Thai beef stir fry

In our efforts to add more Asian dishes to our repertoire, stir fry has become a mainstay.  My favorite thing about stir fry is that virtually all of the work is done in prep, so once you’re there it’s just a few minutes of cooking and then you’re ready to serve!  This particular stir fry is loaded with veggies and really is a complete meal in one dish.  We served ours with quinoa instead of rice (due to not having any rice), and honestly I think I prefer the quinoa in this case – it really soaks up the sauce and is a little fluffier.

You can substitute, add, or omit any of the vegetables involved if you don’t like them, don’t have them, or whatever.  That’s my favorite thing about stir fry – it’s great for a “clean out the fridge night” (Friday, in our case, as our trash pickup is Saturday).

Thai Beef Stir Fry

1 cup dry quinoa or rice

1 lb beef, cut into small strips – I used some thin-cut steaks that were on sale.  The cut isn’t really important

2 garlic cloves

a small piece of ginger

1 red chile (half if you don’t like spicy dishes)

8 oz mushrooms

1 large carrot

1 bell pepper

6 oz sugar snap peas

2 green onions

a few sprigs of basil

olive oil

For the sauce:

3T soy sauce

2T oyster sauce

2T fish sauce

2T rice vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

3T water

1. Rinse and cook the quinoa according to package directions.  Cut the beef into small strips.  Peel and mince the garlic, ginger, and red chile.  Chop the mushrooms, the carrot, the bell pepper, and the green onions.  Chop up the basil and set aside.  Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.  Congrats!  You’re almost done.

2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a wok (or big frying pan) until hot and sear the beef until the outside is brown, but the beef isn’t completely cooked (it will cook more later).  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

3. Add a little more oil and stir fry the garlic, ginger, and red chile until fragrant (a minute or so).  Then add the mushrooms, carrots, and about 1/4 cup of water.  After another minute or so add the bell pepper, snow peas, and green onions.  Stir fry another few minutes until the vegetables are a little tender (check the carrot).

4. Add the meat back into the stir fry and pour the sauce over the top, stirring to coat everything.  Once the sauce has soaked up into the stir fry, turn off the heat.  Serve the stir fry over quinoa and top with a little basil.

Source: Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This is my 10th post on Butter Is My Jam – and we’ve been live for 2 weeks.  In those weeks I’ve had more than 600 visitors from 7 countries!  Thank you so much for reading and sharing – I so appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read, perhaps try a recipe, or pin something you like.

Every time I cook with quinoa I think of the Budweiser commercial where there’s a guy tailgaiting and having a tormented inner dialogue about grilling a pathetic looking quinoa burger.  Fortunately, quinoa tastes much better than the ad would lead you to believe.  It has a really nice texture and gives you a great protein boost.  After making this, I ate it for lunch every day for a week – it was really filling and my toddler loved it, too!   It’s also vegan and paleo (according to some – apparently quinoa is up for debate).

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa

1lb. cherry tomatoes (I used a mixture of yellow and red)

1 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 green onions

1/2 of a red onion

1 cucumber

for the dressing:

3T lemon juice

1T red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1. Whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, and olive oil together in a small jar.  Mince or press the garlic and add.  I put them in a mason jar so I can shake it up.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Rinse the quinoa and place it in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, and a little salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, put a lid on the pan, and cook until the quinoa is tender (12-15 minutes).

3.  Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters, halve the olives, and thinly slice the red and green onion.  Slice the cucumber into bite-sized pieces.  Place the quinoa into a bowl and stir in the tomatoes, olives, onions, and cucumber.  Drizzle the dressing over the top and season with salt and pepper as needed.   Chill before serving, the longer the better!

Source: adapted from Bobby Flay for Food Network

Parsnip Soup

When I tell people about parsnip soup, they usually say, “I guess I’m not entirely sure what a parsnip is”.  Basically it looks like a fatter, colorless carrot and tastes kind of like a carrot, too.  To me, root vegetables are a total winter staple and this soup is hearty, filling, and very wintry.  It pairs quite well with my goat cheese biscuits.  It’s also vegetarian, vegan, and paleo-friendly, though I personally am neither of the three.

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You will need to puree the soup and there are a few ways to do it.  If you have an immersion blender, that works.  If you don’t, or don’t have great luck with them (for me, it results in spraying hot soup all over everything), you can use a regular blender.  If you do that, I recommend making the soup in advance and letting it cool a bit before blending, then reheating over a low-heat stove before you serve.  The last time we made this, we actually refrigerated it overnight after blending and it tasted great the next day.  I haven’t had too much trouble locating parsnips this time of year, my grocery store had them in a bag with a little under 2lbs, which is perfect.

Parsnip Soup

Serves about 8, and makes an excellent leftover

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1 onion

1.5-2lbs parsnips

1T fresh ginger, peeled

3 cloves garlic

6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken if you have it and aren’t making it for vegetarians)

olive oil

1. Roughly chop the carrots, celery, onion, ginger, and parsnips (you CAN peel them, but I just wash and cut off the tops).  Toss all of the veg with 2T of olive oil in a large pot (I use a big dutch oven) over medium heat.  Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the vegetable broth and a little water if the broth doesn’t cover the vegetables.

2. Bring the soup to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn the stove off and allow the mixture to cool enough to handle.  Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  Warm the soup on the stove to serve.

Source: adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

The soup is very inexpensive and easy to make.  You can top with cilantro or goat cheese if you have it, but it’s certainly not necessary.  It’s also a great way to get in a few servings of vegetables, which always great in January.

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