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Recipe: "Buddha's Hand Beef" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Recipe: "Buddha's Hand Beef"
Tonight's experiment was a roaring success. :D


"Buddha's Hand Beef"


Ingredients:
zest of Buddha's hand (two fingers, about 1 tablespoon)
top round steak, tenderized with mallet
lemon juice
Muntok white pepper, ground
sea salt


Directions:

Zest two fingers of a Buddha's hand into a cereal bowl. This should make about 1 tablespoon of yellow curls from the rind. Set aside the bowl of zest.

Turn on George Foreman grill.

If necessary, cut the top round steak in half. Sprinkle with Muntok white pepper and sea salt. Carefully sprinkle the Buddha's hand zest over the steak, covering as much of the top surface as possible.

When the grill gets hot, the light goes out. Put the steaks on the grill, close the lid, and cook for 2 minutes. That usually gives medium-rare results. You can tweak the time based on thickness of meat and desired doneness.


Notes:

Buddha's hand is a type of citrus fruit with an intense floral lemony aroma. It is bright yellow with weird "fingers" sticking out from the base. It is neither juicy nor bitter, but rather crisp, tangy, and slightly sweet. Look for a firm fruit that is about the size of your two hands; the little ones aren't worth the expense. It has a short season, usually just a few weeks in late fall or early winter, so grab it when you see it.

When you zest a Buddha's hand, don't throw away the pith! You can chop it and candy it, as long as you have a little bit of rind left for extra flavor. It can also be shaved onto salads. Explore zesting in text or video. There are several methods, but I strongly recommend using a zester to avoid injuries.

This is basically a lemon-pepper steak recipe punched up with more exotic ingredients, so if you are a lemon-pepper fan, definitely give this a try. The amazing thing is how ordinary lemon juice takes on the aromatic qualities of the Buddha's hand instead of diluting it. The Buddha's hand has no juice of its own, so you often need to use lemon juice as a carrier. They marry perfectly and it only takes seconds to happen.

I used top round steak, cutting it in half for the two of us, in this recipe because it's what I found for sale. Pounded thin and with little holes from the mallet, it's tender and traps flavor incredibly well. But use what you have -- you could just as easily flavor hamburger with this mix of spices.

Muntok white pepper comes from the same plant as black peppercorns, but has the outer coating rubbed off. It has a light, mild taste that goes well with delicate flavors. If you can't find any, use black pepper sparingly to avoid overwhelming the Buddha's hand.

Sea salt has a more complex flavor and much better trace minerals compared to table salt. You can also use any light mineral salt such as Himalayan pink.

A George Foreman grill is a countertop appliance with two ridged plates that heat up and cook food between them. It is quick and convenient to use, although more of a bother to clean.

Do take care in choosing sides. I put cottage cheese with this because we had soem and it goes well with beef. But it's a bit strong for the delicate citrus notes. I'll probably use canned peas with the chicken breasts later. You want a side dish mild enough that it won't overwhelm the Buddha's hand.

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