Yesterday I invited my sister over for dinner because I decided that we were going to try and master one of my mom's classic dishes. It's best described as stir fried beef with gravy and vegetables, but we lovingly call it "na ge niu rou" (which literally translates to "that cow meat").

Now, my mom has made this dish (or a variation of this dish) a thousand times and you'd think that I'd have tried cooking it by now. However, I never knew where to begin. See, my mom's a fantastic cook (in fact, she actually used to teach classes), but she never measures anything and getting a recipe from her is nearly impossible. So when I went home for Christmas, I followed her around with a pen in one hand and a camera in the other and forced her to come up with a recipe.

My end result ended up being pretty tasty (although I didn't cut my meat as thin as I could have) and I'm surprised by how easy it was. It wasn't as tasty as my mom's dish (but come on, is ANYTHING ever as good as mom's?), but I think with practice I'll be able to make it my own. To learn what goodies my mom cooks up in the kitchen,