Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beef with Snow Peas

I don't know why, but I always thought snow peas were called sugar peas. At least that's what I grew up thinking. Along with cherry tomatoes, we used to grow and sell snow peas when I was younger. My parents would have about an acre or two of these. It was hard work! As a kid, my job was to just help plant the seeds, go with my mom to water the plants at night (because it would get so hot during the day in CA), and basically just sit and watch the "house" that my dad built for our farm. It was usually just my younger sister and I that went (out of all the kids in the family). Sometimes I was responsible for grilling the meats over the wood burning fire pit. That to me was some of the best food ever. As much as I disliked going to the farm back in the days, I also miss them now. It was a big part of my childhood and reminds me of how hard my parents worked. It reminds me a lot of my dad who's no longer with us. :( Our Hmong parents are truly great farmers. They know how to grow anything. When we stopped farming, I realized how much poorer we became because the extra income wasn't there to support us.

Anyway, there is really nothing special about the ingredients in this recipe, but I liked how it was cooked. I liked that it was cooked in an iron skillet and the meat was charred (like how I usually like meat). I also added garlic to mine. I love garlic. I just bought some cheap beef from Wal-Mart because I was already there and didn't feel like stopping at another store. Never buy fresh meat from Wal-Mart. They have some of the worst meat IMO. The dish was saltier than what I would've liked probably because I didn't have enough meat (only one pound instead of 1.5). Overall, I would give this recipe a 3/5 stars. Again nothing special, but I liked how it was cooked and how vibrant the sauce made the dish look once it's finished.

The recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. She has great photos and step by step directions, so I never even bother to repeat hers. I'll post the recipe anyway in case it should ever disappear somehow.

1 1/2 pound Flank Steak, Trimmed Of Fat And Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
1/2 cups Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Sherry Or Cooking Sherry
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
8 ounces, weight Fresh Snow Peas, Ends Trimmed
5 whole Scallions, Cut Into Half-inch Pieces On The Diagonal
Salt As Needed (use Sparingly)
3 Tablespoons Peanut Or Olive Oil
Crushed Red Pepper, For Sprinkling

Preparation InstructionsIn a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet (iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate. Set aside.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

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