Friday, March 18, 2011

Traditional Food is Cheap #4: Beef Stroganoff

Once again, I enter my house at 5:15 p.m. after a long day.  I'm tired.  I hear my Mom's voice in my head saying "put on a happy face."  Aren't women amazing.  If you know one, remember to tell her and thank her for everything she does to keep life together for those around her. 

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I had to clean my kitchen before I could start cooking.  I need to buy dog food tomorrow, or someone will be hungry, but there's enough for tonight.  And I haven't yet emptied the dishwasher, but at least I started it when I left this morning. 

Okay, time to get going. Two big cloves of garlic, minced or diced.  I need to get over to Diane's Produce and stock up.  I'm out of a lot of things.    A purple shallot diced. Not green onions, which some people call shallots.  By the way, have you noticed that Paula Deen calls green onions, spring onions.  I'm always so impressed with what a small world it is, but the things that make us different are interesting too.  

Half a pound of mushrooms.  I usually get crimini, but I've got these white things this time.  Have you noticed that people on Food Network recommend not washing mushrooms?  They all wipe them with a kitchen towel.  I wash mine and have never had a problem.  I wouldn't eat a potato or an apple without washing it.  Just saying people. 

I usually quarter mushroom.  For Stroganoff, I slice, but do what you want with your Stroganoff.  It's yours after all. Two T. good oil, canola or grape seed or olive oil. Saute the shallot, garlic and mushrooms. 

I like them a little soft and translucent in Stroganoff.  Nicer with the sour cream sauce.  One of the things I like about cooking is that it's all about me.  There are so many areas of my life that are all about doing things for other people.  Following other people's rules.  When I cook, the mushrooms can be any way I want.  And that's all I have to say about that. 

 A full pound of some type of less expensive beef steak.  With all meat, take the time to cut off anything you don't want to eat.  It's your decision. 

Slice the meat as thin as possible.    I've got two piece stacked.  I'm using a cheap serrated bread knife that I keep for this purpose.

Remove the vegetables to a pie plate sitting on the back of the stove.  Two T. butter and add the meat.  Saute until it's just cooked through.  Feel free to nibble a bit.  Cook's privilege. 1/2 t. salt, a couple good turns off the pepper grinder, 1 t. Worcestershire sauce.  Turn it off until you are close to ready to eat. 

Start the pasta.  I've made this with really good fresh pasta.  I've made this with homemade pasta.  Tonight, it's 1/2 pound of this, cooked according to the package. Salt the water as it heats.  Add a little oil to the water after adding the pasta. 

To finish, return the vegetables to the meat in the skillet.  Bring it back to heat and add 1/2 c. sour cream, a handful of chopped Italian parsley.  As you stir, add another 1/4 c. sour cream if needed for a very creamy texture.  Taste and consider another 1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce.  Always taste and adjust the flavors to suit you.  It's a recipe, not brain surgery.  Add the pasta and stir to combine.  It should be creamy. 

Oh, good.  Before long we are cozy on the couch, plates in our laps, a glass of wine.  Watching TV. Grateful not to be in Japan and Iran.  Grateful to have a home and good food and worthwhile work to do.  Grateful for a good warm bed and each other.  Feeling a little silly about any previous grumpiness.  Remember the important things.


  1. That looks delicious! Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the full moon.

  2. I have always washed the mushrooms also. Never noticed any adverse problems in food, so I think I will keep washing the. And I love the serrated knife tip, enjoy the weekend.