March 14, 2013

Beef and Snow Peas with Garlic Quinoa

I've really paired my cooking show viewing down in the last couple of years. I used to be addicted to cooking TV, and I've slowly weaned my way off of it. It might have something to do with having an almost 7 year old, and 3 year old twins. My television time is seriously limited, so I have to be pretty choosy.

Once in a while, I'll flip to either Food Network or the Cooking Channel, but I don't have any type of steady viewership anymore. Well, with the exception of one... I've gotten down to only recording one show, and that is The Pioneer Woman. I've followed her website religiously for years, went to a book signing for her first cookbook, and was so excited when she finally came out with her own show (it's really not so new anymore; I think it's actually in it's second or third season??). Needless to say, I LOVE PW! I have tested so many of her recipes and I think I've always received rave reviews for her stuff. She knows what she is doing, that's for sure.

Anyway, this recipe was demonstrated on one of her TV episodes entitled "16 minute dinners". She put together some fast, go-to weeknight recipes for when there was a time crunch. (READ: every night for us.) They all looked tasty, but this one stood out for me. I made it a few nights ago for dinner, and as promised, it was fast and delicious! PW has never steered me wrong!

Beef and Snow Peas with Garlic Quinoa
Adapted From: The Pioneer Woman cooking show

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry or cooking sherry
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
8 ounces fresh snow peas, trimmed
5 whole scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal
Crushed red pepper
Salt, as needed (I didn't use any salt, so this is totally optional-use sparingly.)
Garlic quinoa (see below) or serve over cooked rice of your choice

In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, brown sugar and ginger. Add the beef to a separate bowl and pour one-third of the liquid over the top. Save the rest of the liquid. Toss the beef and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet (iron is best) over high heat. Add the snow peas and stir for 45 seconds and get as much color on them as possible. Remove to a plate.

Allow the skillet to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Spread out the meat as you add it to skillet, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Sprinkle half the scallions over the meat. Flip the meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with the other half of the meat, allowing the skillet to get very hot again first. After flipping, add the first plateful of meat, the reserved liquid, the crushed red pepper and snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, and then turn off the heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. The mixture will thicken as it sits. Serve immediately over quinoa or rice.

NOTE: I didn't separate the marinade into two different bowls. I just added to the pan and made sure it boiled, rather than separating and using half and then discarding half. It's better probably to separate and be better safe than sorry, but I've never had an issue doing it my way. It's your choice, man.

Garlic Quinoa

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained in a colander
water to cover by 1/2 inch or so (Usually it's about equal parts quinoa/water, but I don't measure.)
2 tablespoons butter
5 cloves minced garlic cloves
pinch of salt

Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a colander, under running water, until it runs clear. Shake any excess moisture off of quinoa and set aside. I just place the colander on a kitchen towel until I'm ready to start cooking it.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute; until garlic starts to get fragrant and just a tiny bit of color on it. Add prepared quinoa to sauce pan and toast it for 2 minutes, or until some of the quinoa bits get slightly browned. Add water, a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low. Let quinoa steep in water until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve as a base for the Beef and Snow Peas.

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