Friday, April 8, 2016

Super Easy Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

I cheated a little bit with supper tonight but I swear, I didn't mean to do it.

If you've been reading along with the nonsense I spew here, then you've seen how I intended to cook new recipes only from my two Sam The Cooking Guy cookbooks. I slipped tonight. I was lurking on Imgur and came across this recipe: Super Easy Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef. The wild thing is that I actually was thawing out a package of stew meat in my refrigerator this morning but I didn't know what I was going to make with it.

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
 2-½ lb. flank steak
  • ¼ Cup cornstarch (I used regular flour instead.)
  • 2 tbs. olive oil 
  • 1 tbs. garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbs. ginger, grated 
  • ¼ tsp. chili flake (I used chili powder.)
  • ¾ Cup soy sauce (Thought I had some, but had to substitute Hosin sauce...LOVED IT! This has such a great deep, warm smell to it.)
  • ¾ Cup water 
  • ¾ Cup brown sugar, packed 
  • 1 Cup carrot, grated (I got a dish of these at the local grocery store because they have grated carrots on the salad bar.)
  • green onions for garnish (Nope, don't like these.)
Instructions: Cut flank steak into thin strips, cutting across the grain. Put steak into a ziploc bag with the cornstarch and shake to coat. Add the olive oil, garlic, ginger, chili flake, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, add the flank steak. Stir again until completely coated with sauce. Cover with lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours, on low 4-5 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender. About 30 minutes before done stir in the grated carrots. Can serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds (I meant to add the sesame seeds at the end before serving, but I forgot.) and green onions.

I read the comments on the Imgur post and realized a lot of people were irritated with olive oil and brown sugar in a Chinese dish. However, since I've never cooked Chinese from scratch, I don't have an opinion myself. All I know is that this was really good and I enjoyed it quite a bit. In fact, I have enough for leftovers for lunch now.

My Car is HOME!

The collision center called me first thing this morning and said my car is done and could be picked up!

I do have to take him back in 60 days to get the clear coat and under carriage protection reapplied to it, and I can't wash or wax him for 60 days right now. I'm sure that will be extended a bit once the other stuff gets redone, but that's okay.

It was a good drive home tonight. I was able to drop off the piece of shit Elantra I was renting and drive home in a comfy, clean car that doesn't feel like it could fall apart if I sneezed too hard while driving it.

Plus, car rental companies need to realize those "no smoking" stickers they put on the dashboards don't do a damn thing. For the first week or so, I felt like I was driving around in an ashtray. The rental needed a couple of interior spray downs of citus-scented disinfectant.

This last (almost) month, I've been kind of an anxiety-based driver while on the secondary roads. If someone else was driving, I've been fine. But put me in a car and let me see someone coming up behind me, then I just tense up real bad and it's like seeing the car coming for me all over again. After a couple of self-perceived close calls (that probably really weren't), I actually realized I was moaning with fear while I was driving and I absolutely hate that.

I don't want the anxiety to try and take over my life again. I went through that shit when Mom passed away and it took me MONTHS to get it back under control. I don't want it to become that monkey on my back again, because that's what it seemed like to me...a negative, nagging little bastard of a nuisance you can't get rid of.

I did learn something new about my car though today, from the guy I picked it up from. He said my car has something he's never seen before and it may have well saved my life. This is the truly weird thing to me. I didn't realize the damage was THAT bad, that we're talking about life endangerment.

He showed me a picture he had taken of the spare tire compartment, after it had been removed from my car. It was laying upside down, and it actually has extra frame rails on the underside. He said those rails are just as strong and heavy as the other rails, and their placement there kept my car from crumpling on the rear impact.  He said he's never seen them on any other kind of car, and his opinion is that EVERY car should have them.

Thank you, Honda, for making such a great car!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Poutine/21 Recipes Down

Tonight's supper was Poutine, from Awesome Recipes & Kitchen Shortcuts. I hadn't heard of Poutine before, but Sam described it as, "If there was ever a food to be considered 'Canadian,' this would likely be it."

But that wasn't enough of an explanation for me, so I looked it up on Yahoo. What did we ever do before the Internet? Damn, we had to dig out the encyclopedias to look things up or call the reference desk at the local library.

"Poutine (pronounced poo-teen) is a dish consisting of French fries topped with cheese curds and hot gravy. It is native to Canada and little known in the rest of the world, though some restaurants in other countries have poutine on the menu. Poutine is similar to American cheese fries or “disco fries.”

"Poutine originated in Quebec, Canada in the late 1950s, and is now popular in all of Eastern Canada. Several communities within the province claim to have created poutine, such as Drummondville and Victoriaville. The most popular story is that poutine was created at a small eastern Quebec restaurant owned by Fernand Lachance. Lachance had a specialty takeout item on the menu consisting of French fries and cheese curds mixed together in a plastic bag. In 1957, a truck driver ordered the bag of fries with a side dish of gravy, dumped the gravy into the bag, and ate them together.

"The origin of the word poutine is a source of some debate. Some believe it to be an adaptation of the English word pudding, as it occurs in Oscar Dunn’s Canadian French dictionary from the end of the 19th century with this definition. Some Quebec natives believe poutine evolved from the Provencal word poutingo, translated as “bad stew”. The word poutine began as Acadian slang for a gooey mess and was first used to name an Acadian dish, poutine rapees - a blend of mashed potatoes, pork, and spicy sauce.

"Poutine only has three ingredients, but connoisseurs argue there are many subtleties involved in preparing the dish correctly. The French fries should be made from potatoes that are hand-cut and fresh, and should be fried in pure lard as opposed to vegetable or other oils. The gravy, also known in Canada as barbecue chicken gravy, is darker and thicker than gravy in America or other countries, and must be served very hot.

"The cheese used in poutine is fresh white cheddar cheese curds, which have a different flavor and texture than actual cheese. These must be completely thawed but fresh, and are then served over the fries before adding the gravy, whose temperature helps the cheese melt. Poutine should be served in a bowl, which helps reduce mess and keeps the mixture hot.

"Poutine is popular enough in Canada to be on the menu of some of the country’s finest restaurants in addition to pubs and diners, as well as many multi-national franchises such as McDonald’s. Poutine is available in just a few restaurants in the northern United States, and in a handful of hotels and pubs in Europe and Asia."

So anyway, after all this, I made an American-stylized version of Poutine.

What did I learn from this recipe?
I learned that even with beef gravy instead of chicken gravy, I didn't much care for poutine. At least, not this version. I used a generous amount of mozzarella, because I didn't have cheese curds, but even with the black pepper and the healthy dose of Worcestershire sauce, this tasted quite bland to me. I realized I'd rather have chili cheese fries.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Powerpuff Yourself

I've never watched the Powerpuff Girls, so I don't really know anything about them. But I found this link to "Powerpuff Yourself."

I don't even know why this site exists, but I decided to give it a whirl and turn myself into a Powerpuff Girl.

I look damn cute! :)