Monthly Archives: August 2008

Traditional Beef Stroganoff

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Another week, another edition of Bookmarked Recipes. This time around, a recipe for Beef Stroganoff I found on Simply Recipes. This is a good basic recipe – just needs some minor tweaking on seasoning to take it from good to great.

Beef Stroganoff

Traditional Beef Stroganoff
recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

6 Tbsp butter
1 pound of sandwich steaks (real ones, not pressed), cut thin into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch long strips
1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of dry tarragon or 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup of sour cream at room temperature

Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high and add the strips of beef. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. You may need to work in batches. While cooking the beef, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.

In the same pan, melt another 3 Tbsp of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.

Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream to the mushrooms. You may want to add a tablespoon or two of water to thin the sauce (or not). Mix in the sour cream thoroughly. Do not let it come to a simmer or boil or the sour cream will curdle. Stir in the beef and shallots. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Serve immediately over egg noodles, fettucine, potatoes, or rice. (Potatoes, rice, and wheat-free pasta are wheat-free options.)

Serves 4.

WTSIM: Salad Oliv’e


I have got to say, I’m torn. The weather has been mild for the better part of the summer, and although it’s been perfect picnic weather, my garden (and local farms, too) have been suffering from poor growth this year. My poor tomatoes are just now starting to turn red. So produce has been a bit more pricey this year, but I’ve been able to eat my meals outside for the past couple of weeks. Like I said, I’m torn.

So I’ve been making a lot more picnic/cookout type dishes lately. This one is fashioned after the lovely salad of the same name at Hawa Russia, our local Russian restaurant. Great flavor, very unlike any other potato salad I’ve had. And the perfect thing to contribute to this month’s edition of Waiter, There’s Something in My…Picnic Recipes.

Salad Oliv'e

Salad Oliv’e
inspired by the dish at Hawa Russia

2 medium sized potatoes
1 c. frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 medium sized cucumber, peeled
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. dill pickles
1 small ham steak
mayonnaise, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes in their skins, and when done (should still be slightly firm), allow to cool and peel skin off. Cut potato, cucumber, eggs, onion, pickles and ham into small cubes. Cut garlic very finely. Mix all together with peas and carrots, and then add mayonnaise to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The Omnivore’s Hundred

I’m not one to usually participate in meme’s, but this one created by Andrew at Very Good Taste actually looked interesting.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

So, not bad – I’ve tried most of the list, and am open to trying most of what I haven’t had. What about you?

Blackberry Custard Pie

The stars aligned this week, and it turns out that one of the events Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures was hosting this week (Pie in My Eye) had to do with fruit pies. I had blackberries from Mrs. Rhoads that I needed to use, and I was getting tired of the whole clafoutis/cobbler thing, and had already decided that I wanted to make a pie with them. I go looking around on the internet, and I find a recipe that called for the exact amount I had, using one of my favorite things (custard) to hold it all together. I love the design the blackberries make when they float to the top – kind of reminds me of little jewels.

Blackberry Custard Pie

The recipe really couldn’t be any easier. It took only a couple of minutes to put together, and cooked up perfectly. After letting it chill overnight, slicing it cleanly was a breeze.

Blackberry Custard Pie slice

I loved the taste of this, too. Usually I’m a custard pie purist, preferring it with warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, but here, it served as a sweet vanilla canvas to the flavor of the berries. Neither one overwhlemed the other, and in the end, it complimented each other perfectly. As they say, the proof is in the eatin’, and between Paul and I, we knocked this out in a day. All while we’re *trying* to eat healthier. Oops. I think next time around, I may try substituting Splenda for sugar, to see if it makes any difference.

Blackberry Custard Pie
recipe courtesy Mass Recipes

1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
2 c. fresh blackberries
4 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Sprinkle blackberries in bottom of pie shell. Mix beaten eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla together and pour over blackberries. Bake at 400 degrees until custard tests done with a knife coming clean when stuck halfway between the rim and the middle.

Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 8/16/08

Today is definitely going to be a long day for me – I got all of an hour and a half of sleep last night (I got up at 6am to go to the farmers markets this morning), and there’s a Slow Food Heirloom Tomato tasting in Chillicothe tonight, so by the time I lay my head down later tonight, I’m going to be exhausted.

Needless to say, I took my sweet time getting out the door this morning, and still made it to the North Market at about 7:45, late enough that everyone was pretty much set up already, but early enough that I got the first of the Omega cinnamon rolls. I shopped the market this morning with a couple of meals in mind, one being a completely local moussaka I want to make for this upcoming week’s One Local Summer post, another being a fruit and cheese plate I want to eat with some wine later on. So I saw some lovely canteloupe and orange-fleshed seedless watermelon at Wishwell Farms, and picked those up. One thing that I didn’t pick up but was sorely tempted by was these Canadice grapes at The Orchard of Bill and Vicky Thomas.

Canadice Grapes from the Orchards of Bill and Vicky Thomas

I picked up more of those mini sweet peppers from Mrs. Rhoads’ stand (Paul requested “more poppers, please” – who am I to refuse?), and after a quick stop inside to get some Bridgewater Cheese from Curds & Whey and to reserve some bottles of Piemonte Moscato for next week’s BBQ/Picnic, it was off to Worthington at a few minutes after 8am.

We took our sweet time in Worthington, and we got the bulk of our ingredients here. I picked up some raspberries from Crums (strawberries in 2 weeks, can’t wait!). Here’s the berries from Wegman’s – it seems like everyone had blackberries and raspberries today.

Raspberries and Blackberries from Wegman's

There’s a new (to me, at least) farmer at Worthington this year, who unfortunately suffer from poor real estate at the market, since they’re hidden away in the Graeter’s parking lots behind where Blue Jacket Cheese is, meaning not that many people make it back to them. Unfortunate, since they have such lovely produce and their sales are suffering because of bad location/no foot traffic. Just look at these delicious Sungold Tomatoes (my favorite variety, yum!) and hot peppers. So if you frequent Worthington, please, please take a moment to seek out and take a look at Honeyrun Farm’s offerings.

Sungold Tomatoes, Jalapenos, and More from Honeyrun Farm

And from J. Random Farmer (don’t remember which, sorry), these pretty radishes. And here I thought radishes were done for the season. Go figure.


I got a bunch of other things while at Worthington – lamb chorizo from Northridge Organic Farms, ground beef from OMC Farms, some molasses cookies from Great Harvest, a few nice heirloom tomatoes here and there, potatoes from Pop & Judys, really too much for me to remember it all. With full bags, we made our way over to Clintonville.

We got there a little later than usual, about 9:15, and it was packed wall to wall. So much so that I couldn’t get through on the sidewalk for part and had to walk AROUND the mass of people on the street. So we picked up our requisite eggs from 2Silos, some ground lamb from Cota Farms, and took a couple of minutes to talk to the woman who grows the different varieties of hardneck garlic – I got one head of each kind. This is the mild variety.

Hard Neck Garlic

The Sungolds that Paul loved so much this past week were there again at Naomi’s Garden, so we picked up a container of those for him to munch on. And we headed over to the other end of the market, where we got sweet corn and eggplant from Wishwell Farms – really pretty, huge kerneled yellow corn. Yum. Walking back, I took a picture of the artfully arranged cherry tomatoes at Flying J Farm.

Grape Tomatoes from Flying J Farms

On the way home, we swung by Penzey’s to pick up some saffron, and Thurn’s to pick up some schinken. So I’m depleted of cash at the moment, but my fridge is full to bursting with fresh Ohio produce. So where did you go and what did YOU get? What are you planning on cooking this week?

Poached Grouper with Mango Salsa and Coconut Cilantro Rice Pilaf

When I read about Joelen’s Caribbean Adventure blogging event, I knew that this recipe, one I made at the beginning of the summer, would be perfect for it! Grouper is hard to come by in these parts, and the frozen grouper I got at Jungle Jim’s was a little on the thin side (not to mention that I’m not a baked/poached/not sauteed fish fan), so it was only natural that I modified the recipe a bit to dredge the grouper in flour and saute in a pan instead. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. This was delicious! Everything played off each other so very well, and I’ve been meaning to make this again. Yay for Floribbean!

Grouper with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa

Poached Grouper with Mango Salsa and Coconut Cilantro Rice Pilaf Recipe
recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse

4 (6 to 7-ounce) grouper fillets
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 lime, juiced
Coconut-Cilantro Rice Pilaf, recipe follows
Mango Salsa, recipe follows
Yuca chips, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Season each fillet on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper.

Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a large saucepan or deep skillet large enough to hold 2 fillets flat. Add 2 fillets and poach on medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the poaching liquid, and cover with foil to keep warm. Cook the remaining fillets in the same manner.

Meanwhile, spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted and golden, about 5 minutes.

Smash avocado in a small bowl with a fork. Add lime juice and season with salt.

To serve, spoon a portion of the rice onto a plate, and place a grouper fillet on top. Decoratively arrange mango salsa and smashed avocado around fish, and place several yuca chips in each. Serve immediately garnished with toasted coconut.

Coconut Cilantro Rice Pilaf:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or shrimp stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, shallots, and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat with the oil, and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, sweetened cream of coconut, salt, and pepper, and bring to a light boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 22 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in the cilantro, and serve hot with the Poached Grouper.

Mango Salsa:
1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup finely chopped poblano pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, poblano, red bell pepper, onions, and garlic in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the vinegar, cilantro, and salt, and stir well. Adjust seasoning, to taste, and serve. The salsa can be made up to 4 hours in advance, and refrigerated, tightly covered.

Apples & Thyme: Creamed Spinach


My earliest food memory is from when I was about a year or two old, perched in my high chair, watching Mr. Rogers on two TVs at the same time, happily munching away on spinach. My Oma’s creamed spinach in particular. I practically grew up on this stuff, and it was my favorite food ever for many years. I’ve had tons of creamed spinach since then, some laden with so much fat I could feel my arteries clogging as I ate it, but none tasted quite as good as this old-fashioned granny recipe. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a lot healthier than it should be. The mouth feel is right, and you don’t miss the cheese or sour cream at all. But it’s definitely a recipe I’m proud to share with the Apples & Thyme blogging event, which celebrates time in the kitchen with our mothers and grandmothers.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach
1 tbsp. butter
1-2 tbsp. flour
Maggi, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste

Cook spinach according to package instructions, and then drain, reserving cooking water for later use. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, and then add flour to make paste and allow to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until roux is browned. Add cooking water and whisk, taking off heat when liquid is uniformed and thickened into a cream sauce. Season with Maggi and garlic powder to taste, and serve.

Monthly Mingle: Grill It!


This month’s Monthly Mingle is being hosted by Sig over at Live to Eat, with the theme of dishes that are cooked on the grill (or can be adapted to be cooked on the grill). Needless to say, we’ve been getting a lot of use out of our outdoor kitchen. And this was the first time I used the grill basket I got over at Williams-Sonoma. Hard to believe these are healthy, because they tasted amazing.


Mixed Fajitas with Peppers and Onions
recipe courtesy Cooking Light

1 1/4 pounds flank steak
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)
2/3 cup beer
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breast
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 2 large onions)
2 cups red bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
2 cups green bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
12 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups diced seeded tomato (about 1 large)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

Trim fat from steak, and score a diamond pattern on both sides of steak.
Combine juice and next 7 ingredients (juice through garlic) in a small bowl. Divide marinade equally between 2 large zip-top plastic bags, adding steak to 1 bag and chicken to the other. Seal bags, and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or overnight, turning bags occasionally. Remove steak and chicken from bags, discarding marinade.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Place steak on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray, and cook 10 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Place chicken on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cut chicken into thin slices.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers; sauté 10 minutes or until onion mixture begins to brown.

Warm tortillas according to package directions.

Spoon steak or chicken, onion mixture, tomato, and cilantro down center of each tortilla; roll up.

12 servings (serving size: 1 tortilla, 2 ounces meat, 1/2 cup onion mixture, 2 tablespoons tomato, and 2 teaspoons cilantro)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 378(30% from fat); FAT 12.4g (sat 3.5g,mono 5.3g,poly 2.3g); IRON 4.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 57mg; CALCIUM 97mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38.7g; SODIUM 444mg; PROTEIN 26.8g; FIBER 3.3g

Frugal Fridays: Tacos Two Ways

For this week’s Frugal Fridays, I’m pulling out an old standby here at Casa Foodie. It goes back to the beginning of our marriage, even further maybe. The first thing is plain tacos, with all the trimmings, served with Spanish rice and refried beans on the side.


The second? Is a salad made with the leftovers the next day. So two meals for the price of one. 🙂

Taco Salad

Here’s the breakdown of costs:

1 lb. ground beef = $1.99/lb. on sale
Package of Taco Rice = $1.00 on sale
Iceberg Lettuce Shreds = .99/bag
Roma Tomatoes = 4/$1.00
Refried Beans = .99
8 oz. bag cheddar cheese = $1.66 on sale
Taco shells = $1.49
Taco sauce = already on hand
Taco seasoning = already on hand
Sour cream = 4 oz of a 16 oz bottle ($1.99) = .50

For a grand total of $9.62 – just sliding in under the budget.

Mediterranean Main Dishes

But before I get to the mains, let me just give you a peek at the finished meze platter. Isn’t it pretty?


So anyway – the main dishes. I was planning on making stuffed eggplant anyway, and I knew I wanted to stuff SOMETHING into those beautiful miniature sweet peppers that Mrs. Rhoads gave us to try last weekend, so I ended up stuffing the meat mixture for the eggplant into the peppers as well. It actually went better with the peppers than it did with the eggplant! We call these “stuffed pepper poppers”. All the flavor of a stuffed pepper in one bite. Here’s a view of them before they went into the toaster oven:


We baked them at 375 for 30 minutes with a little bit of water in the bottom of the dish and they came out perfectly. But not to be outdone, we also did the typical Turkish presentation, which is in a hollowed out eggplant. We served both with manestra minus the meat. Tasty, but it really needed the saucy side dish.


Stuffed Eggplant (Patlican Karniyarik)
adapted from Recipe Hound

4-5 smaller sized eggplant (like graffiti or Italian, or smallish conventional)
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 c. tomato paste
2 medium or one very large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of mint
Dash of ras el hanout
1/2 stick butter
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
2 plum tomatoes, sliced into thin rings.

Peel the skin of the eggplant in stripes. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh without breaking the skin. The eggplant halves should look like 2 boats.

Brush eggplants with olive oil, and grill eggplants on all sides until lightly browned. Place in a roasting pan, hollow sides up.

Preheat a 375F oven. Melt the butter or margarine in a separate pan and cook the meat, onion, parsley, tomato paste and seasonings together. When cooked, fill the eggplant shells with the meat mixture and place a few tomato rings on each one. Pour 2-3 cups water into the roasting pan, and cook in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the eggplants are cooked.

In addition, we also grilled some kebabs – kofte (which wouldn’t stay on the skewer so I ended up forming into patties and putting in the fish basket), made from a spicy meat mix from the Mediterranean supermarket, and some shish kebab, in which I cut a chuck roast into cubes and seasoned it with shish kebab seasoning. Both went over the grill and came out looking lovely. Here’s the shish kebab immediately after coming off the grill:


And here’s both once they were removed from the skewer/basket and put on a platter:


So not bad for a first try. As they say, practice makes perfect!