper-thin beef would be cooked in 10 seconds. Just cook it until just barely done.) Splash soy sauce around the sides of the pan. Mix and remove to a bowl. Reserve juice in pan. (We poured out most of the juice because it was WAY too much.) 4. Reheat the juice, then add green onion. Stir fry only for 5 seconds. Turn off the heat. Pour the beef back into the pan. Combine with green onion and add sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate.

We served this over white rice (of course). This recipe was easy to follow (I felt more confident stir-frying this time) and the meal was delicious. We will make this again. We also had some squid (left over from our calamari adventure last week) that Somebody prepared and served with shrimp in a yummy sauce.
Oh, and because you were all curious, we got our squid at the grocery store at the military post. You could probably find it already cut up, but we were going for squid we could also use in other Chinese recipes. Hence the whole squid. Again, SO not worth making the calamari at home. Make this Beef with Green Onion instead. You won’t be sorry.


Allison said...

Well, you tell Somebody that I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative. (And a good place to buy already-sliced-paper-thin meat is the Korean Market just off Metcalf.

Karla said...

You know who caught me laughing when I was reading you entry and needed to know what was so funny. He didn't laugh out loud like I did but I am sure he found it interesting. I need you to bring me a recipe for a good noodle dish. Some kind of basic yummy lo-mein thing. When are you coming out anyway?