Monday, June 7, 2010

Kitchen Klutz: Panda-licious!

By Michèle De Meglio

I have a secret.

I wish I was a panda! Really it’s because I spent the winter clad in a cool furry hat complete with panda ears and matching gloves, which I called my paws. How cute is that?

Since it’s too warm to wear my adorable cold weather gear, I’m going to keep my panda love alive by eating like one of the cuddly creatures.

That was my plan until I realized that pandas chomp on raw bamboo all day long. I’m not one for uncooked food (I only do veggie sushi) so I searched for a recipe incorporating cooked bamboo.

The one dish that continued to pop up on my Google page was Beef and Bamboo Shoots Stir-fry. The only problem — several versions of the recipe called for 10 or more ingredients. That’s too much cookin’ for this Klutz to handle.

Unable to find anything simple, I pulled out the Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry recipe I used last summer and figured I’d substitute one veggie for another.

This would also be a way for me to rectify my mistakes on the broccoli dish. You may recall that I accidentally doused the grub with a full bottle of salty sauce. It left me with an inedible mess!
This time around, I used a measuring cup. Aren’t you proud?

Cooking consisted of several steps — cleaning the bamboo shoots, slicing the steak (I really hate the slimy feel of raw meat) and sautéing everything in a wok coated with olive oil and garlic.

This experience taught me something — the wok is my least favorite pot. That’s because nothing can sizzle and steam or make me scream like a hot wok.

Here’s another secret — I actually kind of enjoyed fighting with the stove while wearing my panda hat. A happy hat makes everything better!

Verdict: Gazing at bamboo is enjoyable — grazing on it ain’t.

I expect that the best chefs could whip up a brilliant bamboo-based meal but my adapted stir-fry recipe definitely didn’t do the trick. And I might have gone a little overboard on the stir-fry sauce, again.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of munching on crunchy strips with a weird aftertaste. Even more disturbing, they sort of look like fingers. Weird.

Gosh, maybe I’m not a panda after all! Wah!

Beef and Bamboo Shoots Stir-fry
1 lb. sirloin steak, cubed
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
4 ounces stir-fry sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

Pour 2 tbsp. oil into wok on high heat. Sauté garlic until lightly brown. Add steak, cook until tender. Remove steak. Wipe wok down with a paper towel then coat with 2 tbsp. oil. Add bamboo shoots and stir-fry until soft. Put steak back in wok and cover with sauce. Stir-fry until warmed through.

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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