Friday, October 25, 2013

Grassfed Wealth and Thai Riches

Twin Cities Farmers Market Cliche: We suffer from a wealth of riches.

Last week at the market our usual haunts were so crowded that we opted for a vendor we don't frequent. At Farm on Wheels Dillon Noble took time which each customer, making sure we understood how to perfectly cook beef bacon and whole duck. He told T and I the fascinating story of how his family procured enough organic barley to feed a farm full of hungry cattle and hogs. Another reason to buy direct from the farmer. We bought a pound each of ground beef and bacon.

The bacon disappeared Sunday at breakfast. (No witnesses, no foul.) I saved the beef for Thursday night burgers, but quickly changed the menu when the November edition of Bon Appetite arrived. A recipe for Thai Beef with Basil sounded like an excellent way to use up the basil bush hanging out in our garage.

Thursday's work day was agonizingly long. Bon Appetite laid open on my desk so that I could ogle the Thai Beef page. Is it wrong to start fantasizing about dinner before you've finished your morning coffee?

I changed up the recipe a bit. I added red pepper and an onion to the beef mixture, seasoned the rice with cilantro and lime, used less garlic, and garnished with peanuts. I like likely spend my Friday work day fantasizing about the leftovers.

Thai Beef with Basil *
4 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large red pepper, sliced thin
1 small white onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves
2 chilies, thinly sliced and divided
1 pound ground beef
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup low sodium chicken brother
3 cups fresh basil leaves, divided
2 medium carrots, julienned or grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Steam rice seasoned with cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and butter
Peanuts and lime wedges

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over high heat. Add red pepper and onion and cooking, stirring until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and 1 chili and cook until fragrant; about 30 seconds. Add beef, season with pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon and pressing down firmly to help brown, until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, 8 - 10 minutes. Add brother and 2 cups basil and cook, stirring, until basil is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Toss carrots, scallions, 1 tablespoon lime juice and remaining chili, 1 cup basil leaves, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a small bowl.

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice in another small bowl until sugar dissolves.

Top rice with beef and slaw and drizzle with soy dressing. Serve with peanuts and lime wedges.

* Adapted from Bone Appetite, November 2013.

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