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The Misadventures of Mrs. B

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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-02-21

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

For my first real cooking project at the new house, I chose beef stroganoff.

Okay. I didn't choose beef stroganoff. Rob did. But I was the one who decided to make it without using ground beef and a mix or cream soup. I figured I could use a new project.

I winged almost the entire recipe, and I'm certain that I could make changes that would make it even more delicious. But it was pretty good as it was!

Let's get started!

I began with a 2lb roast. I don't like using stew meat anymore, as I find that it can sometimes be really poor quality. So I cut up a roast instead. And I do sorta like getting my hands into all that meat - there really is something satisfying in slicing up a raw hunk of beef.

I feel like a sicko now.

Moving on.

Once the beef was cubed up, I salted and peppered the heck out of it.

Then I heated olive oil in a pan, and in batches browned the meat.

As that was browning, I chopped up half an onion. I didn't want to put too much onion in with the meat since I was using a smaller amount of meat than I usually do. Plus Rob's not the onion fan that I am.

The onion went into the hot pan once the meat was finished, along with a tablespoon of butter and olive oil.


Brown 'em up, baby.

I added about a half cup of beef stock to the onions and let them cook until the liquid was reduced. It really intensified the flavor.

Into the crock pot went the meat and the onions. I added around a cup of wine to the pan to scrape up any extra bits and then poured that over the meat, along with enough stock to almost just about cover everything. 

The wine was what I had on hand - white merlot.  You're probably thinking "Ew", but let me tell you that I think it imparted just enough flavor.  It wasn't as bold and rich a flavor as a red wine would lend to, say, boeuf bourguignon.  It was much lighter and I think went well with the dish overall.

And yes, "almost just about" is an actual, scientific unit of measure.  In case you were wondering.

In went some more salt, pepper, a few pinches of dried parsley and a couple of shakes of garlic powder. Plus a few shakes of worcestershire sauce. And then I set the crock pot low for 6 hours.

Can I just TELL YOU how delicious it smelled, even when I first put it on? And that just got more and more ridiculous as the hours passed.

You may be wondering at this time why I did not add mushrooms. This is because Rob hates mushrooms. So I planned on sauteing them separately and adding them to my own plate - which I usually do anyway!

So when the time came for dinner to start coming together, I sliced up a whole mess of baby bellas.

I added them to a pan with olive oil and butter. Rather than sauteing them in batches, which is the real way to do it, I was in a hurry and just tossed them all in at once.

When they were nice and browned I added a half cup of wine and let it reduce.

Mmmm...I wish you could really see how tremendous these mushrooms looked when the wine had glazed them. It was ridiculous.

As the mushroom drama was unfolding, I had a whole other situation going on with my cooking liquid. I drained the meat and poured the liquid into a pan, leaving the meat on low in the crock pot. I let the liquid boil down...

And after 15 minutes or so, I made a slurry of beef stock and flour.

Adding the slurry to the hot liquid thickened it up beautifully. I allowed it to continue simmering as I worked on the mushrooms and cooking the egg noodles.

By the way, have you ever used brown butter for noodles? Browning the butter really puts the taste over-the-top.

It starts off all bubbly and golden...

And eventually gets nice and nutty brown.


Of course, it is important to not let the butter burn.  And it's very easily done so keep an eye out!

Once the sauce was thickenend enough, I poured it back over the meat. Then I added around a half to three quarters cup of sour cream. I wanted to take it slowly so as to not overpower the dish. Turns out that for me, it was just enough. I could have used more but...again, I have to cook for my audience, if you will. Still, it was definitely enough to add that slightly tart creaminess. Yum!

 That looks kinda gross, actually.  Believe me, it looked nicer in person.

And here's the finished product!

Yes, I managed to get some broccoli in there as well.

It was really, really good, especially for something I pretty much figured out on the fly. *Someone* even had seconds!

And the meat. I have to tell you, the meat was amazing. Again, I find that it's worth cutting up the meat myself. I can see what I'm working with rather than just using the scraps of whatever the butcher department had left over.

Give it a shot, and try putting your own touches on it.  That's the beauty of cooking - as long as you have the basics of a recipe, everything else is negotiable.


Linking to:



Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Friday!

Another day at home, thanks to the messy weather.  But that's okay, no complaints from me!

This has been a very busy and full week.  We moved on Saturday and the rest of the week has been devoted to unpacking, finishing up with the apartment, and waking up extra early to work out the commuting situation.  But Rob's finished with his last week of work now so we'll be getting back into a routine which doesn't involve me getting to work an hour early.

I'm feeling rather exhausted today! Another reason it's a good thing I'm staying home.

It's been fun to set up the house and put our things here and there.  It's interesting to see the difference between a house and a home and what makes that difference.  Prior to our moving in, the house was inhabited by someone who didn't spend much time here - he was always working or traveling or golfing or a mix of the three.  So while it was full of things, it wasn't very homey.  We're working on changing that in little ways.  But Sunday night we have to have everything as well set-up and organized as possible because...

Rob's dad comes home on Monday.  I'm looking forward to it - I'm sure it will make him so happy to finally be able to leave there for real.  Up to now he's been telling people he's leaving but, as we all know, it doesn't work that way.

The next thing I need to focus on is actually getting in the exercise room and working out! But not today. Today I work from the couch and then take Rob to dinner.

So thank you, Mother Nature, for giving me the opportunity to sit in my comfy den which my husband so carefully and lovingly put together yesterday.  Looking out over the new backyard, covered in a fresh layer of snow, has done wonders for my peace of mind.

Now if the snow would only melt so I can get to the business of gardening...


Thursday, February 25, 2010

F is for Favorite Things

I finally got my netbook back up and running! Or...should I say Rob got my netbook up and running.  You know, if I'm being honest and all.  Since I've been so busy at work all week (especially today!), it's been next to impossible for me to spend any time blogging, except for the occasional comment via my iPhone.  I have missed you all!

But we're back in business now, kids.

And since this post is dedicated to Mrs. Matlock's weekly class and today's letter is F, let's talk about a few of my favorite things, shall we? We shall!

Favorite Food:

It is the staple of my diet.  Hence my full-figuredness.  I'll eat it in just about any form.  I'm addicted to pasta and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Speaking of pasta, has anyone seen this?

I want.

Favorite Movie:

Hands down.  Forever and ever.  Amen.

Favorite Group:

Queen.  Again, hands down.  I love them so much.  All of them.  It's amazing to me how I can sing the lyrics to almost all of their songs without even thinking about it, but I can't remember almost any of the French I learned in 5 years of study.

Probably because so much of my brain has been taken up by Queen lyrics.

Favorite Holiday:

I live for Christmas.  Live for it.

Those are just a few of my most basic favorites.  Others include roses...beautiful cookware...Lost (I hear Rob snickering at me right now)

On and on and on...

Right now I'm hoping that enough snowflakes actually pile up on top of each other tonight so I don't have to go to work tomorrow (definitely NOT one of my favorite things!) and can have the opportunity to take pictures of a new recipe.  I hope, I hope, I hope!

Linking up to:

Jenny Matlock


Monday, February 22, 2010

We Are Moved

Ugh.  Ow.  Yawn.  I'm exhausted and I hurt in places I didn't know you could hurt in.

We are moved.

I wish, oh how I wish, I had thought to take pictures of what the house looked like when the movers left.  Then again, maybe there was a part of me that wanted to forget what the house looked like.  Because it wasn't pretty. all.  My mom, who was nice enough to meet us at the house, said "You'd never know from walking into your apartment that you had all this stuff!".  I had to agree with her.  It was box city up in there.

The worst part is, it's not as if we were moving into an empty space.  This is a house that's already furnished.  With lots...and lots...and a ton...of random stuff laying around.  Things that have been there for years and haven't been touched in that period of time and, in the case of things like cassettes and video tapes and random favors, things that aren't exactly getting much use .  Things we still have to figure out what to do with.  Again, it's not like we want to change the man's world around.  But I cannot deal with that level of clutter, I just can't. 

Nothing's being thrown away, mind you.  It's just being packed up and put in the attic or garage. 

When the movers (who rocked our world, by the way) were unloading the truck, we told them to just leave the boxes in the room they were marked for and we'd worry about it after they were gone.  Boy oh boy, the one thing you do not want to see after a long day is a room completely full of boxes and pieces of your bed somewhere towards the back.  So the bedroom was our first priority.

Rob and I make a good team.  I think we motivate each other.  We check in with each other to see how we're doing and whether or not the other one thinks we're finished for the day.  And even when my back was screaming at me and I wanted nothing more than to collapse, I soldiered on because my honey was doing the same thing.

But you better believe that as soon as he went to the store to pick up something around 11:00, the shoes came off and onto the bed I fell.  Until I heard him coming up the stairs and immediately shouted "I'm awake!".

Yeah, because that's totally something you'd say if you were, ya know, unpacking and setting things up.  I'm so slick.

Yesterday I focused on the kitchen while Rob tackled the den.  Then we went to bed early, knowing that we'd have to wake up extra early every morning this week since Rob has such a long commute.  So we were out the door before 6:00 today.  But traffic was good and we managed to grab a quick McD's breakfast together before parting ways.  That was nice.  It's the little things.

And I know that if we really just roll up our sleeves we can get the living room looking just the way it used to tonight.

Or we'll both collapse as soon as we walk through the door.

It's a toss-up.