Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beef Noodle Bowl

Recipe #9:

I hate beef. Not enough to do the vegetarian thing again but it's seriously annoying me today. I don't mind eating it, I just hate shopping for it and cooking it. I'm hopeless when it comes to knowing my dead animal parts. The Meatatarian has tried numerous times to explain them to me and make suggestions, but the information only seems to stay in my brain until I exit the store. I need a chart. Preferably in pink with stickers. Seems to work for other things.

Take, for example, the beef sirloin steak from this recipe that I'm supposed to cut into strips. Sure, sounds easy enough....until I hit the carnivore section at the grocery store on my lunch today. Searching, searching, searching, nothing says "beef sirloin steak" and I AM in the beef section. I checked that first. Ok, I'm not buying something that says "marinate" on the label, nor am I buying organs *shudder*. Oh, here's something that looks kind of flattish (easy to cut says my brain) and it's marked at $2.00 off the package. Doesn't weigh enough but here's another so I'll take two Inside Round Grilling Medallions, whatever the hell those are. To borrow an idea: Beef. It's what's for dinner.

I'm becoming a bit of a recipe junky. I've got way more recipes than time, energy, or inclination to make. I've become a little addicted to searching them out and mulling them over while mentally tallying how much work they sound like and whether I'd have to buy a bunch of ingredients I won't use again. I've done the latter enough times already to be wiser now. My mom has kindly been sending this blog to my grandma out in BC who recently wondered aloud if I ever used the recipe book she gave me 9 years ago, "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. Sorry Grandma, I haven't forgotten the book, just trying to kick my Kraft dependency right now. I will graduate to the book soon.

This time I've got all the ingredients already on hand (except the cow) and what I'm missing or don't like, I'll deal with when I get there. Water on to boil for pasta, begin tedious process of hacking helpless vegetables into a mound. No measuring this time. 3 cups of broccoli equals however much broccoli is left in the fridge. 2 cups of carrots equals however many baby carrots are left in the bag. Doesn't seem to add up to much and, since vegetables are good for me (ugly rumour going around), I chuck in the rest of the bag of frozen peas and carrots. At this rate, I'll have night vision as good as an owl with all the carrots I'm eating. There, now I've more room in the fridge and freezer.

While the pasta is cooking and the vegetables are waiting their turn, it's time to hack the alien beef product into strips. Trusty yellow paring knife? Check. Bigger (clean) cutting board? Check. All my fingers intact? Check. Ok, this is starting to look like an awfully big pile of moo-ness and my "large non-stick skillet" aka the pot I use for everything looks awfully small. Think fast! Ok, I'll cook the meat in batches. Then I'll know it's all cooked thoroughly.

Drain pasta/veggie combo, rescue some broccoli and peas that tumble into the sink when the full colander suddenly shifts on top of a teetering pile of unwashed dishes. Return mess to pot, continue cooking endless strips of beef. Finally add in salad dressing, search fridge and discover no teriyaki sauce is in residence. I'll use that Lea & Perrins stuff I call "rooster sauce". I won't, however, dump it in at the same measuring that the teriyaki sauce is supposed to be at. What if they taste drastically different? What if the rooster sauce and the salad dressing don't get along? Better start gradual. Omit the ginger because I don't like and won't buy it. Stir, stir, stir. Throw in a drained can of mushrooms with great gusto. This is supposed to be thickening. Sure, looks thicker if you squinch your eyes up really tight. I'm too tired and hungry to care. Slop everything into a bowl, put the phone call on speakerphone, attempt to stir it together.

Well, this recipe is pretty healthy overall albeit it fairly bland, even for me who grew up in the House of Bland and gets a runny nose with mild wings. I probably should have added more rooster sauce, or actually used the teriyaki that was subsequently discovered at the back of the fridge later. I used whole wheat pasta, fat-free salad dressing, and a lot of vegetables.

Then I made triple chunk chocolate brownies from a mix that uses a 1/2 cup of oil. Because I can.

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