Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Simple Reminder

Tonight we had Jeremy and Katy over for dinner and games and I decided to serve this simple yet savory stir-fry. Yes, I have made it before. But this time, as we all sat down together, the steam still rising from the fresh cooked meal on our plates and started to dig in, all I could think about was how much better this was than any ready made convenience meal we could have picked up tonight. Everyone has those times when we get too busy, too lazy, too impatient, or just too impulsive to bother with cooking. It can be so much easier to give into the temptation of fast food or a ready made meal from the supermarket deli. But it's recipes like these -- listening to the fresh locally grown vegetables sizzle in the pan; the aromas of garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame wafting through your house; perfect meat marinade carefully adjusted to your own personal preferences -- which make me remember why I love cooking even if it seems like a lot of work sometimes. Despite the extra time in planning and preparation that cooking requires, there still is nothing that tastes better than a meal that you put together and brought to life yourself. And of course that feeling is always magnified when you can share it with friends whether it be an actual dish in person or over the internet in a blog like this.

This meal is not difficult to prepare at all but the cooking times are very fast so make sure you have everything prepped, peeled and chopped, before you start any of the cooking process. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a nice tall glass of cold milk.

Sesame Beef and Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1/4 cup Chinese black (Chinkiang) vinegar or rice vinegar, divided
4 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
3/4 pound top round, cut into1/4-inch strips
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and divided
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups red bell pepper strips
1 1/2 cups frozen blanched shelled edamame (green soybeans), thawed
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 (15-ounce) can whole baby corn, drained
1/2 cup diagonally cut green onions
3 cups cooked jasmine rice


Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar, sesame oil, and five-spice powder in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add beef; toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove beef from bowl; discard marinade.

Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar, water, and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk.

Heat 1 teaspoon peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; stir-fry 1 minute. Remove beef from pan. Add 1 teaspoon peanut oil, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic to pan; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add bell pepper, edamame, mushrooms, and corn; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add beef and cornstarch mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat; stir in 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and onions. Serve over rice.


6 servings (serving size: 1 cup stir-fry and 1/2 cup rice)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 434(30% from fat); FAT 14.4g (sat 3.3g,mono 4.8g,poly 3.5g); PROTEIN 21.7g; CHOLESTEROL 36mg; CALCIUM 62mg; SODIUM 318mg; FIBER 6.3g; IRON 3.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55.9g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2003

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