Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Yummy Sausage and Pasta Dinner – Quick! (serves 6)

Have you every had one of those crazy spontaneous moments and asked people over to dinner that evening and it is already 5 o’ clock! Of course you have done this, and then arrived home to find yourself in a panic over what you can pull together quickly while screaming out loud, “what was I thinking inviting people over tonight!!!!”” That’s when you zoom to the supermarket (or do this before you go home to avoid this panic attack) and buy the few things you need to make this gorgeous, crowd-pleasing dinner! It is also a super inexpensive main course for six.

Quick and easy dinner for six!

Quick and easy dinner for six!

I also think when you see how easy this is, you might also decide to make a batch of brownies while everyone is sitting around after dinner: yes, it’s what I did and I wasn’t taxed a bit! (Recipe for Brownies below)

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You will need:

2 tbs olive oil

1 lb seasoned sausage (I used an Apple & Onion, but feel free to grab whatever is available: mild Italian, garlic, wine & herbs, etc – * If I were on the East coast of Ireland I would use Lavistown Sausages*)

ALSO: you can use chicken or turkey sausage

1 large Vidalia (sweet) onion, small dice

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced

4 sprigs fresh thyme (if you don’t have it, don’t worry)

4 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 tsp curry powder (any favorite variety)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 1/2 bouillon cube & water)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 lb medium pasta shells (I use Barilla brand)

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (if you have it on hand)

*This can easily be a Blood Type A Diet recipe by using a poultry sausage (chicken or turkey) Also, substitute the cream with more stock (veggie or whole bouillon cube) and, if you are really strict, omitting the curry powder and chili flakes*

Method:

*Put large pot of water on for pasta, add about 2 tsp coarse salt to water. Cook according to instructions and reserve about 3/4 cup pasta water before draining. do not rinse pasta with cold water. It will take the pot of water about 5 or so minutes to come to a boil and the shells will take anywhere from 9 to 11 minutes (check package for cooking time). This adds up to about 16 to 20 minutes, so time the pasta to be ready at the same time as it is required in the dish*

first: dice onion, chop garlic

First: dice onion, chop garlic

1 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and a the oil. When it has warmed add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove sausage casing by cutting the entire lenght of the sausge adn sliding it off. then it is easy to cut or break the sasge into your pan

Remove sausage casing by cutting the entire length of the sausage and sliding it off. Then it is easy to cut or break the meat into your pan

2 – While onions are cooking remove the sausage from casing (instructions above)

kuh

Add Sausage and thyme

3 – Add the sausage to pan be cutting it into pieces as you go, or breaking it off into pieces with your hands. Add the thyme and celery. Turn pan up slightly and cook the sausage for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown on all sides.

Add curry powder

Add curry powder

4 – Add the curry powder (and bouillon cube if using) and stir into sausage mixture until everything looks golden.

Add the liquids, then the spinach

Add the liquids, then the spinach

5 – Add the broth (or water) and let it come to a simmer. Add the cream and wait until it is also simmering before adding the chopped spinach. Cover and lower heat until everything is at a very gently simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and taste sauce and add salt and pepper if needed (purely personal). Add the just-drained shells and stir. If you like a looser sauce, add some of the reserved pasta water (and a little cream if you like) until desired consistency is reached.

Serve

Serve

Serve in warmed shallow bowls with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano.

lovely brownies

If you want to make brownies quickly, click HERE for recipe!

Do You Want Curry Chips With That? (with your Baked Curried Cod that is!) Serves 4-6

The other day a very old friend tracked me down via this blog, and since then we have exchanged a couple of emails. The kind of “old friend” I am talking about is the one you are forever bound to because you were in the same place at the same time during those precious formative years; the years where you were beginning to become the person you ultimately became (for lack of a more evolved explanation).

Curried Chips: the reason for this post!

Curried Chips: the reason for this post!

I met Maria when we were thirteen and we were thrown together, for better or for worse, until we were grown women of eighteen (supposedly anyway!), and, except for a few occasions when we happen to bump into each other, and keeping up a little through mutual friends, we had never really kept in touch. I didn’t see this as a  failure on either of our parts. It was just life, and our school friendship was complete in and of itself, unchanged by the years in between and the cheery hello I received from her last week.

The River Barrow (10 minutes from our house)

The River Barrow (10 minutes from our house)

Of course the way in which friendships like this one are rekindled  is to connect over the events that our lives revolved around at that time; the place we lived, the people we knew, the food we ate etc. And so when we emailed, we both started off with “remember when?” comments.

Maria’s “remember when” was about running over to get batter burgers at lunchtime! What’s a batter burger you may well ask? Basically, the Fish & Chip shop was the only place to have something quick to eat in the 1970’s through the 80’s, and was (and still is) synonymous with the last stop on the way home from a drunken night on the town. It was thought to be a good hangover cure, or at least make it more bearable.

Crispy battered cod

Crispy battered cod from The Saltee Chipper in County Wexford

  ‘The Chipper”, as any one of these places was generally referred to, was by and large run by first generation Italians in Ireland, and they had accomplished the art of frying fish, meat and potatoes (the staples in Ireland back then), in a small vat of bubbling oil to crisp perfection. There is nothing quite like a meal of battered cod and chips (french fries) with a good soaking of vinegar. It can be such a deeply satisfying dish when eaten at exactly the right moment. The batter burger sounds awful, a beef patty dipped in dough batter and deep-fried to a golden puffiness – yep, that does sound awful, but I assure you I must have liked it at one point in my life. Battered sausages were also a popular item but I never had the nerve to try one. They looked like long blistered…well they looked pretty disgusting to me!

Approacing Christ's Church Cathedral

Dublin is a great place for Fish and Chips

Being reminded of foods like batter burgers made me think about the food from the Chipper that I really enjoyed. I still make Fish and Chips today (plenty of examples of this on my blog) but the memory of Curried Chips was what I became fixated on. In Ireland chips came with everything. It was simply unacceptable to serve a meal without a potato on the plate in one form or another. The Chinese restaurants that opened up were soon to learn that serving chips on the same plate as the chicken curry and rice gleaned more hungry Bar-goers and so it became common to eat chips accidentally soaked in curry sauce.

a peak at the view

County Laois

I am really just coming to my own logical conclusion that the flavor of  the curry sauce on the chips was so popular it became a frequent request at the Chip Shop, and slowly but surely Curried Chips became a popular item on the menu. So much so, that along with the obligatory question, “salt and vinegar?” after your chips were hot out of the oil and in a neat little rectangular bag, you were asked if you wanted curry sauce too. It was either poured into the bag or given on the side. As messy as it was to eat, I preferred it spilling out of the bag!

Curried Chips with Cod Fish

My Version of Curried Chips with Cod Fish

The logic continued to follow that I would have to make Curried Chips myself to capture some of that nostalgia. When my son took his first bite he declared, “hey, these are like the curried chips in Ireland”

Enough said!

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For the Curry Sauce:

4 tbs unsalted butter

3 to 4 cups chicken or veggie broth OR 1 good quality bouillon cube and water (which is what I usually do for this. I use Rapunzel brand cubes: really great)

1 1/2 to 2 tbs mild or medium heat madras curry powder

1 tsp sea-salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1 – Put sauce pan on medium/low heat and add the butter. When it has melted, add the curry powder and sir until incorporated. Add the flour and repeat process. If using a bouillon cube, crumble it in, and stir well.

melt butter, add curry powder

melt butter, add curry powder

2 – Next add the liquids 1 cup at a time while mixing with a whisk. Cook sauce (stirring all the while) until thickened and flour and spices have cooked into the liquid, (about 10 minutes or so). Taste and adjust for salt and pepper according to your likeness. Cover and set aside.

Cook for a little

Cook for a little

*If you feel your sauce could be thinner, add more stock or water until the desired consistency is reached.*

add liquid, salt adn pepper

Add liquid, salt and pepper

Serve with whatever you like; in this case, chips or french fries (depending on which continent you grew up on!)

serve with fries

serve with fries (either on the side like this, or smothering the chips completely in sauce!)

Recipe for Chips (Fries):

4 large potatoes (not huge, just large!)

3 tbs olive oil,

1 tsp sea-salt

generous grinding of black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven 475*

1 – Wash and dry the potatoes and cut lengthways into thick slices (3/5″, 1cm) and put in large bowl. 2 – Add the salt & pepper and the olive oil to bowl and mix well with hands until potatoes are well coated. When oven is hot take your big baking sheet and add 2 tbs oil to pan and place in lower 3rd of oven.

from potato, to slices, to fries!

From potato, to slices, to fries!

2 – Add the salt & pepper and the olive oil to bowl and mix well with hands until potatoes are well coated. When oven is hot take your big baking sheet and add 2 tbs oil to pan and place in lower 3rd of oven. Let pan warm for about 4 or so minutes. Take pan out (it will give off a bluish smoke, don’t be alarmed) and immediately pour potatoes onto pan (should sizzle).

Mix in a bowl with rest of ingredients

Mix in a bowl with rest of ingredients (I added a few sprigs of rosemary that I discovered lurking in the back of the veggie drawer)

3 –  Arrange evenly in a single layer and place in oven for 20 minutes. Take out, let pan cool for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then turn fries with a spatula (or egg flip/turner?). They should release easily….if not, put back in oven for another 2 minutes and try again. Turn and place back in oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes (peak after 8). Take out, give them a minute to release themselves and get ready to serve or keep warm as the case may be.

great fries

Great fries

Recipe for Baked Curried Cod:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh cod fillets (use 2 lbs if cooking for six), cut into 4 to 6 oz pieces

1 tsp mild curry powder

sprigs of fresh thyme (about 2 dozen)

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter

sea-salt and black pepper for seasoning fish

Method:

Preheat oven to 400*

1 – Wash and dry fish. Season fish with sea-salt and pepper and curry powder. Rub a baking sheet with the olive oil and toss the thyme sprigs in the bottom in the even layer. Place the fish on top of the thyme.

*If some of your fish is thick and some thin (the tail end), all you have to do is fold the thin pieces in two to thicken them out and to assure they cook around the same time as your thicker pieces*

Arrange fish on baking tray with other ingredients

Arrange fish on baking tray with other ingredients

2 – Place a pat of butter on each fish piece and bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Take it our of the oven and cover with foil until ready to serve.

et voila!

et voila!

Serve this with whatever you like: if serving alone, add some lemon wedges. This is also great with egg noodles, rice and a sautéed green.

As you can see, I served the fish with curry sauce adn chips - delish!

As you can see, I served the fish with curry sauce and chips – quite delish!

Quick Creamy Penne Caper Chicken (serves 4-6)

This is comfort food at its best and exactly what I was in the mood for the last night. I know that when people see the word “creamy” in a recipe it tends to make them turn the page quickly for fear that even looking at the word will make them gain weight. From my experience in the kitchen, and living around people for quite some time, I know that eating a dish like this once in a while is not the culprit. It is all that other stuff we do, like eating bigger portions than we should, drinking sugar-loaded beverages and diving into that bag of chips with a little too much gusto!

Quick Creamy Penne Caper Chicken

Quick Creamy Penne Caper Chicken

Because of this, we deprive ourselves of a great dish like the one I cooked for myself and my family last night. I didn’t feel a shred of guilt as I glugged the cream into the pan and nor should you. I know that if you are on a mission to loose some weight it might be something to avoid for the moment (however read this if you want to know what I think about dieting!), but as a general rule, dishes like this shouldn’t be tabu unless you are over-indulging in the wrong foods, or it is a medical issue.

So go ahead and try this great pasta dish out, without guilt or remorse. Besides your worry about the cream, the rest of the ingredients should make you feel great: chicken breast, spinach, onions, garlic, celery!

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You will need:

2 tbs olive oil

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to season meat

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional, but lovely addition!)

3 or 4 chicken fillets (if they are large, use 3 or if you are cooking for 6 use 4)

1 medium sweet onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (if you don’t have this, don’t worry, still tastes great without)

2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced

8 oz cremini  (Baby Bella) mushrooms, diced

4 tbs rinsed capers

4 cups chopped spinach

1/2 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 bouillon cube and a 1/2 cup water)

2 cups heavy cream

1 lb ridged mini penne (Barilla make a great mini penne)

Method:

1 – Season chicken lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper flakes (if you are using). Put large saute pan (big enough to hold the entire completed dish) on high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the chicken and cook undisturbed for 3 or so minutes until browned. Turn meat and lower heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from pan to a plate and tent loosely with foil. After about 10 minutes (in the meantime you can be getting on with the rest of the dish) cut each chicken breast into 1/4 inch slices (about 1/2 cm). Cover and set aside.

Sear chicken

Sear chicken

2 – If the pan looks dry, add a little oil and add the celery, onions and garlic. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until vegetables become softer., stirring occasionally.

saute base veggies

saute base veggies

*Put water on for pasta and cook according to instructions. Before you drain the pasta scoop out about 1 cup of the cooking liquid and reserve. Do not rinse pasta. Time this so as the pasta is cooked by the time the rest of the dish is done (see times in steps 3 to 5 to calculate)*

3 – Add the thyme and diced mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, until the mushrooms start to brown and begin releasing juices.

Add diced mushrooms

Add diced mushrooms

4 – Add the chopped spinach and capers and cook for 1 minute before adding the broth (or bouillon and water). Turn up heat slightly and stir to release any brown bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Add the cream and bring to a low boil.

add capers, spinach, then cream

Add capers, spinach, then cream

5 – When it just begins to boil add the sliced chicken, along with the accumulated juices and turn heat down to low. Cover and cook at a very low simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked (you can check by cutting into a piece. The meat should be tender, juicy and white). Turn pan off and immediately add the cooked, drained pasta. Gently stir everything together and add a little pasta cooking water if you want a looser sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Add chicken and cook until done

Add chicken, cover and cook until done

Serve in warmed shallow bowls and pass a little grate Parmigiano Reggiano and extra pepper flakes if you so desire!

Blackened Asian-Style Salmon with Yummy Rice

This was another one of those dinners that was held together flavor-wise by my trusty bottle of soy sauce! Soy sauce is an all around champion in the kitchen if you want a big flavor but don’t want to spend any time trying coax it out of your main ingredients.

Serve

A Great, Fast & Easy Dinner

Take salmon for example…it’s not my most favorite fish in the world, and unless you whip it right off of your fishing line or get it when the boat comes in, I think a lot of the flavor gets lost by the time it is presented to you on a bed of crushed ice in the display case of your supermarket. This is why I always treat salmon to a robust dousing of something strong like soy sauce. Here I let it sit in a sweet and salty concoction and then cooked it fast on high heat.

It sealed in the flavors and gave every bite a crusty zingy taste which everyone raved about. The rice was the perfect partner and the zucchini soaked up the rest of the marinate like the absorbent sponge that it is – a totally yummy dinner which was enjoyed to no end the other night!

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*This is a great Blood Type A Diet Recipe with the main ingredients being beneficial (salmon, soy, onions, garlic) and the rest being neutral*

You will need:

4 salmon fillets (about 6 oz per piece)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin (find this in the Asian or international section of supermarket or specialty shop)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp finely granulated sugar

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 sweet onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup shredded or matchstick carrots

2 medium zucchini, diced

4 to 6 cups cooked basmati rice

Method:

*If you have leftover rice, take it our of the fridge ready for use. If cooking rice, do so first. For stove-top use two cups raw and follow package instructions. if using rice cooker, use 3-cup rice cup measure and follow instructions*

mix marinade

Mix marinade

1 – Mix the soy, mirin, sesame oil and sugar in a shallow bowl or dish and add the salmon. Turn a few times to coat and set aside in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

prep veggies

Prep veggies

2 – Chop veggies!

3 – Put large saute pan on medium to high heat and let the pan warm up. Add the oil and when it is hot, add the salmon, shaking off the excess marinade as you go (reserve marinade to be added later to the rice). The fish should be un-crowded, so if your pan is small, cook two at a time. Cook fish for about 4 minutes, disturbing as little as possible. Flip and cook for another 3 or so minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and keep warm on low heat in the oven.

fry salmon

Fry salmon

4 – Add a little more oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and continue to cook for another 4 or 5 minutes.

saute veggies

Saute veggies

5 – Add the rice and when it is just hot, add enough of the leftover marinade to color the rice. Taste rice and add more marinate to suit you.

add rice

Add rice

Serve a piece of fish with a serving of rice. an optional garnish (not for blood type A’s or diary-free diets) of a dollop of sour cream is great here, with a splash of sriracha sauce.

garnish with sout cram & chili paste, topped of with a flourish of parsley

Serving option: Garnish with sour cream & chili paste, topped with a flourish of parsley (on its own or along with rice)

Baked Trout with Bacon and Cherry Tomatoes (serves 4)

All I can say is that when my son suggested we have trout for dinner and I said “why not!”, I did not think it would be this delicious!

Doesn't this look good!

Doesn’t this look good!

There is nothing easier or faster that throwing a fish into the oven. I literally had this dish together in 10 minutes and a half hour later we were all chowing down!

This was memorable, not only because everyone around the table loved it equally, but it was such a physical thing to eat. We all had to tackle the fish to get to the succulent meat. Some removed the skin and bones, while others ate the skin and picked around the bones throughout the entire meal, forgoing knife and fork in some instances. I also cannot say enough about how well the cherry tomatoes went with the whole dish: totally yum!

Eating this from the pan is an option

Eating this from the pan is an option!

It is definitely an easy thing to try especially if you are one of those people who has the dreaded fish-fear: it is kind of hard to mess this up, so go ahead and take the plunge!

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*This is a great Blood Type A Diet recipe BUT omit the bacon and tomatoes*

You will need:

4 whole trout (heads removed or left on), about 1/2 to 3/4 lb each

bunch of mixed herbs, enough to generously stuff the 4 fish (any of the following three: oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley)

2 cups cherry tomatoes

4 strips of bacon – optional (*do not use bacon if making this a Blood Type A Diet Recipe*)

Sea salt for seasoning

3 or so tbls extra-virgin olive oil

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Rub about 2 tbs of oil in shallow roasting dish (or use two smaller dishes like I did). Divide the herb combination into 4 even bunches and stuff each fish. Season fish lightly with sea-salt and wrap in bacon, stretching and pulling it as tightly as you can over the fish.

stuff trout with fresh herbs

stuff trout with fresh herbs

*If not using bacon: season with salt and lightly drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil over fish and rub all over.

2 – Scatter the tomatoes around the fish and place in preheated oven. Take out of oven after 15 minutes and carefully turn fish. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes until done.

Wrap in bacon adn scatter tomatoes

Wrap in bacon and scatter tomatoes

3 – Take fish out and set oven rack close to the broiler and turn to high. Place fish under the broiler for about 1 minute and flip to do the other side. This will crisp up the bacon.

bake fish

bake fish

Serves as is, or, with a salad, a good crusty bread doused in olive oil, or rice and greens. I served our trout with basmati rice, sautéed spinach and garlic.

Serve with whatever you like

Serve with whatever you like

The Slap-Dash Dinner instead of Eating Crap! (serves 4)

I just had to post this recipe, if for nothing else but to prove the point that you can make dinner without expending an ounce of energy or without dashing off to the supermarket for that missing ingredient!

yummy alternative to eating bad take-out

Yummy alternative to eating bad take-out

Have you ever been too tired to cook, but when you ordered out or drove 10 minutes each way for take-out, OR, stuck a frozen pizza in the oven and ending up being so dissatisfied with what you ate that you wished you had cooked something, or even settled for beans on toast: Of course you have!

The other night when it was time to make dinner my brain had stopped working and I started going through all of the ways I could get out of cooking dinner. Then I snapped out of it, that trap you get yourself into over what to eat and where to get it. If you live in a town as dismally lacking in food choices as I do, then you will have had the experience of settling for something, crossing your fingers it will be good, and then feel like you ate slop for dinner! That is when I figured out if I was going to eat slop, I might as well make it myself; it was bound to be better and I wouldn’t be charged for the pleasure.

It may look "thrown together" but don't let that fool you - it tasted delish!

It may look “thrown together” but don’t let that fool you – it tasted delish!

At that moment I put my trusty pan on the counter and started filling it with whatever came in contact with my hands. This is what we ended up with, a veritable smorgasbord of a feast, one I lapped up with immense satisfaction knowing I hadn’t wasted my money on what was sure to have been another disappointing dining experience.

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You will need:

freshly ground pepper

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 chicken breast fillets (or some chicken thighs or drumsticks)

5 Italian sausages (or whatever sausages you happen to have on hand)

6 stripes bacon

4 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (but saved)

2 celery ribs, chopped or diced

1 cup matchstick, or thinly sliced carrots

6 cloves garlic, with skin on

1 cup chopped cilantro (if you don’t have this and you have flat-leafed parsley, use this instead!

3 tbs capers, rinsed (if you don’t have capers, don’t worry)

3 cups chicken broth OR 1 good quality stock cube and 3 cups water

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Place all of the prepared veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan or saute pan or low rimmed casserole dish. If you are using a bouillon cube, crumble it over the veggies. Wrap 1 stripe of bacon around each chicken bread and place on top. Place Portobello mushrooms and sausages in pan and put a stripe of rolled bacon on each mushroom. Grind some pepper over entire dish and drizzle with the oil. Place in oven for 25 minutes.

place on ingredients in pan

Place on ingredients in pan

2 – Remove dish from oven and turn the sausages, the bacon on top of mushrooms and the chicken breasts. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

slap-dash dinner is ready to eat!

Slap-Dash dinner is ready to eat!

Serve with whatever you like: pasta, bread, rice or on its own.

Asian Stir-Fry Beef with Fried Rice – Total Yumminess! (serves 4 – 6)

Yes, yes, I’ve been a slacker, but I have undertaken a few more ventures in my already too-packed life and so my poor blog has had to suffer until I got everything up and running – so, here we go!

fc

Really yummy beef sir-fry for dinner!

The blog may have been MIA but that certainly does not mean that the Crappy Kitchen was collecting dust: I have been cooking up a storm most nights and here is something that I was begged to cook by my son. He had a longing for something I rarely cook, beef, so I succumbed and made something that would please everyone: a whole wok-full of thinly sliced stir-fry beef with rice.

It was delicious beyond belief and even thought it is a tabu food on my particular diet (Blood Type A) I couldn’t help “test tasting” a little more than was good for me!

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You will need:

3 or so tbs vegetable or grapeseed oil (more if needed)

2 lbs beef, very thinly sliced – not shaved (NY stripe or flank steak is good)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

2 tsp granulated sugar

10 scallions, including green parts, sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (use 3 if large)

8 oz mung bean sprouts

1 cup grated or matchstick carrots

4 cups chopped spinach

6 cups cooked basmati rice

Pari Basmati Rice

Pari Basmati Rice

*This is a good time to use that leftover rice – it can be added to the dish straight from the refrigerator. If you do not have rice cooked, put it on to cook first thing. If using a rice cooker (as I do!), cook a 3 cup measure of rice. If cooking on the stove top, use two cups and follow instructions on your rice bag*

fry beef

Fry beef – Hot and Fast!

1 – Mix the soy, mirin, sesame oil, pepper flakes and sugar in a large bowl and add the beef slices. Cover and set aside in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Put large saute pan or wok on high heat. When it is very hot, add 2 tbs of oil and add 1/3 of the beef, shaking off the excess marinade and distributing it over the entire surface of the pan. Let it cook for a minute (do not touch it as it sizzles!). Turn and shake the meat about and cook for another minute or two until cooked. Test a piece by eating – it should be tender and soft. Transfer to a bowl. Add more oil and continue to cook the beef in batches until it is all done. Reserve the marinade that is left in the bowl to be used later.

yg

Yummy stir-fried beef!

2 – If the pan is very dark and blackened on the bottom, you may want to give it a quick cleaning before you continue. Add a little more oil and with the pan on high heat, add the scallions, garlic and carrots. cook for two minutes, stirring often.

stir-fry scallion, carrots & garlic

stir-fry scallion, carrots & garlic

3 – Add the bean sprouts and continue to cook for 1 more minute.

add bean sprouts

add bean sprouts

4 – Add the chopped spinach and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the rice. Stir everything together and cook until rice is hot.

add spinach, then rice

add spinach, then rice

5 – Add the beef and its accumulated juices, as well as the rest of the marinade. Mix well and turn off heat. Taste for addition of more soy sauce or a soy sauce and mirin mixture.

add beef & serve!

add beef & serve!

Serve immediately in warmed bowls with more soy sauce and a dose of sriracha sauce if that is your thing!