Monday, September 20, 2004

Braised Beef

This recipe reminds me a lot of my short stay in Manila.

When I was there reviewing for my board exams, I was also working for an Uncle along Timog Avenue in Quezon City. I would work from 8 to 5 in Timog and run to Espana for my 6 –10 pm review. I do not know why I did this. I think I was so excited that I was offered a job right after graduation, (duh! from an Uncle). I had so much pride that I did not live with his family in Q.C. nor with my brother’s family. I rented a room with some friends from university. Suddenly, I had the feeling of independence. I paid for my rent but allowance and food were still form parents (lol).

This independence was also subsidized by my sister-in-law who was also my officemate (lol). Because of my hectic schedule, I didn’t have enough time to cook for myself or wash my clothes. She would buy me lunches from a restaurant called Toppings near our office.

On weekends, former high school classmates who were still studying at UP Diliman would come and get me from my boarding house and bring me to SM City. We would all order Braised Beef from Toppings at its Food Court. Now this reminds me of how light the traffic was then. Imagine after 5, I would make it to my 6 pm review in Espana? I doubt if you can still do that now. SM City was the biggest SM branch then. And oh, I used to travel from Timog to Valenzuela in buses keeping payroll for about 75 employees in my bag. Delta-Timog Intersection traffic was predictable then.

My stay in Manila didn’t last long. I just couldn’t stand the climate and I just missed home. But it wasn’t altogether that bad. I had Braised Beef as one of my sweetest memories of it. There were manhole experiences too.

Well, here’s my recipe for Braised Beef.

1 lb of lean grainy beef
50 gms of star anise
¼ cup of soy sauce
¼ cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks of chopped celery
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium potato, diced
1 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup water

In a slow cooker, combine the first 4 four ingredients and cook for about 3 hours. You can cook this a night ahead. Store in the fridge including the sauce.

In a pan, heat oil. Sauté onion for half a minute. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for another 3 minutes using the sauce from the cooked beef for keeping the vegetables moist. Add the celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beef and the dissolved cornstarch and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve on top of rice. So is Toppings still in business?

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