It began with a bashed piece of lemongrass.
Our neighbor, Sara, who is becoming a good friend, had been over at our home a few days before. While her tow-headed boy Blake bounced on the trampoline with Lucy, Sara told us she and her husband John wanted to change their ways. As is true of many families with young kids, Sara relied on boxed meals and packaged foods. Last year, they had us over for a crab feast, with warm butter and homemade cocktail sauce. Sara’s a good cook. But with a one-year-old on her hip as she stirs a pot at the stove, and a small boy running around playing trucks at her feet, she doesn’t always have the time to cook meals that take long.
But as is true for so many families with small children, Sara and John want to eat better: more vegetables, slower meals, and more food from scratch. She told us she had bought a copy of our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, which made us feel sort of bad. We would have happily given her one. She’s a friend. But she wanted to support our work. And she loved what she saw: the weeknight meals, the chapter about setting up a pantry, the big flavors without too-complex preparations. She was excited.
That day, standing by the trampoline while I made goony faces at Deena, Sara said, “I want to make the lemongrass beef stir fry. But I don’t know how to bash the lemongrass. Can you show me how?”
So the kids stayed on the back deck, Lu playing princess with Blake, who looked confused by all the dancing. Deena sat strapped on her mama’s back. And Danny bashed up a lemongrass stalk for her.
“The directions say to cut the flank steak against the grain. Can you show me what that looks like?”
Here you go.
So how do you bash a lemongrass stalk?
Danny turned over his chef knife and hit the bottom of the stalk with the top of the knife, the long straight edge. And then he smacked it with the side of the knife, to blow it open more.
We three leaned in for a smell. Mmmm.
Then Danny diced the lemongrass into tiny dices and made the marinade. We recommend letting the beef sit in the marinade for at least an hour. Honestly, the flavors seep through the beef entirely when you make the marinade in the morning, let it sit through the day, and pull it out in time for dinner.
However, when you have three active kids squirming for lunch? You make that stir fry pretty quickly.
We have an entire chapter on stir frying in our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. It’s one of my favorite ways to make a quick, full-flavored meal with lots of good protein and vegetables. The wonderful Grace Young taught me so much about how to best use a wok, which we distilled for you in a few pages. We think that after cooking from our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, you might never make a soggy skillet stir fry again.
Get that wok hot. That’s one key.
Peanut oil is another.
Get it all prepped. Make that wok hot. Cook the onions and ginger first. Push them aide.
Sear the beef. Push it aside.
And then stand back. If you have the confidence of Danny, flip those mushrooms high in that hot wok.
For the rest of us, push them around the wok with a metal spatula. Let them dance until they wilt and squeak.
Seven or ten minutes later, it’s done. Lemongrass-infused flank steak with mushrooms and ginger.
Time for dinner.
Every Friday, we’re showing you one of the dishes from our new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. If you’d like to cook along with us, make the dish this weekend. We’re happy to answer any questions or comments you have here, or on the Facebook fan page.
For those of you have the book, the recipe is on page 137.
For those you who don’t have the book yet? Well, we suggest you buy one!