Saturday, November 29, 2014

Easy shiitake mushroom and lime beef over rice

Hello, everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! By now you're probably all tired of mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing so this dish might be a welcome change. It's fairly simple, but like the last post, has a few ingredients that aren't in the cabinet.
 So, I was watching Japanese cooking tutorials on youtube again. Seriously, there's everything on youtube. I'm a hands-on type of learner so I really like looking of 3D tours, TED talks, sketching techniques, etc. Watching someone cook is probably the best way to learn, no matter how great the recipe and instructions, so don't be afraid. Youtube is your friend!
 Now, I wanted another seasonal dish that was simple, quick and didn't take a genius. I watched about ten videos before I realized that ginger,cilantro, lemongrass and chili pepper was a common combination. How odd! I can see cilantro and peppers, or ginger and lemongrass, but all four? So, I went looking in my grocery store and surprise... it's so common, I found it in this super handy little squeeze tube. It lasts forever in the fridge, is already chopped and ready. Nifty!
 So, shiitake mushrooms are also called "winter mushrooms" and are consumed in large quantities in Russia. (File this under things you never needed to know, but are glad you do.) Because they can be grown and eaten fresh even under limited amounts of light, they make good winter staples in countries where the growing season is short.
 The mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D2 and are a great source of Vitamin B5 (400% of your daily needs). For people who suffer from the winter "blahs", mushrooms can help fight off the brain fog that happens when they don't get enough sunshine.
 You can use any kind of cream (heavy cream, light, half and half, etc.) but this was on sale, so hey. Crema Casera, it is!
 Ok, in a skillet or cast iron pot, put in 2 TBS of the ginger, cilantro, chili pepper and lemon grass mix. (How easy is that??) A tbs of olive oil and a few ounces of chopped red onion. (I usually use sweet onions but this recipe called for red, so that's what I got. I'm glad I did. The flavors are pretty intense and I don't think you'd be able to taste the sweet onion under all the mushroom, herbs, beef.)
There's that dried garlic again! I'm really starting to like this stuff. I usually use fresh minced, but I think I'll start keeping this on hand, too.
 After sauteeing the onion for a little while over medium-high heat, put in the shiitakes, stem side down.
 After about four minutes, roll them over and let the tops soften. The video I watched added a few tablespoon of water and it seemed like this helped keep everything from burning. This wasn't a long step. Just about 6-8 minutes, tops.
 As the shiitake are cooking, put another 2 TBS of the herbs in a hot pan, plus half a squeezed lime. Mix thoroughly.
 Add a few ounces of cubed beef. I used some beef I withheld from the stew I'd made the day before. The dish is mostly mushroom, not beef, so keep the proportions in mind. I thin American usually cook heavy on the meat, and add a few other ingredients. This was definitely a mushroom dish, with some beef. Cook over high heat until browned. Add half a cup of the cream to the beef as soon as it's cooked through. Stir well, but don't let it boil because the lime can curdle the cream.
 The video I watched had noodle as a base, but we'd just used all our stir fry noodles so I cooked some white rice. Ladle a bit of the beef mixture on top. Select a few of the shiitake mushrooms and some of the red onion. I nibbled an edge to make sure they didn't need any more salt, and the combination of the herbs really gave it a great flavor. You can salt them if you want, but I didn't think it needed anything else.
And finally a bit of the dried garlic as a topper. I also had sesame seeds, so I tried that, too, but maybe I'm just a garlic fan, I preferred the bit of crunchy garlic to the sesame seeds.
 I'd give this dish about 8/10. It was easy, but I used two pans and hey, sometimes that's one pan too many, haha. Definite points for a great combination of flavors, those vitamins we need in winter, and NOT being pizza.
Take care everybody and I'll see you next week!


  1. hmm sounds/looks pretty good! I discovered garlic comes in those little squeeze tubes and am in LOVE!

    1. I love those, too! I have a crazy amount of garlic in my house. Jars, tubes, fresh, dried, powdered, garlic salt...
      My husband only uses fresh, but I hate peeling and cutting and smelling it on my hands.

  2. OH THIS LOOKS AMAZING. And I will pretty much follow your recipes anywhere since you introduced me to my Ninja pal. Well except those funky cakes with faces.

    1. Funky cakes with faces... You mean my cake fail? Or those pancakes with designs? LOL. But yea, eating anything with a face is usually a bad thing!

  3. Virginia, I LOVE Thai flavors and am so excited to hear about this in the tube! I hope I can find it. Thanks for letting us know about it!

    1. An I think mushrooms are a good low-carb food, right? maybe without the rice, this could be an all purpose meal.

  4. This sounds delicious! And even using two pans, it still sounds pretty easy and quick.

    But since I live in a household of mushroom haters (I can't believe they're related to me!), I'd have to whip it up for lunch. I don't mind, though. I'm a bit like a hobbit when it comes to mushrooms, and not having to share them isn't all that bad!

  5. Oh no! Mushroom haters! I never liked mushrooms until I discovered you don't have to eat them raw, or out of the can. That was the only way I'd had them until I was in my twenties. Mushrooms out of a can are so bad! But
    I love mushroom smothered backed chicken and stuffed mushrooms.

  6. I love mushrooms!!!! In all shapes and sizes. We get wild puffballs growing here some Septembers, and they're GIANTS.... and we slice them and season them and throw them on the grill. They're soccer ball sized and pale white and so good!

    I was crazy fun/busy with Bake a Memory day this weekend, and didn't get into the cafe, but I had to stop by this morning and mop the floors before we get swamped with CYBER MONDAY shoppers needing a break... and great coffee!