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Hot and spicy beef

Hot and Spicy Stir-fried Beef and Basil Shrimp Pasta.

This dinner is a tasty mixture of Pacific rim flavors. Lemon grass is the secret to the flavors in Hot and Spicy Beef. It adds a tang like that of lemon or lime and is one of the most important spices used in Thai cooking. It looks a little like a scallion with long, thin, green-gray leaves and a lighter bulb at the tip. Grated lemon rind can be used instead.

Sesame noodles with peas complete the meal.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: Spicy stir-fry beef? A spicy red zin.

Helpful hints: Remove woody, outer leaves of lemon grass before slicing. Cut pale inner leaves and bulb into thin slices. Prepare all ingredients for beef and noodle dishes before starting to stir-fry. If using ground ginger instead of fresh, mix it in with sauce. Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bottle minced garlic. A quick way to add fresh ginger is to grate it over the food.

Countdown: Prepare all ingredients. Make noodles. Stir-fry beef dish.

Shopping list: To buy — 1 small can tomato paste, 1 bottle sesame oil, 1 small piece fresh ginger, 1 bunch lemon grass, 1/2 pound steak (sirloin, flank, skirt, strip) and 1 bottle unsalted, roasted peanuts.

Staples — Hot pepper sauce, onion, minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.

<&rdpStrong>HOT AND SPICY STIR-FRY BEEF</&rdpStrong>

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cup sliced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger

3 stalks lemon grass, sliced, or grated lemon rind from 1 lemon

1/2 pound steak, cut into 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips (sirloin, flank, skirt, strip)

2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted peanuts

Mix tomato paste, hot pepper sauce and water together and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chopped ginger and lemon grass or lemon rind and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add meat and stir-fry 4 to 5 minutes. Add sauce and toss with the ingredients a few seconds. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with peanuts.

Makes 2 servings.

<&rdpEm>— Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer</&rdpEm>

<&rdpStrong>Per serving:</&rdpStrong> 297 calories (31 percent from fat), 10.3 g fat (2.2 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), 64 mg cholesterol,31.3 g protein, 24.0 g carbohydrates, 3.3 g fiber, 120 mg sodium.

Yield 2 servings.

<&rdpStrong>SESAME NOODLES</&rdpStrong>

1/4 pound Chinese noodles

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook 1 minute add peas and continue to cook 1 minute. Drain. Toss with sesame oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to dinner plates and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Makes 2 servings.

<&rdpEm>— Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer</&rdpEm>

<&rdpStrong>Per serving</&rdpStrong>: 321 calories (27 percent from fat), 9.5 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 3.3 g monounsaturated), 48 mg cholesterol, 11.7 g protein, 47.9 g carbohydrates, 5.3 g fiber, 16 mg sodium.

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Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Delicious One-Pot Dishes,” featuring 60 recipes designed to be stewed, braised, slow-cooked or steamed, each in a single pot. Additional titles by Gassenheimer include “Quick and Easy Chicken,” “Simply Smoothies: Fresh & Fast Diabetes-Friendly Snacks & Complete Meals,” “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table” and “The Flavors of the Florida Keys.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer. Email: linda@dinnerinminutes.com

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