Posted by: seasin | July 9, 2009

Cooking for one

This is what you do when your main squeeze is not around for dinner:

Take one steak (I know, I know, that’s not very easy in Sofia. I have no idea why they haven’t figured how to make steak out of cows, but they haven’t. Might be all that yoghurt they’re making, you need the cow alive for that!). About 300 g with a little marbling (it does sound like loads of meat for one person, but that’s because it is. I’ll eat some of this food for lunch at work the following day). I know it’s a school night, you don’t really feel like cooking, and you forgot to take the steak out of the freezer in the morning. Never mind, just bear with me and you’ll end up licking your fingers. Take one very very sharp knife (love my sushi knives, I could take the whole building apart with them if I were to be very, very angry one day) and slice the steak in 1/2 cm strips (or thinner if your knives cut like mine), against the grain. Yes, the frozen steak. Makes it easier to slice it really thin. Put in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and just forget it on the counter while you handle the rest of the stuff.

Peal and finely chop (don’t really bother with the finesse if you don’t want to, I only do it because I’m slightly manic) one small onion (red onion does just nicely in this) and three cloves of garlic. Peal and roughly slice about 8 mushrooms (or 150 g)-any sort you have-I just used the plain champignon de Paris ones. Slice one small red sweet pepper, tail and seeds removed (and I mean every single one of the little bastards-I just HATE pepper seeds).

Get a nice heavy pan hot (I use a dilapidated wok-please don’t tell DB that I still haven’t thrown it away-I love that wok even if it used to be non-stick and now it’s scratched), then slide in about 2 spoonfulls of butter. Yes, I said butter and I stand by it. When it starts browning, chuck in the steak strips AND DO NOT TOUCH THEM FOR ABOUT THREE MINUTES OR SO. No, honestly, don’t. Then get a pair of tongs and gently flip them over one by one (you can use a spatula and flip loads of them over in one go, I only use the tongs because, you’ve guessed, I’m manic!). Give them another 3 minutes, then add a goodly splash of Worcester sauce, a splash or two of hot chilli sauce (depending on how hot you want it-I like mine HOT), an even goodlier splash of whatever wine you have languishing open on your kitchen counter from the last party, and a good squeeze off a lemon. Give it a good stir and another 3 minutes on very high heat. This should give you medium done steak strips. Take them out of the pan, juices and all, and reserve.

Add another knob of butter in the pan, and once it’s melted add the onion and a healthy (ok, it’s not healthy but whatever!) pince of brown sugar. Trust me, that’s how you want it. Once the onion starts browning (they”ll do that quite quickly if you have the heat right) toss in the garlic and the pepper strips. Season with salt and pepper, and swoosh around in the pan for a couple of minutes, until the peppers look like they start to soften. Then add the mushrooms, another squeeze of lemon, give it a stir, cover and leave there for 3-4 minutes (this is the point where I always add a sprinkle of salt, too, but I’m Romanian and a salt addict. By all means, skip that if you’re a normal person). I know that’s not enough to get the mushrooms completely cooked, but give it a try and if you don’t like it like this, next time you can overcook them british way, if you want.

Once the mushrooms had a go with the rest, plop back the steak strips and let the lot mingle (no lid on) for the 3 minutes it takes you to heat up 2 or 4 flour tortillas in the microwave (depending on how hungry you are). Turn off the heat, pile some of the stuff on the hot tortillas, fold or roll in whatever manner strikes your fancy, and tuck in, watching some silly program that your significant other wouldn’t watch in a million years (mainly because it’s american and he abhores the accent) and sipping some of the same Rose that went in the pan. I sometimes have some sort of salad to go with this, but last night I was feeling just too lazy.

So there you have it. It doesn’t have a name, because I totally made it up a few years ago when I was still living with my cat in Bucharest. You can call it whatever you wish, I call it yummy food for one.

And I AM trying to lose weight, just not when DB isn’t watching 😉

Here are the ingredients and the quantities again, in a more orderly fashion:

1 steak (about 300g)

1 small onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 small red pepper

150 g of mushrooms

1 lemon to squeeze

Worcester sauce, hot chilli sauce, splash of wine

salt&pepper, of course

a few flour tortillas



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