Brushes With Fame

The other day I introduced someone who I work with to this blog. She looked over the main page and saw that I had 7700 subscribers and exclaimed, “You’re famous!” While I’m hardly that, it did get me thinking about my own brushes with fame.

Let me start by saying I don’t know, and really haven’t ever known, someone really famous. I know important people. I know people with some level of power. I know some really, really smart and accomplished people, but no one really famous.

I’ve met a few famous economists in a receiving line (Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, both former chairmen of the Federal Reserve). Come to think of it, I’ve met the current Chairperson of the Fed, Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

On a summer break back in 1988, I worked in a store that sold luggage and briefcases, and I once sold a briefcase to Los Angeles Dodger Steve Sax. I also sold a set of luggage to Olympic Gold Medalist Al Joyner who purchased it for his wife, Florence Griffith Joyner, for her travels to the 1988 Seoul Olympics where she won three golds and a silver. I think it was because of the luggage.

Airplanes have been another place where I’ve been in proximity to fame (although in each case I didn’t actually talk to the famous person). As a pre-teen I was on a flight with both country music singer Mac Davis and actor Jerry Van Dyke (at the time I didn’t know either of them because I didn’t listen to country music and Coach hadn’t aired yet). A flight I was on with Celebrity Stylist Jose Eber was diverted from Denver to Grand Junction. Lastly, at the height of her singing career, Jessica Simpson brushed past me to board first. She was a little woman and dressed for comfort in sweats for her flight from New York to Cleveland (where she had a concert the next day).

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This dish won’t make me famous but certainly will fill me up!

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I decided to marinate the beef early and to give the dish a little heat.

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The great folks at RJ’s Pepper Pantry sent me some of their Hot Peppers in Oil. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I love hot peppers and I’ve joked about having burned out my taste buds. As a consequence I eat quite a bit of spicy foods and in many cases I’m disappointed about the level of heat. Disappointed no more! RJ’s Hot Peppers in Oil are just as advertised. They are quality peppers with some real heat. I opened up the jar, pulled one out and ate it. I know it was hot because I started to hiccup! I did so with a smile on face and then pulled out a few more to dice up for the dish.

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The strips of beef.

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And the sauce.

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The beef goes into the hot wok.

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Pull the beef out when it is done and work on the sauce.

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Put it all back in.

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Delicious and with the Hot Peppers from RJ’s Pepper Pantry, it had a nice kick to it as well.

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli

prep Serves 3 ∙ source


  • For the beef:
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pound boneless sirloin, cut across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry or Scotch
  • 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth or water
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • a 4-inch fresh red chili, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves) or 1/2 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 pound broccoli, cut into flowerets and the stems peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick
  • RJ’s Pepper Pantry Hot Peppers in Oil
  • cooked rice as an accompaniment


Prepare the beef: In a small bowl stir together the soy sauce, the sugar, and the salt, add the beef, and let it marinate for 20 minutes.

Make the sauce while the beef is marinating: In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the soy sauce and stir in the Sherry, the broth, the sugar, and the sesame oil.

Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until it is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, and heat it until it just begins to smoke. Stir-fry the beef in the oil in batches for 1 minute, or until it is no longer pink, and transfer it as it is cooked with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the wok, heat it until it is hot but not smoking, and in the oil stir-fry the gingerroot, the garlic, and the chili for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is fragrant. Add the broccoli and stir-fry the mixture for 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup water and steam the broccoli, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until it is crisp-tender. Stir the sauce, add it to the wok with the beef and any juices that have accumulated on the plate, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the beef is heated through. Transfer the mixture to a heated platter and serve it with the rice.

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Categories: Alcohol, Beef 2, Chinese, kosher, Low Carb, Main Dish 3, Recipes, Vegetable4, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

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One Comment on “Brushes With Fame”

  1. February 17, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    When I worked on the Cruise Ship we had a Comedy Cruise with Phyllis Diller and Jerry Van Dyke and I had the pleasure to meet them both and they both could not have been nicer and kept us in stitches 🙂 Since at the time I worked in the theater with the shows I had to help Phyllis with her wig 🙂 LOL…that I will never for get 🙂


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