Ginger Beef For The Valentine’s Class February 14, 2014

This is an ancient Chinese recipe updated and upgraded. I use prime filet instead of flank steak – less oil, less salt.


ginger-beef-02Flank steak is good, the filet is great. Because the filet is so tender there is no need to marinate more than a few minutes. I cut the filet into thick slices so that in the final dish the meat is medium to medium rare.

If you choose to use flank steak, cut the steak first into two pieces the long way then cut into thin slices against the grain and marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Karen Lee Secret: When choosing steak always look for lots of marbling. Marbling is the white threads going through the meat. The more marbling the more tender and juicer the meat will be. The final dish resulting in that big luxurious mouth feel.

Ginger Beef

Ginger Beef


  • 1 lb. filet of beef completely trimmed of fat and silver skin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pure olive oil or peanut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons finely shredded ginger
  • A full ½ cup shredded scallion (white and green parts included) 2 ½ inch thin strips
  • Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon light soy
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 level teaspoon water chestnut powder or arrowroot
  • Seasoning Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water chestnut powder or arrowroot dissolved in
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Chinese dark soy
  • Garnish
  • 10 or more V-cut snow peas (blanch and shock)
  • or snow pea shoots ( do not blanch, just wash)
  • or scallion brushes
  • or steamed broccoli flowerets


  1. Slice steak 3/8-inch thick.
  2. Place beef and ingredients for marinade in a bowl and stir with chopsticks.
  3. Refrigerate meat while preparing the rest of the recipe.
  4. Combine ingredients for the seasoning sauce.
  5. Place wok over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until it smokes.
  6. Add 1½ tablespoons oil, swirl to coat wok, then immediately add half the beef slices in a single layer.
  7. Sauté about 30 seconds or until nicely seared. Working quickly, turn each piece of meat and sear another 10 seconds.
  8. Remove the beef from the wok allowing the fat to drain back into the wok. Place beef on serving dish.
  9. Repeat the frying procedure with the remaining beef; remove from the wok.
  10. Add ½ tablespoon oil to the wok and over low heat stir-fry the ginger for two minutes and then add the scallions and continue to sauté for 1 more minute.
  11. While the ginger and the scallions are sautéing, re-stir the seasoning sauce.
  12. Turn the heat to high, and add it to the wok all at once along with the beef; stir-fry for about 5 seconds. During that 5 seconds coat the meat evenly with the seasoning sauce. Empty contents of wok into heated serving dish and serve immediately.
  13. Garnish with blanched snow peas around the beef or a few shredded scallions on top or show pea shoots on the side or steamed broccoli flowerets.

Our Valentine’s class was so much fun

This year we made:

  • Hummus with Crudities
  • Scampi
  • Penne with Arrabbiata Sauce and Sautéed Prosciutto
  • Pan Roasted Filet Mignon with Fresh and Dried Herbs
  • Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake with Crème Chantilly

The orange chocolate chunk cake is Anna Pump’s recipe. She is a cook book author and the owner of Loaves and Fishes in Sagaponack. A wonderful store that sells takeout food.

Behind every good meal there is a good shopper

That’s me Karen Lee, I’m the shopper. I went to nine stores in New York City for this meal.

Pisacane for the Shrimp, ask for Paul, 212-758-1525 fresh Florida Shrimp, large, U-15’s (15 shrimp to the count.)

Gourmet Garage for the fresh Tomatoes, Tasti Lee, they come 2 or 3 in a box. I take them out of the box and put them on a flat surface with room to breath in a single layer. Let them ripen at room temperature for one to 3 days. They become redder and sweeter and make the most delicious red sauce. The fresh organic, rosemary and thyme.

Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market for the parmesan cheese and the Setaro pasta.

Setaro Pasta is the best dried pasta I have ever had. It is made in Naples, high in the mountains where water is considered the best in Italy.

Food Emporium for the sour cream. Daisy is the brand I like. No hormones and the taste is great.

Zabars for the  heavy cream. By Nature is the brand. It is organic. They also sell Hudson which is wonderful too.

Fairway, second floor, for organic vegetables, Bionaturae canned tomatoes and tomato paste in a jar. Organic, from Italy.

Whole Foods, for the organic butter, their brand, 365. Vital Brand organic eggs.

Spelt Bread made by Bread Alone.

Chipolini Onions.

Salumeria Rose for the Prosciutto de Parma. 24 month old is my favorite.

Citeralla for the Fillet Mignon. Always choose the most marbled meat. Tip – wipe it down with a damp paper towel. Put it on a plate with a loose cover of wax paper and let it air dry in the frig over night. I do this with all meat. The meat loses moisture and becomes more tender.

Enjoy some photos from our special night.

Joe and John with Karen
Joe and John with Karen

Pan Roasted Strip Steak

Pan roasting is a wonderful restaurant technique that easily can be applied to a home kitchen. It produces a crusty exterior and a moist interior. Pan roasting is a good technique to use with a thick piece of animal protein. Veal chop, pork chop, a cut piece of chicken with or without the bone, a thick fish fillet. An iron skillet is essential.


  • Pick out a well-marbled steak. Prime aged is a first choice.
  • Prime is a second choice.  Sometimes you can also find a good Choice steak if it is well marbled.
  • Marbling is the key (that’s the white streaks of fat running through the steak).
  • Heat the pan before you add the oil.
  • Once the steak is in the pan, don’t move it until it builds a crust.
  • Let the steak rest before slicing.

Pan Roasted Strip Steak

Serving Size: 2 or more servings depending on how many side dish


  • One strip steak, 1 to 1¼ pounds, about 1¼ to 1½ inches thick
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed slightly, cut in half, green stem removed
  • 2 generous sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Take the steak out of the wrapping and wipe down with a damp paper towel.
  2. If time permits, place the steak on a plate, place in the frig and let it air out for 12 to 24 hours without a cover.
  3. Rub down the steak with a teaspoon of olive oil on each side. Then season on both sides with salt, pepper. Rub the steak down with the crushed garlic and then lay the rosemary sprigs on top of the steak. Let marinate a few hours if time permits.
  4. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees
  5. Heat a 10-inch iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the remaining oil and circulate it by tilting the pan.
  7. Place the steak in the center of the skillet. Don’t move it.
  8. Turn the heat to medium or medium high and let it establish a crust (3-4 minutes).
  9. While the steak is sautéing add the garlic and rosemary. As soon as the garlic and rosemary turn brown, place them on top of steak.
  10. Before turning the steak, use chopsticks or a pair of tongs to remove the rosemary and garlic to a plate.
  11. Turn steak and sauté another 3-4 minutes. Place the garlic and rosemary again on top of the steak.
  12. When the steak is brown and crusty place it in the oven for another 2-4 minutes.
  13. Remove skillet with steak from oven then place the steak on a wood board and let it rest 4 minutes before slicing.

I like to use an instant read thermometer. Immediately after removing the steak insert the thermometer into the steak side ways:

  • 120 for rare
  • 125 for medium rare
  • 130 for medium
  • 140 for medium well
  • 150 for well done