Years ago I tried to make Chinese food with disastrous results. Since then, the idea of trying again intimidated me. With my year of Epicuriosity looming, I worked out an alternative to facing my fears: get Greg to do it. HA!
He grabbed one of the biggest cookbooks we own, flipped through the pages and stumbled on a recipe for teriyaki beef. Well … sort of. The recipe called for green beans and shitake mushrooms. Since we had neither in the house, we modified it a bit and used snow pea pods while eliminating the ‘shrooms.
First, I have to admit, watching someone else throw together an intimidating recipe is fun and a little fascinating. He dutifully kicked off the process with mise en place. We learned the technique in a cooking class and it has become standard practice for us. It’s when you prep all the ingredients for your recipe and have them standing by as you cook (think TV cooking demo and you get the idea.)
Greg has mastered the art of what I call the “frying pan flip” and showed off for me while I snapped pics. He first browned the marinated beef with his customary flair.
He added the snow pea pods and tossed them, too.
Then he poured in the teriyaki ingredients (blended with a little cornstarch for thickening) and waited for the sauce to reach the right consistency.
The result was a delicious bowl of food that taught us a few lessons. We overcooked the pea pods. They were really yummy tastings, but limp and a little sad looking. The beef was a little tough. We’re not sure if it was just the wrong cut … or also a little overcooked. The sauce was scrumptious, though!
Greg, channeling his inner perfectionist chef-ness, was disappointed. I was THRILLED! I called dibs on the leftovers for lunch the next day and discovered the whole thing was just as tasty a day later as it was fresh out of the pan. He wants to try again and I’m anxious to let him!
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Face your fears and keep trying.
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