Cooking with Mom: Thai Beef

You have to know right up front that I am known in my family as the “leftover queen.”  If there are 3 pieces of potatoes left in a bowl, I will keep them and use them somehow in another dish … maybe diced, seasoned and tossed with oil and vinegar to sit for a half hour before adding to a green salad … or fried with a bit of bacon (a couple of strips left in a package, of course) and onion, and thrown into scrambled eggs. The fun is in figuring out where a leftover might fit into the next meal.


So, last night I pan seared two large steaks (I knew they were too much for my husband and me) in my cast iron pan (love it) and roasted them in the oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Just so you know, I served them with a roasted beet salad, using a small chunk of “leftover” crumbled blue cheese and vinegar-marinated red onion (a quarter of an onion – had to do something with it). We ate half of our steaks, which I knew would happen … so I could have left over steak to make some sort of quick stir fry for tonight.


Out of my pantry came a small can of coconut milk and some brown rice. Out of my fridge came red Thai curry paste, a tube of tomato paste, a 1/3 piece of yellow onion, half a cauliflower AND the leftover steak.  On the stovetop:  one pot for the rice; one large saucepan for the curry concoction.  Here’s how it went down:


Thai Beef


Sauté cauliflower in a tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 – 7 minutes; add 1/3 cup water; cover and let steam for another 5 -7 minutes.


Start the rice, however you cook it. I used Success Boil-in-Bag brown rice. Ready in 10 minutes. It’s fast, tastes great and isn’t sticky.


Add the sliced onion and the steak, also thinly sliced, to the cauliflower. Sauté at medium heat until the onions just barely softened.


Add coconut milk, a teaspoon (or more, to desired heat) of curry paste, 1 tablespoon (or a bit more, to satisfy your personal taste) of tomato paste. Stir.  If you want more liquid, add – whatever you have – broth, water, milk,  I used about a ½ cup of almond milk. It worked perfectly.


The most important part – Taste The Concoction! – Add what your palate wants. I wanted a nice big pinch of Hawaiian seasoned salt,  a good shake of organic garlic powder, as well as onion powder. That’s the way I roll.  If the frost hadn’t killed my beautiful basil outside on my patio, I would have added a few chopped leaves – awesome taste in Thai cooking.


Big wide-mouth bowls with rice on the bottom and topped with that yummy Thai out-of-the-fridge-leftover goodness.  I served it with a thinly sliced cucumber and onion salad, dressed with olive oil and white balsamic – and my all-time favorite salad seasonings, Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt, and freshly ground pepper.


My husband is not fond of Thai food. He loved this dish – scraped the bottom of the bowl with a spoon. Success!


By the way, of course you could use other kinds of left over meat and vegetables in this dish … or by all means, buy fresh! The point is – use what you have or make what you crave. It’s all good.

Eat well. Be happy.

Author: Plynn Gutman

Plynn Gutman is a certified coach with a refreshing and holistic approach to achieving an Integrated Life. Specialized retreats, workshops and classes are all a part of Plynn’s wide array of resources that she offers along with useful life lessons, tips and advice through her blog. A writer at heart, with several titles available, Plynn's variety of work appeals to everyone.

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