Back to food (and food blogging) with BEEF

Well, as you may or may not have gleaned from various Tweets and status updates or from real-life knowledge, the hubby and I had a busy first quarter. We went to Rio de Janeiro in late February, where hubby served as the wedding officiant for two great pals. Then we came back, almost immediately closed on our new house, and then almost immediately moved and have spent almost every waking second on home improvement or spending loads of money on theoretical home improvement. Oh, yeah, and both of our day job companies are gearing up for major releases. Busy!

But oh, so worth it. Don’t worry, some Brazil-specific posts are coming soon, about all the deliciousness therein. But for now, let’s focus on COOKING in a KITCHEN that I OWN. Not only did I make some interesting appliance discoveries, but I just care so much more about the place since it’s mine! We’ve tinkered with a few meals or dishes here and there, but this is the first fully cooked at home DISH that I did in my new cuisine, upon Grant’s request: Beef Stroganoff.

I used the Epicurious recpie with some substitutions and quantity wild guesses, and it turned out lovely (though I prefer a higher meat-and-sauce-to-pasta ratio so I might use half the noodles next time, or double the rest). Grant wanted to make it with ground beef instead of steak like the recipe calls for, so we compromised on inexpensive but still not ground up stew meat. (The idea of it with ground meat totally grosses me out, but maybe that’s just me?)

I also played around with the new oven last night and figured out that it runs, if anything, slightly hot. Good to know for muffins, cakes and cookies! Mmmmm, cookies. My banana sour cream cinnamon muffins turned out lovely and moist and yummy, but they had been cooked for almost exactly the minimum that the recipe specified and were still a bit browner on the bottom than I like. Learning new appliances is never easy (our microwave LOVES to splatter/assplode) but it sure is fun! I’ll have to post a video of Grant reacting to our oven vent, which is built into the top of our microwave, opening and closing at the push of a button, with the microwave text narrating the whole while. Crazy technology.

Shroom Envy

The other day, Smitten Kitchen posted a delish post on steakhouse-style garlic butter roasted mushrooms, and my mouth had been watering ever since. We tried to make reservations at The Met for New Year’s Eve and were told they were fully booked, so I decided to cook us a steakhouse-style meal at home, complete with said shrooms. However, circumstances happened to deliver me to Uwajimaya instead of a typical grocery, so I wound up grabbing Japanese brown beech mushrooms in addition to the normal crimini. (I also picked up a $5 black truffle, but that’s a whole other post!)

So I threw this together loosely based on sk’s recipe, though I failed to stir, threw in too much lemon juice, and probably overdid it on the beurre. That’s OK, though — we wound up forgetting to make bread (!) for the NYE dinner, so we saved the mushroom drippings and soaked them up with our bread the next day. Huzzah!

My inn = my kinda food

Grant and I wound up having to hit the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Comedy Show without dinner in our stomachs last night, so we used my precious iPhone to locate some late-night grub. (By the way, the Citysearch Web app for the iPhone is pretty darn handy, if not 100% accurate.) We stumbled into the Virginia Inn (aka “My Inn”) fifteen minutes before the kitchen was going to close, and the staff were all super-nice and accommodating.

We recalled that the VA Inn had been closed for a while since they were expanding their kitchen, so we were hoping they’d have a decent selection of actual food, and not just bar fare. And it turns out, we were right!

I ordered the “Steak Frites” and requested it medium rare, thinking I might get a dried-out slab of charred flat-iron and some blah fries. But what I got was a thick, small but hefty, perfectly Pittsburghed (charred on the outside, rare-but-not-chilly on the inside) filet mignon chop, and some of the most superbly prepared potato strips I’ve ever tasted — for a total of $22.

Oh, how I wish my iPhone battery hadn’t died, so I could post a photo! For greasy pub food, I had a meal that rivaled the stuff one could get from The Met for three times the price. I was blown away. I’m definitely mentally re-bookmarking my inn as a place to head back to. I’m so glad they’ve re-opened!