Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From the Boring Ol' Cook

A Recipe
Tonight as I was frantically chopping broccoli, Bug dashed into the kitchen. She was wielding a plastic sword, and wearing a breastplaste and helmet.

"Aha," she said, in her most deep, fierce voice! "I am the knight! And who are you?"

"I am the fair maiden, Sir Knight," I replied.

She looked me up and down, and said,"No, you are not a fair maiden. You are the cook of the castle."

Are you kidding me? Even in the realm of fantasy, I am still, just the cook. At least I'm the castle cook, though, and not like a normal peasant, right? I could have to work scooping manure, or be locked in the dungeon for witchcraft (been accused of that once or twice...). I supposed I should be grateful for my lot in life.

That said, as the cook of the castle, I've been known to prepare some lavish banquets in efforts to find favor with the ever-so-particular nobility . Tonight's feast was a royal success: our knight and the ladies in waiting were pleased (and the cook, too, mind you). The King is yet to return from his daily journey to the demanding hospital empire, and has therefore not voiced his approval - but as his cook of 9+ years, I've come to know a thing or two about his preferences, so I'm giving it a two gold gem-adorned ring thumbs up. Give it a try and let me know how it goes over in your realm.

Crispy Orange Beef (from Allrecipes)
1 1/2 pounds beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (I forgot to pick some up, so I just used dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
oil for frying

Lay beef strips out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Allow to dry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice, salt and soy sauce (I also added 1/2 tsp sesame oil). Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Toss dried beef in cornstarch to coat. Fry in the hot oil in small batches until crispy and golden brown; set aside. Drain all of the oil from the wok except about 1 tablespoon.

Add orange zest, ginger and garlic to the remaining oil, and cook briefly until fragrant (I also added about 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds). Add the soy sauce mixture to the wok, bring to a boil, and cook until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Add beef, and heat through, stirring to coat. Serve over steamed rice.

And an Update
Oh yes - and for those of you still reading - thanks for your concern over the past little bit. We survived the swine (only Lu got it), had my car professionally cleaned (thank heavens for the free detail coupon when we bought the car...) and even packed John matching clothing for his brief trip.

However, the day after returning to school, Lu's school called once again. She vomited in her classroom. I learned that that can be the first sign of strep. Mothers, take note. So, she was out for another two days of school.

But...for now, everyone is healthy and well. I'm beginning to see the humor of the past two weeks, and counting my blessings they're over. I wonder what next week will bring?!


  1. That looks delicious! Keep the recipes coming!! I'm going to try a parmigiano pumpkin soup with frizzled prosciutto sometime soon. It sounds fit for royalty- I'll let you know.

  2. Sounds delicious! To me, you are the queen of your castle. And the cook and the royal laundress...

  3. Hmmm... I think I'm officially just a royal pain in the arse. Much lower than a royal cook, believe me.
    The recipe sounds delicious.. hopefully I'll have a chance to try it out soon!
    I'm hoping things run smoothly for you for the next few weeks. You deserve a break!!

  4. Thanks for the update and glad to hear your little one is doing better. I love reading your blog. I miss your sense of humor. Now I know where to go when I need a good laugh or at least a big smile!

  5. I love that recipe and I love allrecipes. Thanks for reminding me I've made it, except with chicken and chili powder, and how delicious it is. I am going to make it again SOON.

  6. Oh, yum! I'll have to put that on our menu for this week. I LOVE so many recipes you've shared with us (like in that ward cookbook). Keep them coming!

  7. We tried the recipe last night and it was so good! I used your additions and I did add a little extra sugar (brown)because it seemed a little too sour to me, and used a combination of rice wine and rice vinegar because I just didn't have rice wine vinegar! I don't know how that might have affected the recipe,but it was super delicious! Thanks for sharing!