I was just perusing the tabs that I have open on my internet browser. My brain is clearly all over the place. There are three tabs for my blog, each one open to a different aspect of blogging; one tab open for one of my email boxes; two tabs open for Pinterest; one tab for a calorie counter for recipes; one tab for blood product administration and one for blood product transfusion reactions; two tabs for curtains for my bedroom; a tab about the evolution of the earth; and seven tabs devoted to genealogy/family history.
When I am on the internet I bounce back and forth between a variety of topics. I’ll get bored with one thing and then move on to another thing. I also keep Word open in my task bar and generally have a large number of writing or research projects going at the same time. Oh, and lets not forget the ever present photo editing program which seems to always have some picture or another that I am trying to tweak.
We won’t even get started on what I have going on my IPAD.
Clearly, I need an intervention.
Oh, but wait. There is no one available to perform an intervention because they are all too busy on their own computers, IPADS or phones. Ha!
I may be unhinged, but I am not unplugged. It would be sad to be unplugged. I have had a computer for about 25 years and use it for so many things–work, education, family history, communication, hobbies, writing, planning, pictures, etc. I don’t know how I ever managed without it. Actually I do know how I managed without it–it was called books and neighbor to neighbor networking and imagination. Things were a bit more complicated in some ways as far as instantly having answers to my questions, but I was still able to be productive and knowledgeable.
You’d be surprised at how much information a good old-fashioned dictionary used to contain. I used to keep one on my side of the bed because invariably the nighttime pillow talk between my husband and I would devolve into a battle of wits and facts. The dictionary was the only reference material we had and it was my salvation in proving my point or points during the ongoing mental contests. Gosh it felt good to have Webster’s backing me up.
Aside from our dictionary, religious books and our college books, oh and John’s sci-fi books, the most important collection of books that we had were cookbooks. I say collection, but I think that I only had a total of five. There was the ever faithful orange Betty Crocker cookbook, one from Better Homes and Gardens, a copy of The Joy of Cooking, a book written by several women in my mother’s in-law neighborhood, and my very treasured copy of The St. George Baptist Church cookbook given to me by my Grandmother.
In addition to the cookbooks, like many other women I had a small stash of handwritten recipes on 3″ x 5″ index cards and decorated recipe cards. Do people still do that…write recipes on recipe cards? I haven’t done it in years. I still have handwritten recipes from my grandmother, mother and friends from long ago. They have become treasures both for the recipes, themselves, and also for the memories which the handwriting evokes.
From the earliest days of my marriage, I have made stroganoff. I used to only make it with hamburger because 1) we were starving students and, 2) I had never had stroganoff with any meat other than hamburger. The recipe was extremely easy to make and included a can of cream of mushroom soup. I don’t quite remember where I got the recipe, but I think that it was from a friend. Then one day I discovered a recipe for “real” beef stroganoff in one of my cookbooks. I was awed by it because it used slices of beef instead of hamburger.
Does that sound silly? That I was awed by slices of beef? Yeah, well, I hadn’t been exposed to beef other than hamburger, pot roast, beef stew and cube steak. Being Southern, however, I could tell you all kinds of things to do with various cuts of pork (and some things to do with parts of the pork that were not really “cuts”, but let’s not talk about that right now, or ever). Pork, chicken and beans were the protein mainstays of my diet growing up.
I am happy to have found the beauty of stroganoff with beef strips. It feels sort of elegant. The seasonings are extremely simple, just salt and pepper, but they are perfect. The rich flavor of this dish comes from browning the meat, and then cooking the onions and mushrooms in the same pan as the meat with a little butter. White button mushrooms are traditional, but I like to use cremini mushrooms, sliced about 1/4-inch thick. Sour cream adds a creamy, tangy finishing touch to stroganoff. I have used full fat and low fat; both of them work well.
Begin by slicing the onion in lengthwise quarters.
Then slice across the quarters, cutting the pieces about 1/4-inch thick.
Slice the cleaned mushrooms about 1/4-inch thick, too. It’s a very nice thickness for mushrooms. These are cremini mushrooms, which are actually baby portabello mushrooms. They have a nice meaty texture.
Guess what? The beef gets sliced about 1/4-inch thick also. Maybe even a bit thicker.
Mince the garlic. Garlic seems to be the perfect flavor for beef. mmmmmm
Heat the frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper the beef strips and then add 1/2 of them to the hot oil. Cook and stir the beef until the beef strips have just a touch of pink color left in the middle. There may be a lot of spattering so take precautions that you do not get burned.
Move the beef onto a plate or platter. Using the same pan, add 2 tablespoons butter and allow it to melt. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cook and stir until the they begin to pick up a golden color.
Add the garlic to the onions and mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir for 1 minute more. Yes, this all smells exceptionally wonderful.
Return the beef to the pan with the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients.
Stir until the flour is well incorporated.
Pour the beef stock or broth over the meat mixture. Stir well. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Once the gravy has thickened, turn off the burner and add the sour cream. Depending on personal preference, you may want to add more than one cup of sour cream. Stir until well incorporated. Serve immediately over prepared wide egg noodles.
Enjoy your meal.