Mongolian Beef

mongolian beef 4
Hallelujah, it's Friday

It's about time you dine like a leader of the free world. 

This Mongolian Beef recipe comes from Executive White House chef, Ariel De Guzman who ran the White House kitchen when George Bush Sr. was in office.  

According to Guzman, Asian cuisine is a favorite of the Bush family and this Mongolian Beef was often requested for dinner parties that the President was hosting.  
mongolian beef
Dear President and Mrs. Bush (Senior),

I bet you dream about eating Ariel's mongolian beef in the White House.  Seeing as we both live in Houston, I'd be happy to come over and prepare some for you.  I totally see why you like it so much.  It's pretty fantastic.  I am open most weekends over the summer so let me know what works for you.  My kitchen or yours... I'm easy. Yours is probably nicer though, so I can definitely bring my wok to your place.  

Oh and before I forget,  I played you, President Bush, in my second grade Parade of Presidents at my school.  I did my best to represent.  I'll catch you up on the details over dinner.

mongolian beef collage
Are any Chinese dishes in your repetoire? 

If not, you are probably going to dismiss this immediately because you need a couple of key sauces. 

Don't do it!

Use this as your opportunity to load up your arsenal for Chinese cooking.  You will need only a few things and the ingredients are pretty interchangeable for other stir frys, dumplings and rices.  Here's what you need that you might not have.

This Mongolian beef has such great flavor and you just won't believe how quickly it comes together. 

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy. 

Mongolian Beef
Recipe adapted from The Bush Family Cookbook by Ariel De Guzman
Recipe Notes
If you are not familiar with the term "cutting against the grain," check this out.  Cutting your meat correctly is key to making a good stir fry with tender meat.  This recipe makes 4 small portions, but the leftovers are fantastic so it's worth making the whole recipe just for two people.
For Marinade **needs to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight 
1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2/3 pound flank steak, sliced across grain on an angle into thin strips
For Seasoning Sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon hot bean sauce (or bean sauce)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Other Ingredients
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
8-10 scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
Step by Step
In a large bowl, combine rice wine, soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, baking soda, cornstarch sugar. Add beef strips and toss to coat.  Marinate for at least two and hours and up to twenty four hours.

Make the seasoning sauce.  In a medium size bowl, combine hoisin sauce, hot bean sauce, cornstarch and water.  Mix to combine.  This seasoning sauce can be prepared up to twenty four hours before cooking.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.   Add marinated beef and stir-fry until very lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Remove beef with slotted spoon; set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil.  Reheat oil in skillet or wok and add seasoning sauce.  Bring to a boil. Return beef to pan and add scallions.  Stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Makes 4 servings.


eating in: Cozumel, Mexico

Oh, hi there.

To give you a visual, I am sitting on the couch, wearing a pair of Soffe shorts.  You know, those soft cotton way too small shorts that were just all the rage when we 20 somethings were in middle school?

I didn't even know I still owned a pair, but it is amazing what you can find when absolutely everything you own is in the dirty clothes pile.

So here I am... in my Soffee shorts, catching up on what Bethenny Frankel has been up to lately.  Oh, come on.  Admit it... she's hilarious and I'll be the first to admit that I'm hooked on Bethenny Ever After.  If you are not, start watching so we can be on the same page.

But no matter what I'm wearing or what I'm watching, it is all a bit of a blur.  My mind is still floating its way through that little beach up there.  Sitting underneath a hut and sipping a margarita.

My unbelievably kind and sweet parents sent Mr. Hungry and me on a cruise as a graduation present for the both of us.  Mr. Hungry graduated from law school in December and took the bar two weeks ago.

Gosh, did we need a little vacay.  I totally agreed with them when they said that I needed a graduation present too. Three and a half years of supporting your husband through law school is present worthy in my book.

We were in Cozumel for the day and this being our fourth trip to this place, I deemed it about time for me to give you my expert opinion on where to eat.

You are in Mexico... we will be eating Mexican!

Let's start with fajitas.  If you are looking for the best fajitas in all the land, check out La Choza.  
Oh man, everything about this place is legit.  But I still dream about the fajitas.

This is what you need...
Fajitas Mixtas (shrimp, beef & chicken) 
Classic Margarita  

You will love the sauce that comes with the chips.  If you love it as much as my father did a few years ago, you can go home with a bottle of the stuff.  He swears it lasted him for years.

Next up, let's go with the freshest seafood around at La Mission

This is what you need...
Ceviche Mixtos with Fish & Shrimp

Side of Avocado

Sol Beer  
(recommendation from our waiter Miguel... perfect combo)

Optional Addition:  Queso Fundido

Great mariachi and if you're lucky, you just might get to don a sombrero for part of your meal.

La Choza!  The very top of my list in lovely Cozumel.
La Mission!  A close second, but skip the fajitas and go with the fresh fish and seafood.


Oreo Truffles

all done
Do you eat cake balls/ cake pops? 

I don't. 
oreo crushingFrom the moment of their conception, I have never been interested.  The texture sounded weird and the process in which people smash cake and icing and roll it in a ball  simply grossed me out.  And what about the effort?  You bake a wonderful cake, but then mash it with icing and dip it in coating? Blew my mind. 

Naturally I wasn't thrilled when oreo balls were requested for a party I was catering.  Might as well have ordered cake balls in my book. But hey, I wasn't going to eat them so it didn't totally rock my world. 
2 ingredients insideI wasn't happy about it, but I felt like I needed to take a wee bite of one just to make sure I wasn't serving a disaster.  To my absolute shock and surprise, they were amazing.  Seriously, so good.  You get a nice little crunch from the semi-sweet chocolate and then you are met with a velvety chocolatey ball of goodness.

Cake ball people, I know you are out there and I know they are all the rage, but here's the deal...whirling up oreo crumbs is a thousand times faster than baking a cake  so get on the band wagon and let's do this. 
all balled upThese went fast... lightning fast.  They were served on a dessert bar with Sprinkles cupcakes and other tried and true favorites and they were gone first. 

That's statistics.  You can't argue with statistics. 

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.
the dipping process
Oreo Truffles
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Recipe Notes
You use the whole cookie for this recipe.  Leave the icing in the middle when you place them in the food processor.  Dipping in chocolate can be a little tricky.  The method I prefer is to dunk the oreo ball in the chocolate, roll around to coat and then using a fork in one hand and your fingers, scoop the ball out and place on baking sheet.  
1 (16 ounce) package Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (I like Baker's brand)
Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into one inch balls. 

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.  Heat chocolate according to directions on packaging.  Dip balls in chocolate and place on lined baking sheet to harden.  (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

Makes about 42 truffles.