I got an email a couple of weeks ago entitled “too good to pass”. Many years ago my brother taught me how to scalp bonuses from online casinos and I still get a lot of residual junk mail (it’s not so easy to do this anymore, by the way) so I almost skipped over this email assuming it was referring to a sign-on bonus. Good thing I didn’t because it turned out to be a delicious recipe from a reader named Molly. She and her husband have been eating primal for about a year and make this dish nearly every week. I was immediately captivated by the unconventional use of ground beef in an Asian-inspired recipe which, let’s face it, is just a lot easier than chilling and thinly slicing flank steak or some other such thing. The beef and vegetables are surrounded in a delicious slightly sweet and slightly spicy almond butter sauce. If you’ve already got all the Asian ingredients around, this recipe will make a good addition to your repertoire. If not, it may be worth a trip to the store as it makes for an easy, tasty weeknight meal.
In other news, we are getting ready for Halloween. I’m still getting used to doing Halloween every year again. Sometime around 13 years of age I got my first of many menial food service jobs. My initial foray was at a Dunkin’ Donuts. Back then Dunkin Donuts had a long coffee counter where regulars hung out and we had to wear hideous brown, orange, and pink thigh-length smocks with matching visors. Even though I got sent home early my first day on the job for consistently making inaccurate change, they kept me around until I moved up in the world by landing a choice cashier job at a local bookstore. I think the onset of regular employment marked the end of trick-or-treating. Once you are actually able to afford the bags of candy from the supermarket yourself, the trick-or-treat excitement dies away. I mostly ignored Halloween from that point on until a few years ago when I realized my children were going to be trick-or-treating soon. Now it’s a really big deal, on par I’d say with Easter or Thanksgiving (not quite at the level of the big “C”). They are both going as werewolves although there is still time for last-minute mind changes. I offered to go with them as the victim, perhaps with a prosthetic bloody stump or a fake neck gash but they just looked at me with big sad eyes and said softly, “Please, mom, no”. Oops.
Reader Molly noted that you can eat this wrapped in lettuce or just as-is, depending on your preference. I opted for the lettuce but ate the leftovers without. Delicious both ways.
The beef and vegetable mixture:
1 lb ground beef
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced (I used half of one and half of another)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
For sprinking on top:
½ cup cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
12 romaine lettuce leaves (optional)
Brown the beef in a large skillet. When the beef is about halfway done, add the vegetables and cook until beef is cooked through and peppers are tender-crisp.
Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
When the beef mixture is done cooking, add in the sauce and mix together. Spoon onto romaine lettuce leaves or eat as is.