Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Week 1: Beef Stir Fry With Rhubarb

I know, I know. A quart of strawberries and a couple of stalks of rhubarb logically pair up for a pie or a crisp or something like that. But the first quart of local strawberries quickly becomes a pint of strawberries, and then a handful of strawberries. And the rhubarb? Well, the rhubarb needs other partners that benefit from its natural acidity. Like beef and onions and cilantro.

So stir fry it was.

It was a good haul for the first week of the season. In addition to the strawberries, rhubarb, and cilantro, we received two enormous heads of leaf lettuce; a handful of beet greens; a bunch of elongated, mild radishes; tomato, chive, and oregano plants for our garden; and a jar of honey. Plenty of salad this week, and I've been snacking on radishes with butter and French bread. After the stir fry, I put the rest of the cilantro into a spicy sauce to top some fish (Arctic char, to be specific). I'm holding onto a bit of rhubarb, in the expectation that more strawberries are on the way.

Beef Stir Fry With Rhubarb
(Original recipe)

1 pound thinly sliced beef
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb (1 large stalk)
1/2 pound brown mushrooms (i.e. cremini or baby portobello), sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger root
1/2 cup sliced celery (about 1 stalk)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced
2 green onions, sliced

Marinate beef in soy sauce while you prepare your other ingredients, or for up to one hour.

Heat oil in a wok or a deep frying pan with sloped sides. Add the beef, along with any soy sauce in the bowl; brown the beef, stirring frequently, until just cooked through. Remove beef and set aside.

Add the onions and rhubarb to any liquid remaining in the frying pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and ginger, and cook for about 3 minutes more, or until the mushrooms soften.

Return the beef to the pan and add the celery. Cook just until the beef is heated through, so the celery retains some crunch, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in the cilantro and green onions. Serve over rice.

Note: If you desire more sauce, mix in additional soy sauce, or a combination of soy sauce, dry sherry, and corn starch, when you return the meat to the pan.

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