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Feb 11, 201311:23 AMFood & Dining

Tasty Tidbits and Food For Thought

Delightful Do-Over

Feb 11, 2013 - 11:23 AM
Delightful Do-Over

Photography by Jane Adams

A Do-Over.  That's what I wished for during the last week of January, after long month filled with arctic temperatures, frequent snow and very little sign of spring in sight.  

A Do-Over... I wanted to forget the furnace breakdown at my house over New Year's, mid-month car repairs and a catastrophic sewer line blow out at the end of the month. 

I wanted to Do-Over my failed attempts to go to the gym regularly and eat healthy.  

I wanted another chance to start my New Year, and I promised myself the second time I would do it right.

I would give more money to charity, curse less, and meditate more. 

Just when the relentless dark and cold of January seemed unending, and the cursory turn of the calendar into February offered little hope of relief, I spied my chance for a Do-Over half-way down the calendar page.  

February 10th is Chinese New Year.  

In China, Chinese New Year is known as the "Spring Festival" which is the literal translation of the name. During Chinese New Year, Chinese households clean their homes, buy new clothes,  give presents for good luck and prosperity, visit relatives, and feast. They eat sticky rice, noodles, pork and best of all, dumplings.  

I could have a second New Year celebration; instead of pork and sauerkraut, I would make Orange Beef.

I could have a second New Year celebration; instead of pork and sauerkraut, I would make Orange Beef.

On the way home from the store, I espied a pastel pink sky and noticed that it was starting to stay light longer in the evenings. Through the car vent I smelled a faint aroma of wet dirt that reminded me of Spring. It was only there for an instant but it was pungent and distinctive. 

Soon the earth would be renewing its promise to begin again and burst open with life.  

In the next short span of weeks we will see Ash Wednesday, Lent, the first day of Spring, daylight savings, the first day of trout season and Easter. The end of winter was in sight.  

I thought of my vegetable garden, which was now snow-covered and lifeless. Like a blank canvas ready for paint, the wet dirt could soon be tilled, ready for another try for the perfect beefsteak tomato; the cracked remnants of last years failed plants plowed under and long forgotten. 

A second chance at a New Year. And this time Spring would only be a few weeks away. 

I went home and made Orange Beef for dinner. The aromas exuded while I slivered the orange peel made me think of a Florida Orange juice commercial and reminded me of long summer days on my trip last summer to Key West.  

The memories of the failed sewer line are fading fast. I think I'll go put on my sweats and ahead for the gym.  

Orange Beef Delight

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound round steak, cut into thin strips on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup orange peel, cut into slivers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sliced vegetables to add to stir fry

Directions:

  1. In a wok or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef strips, and stir-fry until browned, then remove when done to a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Add stir fry vegetables, remove. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, sherry, marmalade, and red pepper. Set aside. 
  4. Return all the beef to the wok. Stir in orange peel, garlic, and ginger; stir-fry 1 minute. 
  5. Add cornstarch mixture to the wok, and stir constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add vegetables. 
  7. Toss. Serve hot.

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