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Occidental Beef and Broccoli

Not to be confused with the dish found in American Chinese Food places, hense Occidental. You will note that no exact measurements are given. That's because it's all proportional to what you want to make. Amounts are given in the 'what to do' section.

What you will need

What to do

Either the day before or early on the day you plan to have this dish, put the beef, fully thawed, into the zip top bag and add enough of the Italian Dressing to just cover the beef. Get as much of the air out of the bag as you can and seal it. Toss the bag in the fridge and walk away. This step takes time but requires no attention from you.

At least several hours later (when you want to actually make and eat the meal), take the bag out of the fridge. If your pan is cast iron, set it on the burner and let it start warming up empty. This step isn't required for other types of pans, simply because they heat up faster anyway. Once you can feel the radiant heat from about an inch over the cooking surface of the pan, put the beef into the pan, and dump the remainder of the contents around it. Let it sit and cook while you work on the other components.

Take your greenery (Broccoli unless you don't like the flavor, in which case substitute an apropriate raw vegetable) and break it down to pieces small enough for consumption (two or three bites). Scatter it on a plate. Set the plate aside.

Put half a shot to a shot of water (tap water unless it's undrinkable in your area) into the small cup. Add a teaspoon or less of the corn starch to the water and stir until it is well mixed. You will feel the clumps when it isn't mixed yet. Mix it some more afterwards just to be sure. To this mixture, add a mix of your chosen spices, using less in volume than you did the starch. Why am I telling you to add the spices to this mess instead of putting it on the beef? It's so that we will have a different flavor in the sauce than the beef.

Check on the beef. If it's in steak form, turn it over, otherwise, stir it. At some point, the beef will be cooked to your liking. Do not be afraid to take your knife to it to check the color, mine ended up with multiple slice marks by the time it was done. We're going for flavor, not looks. If concerned with looks, cut the beef into cubes or similar small chunks. No one will notice the nicks in the large pieces when you test for doneness. However, I'm not picky about the looks of my food. Sooner or later, the beef will be done. Scoop it out of the pan and lay it atop the greens.

Give the starch and spice slurry one more stir and pour it into the pan with the juices. Scrape the bottom of the pan with your spatula and mix it into the liquid. Keep stirring. You will see the liquid thicken quickly. When it had blended to a uniform color and has stopped thickening, pick up the pan and scrape your sauce onto the beef and greens. Turn off the heat, set the pan aside, pick up your silverware and enjoy.

--Robert McCarroll