Saturday, October 04, 2008

Beef, Zucchini, and Onion Sautée

By Diana Hsieh

Note: I'm rather worn out from all the bailout blogging this week, so I'm going to postpone my post on Gary Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories until next week.

I made myself the following sautée on Wednesday for lunch. Since it was quick and delicious, I thought I'd write up the recipe.

(Yes, I could have made the picture prettier, but I was too damn hungry for that!)

Beef, Zucchini, and Onion Sautée

Time: 15 minutes
Feeds: One Hungry Gal


1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
1 zucchini
1 beef tenderloin
1 tbsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, slice the onion to get long strips. When the oil is hot, add the onion to the pan. Cook the onion that for about five minutes, stirring nearly-constantly. (You can cook it for a shorter time if you prefer it less caramelized.)

While the onion is cooking and while still stirring it periodically, cut up the zucchini and slice the beef into consistent-sized strips or chunks. When the onion cooks to near your liking, add the zucchini. Continue to stir nearly constantly. Chop up the thyme and add that. (You could use dried instead.) Also, add a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper too.

Once the zucchini was almost cooked about 3 minutes later, add the tenderloin. Cook that for just a minute or so, so that it's cooked to around medium, not well-done.

Then throw it on your plate and eat it!
If I were to make this precise dish again, I'd probably use more zucchini and less onion. However, I'll probably never make this precise dish again, as it's just a "what I happened to have in the fridge" kind of meal.

Two Quick Tips
  • The tenderloin was still semi-frozen in the fridge, as I'd only gotten it out of the freezer the day before. To thaw it in just a few minutes, I cut it up, put it in a ziplock sandwich bag, then then put that in a bowl of warm water. It was perfect when I added it to be pan.

    I do not recommend ever using the microwave to thaw meat: you'll inevitably cook it, with gross results. Ordinarily, when I have an hour or more to thaw something, I'll put the meat (in its ziplock bag) in a large bowl of cold water, flipping it over once or twice. That thaws it quickly and perfectly.

  • For any kind of sautée or stir-fry, I always use two implements -- often a spatula and a wooden spoon. That way, I can really turn over the food, rather than just moving it around in the pan.
A Personal Note

I didn't plan this meal in any way, shape, or form. I wandered into the kitchen, checked to see what I had in the fridge. I decided to sautée some vegetables. Then after I'd gotten that started, I recalled the tenderloin in the fridge, so I decided to add that. I even took the pan off the heat for a minute or two, so that I could run out to the garden to get the fresh thyme. Nonetheless, I made the whole meal in twelve minutes. Cleaning up took me just a few minutes.

It was real, hearty food -- and it was delicious! Also, it was the only thing I ate that day, along with two small glasses of milk and a peach. I had a large dinner the night before, so I wasn't hungry until noon. And then, after eating the whole meal, I wasn't terribly hungry that night.

A Recommendation

Although my diet has changed pretty radically in the past few months, I do still most strongly recommend Cook's Illustrated as the best source for fantastic recipes. This summer, I've found two sources invaluable:
This fall and winter, as my cooking moves indoors, I expect to consult a wider variety of Cook's Illustrated cookbooks. (Yes, I have a full shelf of them.) I'll be sure to make some particular recommendations. And I'll try to take better pictures!

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