Andrew Moore, Owner and Chef at Venable in Carrboro.
Neighborhood bistro Venable may have closed its dining room several weeks ago, but chef-owner Drew Moore hasn’t had a chance to catch a breath since.
For starters, there’s the consuming new business—Venable has shifted to a delivery-only model—of getting food into take-out boxes and customers’ hands. There’s also the business of getting food out into the community: Moore is involved with several initiatives to keep the restaurant industry afloat. There’s Carrboro United Local Food Hub, a grocery-restaurant food hub that corrals food from local farms and dishes from local restaurants into an online market.
He’s also helping get a nonprofit off the ground: NC FEEDER, modeled off of similar nonprofits across the country, will fundraise to deliver meals from restaurants to hospital workers too overwhelmed and overworked to order food on the job.
Both initiatives are close to his heart, but NC FEEDER has a special resonance. Moore’s brother is an ER nurse in Ithaca, New York.
“He hasn’t eaten anything that wasn’t out of a machine in three days,” Moore says.
On April 8, NC FeedER will deliver its first round of 200 meals to UNC Hospital’s oncology department.
Another thing keeping Moore busy: getting food on the table at home, where his three sons, ages 7, 10, and 12, are quarantined. Steak stir-fry, he says, is a dependable hit. It’s fast and easy, and the portions and flavor profile are both flexible. It’s designed to take only as long as a pot of rice takes to boil.
During a pandemic, flexibility is the name of the game.
“Life is not normal,” Moore says. “Nobody wants to go to the grocery store. And when you do go, it’s slim pickings as to what you might get. So, it’s really good to stock up on rice and beans and kind of the foundation foods and then adapt with whatever you might find throughout the day.”
Most Venable dishes, Moore says, begin at his kitchen table, where his family is the first test audience. Under the quarantine, this homegrown workflow is no different.
He hopes to introduce the stir-fry to the Venable menu soon.
Drew Moore’s Steak Stir-Fry
Yield: four servings
Prep time: 30-40 minutes
1.5 lbs trimmed and shaved ribeye (chill ribeye and then shave with sharp knife)
1 red onion sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
0.5 cup basil, sliced
2 cups rice (adjust as needed for family)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
0.5 cup soy sauce
1.5 lbs fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste (reminder: soy sauce contains sodium)
Cook rice per preferred method.
Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic with oil on high heat until onion has softened and is translucent. Add jalapeno and continue to cook, stirring often. If your pan gets too hot, it’s OK to add a few tablespoons of water. After one to two minutes, add soy sauce and reduce heat to low. Add half the basil and cook until all the soy sauce has been absorbed.
In a separate sautee pan, on high heat, add oil, the remainder of garlic, and half of the spinach. Cook until spinach has wilted, stirring often. Add remaining spinach and continue cooking.
Finally, in a third pan (preferably cast iron and smoking hot), sear the meat in 1 tablespoon of oil. Resist the urge to season the meat.
Now plate. Layer meat over onions, spinach, and rice. Top with remaining fresh basil.
Chef’s note: For an extra kick, add chili paste such as Sambal to the mix.
Contact deputy arts and culture editor Sarah Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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