CEiMB: Emerald Stir-Fry with Beef

OK, so this week’s recipe preparation actually has two stories that I must share with you; I apologize in advance for what promises to be a lengthy post. However, if you enjoy reading about mischievous cats, you will not be let down.

Let me start out by first saying, I am not really a cat person. I am a dog-lover. Cats are cute and everything, it’s not like I hate them, they just aren’t my first choice in pets. Ryan fell in love with my dog, Irving. And, I mean, really, who wouldn’t? He’s pretty much the best dog ever (except for yours, right?). So Ryan decided he didn’t want to live alone anymore and should get a pet. He was afraid a dog would be too much work as far as training, etc. and since he works full time and takes evening classes, he didn’t want to neglect the dog. Cats are more independent and don’t need to go outside so that’s the better choice, right? Long story short, he got two kittens who are now five-year-old cats named Oskar and Sinatra.

My mom has told me countless times that I should write a blog specifically devoted to the antics of the cats because she finds all the stories about them to be completely hysterical, and my stepdad has tried to get us to set up a video camera so we can win money on America’s Funniest Videos. Isn’t it typical that the grandparent finds things humorous because they are not actually living through it? Maybe the stories are funny in retrospect, but I can guarantee you that 99% of the time, I am not laughing while its happening, whatever it may be.

The first of two stories actually falls into the 1% category of being funny and cute. For Christmas, my mom got me a stir-fry pan. Well, since my kitchen is tiny and my cabinets are even smaller, the pan is too big to fit into a cabinet. We don’t have a pantry or anything, so I decided to store it in a corner, behind the sink, on top of all our baking supplies and jars. One afternoon I was going in to the kitchen to wash my hands and was startled to find Oskar curled up sleeping in the stir fry pan. Here’s the evidence:

The second story is not as cute, at least not to me… or my dinner. I originally planned to make this stir-fry on Tuesday. I have not been sleeping well lately, only getting maybe 3-4 hours per night. So when I got home from class on Tuesday morning, I was barely functional. I decided to take a nap before my lab, but I also remembered that I forgot to take the beef out of the freezer. I put it in the sink, against my better judgement. I typically do not defrost things in the sink, but since I had forgotten to take it out the night before, I was trying to speed up the defrosting process. I even thought to myself, “I need to be sure to put this in the fridge before I leave for lab”. Well, in my nap-foggy head, I forgot all about it. While I was in lab, I remembered that I forgot to put the meat away and started to panic. On more than one occasion, we’ve come home to find that tupperware that was in the sink got carried into the hallway and destroyed. Once the cats even managed to open one of their cans of food while we were out. So I was having visions of what I might walk in the door to find. All my fears were confirmed when I came in and found the styrofoam tray the beef had been in shredded all over the kitchen floor. Then I made my way down the hallway and found some unidentifiable messes in the office. I’m not sure what it was, but I’m pretty sure it used to be beef. Yuck. And laying in the dog bed about a foot away from the trail of messes was Oskar with this content little look on his face. His new nickname? Beef breath.

So now, you tell me, does it seem like the cats are less work than a dog would have been? Not to me either. People always ask me why we keep Irving crated during the day, like they think he might have behavior issues, but in fact, we keep him crated to protect him from the cats. If you ever need a good laugh, e-mail me and I’ll tell you what the cats have done that week. It’s guaranteed to cheer you up!

OK, now to the recipe, which was made on Wednesday after a trip to the local grocery store for some replacement meat. This week’s CEiMB recipe was chosen by Alyssa at Alyssa’s Two Bites. If you don’t already follow Alyssa, you should give her blog a look – she’s got terrific pictures and has a great posts. She picked a great recipe, and it was perfect timing for me because I had a lot of chopped up veggies to use.

I followed the recipe almost exactly. The only major change I made was omitting the asparagus. I’m not a big fan of it, and as I said, I had a bunch of mixed veggies to use up. I had my knife skills class last Sunday, and we got to bring home most of what we cut up. I used orange bell pepper and two carrots in place of the asparagus. I also added green onion as a garnish. Since everything was pretty much prepped for me, this came together really quickly. I ended up cooking the meat longer than Ellie said because it was still pink on the outside, but other than that everything went exactly as she described. Verdict? Meh. It was a little bland. We each added some chili sauce to our bowls. Also, the meat was tough. I think I would just make it a vegetarian stir-fry next time, and add more crushed red pepper flakes. I loved the mix of vegetables, and it looked so pretty! The sauce and beef were slightly disappointing for us though. I was shocked when Ryan walked over to the stir-fry (while there was no meat in it) and said, “That looks so good!” Then he even admitted it would have been better as a vegetarian dish. I’m glad I was sitting down at that point; I might have fainted. I can’t believe he’s gone from eating no vegetables to eating a vegetable stir-fry – and loving it. If nothing else ever comes from this blog, that alone makes it all worthwhile :)

Emerald Stir-Fry with Beef

1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces stir-fry beef
1 medium green onion, thinly sliced, greens and whites separated
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces frozen snow peas
1-12 ounce bag of broccoli florets
1 medium orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 cups frozen shelled edamame
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine mirin or white wine, orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and water in a small bowl.

In a large wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until just browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat and cook whites of scallion and garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining vegetables, raise heat to medium-high, and cook for 3 minutes until vegetables are slightly softened.

Add the mirin-soy mixture and cook, stirring, until edamame are cooked, about 4 minutes.

Add the beef and dissolved cornstarch and stir to incorporate. Cook until mixture thickens slightly and beef is heated through, an additional 2 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

Source: Ellie Krieger’s “So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week”, p.122


January 28, 2010. recipes.


  1. Alyssa replied:

    Hey, thanks for cooking along with me this week!! I too overcooked the beef the first time I made it and decided to substitute shrimp the next time. It was much better with the shrimp and I think it would be even better with red pepper flakes and maybe siracha (sp?).

    Loved the cat story!! (well, wouldn’t have loved it if I were you.. but loved hearing about it.. lol).

    Also thanks for the nice comment in your post about my blog. It’s been fun.


  2. teaandscones replied:

    Love the WOK CAT!!!

    Like your additions. I could see the bell pepper and what looks like water chestnuts. Wish I had had some to add.

  3. connie b replied:

    the cat in the pan is friggin’ hilarious!!! My cat is subject to be laying anywhere, but she hasn’t found my pans yet!!!

  4. Kayte replied:

    That kitty is adorable. Seriously. Funny post. Love to read everyone’s subs every week. I subbed the snow peas as guys here won’t eat them, thought a red pepper would jazz it up a bit, and I think I might have accidentally (on purpose) added a few more red pepper flakes to jazz it up in flavor a bit. Yep, might have! I think I have a whole new arena open to me as this was my first stir-fry officially: woking!

  5. Lauryn replied:

    OMG!!! Both those stories are crazy! I would NOT be a happy camper if I came home to beef shredded all over my house!! Sounds like you handled it nicely!!! And the stir fry looks delish!! Wish I had played along this week…

  6. Elina replied:

    My dog used to do stuff like that all the time. I can only imagine if I left beef out…
    Too bad about the final dish results. I still say that Ellie’s savory dishes are often too bland for my taste buds and maybe we’re in the same category. Her sweet stuff rarely dissapoints, though so I probably will pick a muffin recipe or something of that matter when my turn comes to pick a recipe. :)

  7. Rachel in NC replied:

    This is why my dog still stays in her crate during the day. I don’t trust her yet!

    The stir fry looks good!

  8. Sara replied:

    Yeah, this was just okay for us too. Nick complained about the edamame. Why he will eat it at a sushi restaurant but not at home is beyond me.

    Cats stink! That is my two cents on that issue.

  9. Joanne replied:

    I love Oskar in the pan! Great shot!

  10. The Not So Skinny Kitchen – Meatless Monday: Egyptian Edamame Stew replied:

    […] while back, for Ellie Krieger’s Emerald Stir-Fry (in case you missed it, there is a really cute picture on that post so you should check it out), I […]

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