Looking for another quick dinner?  Try Garlic Beef, Asparagus, and Shiitake Stir-Fry!  Don’t have garlic hoisin sauce?  Simple – mince half a head of garlic, and put in sauce to infuse.  Messed up a bit on this recipe, but it seems to have turned out fine.  Also, lack a pan lid? Find a large Tupperware container and put it over it, it works fine.  This is basically me fucking up and improvising (by adding shiitake mushrooms), which appears to be a theme today.

Garlic Beef, Shiitake, and Asparagus Stir-Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • ½ c garlic hoisin sauce (alternatively, having the hoisin but not in garlic flavor, take ½ c hoisin and half a head of garlic, minced, and combine)
  • 1 lb beef flank steak (or stir fry meat, or sirloin steak, whatever gives you a good cheap cut of meat), sliced thin and into pieces
  • 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into one inch pieces
  • 1 container shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced

In a medium bowl, combine the flank steak and 2 T of the garlic hoisin sauce (whoops, added the whole thing here. derp).  Marinate for 15ish mins at room temp.  Heat the oil in a pan, and stir fry the meat until lightly browned, but not fully cooked, and remove the meat.  If you managed to add all the sauce for the marinade, save as much as possible in the original container, or whatever is left over in the pan.

Add the asparagus and shiitake, and stir fry for appx one minute, and add ½ c to water and cover (either with a lid, or, if you’re me, with your  tupperware container).  Steam for one to two minutes, and then remove the lid.

Add the meat, whatever’s left of the sauce, and stir until the beef is cooked and everything else is well combined.  And then, nom!

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And now that the last of my groceries are here, I can finish off with strawberry lemonade!  Strawberries were super cheap (and not quite in season at the farmer’s market, sadly), and lemons are pretty cheap as well, so boom, strawberry lemonade, because it’s starting to get into pretty consistently summer temps out here, and I need a cool drink, lacking AC and all.

Strawberry Lemonade
Makes at least 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 qt strawberries (appx 4 cups, 1.5 pounds), halved
  • 2 lemons, peeled and quartered
  • appx ¾ c sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 6 c water

Puree the lemons, strawberries, and 2 c water in a blender.  Strain the mixture into 4 c water in your pitcher/container.  Add your sugar, and taste.  And then try not to drink it all right away.

So, it’s payday, which means I just did grocery shopping!  However, the vast majority of those groceries won’t be arriving until juuust after I make this post, so I need a little something something to tide me over until that happens.  Thus, Pasta Puttanesca (yes, it can translate to whore pasta :P).  

This is another one of those super effin’ cheap recipes, especially around the right time of year (farmer’s market has just moved to the Square by us, which means lots of vendors and cheap fresh basil, or basil plants) and with the right pantry.  Also, another really quick recipe.  All you should need to buy is basil, a hugeass can of diced tomatoes, anchovies (trust me!), and the pitted (trust me, it’ll save you a lot of work) kalamata olives.

Pasta Puttanesca
Lasts appx 5 meals, at least

Ingredients

  • Pasta (whatever kind and however much you want)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3-4 anchovy filets (trust me on this, you can skip it if you want, but they cook away and add a great flavor base)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped (you know what I’ve said about me and garlic by now, I hope)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 10-15 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 small bunch basil, chopped
  • 2 T capers (optional, but if you have them on hand, go for it)
  • ½ T brown sugar (I usually add this, but didn’t this time)

Start boiling the water for the pasta while you chop the onion, garlic, olives, and basil.  Once all that’s done, combine the olive oil, anchovies, onion, and garlic, and cook on medium for appx five minutes, or until the onion’s softened.  Then, add the tomatoes, olives, basil, and capers (if using), and simmer on low until the pasta is complete.  Take a taste, add the brown sugar if the sauce has too much of a bite for you.

Once the water’s boiling, add the pasta and cook according to directions, and drain.  Once that happens, add the pasta to the skillet and mix to combine the sauce and pasta.  

And, there you go!  Dinner in fifteen, twenty minutes tops!  Go eat!  Do whatever!  😀

And to wrap up tonight, have some beignets!  Not too much more to say about that. ^^

Vanilla-Scented Beignets
Makes appx 12 large beignets

Ingredients

  • 1 stick and 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 c water
  • dash of salt
  • 1.5 t sugar
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs at room temp
  • vegetable oil (at least an inch or so in a large pot)
  • appx 1 c sugar for dusting

In a pot, combine the butter, water, salt, and 1.5 t sugar and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, add the flour, and stir until combined. Turn heat to high and cook the dough until smooth, appx 1 min.  Transfer dough to bowl and mix in vanilla and eggs (one at a time) with an electric mixer.

Heat the oil over medium high and set up a station for the beignets to drain, be coated in sugar, and a final holding container. Drop a spoonful into the heated oil and fry until golden brown, appx 4 mins on each side, remove from oil, and poke with a fork to release steam.  Coat in sugar after resting. Repeat for each beignet. 

For the record, my weekend starts as soon as I’m out of the office Friday.  😛  As such, let’s get some spicy chicken going on up in here!  Another recipe off of Budget Bytes, and again, for the most part, except for the chicken, coconut milk, and maybe the diced tomatoes, most of this should already be in your pantry!  Yay cheap meals!

Tumeric Chicken 
Lasts appx 4 meals

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • Half of a large onion, diced (I used a cippolini, any kind you have on hand would work)
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (whatever amount works best for you, really)
  • .5 T tumeric
  • dash cumin and cinnamon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 package chicken, diced (breast or thigh, I used boneless skinless thigh)
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (DO NOT DRAIN)
  • 1 13 oz(ish) can coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Take the onion, garlic, and ginger and olive oil and saute until onions are tender.  Add the spices and saute for an additional two minutes, and  then add the diced chicken and saute until cooked (7 to 10 mins).  Add the can of tomatoes and bay leaf, and then cover and let simmer for 30 mins.  After 30 mins, turn off the heat, stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladies and gentlemen, to counter the ridiculously damp weather we’re having down by where I live, I give you Butt Touch Brigade Scones!

…An explanation.  I have tea.  Lots and lots of loose leaf tea.  And after a certain point, you get down to a few scant leaves of the blend in the bottom of the bag, and they’re not enough to make a cuppa, but you don’t want to waste them.  And then, I found a recipe for scones that used Cara McGee’s Reichenbach Recovery tea as part of the recipe, and a use presented itself for the scant bit of Butt Touch Brigade tea that I had leftover.  And again, cheap, as I have everything that I need for this in the pantry already, including the tea, and you can use pretty much any tea you have on hand for it.

Plus, now I get to use Butt Touch in a recipe name.  Heh. Butt touch.  

Butt Touch Brigade Scones
Makes 10 scones

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c milk
  • 2 T honey
  • 3 t Butt Touch Brigade Tea (or any other tea you may have on hand)
  • 2.5 c flour
  • .5 t salt
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 6 T (aka 4/5ths of one stick) butter
  • 1.5 T vanilla extract

Combine the milk, honey, and tea in a small pan and steep on low heat for 10 – 12 mins.  Once fully heated, pour through a strainer into a small airtight container and cool in the fridge. It says to let sit until cooled, though I let it sit overnight.  Once cooled, add the vanilla extract.

Mix the dry ingredients together, and then cut the butter in using either your fingers, a wooden spoon, or whatever works best for you, until the butter is in small crumbs.  Add the tea mixture slowly to the flour and butter until the dough just barely combines.

Preheat the oven to 375 (plus/minus according to your oven), and roll out the dough until it’s about a finger’s width thin.  Cut and shape the dough however you want, and then put them on the baking sheet and sprinkle the top with whatever you like (I chose sugar).  

Bake for 15 to 20 mins, or until the tops are golden brown, and then nom!

So, remember the biga I started yesterday? It’s about ready to go!  And now that it is, I can throw it into the freezer until I need it next week!  (See, that’s the awesome thing about this starter.  You can freeze it in the freezer for up to three/four months, and then thaw it for three to five hours when you need to use it again so it can reactivate.)  Yay for making your own bread!

Italian Biga
Makes appx 2 c of starter

Ingredients

  • ¼ t active dry yeast
  • ¼ c warm water
  • ¾ c plus 4 T water at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 c flour

Stir the yeast into the ¼ c water and let stand ten minutes, until it looks almost creamy. While this is happening, let the other 3/4ish c water stand so that it reaches room temp. Once the ten minutes has passed, add the remaining water, and then the flour, one cup at a time, mixing with a plastic or wooden spoon for 3 to 4 mins.  (If you’re lucky enough to have a food processor or stand mixer, those instructions are at the link.)  Cover the bowl with either a towel or plastic wrap, whatever you have handy, and let stand between six to forty-eight hours, depending on how sour you want your bread.  Starter should be approximately triple the size it was (compare yesterday’s photos with the final product).

Once you’re satisfied with your starter, you can either use it right away, refrigerate it for up to five days, or double wrap it in plastic wrap like I did and store in the freezer for up to four months.  If you choose to freeze it like I am, let the starter thaw either in the fridge for up to five hours, or at room temperature up to 3 hours, so that the yeast reactivates.