Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better: Beating the Grocery Store Deli

23 06 2008

These are so obviously not my plates

I have been away from my home for an entire week. This displeases me, but more so it displeases my stomach. Let me just say that I hate cooking at other people’s houses. Abhor it. I have become accustomed to having any and all flavorings at my disposal; my cupboards are jam-packed with spices, my fridge is fully stocked with sauces, relishes and dressings, and my pantry has more oils and vinegars than you can shake a head of lettuce at. Most other people are not so well equipped, and for this I weep inside. Now, my father’s place isn’t all that bad. Though he doesn’t have very much, what he does have I can make use of and what he lacks he will usually buy for me. My mother is a different story; she has a distaste for anything “ethnic” or “flavored” so I was kind of on my own. The lovely salmon focaccia sandwich that you see above was foraged for entirely at the grocery store. Well, except for the mayonnaise, she did have that and to which I added a splash of soy, some ginger and garlic powder. And it was pretty good.

Salvation, julienned.

However, the first thing I did when I got home was bow down in front of my refrigerator and kissed it. F’reals. Well, no, figuratively of course. I’m not that weird. Then began a wild display of foraging as I tore every possible vegetable I could grab off of the shelf and made a dash to the cutting board. Let me explain this dish… I am one of those horrible people that go to the grocery store hungry. I know, I know, I’m sorry and I promise to say 50 Hail Julia Child’s sometime soon, but I just can’t help myself. On one such excursion, starved and begrudged of sushi, I decided to grab something quick from the deli section. Not usually a fan of heavily mayonnaised pasta salads(which constituted 98% of the deli offerings) I spotted a vinaigrette based Thai noodle salad and settled on that. And it wasn’t bad. If it hadn’t have had any annoying-to-pick-out julienned carrots in it, I would have ordered it again. Well, no actually, I’m just going to make it my damn self.

Invest in white dishes.

As I’m not a huge fan of noodles unless they are the Asian vermicelli noodles or cellophane noodles, of which I had none, I decided to omit them from the original deli version and replace then with bean sprouts, with which I have an unhealthy healthy relationship. I also, naturally, omitted the carrots as they are the devil’s food and should be banished to the island of horrible foods along with caraway seeds and Doritos. Made a vinaigrette, julienned some bell peppers, sauteed some beef and cut some itty bitty broccoli and thus we behold my version(the better one if you ask me) of spicy Thai beef salad. It was mondo tasty. Recipe to follow.

Bean sprouts rule my life

In other news: Accidentally drank a huge mouthful of spoiled milk today. It tasted like blown out birthday candle smoke and sock smell. Must be more vigilant with dairy product expiry dates…

Sweet and Spicy Thai Beef Julienne Salad
Makes 2 portions


1/2 cup sesame seed oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tsp red wine
Juice from half a lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp garlic mince
1 tsp red pepper flakes
zest of one lemon

Whisk together all ingredients except oil until combined. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. You might not need all of this dressing, depending on personal taste. I didn’t.


1 thin marinating steak, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp oil

1/4 cup green pepper, julienned
1/4 cup red pepper, julienned
1/3 cup broccoli, cut small
1/4 cup onion sprouts
1 cup bean sprouts
1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

Sautee beef strips on medium high in a non-stick pan in oil. Drain beef on paper towel-covered plate, cool. Toss vegetables with beef and dress to your own discretion. Let sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes for dressing to be slightly absorbed into salad. Enjoy with your favorite kung fu movie.




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