Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vikki's Fancy Dinners

Vikki is my youngest sister. A menopausal baby, she’s bordering to retardation and being a genius. But by some divine intervention, her chromosomes somehow aligned themselves in place and there she grew up “abnormally” – her words- into a bottomless pit: no matter how much she eats, she never gets fat!

Living with me since her second year at university (she’s now in 6th year), I have been her surrogate parent, dictator, boyfriend bully, and private chef (you lucky brat, you…) . Dinners range from the traditional favorites to impulsive fast food take- outs, lazy leftovers and, the fancy stuff. These fancy dinners, sometimes of chicken sesame with steamed jute, fresh tuna penne, or homemade sausage ravioli under Yann Tiersen’s spell, are all whipped up in that helpless pursuit of making the girl get some weight. So here’s one of her dinners, main course - January 24, 2008, Thursday – celebrating my favorite color: purple.

Pan- grilled Beef in Ma Po Sauce with Blanched Vegetables and Purple Mashed Potatoes

Beef, lean cut about 200 grams
Ma Po Tofu Sauce


This Ma Po sauce is actually designed/ flavored for tofu dish. A Chinese sauce made of sesame paste, sesame oil, chili paste, tomato paste, the flavor is very exotic. Can be bought pre- mixed, though if I had enough time (and a more generous cupboard), it would have been more fun to do this from scratch.

You can use tender lean cuts like sirloin (tender and less expensive) and in a nation of non- beef eaters, tenderloin tips would be a little too pretentious for an ordinary weekday dinner.

Slice the beef thinly about ¼” thick, roll and truss with a cotton twine. The rationale for doing this is to prevent too much ma po sauce from soaking into the flesh. The sauce may overwhelm the taste of the beef. When rolled, soak the beef into the sauce. Let stand for about 15 minutes.

Pan- grill the marinated rolled beef on a hot pan, for about 10 minutes, rolling once in a while. Some juices will ooze out from the meat. Remove from heat when there aren’t too much drippings. On a clean chopping board, slice the beef about in inch thick. You will realize that the insides of the beef is still tender with a good taste of the ma po sauce.

On the same pan where they have been cooked, put water about 3 T, pour 1 teaspoon ma po sauce, a little flour, butter. Allow the mixture to thicken. Pour this over the beef slices on the plate later on.

Purple Mashed Potato:
1 C potatoes
1/2 C purple yams
4 T fresh milk
2 T butter
2 T grated cheese
1 pinch white pepper, onion powder, sea salt

Cook potatoes and yam first. When done, let cool. Peel, grate, then add all other and mash ingredients into a homogeneous mixture.

Blanched Vegetables:
50 grams of each:
Carrots, cut thin
Baby corn
Green beans, , about 2 inches long

Heat water in a pan. Bring to a boil. When boiling, toss all items at once for about 45 seconds then remove immediately. Submerge in ice cold water. Drain, set aside.

Place a scoop of the purple mashed potato on a plate. Then the blanched vegetables. Top off with the beef slopped with sauce.

Sorry, dear sister, I know you like your food saucy but I was already too lazy to make gravy from scratch so I just had your beef a little saucy, the mashed potato a little moist and the vegetables a little bland and juicy. Stubborn chef.

Enjoy the fancy dinner.


viki the great said...

hey, that's me!how come i don't know about this??!!im suing you for malpractice and invasion of privacy, you quack!!hahahaha!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! The little sis' gets special treatment! Does she wash the dishes? haha

Look at all these pretty colors, delicious! And the Yann Tiersen soundtrack in the background. You've got good taste! :-)

Sidney said...

Beautiful eyes!
Your sister must be happy to have such a cook at home!

coco said...

Purple is my favourite colour and how nice would it be to have my mashed potatoes that colour! I haven't had them this way before and would love to try it, but I was curious to know how different would it taste from plain mashed potatoes?

foodhuntress79 said...

Viki, shut up and eat. Hhehe. Love you :)

Zen, not only dishes but those white uniforms and stained aprons too :)

Sidney, you got it right! Those beautiful eyes have their own language- from the puppy- eyed begging look to the threatening glare: "Where's my fancy dinner?!" Hhahaha.

Coco, compared to potatoes, purple yams are naturally coarse, so I grate it first before mashing. With your classic recipe for mashed potatoes, you can add a little more milk (or heavy liquide cream) to add moisture. The taste is nice, a lttle earthy. :)

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Anonymous said...

I have tried the purple potatoes they are called Violette here. But they were awful. Just purple and awful. I'll try again with your recipe.