February 10, 2009

something old, something new...something in the freezer needs to be used.

One of my goals this year is to expand into other culture's foods. I've got Italian, Tex-Mex, and American foods down, but I lack experience in Chinese or Japanese foods (to name a couple; I also need to learn Indian, French, Irish, African, etc.... cuisine). Lately I've really been craving the spicy, salty, cheese-less combinations often found in Chinese food. This means lots of trips to P.F. Chang's for lettuce wraps and crab wontons. 

So the other night, when I looked in our pantry and saw the makings of orange beef stir-fry, I was thrilled. We had broccoli and carrots, flank steak from my dad's farm in the freezer, and brown rice, oranges, and chiles. Sounds like the beginning of a great dinner to me.  Happily, Fin watched as I grabbed the carrots from the fridge. She's a carrot fiend (must have great eyesight) and can't get enough, even if it's in the form of peels. Now, it is with trepidation that I approach any new Asian-themed recipe, because I am still a complete novice at the techniques and tricks of the trade. I love using the wok, but, um, just don't do it right. Maybe it's the electric coils on the stovetop... but I have a feeling it's just me.Here's the problem, I think: there was too much liquid in the pan to just sear the beef. I used (and followed very closely) Mark Bittman's recipe for orange beef stir fry, but something about the beef wasn't quite right. I probably cooked it too long, with not enough heat, so it got tough. Nobody likes to try and choke down tough meat, but overall I think the dish turned out on the better-than-average side of the scale. That's at least what I think; Ryan isn't a big fan of orange in savory dishes, so this one's not on his favorites list. :)