As you may have read in the post I wrote about our new car, Brandon and I are on an austerity plan because we now have a lovely car payment to go along with our lovely new car. With the plummeting economy its also probably a good idea to save money for when the going gets rough. This has led me to be more creative in the kitchen. I’ve been trying to recreate my favorite meals from different restaurants. On Friday (our usual dinner date night) I made Vegetable fried rice with Mongolian Beef (for me) and Salmon for Brandon. So this is what I came up with:
2 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
4 1/2 cups water
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 small onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 red bell pepper extra finely diced
1 bunch scallions sliced on a bias
1 box of baby bella mushrooms
6 eggs- scrambled
Soy sauce- to your liking
First wash the rice well and drain it well. In a pot or pressure cooker (I use the pressure cooker because it cuts the cooking time in half but this is totally optional) sauté the uncooked rice until nice and toasty. Next add the water. If you are using a regular pot, top with the lid once the water has evaporated about two thirds of the way and bring the heat to low. If you are using a pressure cooker, put the lid on and cook at medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. I then turn off the heat and run the pressure cooker under cold water to release the steam. Next I take a fine mesh colander and dump the rice in there to rinse with water. This removes the excess starch from the rice and helps it to not stick. Fried rice is usually better when made with left over rice, but I didn’t have any already made. If the rice is not tender enough I put it back in the pressure cooker and add a bit more water to finish cooking it off. Then I repeat the rinsing process. Phew! Leave the rice in the colander while you make the rest of the dish.
The next thing I did was sauté all of the vegetables on really hot heat with a little canola oil. Make sure to sauté the veggies in batches. You don’t want to cook them all at once because then they’ll stew and get soggy. First I did the carrots and as they cooked I transfered them over to a large bowl. Next I sautéed the brocoli. then the onions, bell pepper and garlic. I kept adding the newly cooked veggies to the bowl. Next I sliced the mushrooms and sauteed those as well and added to the bowl. Then I scrambled the eggs and cooked them in the pan. With a silicone coated whisk I kept whisking the eggs until they were fully cooked- this eliminated large clumps of eggs. Lastly, removed the eggs and put them into my bowl. I added a little canola oil to the wok and let it get really hot. Then I added all of the veggies, egg and rice and started sautéeing it. Once it was thoroghly combined and hot, I added soy sauce and mixed. And that was that for the rice.
For the Fish and Beef
1 cup cornstarch (for the beef only)
1 cup Tamari or regular soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 bunch scallions
8 oz. Salmon
8 oz. Skirt Steak
The first thing you do for this dish is you cut up the skirt steak into pieces (against the grain and not too small) and set aside. Coat the beef in cornstarch well and brown in a pan with a little oil. Once the beef is cooked through, set aside. Now you will begin to make the sauce by taking the canola oil and add it to the pan along with the sugar. You combine this mix and let it get very hot. but don’t let it scortch. Then you run your garlic through the microplane or press and add to the mix along with the ginger- and folks a little ginger goes a LONG way so go easy on this. You can always add more if you like but I think 1/8 of a teaspoon is sufficient. Next you add the soy sauce (I like Kikoman a lot better than any other brand I’ve tried. It’s a lot richer) water and stir. You bring the temperature down a to medium high heat and let the sauce reduce a bit. Once the sauce is reduced, you add the scallions until cooked through. I like my scallions with a little bit of bite so I don’t cook them all the way. Add the beef pieces to the sauce and coat well.
For the fish, you’ll basically repeat the same steps except I don’t dust with cornstarch first. I make the sauce the same way as listed before. I basically just added the fish to a non-stick pan with a little oil. I let it sear well before adding the sauce to pan. Once cooked through I removed the fish and serve. I did the same thing with the steak- I seared it really well and added the sauce. After cooking it for a little while the sauce turns into a glaze that coats the meat. You can do this with chicken too if you prefer.