Spring Stir-Fry with Beef; the update

I played hooky yesterday.

It was cold, but the sun was shining, and when mon mari said he was off to buy plumbing supplies I decided to go along for the ride.

Not that I’m terribly interested in plumbing supplies, but I figured we’d be passing a garden store or two that we could stop at, and reading in the car is the only way I catch up on my magazines.

Plus I could dutifully admire the lilacs, wisteria, iris and other assorted blooms along the way.

It wasn’t until we were on the road that I realized we weren’t going to Bergerac, a mere half hour away, but to the other side of Perigueux, an hour and a half away.

(He said:  Did I say Bergerac?  I meant Perigueux…. I must have said Perigueux… You just misunderstood.
Yeah, they sound so much alike, clearly, it was my fault for not hearing correctly…. Whatever…..)

It was a lovely day out but nothing else was accomplished.

So, a late update:


The work upstairs continues, wall studs going up faster than I can figure out where to put them.

Frames for doors are being put in place, halls are being established.


We’re now getting down to the arguing stage.  What seemed like such a huge space to start with is rapidly filling up.

And then there are the little things like the windows to take into consideration…. One really shouldn’t have the bathroom wall bi-secting the window.  But if the wall goes on the right the bedroom is too small and if it’s on the left the bathtub won’t fit.

He: That’s easy, no bathtub in that bathroom.

Me: That’s not acceptable, there will be a bathtub.

Ahem….. And so on…..

We’ll get it worked out, we always do.  But it does involve storming up the stairs, tape measures in hand, in the middle of making dinner to argue / prove / make a point.

As to dinner….

One of the things that is a bit frustrating here is the beef.

I either don’t know what to buy or it doesn’t exist, but I haven’t been able to find a reasonably priced cut of beef that is good for quick-cooking – as in stir-fries or pasta dishes.  It tastes good but is usually as tough as old shoe leather.  (If anyone has suggestions, please……)

Wonderful expensive cuts for grilling; wonderful inexpensive cuts for braising…..

I have started just using ground beef…. I find I rather like it.

Spring Stir-Fry with Beef

Spring Stir Fry with Beef

12oz ground beef (mince 350gr)
1/2 red onion
2 green garlic
3oz (90gr) mushrooms
3oz (90gr) mangetout (snow peas, peapods)
3oz (90gr) cherry tomatoes
1 medium carrot
1/2 (4oz, 120gr) cup beef stock
1 tbs sherry
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs cornstarch (or thickener of choice) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Trim and slice green garlic.  Slice red onion. Clean and slice mushrooms. Trim mangetout and cut in half. Cut carrot into matchsticks. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

In large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and stir-fry 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, green garlic, mangetout and stir-fry 3 minutes longer. Remove to a plate.

Add beef to skillet and sauté, breaking it up as it browns. When beef is browned, return vegetables to skillet and add stock, sherry, cumin, soy sauce. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 5 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Turn the heat up under the skillet and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve over brown  or Basmati rice.

Now I have to go measure bathtubs….

11 thoughts on “Spring Stir-Fry with Beef; the update”

  1. I never had luck with cooking beef be it stir-fry or stew – they always turned out as tough as leather. 🙁 Great idea of using ground beef. I love stir-fry vegetables and meat. 🙂

  2. But aren’t the cuts of meat different from the US to begin with? I never had luck with beef in Europe, and neither did my wallet.

  3. Hi Katie – just thought of something…can you get sirloin steak, then cut thin? That is what our beef stir fry meat is…takes only a minute or two in a hot pan…but still stays tender. Ina

  4. Remodeling always includes a multitude of decisions and it sounds like you are doing fine. I love your stir fry dish, it looks delicious and very colorful. I’ve never done it with ground beef and will have to give it a go. Good luck with the measuring!

  5. I would be all for this meal! Having made the Beijing Beef from Steamy Kitchen with ground beef and we fell in love with it. I will have to try your recipe out also!

  6. Maybe bathtubs are non-essential? Most people like showers better, anyway… You do need one bathtub for dog bathing, but the rest could be showers?

  7. I’ve missed your other building updates, so now have to read back. I love hearing about what others are doing project-wise 🙂 On the meat subject, the more tender cuts (anything from the loin) will be expensive, but the good news is you don’t need that much in a stir fry. Another option is if you braise some chuck, you can then cut cubes and add that. Sounds good right now even though I haven’t had my first cup of coffee 🙂

  8. I remember noticing that about beef when we were bicycling not terribly far (by car, anyway) from Bergerac (we were bicycling south from Limoges). On recommendation from the restaurant, we had Charolais steaks and were amazed at how tough they were. Maybe the French think the steak we serve in North America is impossibly tender??

  9. Cooking Ninja, I usually use chicken but, sometimes I just want beef – and this works ;-))
    Ina and Border Pundit, the cuts are different, yes, but I think the beef is also just, um, chewier to put a nice spin on it….. In Andorra we got grass-fed, year-old veal which was wonderful. Not here, tho.
    Pam, we are both walking around with tape measures…. But it’s going pretty well – so far.
    HoneyB – Yum, I have to go find that…. Hope you like this one, too!
    Val, yes, well, wouldn’t want boredom to set in, now would we?
    Zoomie, we’ll do a small bathtub – and showers, both. Baths are still big here….
    Kellypea, glad to see you ;-)) Good idea about the braise – then I know it would be tender, and quick LOL
    Elizabeth, we used to buy Charolais from our neighbor (he raised it) and the steaks were always cut so thin. Then we discovered the reason.

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