The weather has not been very summer-like this week, rainy, windy and 65 degrees. This is hardly a surprise, as almost exactly two years ago, just a few short days before our wedding, my then-fiance and I woke up to a gentle dusting of snow in our backyard (and promptly freaked out).
So, we’ve found ourselves back in hibernation mode, craving things with tons of meat and carbs and basically anything not involving vegetables or a salad. There was boxed macaroni and cheese the other night. I know. Continue reading
Bear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.
That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading
Whenever I go to any sort of Asian restaurant, I am always dying to order orange chicken. I never actually do, choosing instead something with vegetables and without the fried stuff and the gloppy, wonderful sauce that I could eat by the bucketful. But that orange chicken is always in the back of my mind.
This stir-fry is a compromise between my wants and my needs. See all of those carrots? A need. Carrots are really good for you. The baby bok choy adds crunch, plus the feeling of virtue that comes from eating something green. The beef? Protein, of course.
But it’s all enveloped in this sweet, salty, deliciously orange-y stir-fry sauce that’s a definite want. If you don’t love the idea of orange and beef, feel free to use chicken instead, but the orange and ginger play perfectly with the sweetness of the carrots. Plus, I mean, aren’t you sick of poultry by now? You can, if you like, replace the beef with a crown of broccoli if you need even more vegetables.
Best of all, this reheats beautifully, making it the perfect packable lunch for this week. Enjoy!
Orange-Ginger Beef Stir-fry
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
A delicious 30-minute orange-ginger stirfry with tons of veggies and a touch of sweetness. Gluten-free, and can be made vegetarian by replacing the beef with broccoli.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound top round or ribeye, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 medium carrots, spiralized (you can also just use a normal peeler to peel thin noodle-like strips, or a julienne peeler)
- 1 bunch baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- juice and zest of one orange
- 2 Tbsp honey (less, if you like)
- 3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- white rice, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add meat strips, and cook until browned on all sides. Remove to plate and set aside.
- Add onion to the pan, still over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the rice vinegar and continue cooking onions until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, honey, tamari and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When onions are soft, add carrots and bok choy to the pan and cook, stirring, until the green parts of the bok choy are soft. Add your stir-fry sauce and continue to sautee until the carrots are starting to become more tender. Add beef and stir until the beef is heated through.
- Remove from heat and serve over white rice (or the grain of your choice). Store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
There’s not much to say about this recipe except that it’s basically an excuse to buy an entire pound of shiitake mushrooms and eat them all in one delicious meal.
I mean, sure, there’s a rich tomato-based sauce. There’s a complex blend of flavors. There’s a long, slow simmering time that imitates braising, but with stew meat, cutting the time by two-thirds. And, best of all, you can serve it over everything from mashed parsnips to crusty sourdough bread or even thick homemade noodles (though the stew itself is gluten-free).
But really, all I can say is that you should make this. Make it this weekend, when you won’t be rushed and tempted to skimp on the simmering time and you can enjoy the delicious smells wafting all through your home.
Hint: close your closet/bedroom door unless you want to go to work on Monday smelling like beef—though your coworkers might oddly gravitate to you if you forget.
Beef Stew with Mushrooms
- 2 pounds of chuck stew meat (I always use Teton Waters)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups red wine
- 2 ½ cups beef or bone broth
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 250. Heat olive oil in a heavy oven-proof pan over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides, then remove meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium and sautee the onions until translucent and soft, about six minutes.
- Add tomato paste and wine to the pan, then broth, garlic, and beef. Stir to combine. Remove from stove, and place in oven. Allow to simmer away in there for about an hour and forty minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and place back on the stove. Remove beef again with a slotted spoon. Turn heat to medium high and bring sauce to a boil. Allow to reduce slightly, then add mushrooms and fresh thyme. Simmer another 15 minutes.
- Return beef to pan, then serve over whatever starch you like. This can be made a day ahead and just reheated.
This is the only recipe you will ever need for short ribs. No kidding. I wanted to stick my face directly in the plate, that’s how good it was. I can still taste that sauce in my mouth, incredibly rich and filled with subtle sweetness. I immediately considered making it again the next night, mostly because I could not get the flavors and the velvety texture out of my head.
Are you ready for the full story? I was craving barbecue, and there’s literally not a single thing you can eat at my favorite barbecue place if you are avoiding eggs, soy, gluten, dairy and processed foods. Like, maybe you could have some jalapeno beans. But those are definitely not my favorite. I had this awful, insatiable craving for fried okra, macaroni and cheese and barbecue short ribs.
No worries, I told myself. I can totally make all of those things at home! And I can make them dairy and egg and gluten free! YAY!
(Edited for photos Feb. 2, 2014. You’ll note I made the broth a little differently this time — I used 1 pound of oxtails, 1 pound of beef bones and leftover red onion and white onion I had in the fridge. I also simmered it for a total of 18 hours. By the time I was done, there wasn’t much left of the bones.)
Bone broth is like the Zen koan of food. Clear, but full of flavor; goes down like water, but is incredibly nourishing; takes a long time, but is incredibly easy.
I use this in every recipe that calls for stock, now that I have found the recipe in the Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook. I was looking for an easy weekend cooking project, and after an awful experience with store-bought broth that ruined an entire gumbo, I knew I needed to begin making my own stock.
Short ribs were one of those cuts I was never sure how to deal with. As a former vegetarian, sometimes I have difficulty imagining how to prepare anything that comes from a cow and isn’t steak. It’s a weird gap in my knowledge; give me a whole chicken, and I’ll whack the backbone out of it in no time flat. Give me a boneless leg of lamb and I’ll have it smothered in mint persillade and roasting within the hour.
Now that I have this recipe, though, I am no longer confused. Clearly, the destiny of all short ribs is to be braised in a mixture of cider, stock and balsamic vinegar and served with horseradish-laced parsnips. Braising makes the meat so tender, it falls off the bone if you even breathe on it wrong. The horseradish keeps the creamy parsnips and deep, dark braising liquid from becoming too heavy, while complementing the flavors of the cider perfectly.