The other day my husband said “you know what you haven’t made in a long time and I would like to have”. No, what? “Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast’. Now, quite honestly, I have never ever made this particular dish for him. However, I did make it once or twice for my sons’ Father. Well, I don’t like it now and I didn’t like it then. But I do know where their desire for this dish came in. This is one of the few dishes that they both remembered from their Navy days. Why, I don’t know.
So, I told my husband that I would make it for him for dinner the next night. “Dry Chipped Beef” anyone? I don’t think it exists anymore except maybe in ‘camping stores’. I went to three markets and no one had anything close. Then, I figured that if I am going to make this dish, I would make as close to a Gourmet Version as possible. So I purchased some Rare Roast Beef from the deli and went home and made Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast for dinner.
I sautéed some diced Onion and Celery and some sliced Mushrooms in a combination of Olive Oil and Butter.
While the vegetables were cooking, I cut up the Beef into small pieces. Once the Vegetables were done, I added 3 Tablespoons of Flour to the pan and stirred it all around until the Flour had absorbed the Fat and coated the Vegetables. Next I added 1 ½ cups of Milk and Half & Half and stirred and cooked until a thick Sauce (Béchamel) had formed.
Next I added 1 cup of Petit Pois (baby peas) and the Beef. I seasoned this mixture with my ‘Basil Salt’ and White Pepper. I kept this mixture on low heat while we made the toast and put together a salad.
Since I had just made a ‘Country French Bread’ the day before we decided to use it for the toast. This was dinner, one of my least favorite ones, but Ev loved as did Arnold before him. I did tell him though that he would have to wait a long time before I made it again – at least one year. I can’t think of anything that I would like to eat less.
The Roast Beef would have been so much better as a sandwich with olive spread, mustard, mayo and tomatoes! Actually I did save a few pieces and that is what I will have for lunch tomorrow while Ev eats the leftover Creamed Beef!
THAI BEEF SALAD
Unusual thought it may be for me to have eaten at three different Thai restaurants within a four day span, I did. Each time was with a different person and coincidentally we ended up ordering Thai Beef Salad each time. This was not a problem for me because Yum Nua is one of my favorite Thai dishes. Having said all this, each salad was both similar to and different from the other ones.
The first Yum Nua that I had was in the Conejo Valley at my favorite local Thai Restaurant. That being said, there really is no other local Thai Restaurant as this company has at least four locations in the Conjeo as well as one in Camarillo and one in Woodland Hills.
The salad is made with Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Red Onion and Beef Tenderloin with a dressing that definitely has Fish Sauce in it although in their version the Fish Sauce taste is not prominent. Oh, by the way it is also listed as Spicy – I get mine medium and it is quite tolerable (and this is for someone who cannot take it really hot!) I always order it with a side of steamed Jasmine Rice just in case the heat is more than I can stand. This particular evening I had dinner with two former students of mine so we also ordered Tom Yum Soup and Yellow Curry Chicken. Everything this evening was quite good and tasty!
The second Yum Nua I had was actually the next day when I went to visit my family in Lompoc. My daughter-in-law and I were out shopping and decided to stop for lunch. There are actually at least four Thai Restaurants in Lompoc but the one that we went to was the one that Nereida thought was the best one. In comparing the dishes and the prices to the one in the Conjeo, I would say that the portions were actually larger for the same price and the Beef Salad was more Beef than Salad which I suppose would be good for most people. We ordered the Salad medium which was the same that we had ordered the night before. When it came to the table and we both tasted it, we actually had to send it back because it was intolerably spicy – I think even in Thailand it would have been too spicy for most people. When something burns the lining of your stomach after one bite, you know that it is way too hot. I think they just went overboard with the Chilies!
All that being said, we also ordered Pad See Ewe which was flat noodles with Chicken and Fried Tofu. I am sorry to say that I definitely did not like this dish either – there really wasn’t much flavor and the noodles were sort of on the mushy side. For an appetizer we ordered the Pork Satay. The Pork was cut way too thick, and it was actually tough. The only good thing about this dish was the Peanut Sauce and the marinated Cucumber Salad that came with it.
Again, the food at this Restaurant was about the same price as in the Conjeo but the portions were larger. However, I would rather have the smaller portions with better flavor and palatability!
The third Yum Nua which I had was two days later in Moorpark at a Restaurant that I and my friend who I had lunch with had never frequented before, even though it was only one mile from her home. We ordered the Yum Nua, this time mild after my experience in Lompoc and along with that, Mee Krob which is a crispy noodle salad with Chicken and Shrimp. And of course, steamed Rice. The Salad was mild and we could have tolerated some more heat with it. The dressing was just a little on the fishy side (but as we ate it, that kind of disappeared). The beef with this salad was the most tender of all three and was cut into more palatable pieces. So the Moorpark Restaurant was the winner of the Yum Nua Salad and yes, I would go there and order it again!
Now, the Moorpark Salad was good and the Conjeo Valley Salad was good, but the truly best Yum Nua that I have ever had was that one which I and my sons and daughter-in-law ordered and ate in Thailand! And this was in a restaurant! Now, you may wonder why I marvel at a Restaurant’s Yum Nua being so good! In Thailand, some of the best food is that which is prepared on the street! It is tasty and authentic and perfectly safe to eat as the vendors are very particular about cleanliness. One instance of comparing Street Food with Hotel Food as an example – we had a very good Tom Yum Soup from a floating boat vendor at the Floating Market – this cost us $1.50 per person. On one evening my daughter-in-law was hungry and we were at the hotel so we went down to the hotel restaurant. She ordered the Soup which at the hotel cost $10.00 and wasn’t nearly as good! So, when in Thailand, do try the food from the street vendors or at the very least, the small restaurants!
The second best Thai Beef Salad that I have ever had was at the Maui Thai Restaurant in Kihei.
So the final rating goes like this:
#1 – Pizzalun, Thailand
#2 – Maui Thai Restaurant in Kihei, HI
#3 – Thai Restaurant in Moorpark, CA
#4 – Thai Restaurant in the Conejo Valley, CA
#5 – Thai Restaurant in Lompoc, CA
Sorry, no photos for Moorpark or Lompoc. Next time I frequent the Moorpark Restaurant, will take photo, but sorry, not at the Lompoc Restaurant – at least not the one we went to on Saturday.
Stir Fry is one of my favorite dishes to cook and to eat. You can literally clean out your refrigerator and almost always come up with enough items to make a delicious Stir Fry Dinner. Beef, Pork Chicken or Fish or even Tofu will serve as the Protein. Vegetables such as Cabbage, Celery, Carrots, Onion, Spinach or Broccoli will complement your protein items. Asian Condiments such as Soy Sauce, Bean Sauce, Hoison Sauce and even Oyster Sauce will add the flavor enhancements. A Stir Fry Dish can be served with either Rice or Noodles.
The Noodles that I prefer with Asian Stir Fry are Rice Noodles which only need to be cooked or soaked for a short time. (This will depend on the manufacturer and the directions on the package they come in)
This particular night we had decided that we wanted Stir Fry Shrimp. While I had the Shrimp in the freezer I did have to go out and purchase a few of the Vegetable items for the Stir Fry. The Vegetables that I did have on hand were:
Broccoli Stalks – I love the crunchiness of the stalks – peel the stalks and then slice thinly.
Green Cabbage –
Orange Carrots – Carrots can be had in a variety of colors these days – Red, Yellow, White or even Purple.
Garlic – an absolute necessity when it comes to Stir Fry
Eight Ball Zuchinni – an interesting shape – this is a round zuchinni just about the size of a pool table ball ‘8’ ball.
Ginger Root – adds amazing flavor – a little zing! Cut off the amount you need (usually a piece about the size of a quarter) and peel. This can be done with a teaspoon as the skin has a contrasting texture to the Ginger itself. Then mince before using.
Maitaki Mushrooms – these are also known as Beech Mushrooms which also come in a white variety. They grow together in a cluster which you can cut apart at the base leaving tiny mushrooms on a slender stem.
The Vegetables that I purchased for this dish were:
Bean Sprouts – I usually use Mung Bean Sprouts – just add them at the very end – these also need very little or no cooking
Chinese Pea Pods – wash and remove the strings – they need very little or no cooking
You will want to marinate whatever Meat you are using in your Stir Fry; Shrimp or any other Seafood should not be marinated for more than about 20 minutes. Chicken, Beef Pork or Lam on the other hand can be marinated for several hours or even overnight. For our Stir Fry this night I did use Shrimp. For the Marinade I used:
Hoison Sauce – 1-2 Tbsps.
Black Bean Sauce – 1- 2 Tbsps.
Fish Sauce – 1 Tbsp.
Peanut Oil – 2 Tbsps.
To make your Stir Fry start with the Onion; sauté in a wok or large sauté pan just to soften and then add the Garlic. Next add the Vegetables that would need the most cooking, starting with the Cabbage and then the Carrots and lastly the Zuchinni which needs very little cooking.
Once these Vegetable are almost done (about 2-3 minutes) remove them to a covered dish and then Stir Fry the Shrimp. Stir Fry the Shrimp in the same vessel as the Vegetables were cooked in – Shrimp should take 3-4 minutes to cook. Add the Noodles (if the Noodles have stuck together, just rinse them with some warm water) and combine with the Shrimp Mixture.
Once the Noodles have warmed and been coated with the Sauce, add the cooked Vegetables along with the Pea Pods, Bean Sprouts and the Bell Pepper.
Once everything is combined and hot serve immediately. This is a great one-dish meal or can be served as a second course after a soup or salad starter.