Coleman Stove Stir Fry

beef and tomato stir fry - dinner partyThis is a success story, a risky entertaining move that worked. Years ago when I knew something about cooking but not a lot about having dinner parties, I wanted to have one.

My then-partner and I were renovating a house. The living and dining rooms had been drywalled, the floors were bare boards not yet sanded. The kitchen was totally ripped apart. The refrigerator was in the hallway, the sink worked but there was no countertop. There was no stove. We cooked on a two-burner Coleman stove.

My partner talked about having a big party when the renovations were finished. I was terrified by that idea. I felt safer having a gathering while work was in progress. That way, expectations would be low. If anything was edible, people would be pleasantly surprised. To his credit, my partner agreed to this rather insane plan. We invited ten or twelve people. There was no furniture in the house, so we laid a hollow-core door across saw horses. We dug out big cushions for seating around the table.

Stir fry for a dinner party

The only thing I could think of to cook in a large enough quantity to feed a dozen people using only 2 burners and an electric rice steamer was a stir fry. I made beef and tomato with peppers, both red and green, onion and water chestnuts. I’d done all the chopping and slicing beforehand, had the rice washed and ready to go. People had pre-dinner drinks while sitting on their cushions or walking around looking at our construction site. I put the rice on to cook, brought everything else to the wok and the Coleman stove sitting on a board on sawhorses in the dining room and began stir frying. When it was done, people helped themselves to rice straight from the steamer and I served the stir fry straight from the wok. It was delicious – everything hot, tomato chunks slightly softened, other veggies slightly crisp.

It was an evening that was talked about, in a good way, for a long time after. I also never did a planned dinner party like that again. I figured it had worked once and best to quit while I was ahead.

Here is a recipe for beef and tomato stir fry. The Amazon link below is for a round bottom wok, which can be hard to find and are preferable to flat bottom ones in my opinion.