Asian Beef with Basil
Thank goodness for challenges and blogging events like these. With so many things on my plate (the plate that seems to be on auto-refill - I'm sure everyone knows the feeling!), it's these challenges that keep me motivated and focused on creating in my kitchen, in order to create on this space.
This month's Food & Wine cover challenge, conceived by Jasmine of Cook That Book, features a succulent Asian Beef with Basil recipe. I find the name a little misleading, actually, but only due to the incredible array of flavours going on in this dish. The name seems a little too simple - despite my love of basil!
My initial thought was that this dish looked like many other dishes I've made, so while I definitely thought I'd like it, it didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary or new to our kitchen.
For a surprisingly lengthy ingredients list, however, the method was still quite straight-forward. Get a nice cut of beef chuck, let it marinate in the spiced lemongrass and garlic marinade, stew some veggies in a Dutch Oven, add the meat, stew for a while longer, and voilà! You have a delicious topping for some rice noodles.
Admittedly, I only let the beef stew for 45 minutes, and not the 1 hour and 45 minutes the recipe called for. A girl's only got so much time, ya know? So rather than eating at 11pm, I opted to take my chances and finish things off when I did, staving off our long-day-at-work hunger in the process. I can only imagine the dish being that much more tender with the extra time, but honestly, it was amazing as it was: absolutely packed with an incredible depth and breadth of flavour.
I hadn't worked with much star anise before, either, so it was nice to have the excuse to buy a supply of the stuff for the pantry.
Now what to do with the big bag of star anise I have left? Well, at work today, Chef Jess used it while making a plum, raspberry, and strawberry compote. Genius! I honestly hadn't thought to ever use it in a sweet or dessert-like way, only savoury and in certain international dishes. What a beautiful scent and flavour it infused into the fruit!
Have I ever mentioned my love of basil? Probably. But when I used to live in places where I'd walk to get my groceries, I'd intentionally put my basil purchase in my shoulder bag so that I could smell its wonderful, peppery aroma all the way home. It was an instant mood-enhancer! There are few dishes I make at home that I couldn't sneak some fresh basil into, so when the recipe calls for it, I'm pretty happy to comply.
|Basil love. A most sincere one.|
|Sadly, I never seem to learn to take my contacts out BEFORE I cut chillies. |
I'm hopeful that someday I will learn this lesson.
|It might not look like much - but that flavour!|
Asian Beef with Basil from Food & Wine Magazine (April 2012)
NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with Jasmine and I and join in on the fun, we'd love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com