Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stir-Fries & Pizza

These are two foods that, while I enjoy them, I'm not always sure how to make them very well.  I like ordering them in a restaurant, but when it comes to me making them, they seem to lack flavor.  My goal, starting last spring, was to search out recipes and learn to make them like a pro.  So here are my secrets.

Did any of you watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last year?  If you didn't, you should check it out on  I thought it was awesome and totally got hooked on the idea of stir-fries.  I've found two options that I like to rotate through.  My meat preference is beef, although you can mix it up as you'd like.  I find that this is an easy way to get off of my chicken bandwagon. 

Option 1: Joy of Cooking's Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry
First make the marinade.
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T rice wine (I think I just use rice vinegar)
1 T water
1 T sugar
1 T cornstarch
2 t. sesame oil
Add your meat, making sure that it gets full coverage
1 lb boneless beef steak, cut into strips
Leave the meat in the marinade for at least 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop the following veggies....or your own preferred mixture.
1 onion
2 bell peppers; I like to mix it up for color
1 c. mushroom caps
4 scallions; cut at an angle for better presentation
In another bowl, mix up the following seasonings
2 t. minced fresh ginger
1 T minced garlic
Heat your skillet or wok with a small amount of oil.  Joy of Cooking calls for peanut oil, but that seems fattening to me, so I use canola or vegetable oil for their taste-less properties. 
Add the ginger mixture and let it hang out until you can smell the aromas.  Add the beef and cook until browned. 
Remove beef & ginger mixture to a plate.  Wipe out pan, add some more oil and add your veggies.  Stir fry them to your liking, whether that be "crisp tender" as stated by Joy of Cooking, or not. 
Add scallions.
Add meat mixture.
Add marinade (from earlier), adding 1/3 c. chicken stock/broth or water.
Let it all hang out until the beef is re-warmed. 

Serving options--over rice or Udon noodle.  There is also the option of eating them as is! 

Option 2: Julie's Quick and Easy Method
This is my go-to stir-fry option for a quick meal when I feel the need for lots of veggies!  For my latest version I used the following veggies:
2 bell peppers of various colors, sliced
mushrooms, sliced
snap peas
Sometimes I like to add
onion, chopped
mini corn on the cobs, quartered
Next I heat my pan (I am NOT the proud owner of a wok.  Maybe I should invest.)  Heat a neutral oil. (i.e. canola, veggie, etc.)  Stir fry the veggies to your liking.  Here's my favorite shortcut--sprinkle on ground ginger!  On my "quick and easy" nights I hate fussing with too much grating, peeling or chopping.  This seems to work decently well. 
While all of this is going on, I usually have my sliced beef cooking in another pan.  (See info on meat selection in "Option 1".)
When the veggies seem close to ready, I pour in:  House of Tsang Classic Stir-Fry Sauce.  This is my absolute favorite.  It adds so much flavor and can be used during cooking or after.  That's crucial for this house since I like things less-saucy than Mr. P.  I put the bottle on the table with the meal and he adds more as desired.   
Add the beef to the veggie mixture.  Mix all together.
Serve over basmati rice.  None of that instant stuff allowed. 
**Note on the sauce--I like to cook from scrach.  And, I am NOT a big condiment user.  I find that they are usually full of all kinds of things I can't identify.  As well as loaded with salt.  However, I make an exception here.  This one is awesome! 

Wow this post has gotten long.  I think I will save my pizza comments for later. 

To be continued...


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