To be winded: to have difficulty breathing because of exertion or a blow to the stomach.
There are varying degrees of “being winded”, all ranging in scale and intensity, in either a literal or metaphorical sense. I have only been literally winded once (out of breath from exercise doesn’t count) – from an embarrassing slip in the shower – and those moments spent gasping for air were quite terrifying. Luckily, that moment left me with only a bruise on my ribcage (and my ego).
There are other times, though, when you can be metaphorically winded. Those moments in time when life gives you a stiff kick in the gut and leaves you reeling, perhaps from a devastating turn of events, or some really good – or really bad – news. Life will always hand out these moments.
This past Labour Day weekend, I was metaphorically winded, so much so that it’s taken me a few days to patch myself up. I won’t share the whole story, since I’m a pretty private person and don’t like to show off every card I have in my hand, but I’ll give you the gist.
What was planned to be a long, relaxing, end-of-summer weekend at a cute little old cabin turned out to be a very stressful one that involved that cute little old cabin going up in flames.
Yup. The cabin we were staying in burned down, and it was a very harrowing experience. I’ve never been in such a fight or flight situation, and never witnessed something so terrifying. I can still picture the flames licking the roof, the thick black smoke, the popping of the electrical box, the explosion from the propane tank.
Luckily, no one was hurt, no one was inside at the time, and nothing major was lost. I did lose a bag full of all my nice rain gear and my glasses, but I’m not upset. It could have been a lot worse. At least we weren’t sleeping inside at the time, at least the fire didn’t spread to the surrounding forest, at least the car didn’t get caught in the explosion.
Poor Matt, getting a call from me at a pay phone in a dingy bar in a middle-of-nowhere town, drunkenly sputtering words between sobs.
Needless to say, I spent the weekend drinking one-too-many pints, trying to purge the event from my memory.
It’s true what they say, that you really don’t know how you’ll react to a situation unless it happens to you. I’m surprised that I chose to fight rather than flight, although I think I was just in denial the whole time, refusing to believe that the place was going to burn down. I tried to put it out, and I didn’t run for the hills. That has to say something, right?
Matt spent the weekend trying to convince me post something fire/food related, like “Fire Roasted Chicken” or “Flaming Hot Tamales”. This is a food blog, after all, and shouldn’t the recipe I post be related to the story I tell? I didn’t feel like making a joke about it though, so this recipe really has nothing to do with the story.
It is a comforting meal, though, as most taco/slow cooker recipes are. The beef gets all hot and cozy in the slow cooker with some sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, cooks for a good 6-8 hours until it shreds easily, and then gets paired with some quick pickled veggies and a tangy lime yogurt sauce, resulting in one amazing taco.
Simple, yet delicious.
What I love about this recipe is that there is minimal hands-on time. Once the beef is in the crock pot, you simply need to pickle the veggies and make the lime yogurt sauce, which takes only a few minutes. Then you can just let everything sit in the fridge until the beef is ready to shred and serve. Gotta love the slow cooker.
So bring it on, Life. As long as we’ve got good food, we can get through anything.
(Corny? Maybe. Deal with it.)
|Slow Cooker Shredded Sesame Beef Tacos with Pickled Veggies and Lime Cream|| |
- Shredded Beef:
- Beef roast, 2 lbs
- Salt and pepper
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp grated, fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup beef broth
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- Quick Pickled Veggies:
- 2 carrots, peeled
- ½ a large cucumber
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- Lime Cream:
- Juice and zest from ½ large lime
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- Corn tortillas, to serve
- Sesame seeds, to serve
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the beef roast, rubbing it into the meat. Brown the roast on all sides over medium-high heat, then transfer the roast to the slow cooker.
- In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, broth, and chili flakes. Pour mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until meat is cooked and shreds easily.
- Using two forks, shred the beef roast in the slow cooker. Cover and cook in the juices for another 30 minutes.
- To make the quick pickled veggies, peel the cucumber and carrot into thin slices. You can julienne them if you prefer, or slice them by hand. I used a potato peeler. Place sliced veggies in a bowl and add rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and stir until combined. Add water to the bowl until veggies are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (longer if you can).
- To make lime cream, combine lime juice, zest, and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To serve, top tortillas with shredded beef, pickled veggies, and lime cream. Top sesame seeds and serve with a lime wedge, if desired.