Sunday, August 01, 2010

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef with Tangerine and Cinnamon (Page 442)

RECIPE #1188

  • Date: Monday, July 12, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our New House!
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B+

I put off making this recipe for a while because I didn't know where to find dried tangerine peel. Eventually it occurred to me to just dry my own, so that's what I did. I dried some tangerine peel for a few days, then I was ready to proceed with this recipe. I marinated some strips of beef chuck in a mixture of rice wine, ginger, and salt for 8 hours. I soaked my dried tangerine peel in water for an hour, then cut it into thin strips. (Note: very frustrating to first dry the peel and then rehydrate... seemed more than a little pointless!) I heated several cups of corn oil in a wok, then deep-fried the beef strips. I removed the oil, wiped down the wok, then added some sesame oil. I stir-fried some dried red chiles, then some Sichuan peppercorns and star anise. I added the beef, water, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, the tangerine peel, and cinnamon stick and simmered for 40 minutes. I increased the heat and boiled until the sauce had the right consistency. I stirred in the chiles, some rice vinegar and sesame oil and served with rice. This dish was pretty good. I have eaten similar dishes several times in Chinese restaurants and this was easily as good as the comparable dishes I have had. It had a lot of depth of flavor. My one complaint was that the citrus was too strong for me. There was definitely some ambiguity in the recipe directions concerning the citrus peel. The recipe called for "2 pieces dried tangerine peel." How much that actually is obviously depends on how big the dried pieces were, which certainly isn't standard. Perhaps my pieces of peel were just too big. In any event, were I to make this again, I would cut back on the tangerine peel a bit.

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The workshop I was organizing and attending in Chicago ended Friday and yesterday afternoon my special gentleman and I drove home to East Lansing. The workshop went pretty well. There were four of us there, gathered from our respective homes in East Lansing, Chicago, Austin, and Boston. The three of us not from Chicago stayed in a nice hotel downtown all week (we had funding for our workshop!). I reserved us a conference room for the week at the Chicago Public Library downtown, so we met there each day and worked together on various research projects. It was a productive week.

It was nice to be in Chicago but I was certainly glad to come home! We have another couple weeks in East Lansing before we have to travel again, and a long list of items we would like to get done before the semester starts! So my day today involved trips to Target, Home Depot, and the grocery store. Also a lengthy trip to the mattress store (We are buying a bigger bed -- we have been sleeping in a double bed long enough!). At one point today I was in the basement, wearing a respirator and knocking down shelves with a hammer. I felt like I was straight out of an HGTV show! But after a long day of effort we have made significant progress in the basement as well as on our bed-buying mission. (Pause here while I help my special gentleman remove demolished wood from the basement... OK, back.) I also worked on my ongoing kitchen organization project today, and I dare say that it is almost complete! Today was a nice day -- exactly what I needed after a week-long research workshop. It's 10pm now, and I have a little more kitchen prep to do for tomorrow night's dinner, them I am ready to head to bed!

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