Oh hey guess what! It’s only 1,462 degrees here in Kansas City.
And my hair has never looked more stunning.
I used to be SUCH a summer-lovin’ gal, back in my ripe years. I lived in New Mexico, rode my faded red Schwinn at like TWO O’CLOCK in the stale, breeze-less July afternoons, with no shoes on. Just a chirpin’ along like a dainty little idiot. Probably humming the new Amy Grant album (WHEN SHE WENT SECULAR, oh the scandal!), not minding the liters of sweat drenching my acid-washed Guess jorts and over-sized church camp t-shirt. Which if I had to do that now, I’d be all kinds of murdery.
The heat, not the album. Baby Baby is a really good song, you guys.
These days, I’m the biggest sissy on the block. I only harvest our garden produce at six in the morning or nine at night, when there are no signs of scary ozone layers, bumble bees, or the West Nile virus.
And even then I’ve attached a garden hose to my head and by the time we’re done the water has soaked my chacos and I’m sliding around in them and falling into the zucchini plants which are REALLY PRICKLY and honestly no good can come from this.
Which is exactly why we need to talk about this beef and basil awesomeness.
Looks can be deceiving, my bunnies, but this tasty bowl of holy crap is actually quite the refreshing surprise for the mouth cavity on these igneous summer evenings.
A) The beef is seasoned and bloomed with spices, garlic, ginger and chiles. Which SOUNDS hot, but wait.
B) Fresh red bell pepper and sautéed zucchini add crunch and depth, along with the pungent basil, fresh scallions and crisp parsley. (I sound so serious right now.)
C) Cooked and cooled vermicelli noodles are slippery and gorgeous all intertwined up in that piece.
D) Gallons of fresh lime juice. Hold on tight, mama.
It’s seriously sick how good this is.
I miss Amy Grant.
Spicy Beef and Basil with Vermicelli Noodles:
What it took for 4:
* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1 Tbs. Chinese 5-Spice
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 3 Thai chiles, minced
* 1 zucchini, cut into a small dice
* 2 tsp fish sauce
* 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
* 2 scallions, chopped
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
* 1 lime
* 3 oz vermicelli noodles
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Brown the beef in a medium skillet until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the Chinese 5-Spice and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté another minute. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles, sauté another minute.
Add the zucchini and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and toss to combine. Taste it. Need more salt? Add a pinch if it does.
Cook the vermicelli noodles in boiling water, then drain and rinse under cool water.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked vermicelli noodles, the beef mixture, diced red bell pepper, basil, parsley, scallions and a heavy squeeze of lime juice. Toss to combine.
Serve with more lime slices and seeeeriously, just TASTE that. I know.
*Based on reader feedback, I’ve adjusted the recipe to use only 1 Tbs. Chinese 5-spice. 2-3 worked for the buds in my mouth, but I don’t anyone to have to toss it. So, go with 1 Tbs, but if you want more spice, use more!*