Sunday, May 10, 2009

Steak & Peanut Butter

My mentor teacher was so excited when she saw my lunch the other day. She exclaimed, "Oh, that looks and smells so good. Is it pot roast?" No, I tell her, it's steak and peanut butter. I realize that sounds kinda gross and she immediately becomes uninterested. I didn't mean it that way, but it's true. It is steak and peanut butter and it's pretty good.

With my teaching responsibilities dying down, I've come back to recipe reading. I couldn't be more pleased because for a while I thought I might never be inspired by cooking again.

I do think it was a good experience to learn how to cook like "real people" with simple no-nonsense recipes for chicken breasts and a requisite rice cooker (I love this appliance...a wedding gift from Sandy Sprankles--my favorite name ever. It automatically shifts itself to warm once the rice is cooked. You don't have to watch it or time it).

I found this recipe in an old issue of Everyday Food.

Skirt Steak & Bok Choy Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound skirt steak, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large head bok choy, cut 1 inch thick crosswise
4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced on bias
cooked rice, for serving (We had brown rice seasoned with Asian garlic and chili paste)
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

1. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, peanut butter, honey, and garlic; season with pepper.
2. In a bowl, toss steak with cornstarch; season with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add 1/2 of steak; cook, tossing, until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining steak.
3. To skillet, add soy mixture, bok choy, and carrots. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes. Return steak to skillet; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice; sprinkle with peanuts.

I loooooove bok choy. The spines are very celery-like in texture, but without the acrid taste of actual celery. I kind of freaked out when I realized the stir-fry to sauce ratio and doubled the sauce. I do not think this was a wise decision. It was still really good, but I think the flavors would have been more subtle and less peanut butter and steak if I'd had some patience and taken into account that the bok choy would obviously wilt down.

This reaction came from my experience with recipes from the Everyday Food magazine. I absolutely adore this publication, but it's mostly for the stylistic elements of it. The photography charms the pants off me, but the recipes are very simple and sometimes I wonder why they take up space with the repeated information (I've been a subscriber for a little too long, but you let an issue show up late and I'm calling their customer service department immediately).

Sometimes simplicity is best, but I adhere to the advice of Bobby Flay (I can't believe I'm invoking his name; I can't stand to see or hear him. I will not tell you what I think he looks like.): cook it less and season it more.

We also had some lovely Asian Cabbage Slaw (also from Everyday Food):

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 milliliters rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 small head shredded Savoy or green cabbage (I used green)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions, cut into matchsticks
1 grated carrot
1/2 fresh jalapeno, minced

In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and 2 teaspoons sugar; season with salt and whisk. To dressing, add 1/2 small head shredded Savoy or green cabbage, 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 4 scallions, cut into matchsticks, 1 grated carrot, and 1/2 fresh jalapeno, minced, and toss to combine.

This was delectable...and only gets better with age. I adore raw cabbage. Pickled foods like this are good for digestion. The macros have a dish like this with every meal.


Amanda said...

Both of those look really good. I have some Farmer's Market bok choy at home just begging for some good treatment. Maybe I will do just this thing to it.

Amanda said...

All right, I made this for dinner with my local bok choy and it was yummers! I never cook steak but this was a winner. I had it with noodles because I'm difficult like that.