It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.—Lewis Carroll
Spring is a strenuous season. Maples and elms expend energy to hide their flowers in plain sight. Bright crocus and scilla demand attention, though they fade unnoticed when big daffodils bloom. The green mist of nascent leaves is the color of only a few days. Shy dogwood blooms like ghosts. Forsythia and redbud are forgotten in darkening green. The riot of magnolias and flowering fruit trees disguises the ephemeral aspects of spring. Spring is memory though we are childishly drawn toward the bright future even as we walk on fallen petals.
I’ve been thinking about memory because my father’s alzheimer’s disease has progressed. The past many weeks have been stressful—my sister and my husband spend a good part of each day with him in the nursing home. My brother and his wife drove from St. Louis for the hearing about guardianship and conservancy in probate court. A bit of sibling disagreement settled by the judge. He will return to my sister’s place soon, with in-home healthcare assistance. At least for a while. One can not recover from this disease: it’s a poor sort of memory that (sometimes) can’t even recall the past.
Cooking is low on my list of concerns. Yet we must eat, and even find pleasure in doing so. This recipe is certainly easy to prepare and enjoyable to eat. That is the best recommendation I can make.
Pan-Fried Beef with Vegetables
- 5 Tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 ½ Tablespoon shoyu
- 2 Tablespoons mirin
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
Beef and Vegetables
- 1 pound beef sirloin, cut across the grain
- 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, or button mushrooms (stemmed)
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, cut into thin disks
- 8 asparagus spears, tough ends and scales removed, cut chopstick size
- 10 ounces soybean sprouts, rinsed and drained well
- Plain cooked white or brown rice
In a suribachi, grind the sesame seeds until they are roughly broken. Mix in the soy sauce, sake, mirin, honey, garlic, ginger, paprika, and sesame oil. Marinate the beef in this mixture for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the beef from the marinade, leaving the sesame seeds that adhere to the surface of the meat. Discard the remaining marinade.
Briefly rinse the mushrooms under cold running water, and wipe them dry with a paper towel.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat the bottom with a thin layer of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add several slices of beef, leaving room for the vegetables.Put the mushrooms, onions, and asparagus into the unoccupied part of the skillet, and lightly salt the vegetables. Add more oil, if needed. Cook the beef, turning it once, until it is medium-done, or done to your taste. The vegetables should be ready at the same time.
Serve the beef and vegetables hot, with plain cooked white or brown rice.