Beef and other accomplishments

Tonight I hit three milestones while cooking dinner:  I cooked with beef (not the ground variety), I properly sliced a green pepper for the first time ever, and I faced my fear of stir frying.

Dinner tonight was a flank steak stir fry I found on Simply Recipes.  Things got off to a good start, which isn’t something I can say often regarding the kitchen.  I was organized, I chopped a green onion without mangling it (if you thought the onions were bad, you should have seen my old pepper-chopping method), and most importantly, I was confident.

Well, I was confident until I turned on the burner.

Here’s the thing about me and frying:  hot oil scares my socks off.  Its menacing crackle and its little oily beads that pop up and burst against your skin–they terrify me.  Tonight was no exception.  The first time I felt the pinch of hot oil on my skin, I recoiled and stood a foot from the stove with an oil-coated spoon in my hand, wondering if this was really a better option than boxed macaroni and cheese.  But I sucked it up and I stir-fried the crap out of that asparagus, and when all was said and done I couldn’t have  been prouder of myself.

And pride was a necessary thing, because I hadn’t yet added the meat.

When the meat went in the pan, the usual panic set in. It’s still too pink, but if I leave it in too long it’ll burn, but I see blood, but the recipe says two minutes and it’s been two minutes, but maybe I should leave it in another fifteen seconds, but what if it’s already overcooked and I can’t turn back now?  But.  But.  But.  I can’t freaking cook meat.

So, confession:  the meat was a teeny-tiny bit overcooked.  Not terrible.  In my fiance’s words, it could have been worse.  But my buts got the best of me.  It’s a work in progress.  At least I can say that I did step out of my comfort zone; I tried something new.  Aside from the slightly overcooked meat, the meal actually turned out great.  It’s another baby step, but at least it’s in the right direction.

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