Thursday, December 4, 2008

Celery. Simplicity.

..............Post-post-Thanksgiving. The turkey meat's made its final round as breakfast hash. The veggie barley and turkey stock soup's in the freezer. Even the last scrap of pie crust's vanished.

So, what to eat now?

Reared all over UK, Giant Sous Chef's first greatest American memories involve food. At a healthy six-foot-five, his first traditional Thanksgiving dinner--a nearly jaded 24 year-old--was a revelation. "A holiday," he said, "devoted to eating!"

When all is said and done and eaten, my palate begs for simplicity. Something substantial and flavorful. Something to make quickly, yet savor in piece.
Something that will use up the whopping bundle of leftover celery jammed into my produce drawer. Mocking me with their giant wands.

But, then, a Gourmet mag recipe leapt off the page. One of the main ingredients? CELERY!!! Yay!
Now, (in three weeks) I can avoid cleaning out the produce drawer of poor celery's Dali-esque remains. Of course, this delicious stir fry recipe was in Gourmet's November issue... the one with the big fat Turkey (stuffed with about 3/4 of a cup of celery) on the cover.

I made it in a flash last night using an amazing flank cut of Estancia grass-fed beef. And, if you don't have Chinese rice wine or whole cumin seeds you can sub out Japanese ginjo sake and ground cumin.

See my messy mise-en-place? (pic, left) for...
Cumin Scented Stir Fry Beef with Celery
straight outta Gourmet Magazine, Nov 2008
  • 6 ounce steak such as blade or flank (trim any fat and gristle)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry
  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick, leaves chopped and reserved separately
  • Equipment: a well-seasoned 12- to 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or a 12-inch heavy skillet.
  • METHOD and PREP: Halve steak lengthwise if large. Slice across the grain about 1/8 inch thick.

    Toss beef with 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch, and a pinch of salt.

    Stir together rice wine, remaining 2 teaspoon soy sauce, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch.

    Heat wok over high heat until smoking, then pour 1 teaspoon oil down side and swirl to coat. Add beef in 1 layer and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, less than 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.

    Add remaining teaspoon oil to wok, then add ginger, garlic, cumin, and red-pepper flakes and stir-fry 15 seconds. Add celery and stir-fry 1 minute, then add beef and juices and stir-fry 15 seconds. Stir rice-wine mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry until sauce is bubbling, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in celery leaves. Serve with: steamed white rice

(Spicy serves her stir-fry with BROWN rice, of course!)