Ok. This is it. No more slump. I’m calling it. Sorry for the absence. Can we still be friends? (Say “yes” because I have a ridiculous breakfast to post later this week and you want to be around for it.)
How have you been? I’ve been busy. So busy that I keep falling back to tried and true recipes (like making simmered meat sauce once a month). Things are easing up a bit and I’m cooking more. Some good, some bad, some epics fails… like last night when I bobbled a vessel of hot crab rangoon dip and it exploded all over the kitchen, into the hot oven and… yeah, some got in my hair. Do you want to know the best part about exploding crab rangoon dip all over your kitchen and stove? Cleaning it up. Ah! There’s nothing I love more than a random cleaning job. In related news, I never want to smell crab rangoon dip again.
There have been some wins in my kitchen too. This Shan Style Simmered Cabbage and Beef was a surprising one. I pulled it out of Cooking Light based on the assertion that it was one of THE tastiest dishes the staff sampled in 2011. But every time I went to make this I got worried. Really worried. It only called for 1/4 pound of beef and had such a simple ingredient list, I was all but sure that we’d hate it despite the high praise and wondered what kind of hunger pains I was experiencing when I decided to rip this one out of the magazine.
It turns out that this dish is actually quite tasty. The cabbage and peanuts offer enough body to make up for the low protein count (although I’ll probably up it to 1/3 of a pound the next time). The flavor profile is unusual, which kept our forks going back for more bites. It’s a warm, salty dish that is great for a cold, winter night.
As a bonus, the cooking time is a bit more than my 30 minute weekday dinner target, but the last 20 minutes it basically cooks itself. So there’s plenty of time to do exciting things, like unload the dishwasher… or scrub the floors (not that I really need to do that anymore).
Shan style simmered cabbage and beef
From Cooking Light
1 small head of cabbage
2 medium plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp peanut or corn oil
2 large shallots
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground red pepper
¼ lb lean ground beef
1/3 cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
Shred the cabbage to get about 4 cups and slice tomatoes into thin wedges. Slice the shallots vertically into thin strips. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil to the pan, swirling to coat. Add shallots, salt, turmeric, and red pepper; cook for 3 minutes or until shallots are tender, stirring frequently. Add beef; cook for 2 minutes or until the beef begins to brown. Add cabbage and tomato; toss well to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until cabbage wilts. Stir in peanuts; cover and cook 10 minutes or until cabbage is tender.