Archive for November, 2009

Mongolian Beef

I can’t even remember how I found this recipe, but you can find it on the web here (elly says opa!), and here (Pink Bites). This is a really easy recipe, and I bet you already have most of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry. I went with the original Pink Bites recipe, reproduced here below.

makes 2 or more servings*

1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise (or stir-fry-cut beef)
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 teaspoons of canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (about 1/2 inch piece)
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes**
3 large green onions, sliced crosswise into thirds

* We got 4 dinner-sized servings from this recipe when paired with generous spoons of steamed white rice.
**I only used 1/4 teaspoon because we (read: I) don’t really like super-spicy foods.


Pat the steak pieces and make sure they’re dry; then, toss the steak and cornstarch together.  Be sure all pieces are fully coated, but shake off excess corn starch. Mix together the soy sayce, water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.

Heat half the oil in a wok at medium-high heat and add the ginger and garlic.  Once fragrant (30 seconds or so), add the soy sauce mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl.

Turn the heat up on the wok and add the remaining oil. Add the beef and cook, stirring until just browned. Pour the sauce back in and let it cook with the meat. Let the sauce thicken to your liking, and then add the green onions in just before plating.


This is EASY, this is DELICIOUS, this is everything good about weeknight meals you could ever want. Make it and just tell me it isn’t a fantastic meal — and cheaper than going out for Chinese!


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Homemade Corn Dogs

I saw these homemade corn dogs on the recipe part of the Whole Foods website. I have to say, if there is one junk food my dear husband cannot get enough of, it is packaged, frozen, corn dogs. I understand their appeal, really I do, from my days back in the Midwest going to the annual county fair. But as a health-aware (I don’t want to say “health-conscious”) adult, I really can’t justify prepackaged, frozen corn dogs. So when I saw that Whole Foods had figured out a way to do them healthfully, I had to give it a try. If I could figure out corn dogs that I didn’t feel guilty eating, we’d be set for life.

Baked Corn Dogs
8 all-natural turkey or beef hot dogs*
1 1/4 cups cornbread/muffin mix
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk or soymilk

*I’ll bet you might even be able to use tofu or other vegetarian dogs if you wanted to.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Thread each hot dog on to a wooden skewer, leaving about 2 inches extended from one end to act as the handle; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine muffin mix, flour, egg, milk and butter to make a very thick batter. Moisten your hands with water then press about 1/4 cup of the batter around one of the hot dogs to cover it entirely. Transfer to prepared baking sheet as done then repeat process with remaining batter and hot dogs.

Bake until golden brown and batter is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve with ketchup and mustard on the side.

Jim assembled the dogs because I could just not wrap my smaller hands around them. You have to keep your hands pretty well moistened, or else the corn mix sticks to your hands like cement. We made the recommended amount of corn mix but could only encase 7 dogs; the 8th was sacrificed with some ketchup, mustard, and dill relish for my next day’s lunch. We baked for the recommended time, a little under 15 minutes, but the corn mix lost all of its moisture. It crumbled upon eating, which sort of defeated the idea of replicating a corn dog. I think the next time I might need to use a bain-marie, or tent with a piece of tin foil, in order to help the corn dogs retain moisture during baking. They fared a little bit better upon microwave reheating under an overturned cereal bowl, which I think helped steam them and keep moisture in.

If you give these a try, let me know if you use a different technique and if you have any better luck.

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Unfortunately, my local grocery store is unenlightened and does not sell sole, filets or otherwise. I had to ask the seafood person what type of fish could be substituted that had a similar taste and texture, and they suggested flounder. So I’m having to use flounder where Nigella recommends lemon sole. I need to find a better seafood counter.

This was my first time using both panko bread crumbs and grapeseed oil and frying anything, so this was a brand-new adventure. Grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point than either vegetable or olive oils, so I decided to invest in a bottle and do this the right way. We love fish & chips and if I can find a good, healthy way to make our own, we’re all better off! Also, Ina Garten has a recipe for authentic fried fish I’d love to build the confidence to try it. So grapeseed oil it is. It heated cleanly and had what I can only call an “efficient” bubble.

The combination of corn starch, egg, and panko bread crumbs was like cement on my fingers, so after dredging and breading each goujon I had to rinse my fingers under some running water.

From Nigella Express.

For the goujons:
2 filets of lemon sole (we used flounder)
corn starch
2 eggs
panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper

For the dill mayo:
1 cup mayonnaise
lime juice
chopped dill


In 3 separate bowls, place the corn starch, the 2 eggs, slightly beaten, and the panko. Cut each filet in half, then diagonally in to quarters; you should get 8 roughly-the-same-sized pieces of fish out of each filet. Dredge each goujon in corn starch, then the beaten eggs, then the panko. Place on a cooling rack to rest while you finish dredging the rest of the goujons.

Heat about 1 cup of grapeseed or peanut oil in a skillet (use more or less oil as necessary for the size of your pan). When the oil is hot (I tested the oil by tossing a few panko crumbs in and seeing whether they sizzled or sank), carefully place the breaded goujons in the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd, work in batches as necessary. Using my fairly large skillet I still had to due two batches. Cook each goujons about 2 minutes per side, and keep an eye on them to be sure you don’t overbrown them. They should be ready to flip when the underside is a nice golden brown with a crisp. When the goujons are done, transfer to a plate covered in paper towel to drain and cool a little.

Mix the mayo, lime juice, and dill together as a dip for the goujons. Enjoy while they’re still hot!

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