Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cooking Without Recipes: Chinese Beef and Strawberry Cake

Uh, that's two different recipes--not a very strange-sounding cake.

This is what we had for supper last night...all amounts are very approximate.

Slow Cooker Chinese Beef

1 lb. stew meat, cubed (comes that way in the package)
good squoosh of hoisin sauce
8-oz package whole mushrooms
two cups leftover broccoli
squirt of soy sauce, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, half a cup of water

In the very busy morning, put the thawed stew meat in the slow cooker and add enough hoisin sauce to sort-of cover the top. Let it cook on low for the rest of the day. Or put it in later if you forgot, and cook it for a few hours on high.

Partway through the afternoon (so they don't get mushy), rinse and add the mushrooms.

About half an hour before supper, stir the cornstarch into a little water and add a bit of soy sauce for extra flavour. Turn the slow cooker up to high if it wasn't there already, and stir in the cornstarch mixture and the leftover broccoli if it isn't too mushy. If it's really soft, then just add it at the end. Let the whole thing finish heating together. If it's too thick, you can add more water.

Serve over rice or noodles. This has kind of a nice dark taste, I think because of the beef juices mixing with the hoisin sauce and the mushrooms. Warning: we ate it all, even with the youngest Squirreling offering regrets; so if you have more people or hungry eaters, you'd probably be best to double it. Just use whatever size package of meat you think will be enough and go from there.

Strawberry Upside Down Cake

about 3/4 of a bag of frozen strawberries, thawed and warmed in the microwave along with the end of a container of homemade pancake syrup (optional)

Standard muffin batter:
2 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar or whatever you like to use instead
2 tsp. baking powder [corrected! 2 tbsp. would be horrible]
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8-inch square pan and put the warmed berries into the bottom of it, mashing them slightly if they're large.

Mix the dry and wet batter ingredients separately, blend gently and spoon over the top of the fruit.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake tests done. I put the pan on top of a cookie sheet because I was worried that the fruit might gush over the side, but it was fine. The cake was delicious but I think we could have happily used the whole bag of berries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These sound good!

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