Tonight for supper I made a Martha Stewart recipe that I have had success with before. I love Martha, don't get me wrong, but sometimes her recipes just suck. I don't know if they don't test them enough, or they have their ingredient proportions wrong or what, but often times they just bomb. Lemongrass beef skewers are pretty yummy and easy to make and both times I made them they turned out really well. The beef is served with rice noodles with scallions and herbs.
These two recipes are pretty easy to make and can be made in about 40 minutes. For the beef recipe you are supposed to skewer the beef on bamboo skewers before you cook them, but both times I made this I didn't skewer them and they turned out just fine. I also don't have a grill pan, so I used a frying pan. The first time I made the recipe I couldn't find lemongrass anywhere. I don't know if it was the time of year or what, but no grocery store around me had it. Eventually I found a tube of squeezable lemongrass, so that had to do. This time around I found lemongrass in my local grocery store. I didn't know what to expect with this ingredient as I had never seen it before. It kind of looks like a stick, and when you cut it open it smells just like lemons. I did make a few omissions/substitutions in this meal. The thought of fish sauce makes me want to hurl, so I used soy sauce instead. I also omitted the cucumber and mint, since cucumbers are gross and I don't like mint in savoury dishes.
The rice noodles are very easy to make. The vermicelli noodles only need 4 minutes to cook and have to sit until they are cool, so you can make them well in advance. For this recipe I couldn't find a Thai bird chile, so I used red pepper flakes. It probably wasn't the intended method of spicyness, but it tasted fine. I think Martha overestimates the produce selection at your local grocery store. Maybe bird chiles can be found in Bedford, New York, but not Ottawa! I omitted the fish sauce in this recipe as well and used soy sauce instead.
This meal is a nice change from our usually chicken and rice/potato combination. The beef has a nice flavour from being marinated in the lemongrass mixture and is delicious when wrapped up in Boston lettuce leaves. I look forward to eating this meal again for lunch at work! This recipe is both dairy free and gluten free if you use a gluten free soy sauce.