Beef and Noodle Stir-fry

One of my favorite classic fables is that of the Town Mouse and Country Mouse. I grew up a bit of a country mouse, and I love the stillness and open skies of the countryside. There’s nothing quite like waking up before the rest of the world, slapping on a pair of tennis shoes, and going for a solitary walk through the morning mists.

But there are certain drawbacks to living in the country. Like getting stuck behind tractors as you drive to school, or not being able to order chinese food delivered to your front door. And now I definitely consider myself to be more of a city mouse. I love the energy and diversity that comes with city living. I enjoy walking everywhere, knowing there are thousands of experiences right at my fingertips.

I love being able to order chinese food for delivery.

Of course, when I find a good stir-fry recipe that’s easy to whip up at home, the town mouse/country mouse divide seems to fade away. At least when it comes to takeout. :)

Beef and noodle stir-fry

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Beef and Noodle Stir-fry

  • 3 Tbs. sesame oil, divided
  • 5 Tbs. soy sauce, divided
  • splash of hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 8-10 oz. beef sirloin
  • 8 oz. fresh pasta (or 6 oz. dry)
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives or 1 Tbs. chopped green onion
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 Tbs. sesame oil, 4 Tbs. soy sauce, a splash of hot sauce, and the crushed garlic. Slice the steak and add it to the bowl, tossing until well-coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Return to pan and toss with 1 Tbs. sesame oil and 1 Tbs. soy sauce.

Stir together cornstarch and 2 tsp. water in a small bowl until dissolved. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté for about three minutes, or until it starts to brown. Remove the beef from the frying pan and set aside. In the same pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until golden, about four minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until it just starts to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture, cooked beef, and noodles. Sauté everything together until hot and well-coated with sauce, about three minutes.

Garnish with chives and sesame seeds, and serve hot.

Serves 4.

Source: Slightly adapted from Clementine Cuisine.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 355 calories, 20.2 g fat, 20.6 g carbs, 2.0 g fiber, 24.0 g protein.

The Calm Before the Storm

Knowing that next week is going to be a wee bit busy, I decided to devote time this past weekend to some low-key cooking.  The goal: make enough food so we can have home-cooked meals all week while ensuring that I can still spend the majority of my time at my desk doing research.  (Oh end of the semester, how did you sneak up on me?)

I know a lot of people love their crockpots for low-maintenance cooking, but I am very particular about how many appliances I own, due to limited storage space.  (My espresso machine and KitchenAid mixer are the clear winners here.  Gabe even had to convince me that we needed a blender.)  Plus there’s a teensy part of me that feels like I’m not old enough to own a crockpot yet.  There, I said it.

Luckily, I do own a roasting pan!  What could be easier than pulled beef?  I’m not a huge fan of barbecue sauce (shhh… don’t tell) so I cooked this roast with a homemade Italian-style marinade.

My carnivorous baby sister should appreciate this photo

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Perfect Pot Roast

Three of Gabe’s college friends are visiting us this weekend, so I tried hard to come up with a homey yet impressive dinner menu.  I first planned on serving beef tenderloin, until I discovered the price tag of $16/pound.  We’re grad students.  Not happening.

In desperation, I grabbed a pot roast from the grocery store and set out to make my first roast.  (Most people don’t recommend trying new recipes the day of your dinner party, but I like to walk on the wild side.)  After perusing several different roast recipes, I combined and tweaked and improvised to come up with my very own.

I also called my mom for gravy tips.  There are some things you just can’t learn from a cookbook.

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