This has been a weekend packed with nostalgia. Everywhere I went, every event I attended, every song on the radio seemed to yank me back to my teenage self. Starting with Mortified on Friday at the Makeout Room in San Francisco. It's amazing how compelling it is to hear people read their junior high and high school diaries onstage in front of hundreds of people. How hilarious and poignant the angst of those torturous years becomes over time. If you've never seen Mortified before (the events are hosted all over the country) I highly recommend that you go. It's totally cathartic. If only I'd held onto my ridiculous teenage scrawling and not destroyed it in a fit of...well...catharsis. I'm sure I could read those pages now and laugh. Crushes, homework, arch-nemesis's and radio dedications.
I think the only thing I miss is the radio dedications. I wish we still had those. And mix tapes! Actual mix tapes that you have to re-wind and flip over. Is there anything better than a well-crafted mix tape that follows a theme and tone from end to end? That is an absolute art in itself, and I personally am sorry that they've gone the way of the VHS tape. An ipod playlist just isn't the same. I wish I'd saved the tapes I made. The ones I listened to over and over again. I wish I had the ones I sheepishly gave to whomever I was crushing on at the time, hoping they'd listen and pick up on the hidden meaning behind the order of songs.
Junior high. The age when spoken words are so insignificant that communication must be channeled via music and notes passed in 6th period. Le sigh. Ok, so maybe I miss the 6th period notes as well. E-mail never quite does the trick. Nothing like a hand-written note passed in secret.
I'd like to pass Melissa Clark of the NY Times a congratulatory note for publishing this recipe for Beef Stir-Fry with Sugar Snap Peas. Berkeley and Oakland are seriously lacking in decent Chinese food establishments, and forget all about trying to have it delivered. When I saw this recipe while pursuing the paper this morning, it was a like gift from above. I literally tore out of the house and down to the farmers market to grab some good ingredients. Once back at home, it all came together in about half-an-hour, and totally satisfied my Chinese food craving. I have no complaints! And I'm feeling very smug about being able to cook my own healthy version of takeout. Nothing wrong with that!
Beef & Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry
adapted from Melissa Clark's NY Times recipe
1/2 lb lean grass-fed beef, cut into 1/2 inch strips
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
pinch of kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed (snow peas would also work)
3 good-size green onions, chopped
3 green garlic bulbs, chopped (or 3-4 cloves regular garlic)
2/3 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 tbsp Madiera or sweet sherry
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp peanut or olive oil
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
In a medium bowl, mix beef, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Thinly slice sugar snap peas crosswise into disks. Thinly slice green onions and green garlic, reserving dark green parts for garnish.
In a small bowl, mix chicken broth, Madeira, 2 tablespoons water, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and cornstarch.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When pan is hot, stir-fry beef until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer beef and any liquid to a plate.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and when hot, add garlic and white and light green scallion parts until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add sugar snap peas and chicken broth mixture, lower heat to medium and cover. Let cook for 2 minutes. Transfer beef and juices to skillet and stir-fry 2 minutes. Serve over rice, garnished with more sesame oil, sesame seeds, and dark parts of scallions.