It’s been almost 2 months since my last post. I still love this space, but so many good late summer adventures have kept me away.
Shortly after my last post, Toby and I headed out for our belated honeymoon in Portland, Oregon. In the two weeks before our trip and the four weeks after we returned, I put up approximately 1 billion pounds of tomatoes, not to mention various pickles. I used some old recipes, and some new ones. I tried my hand at some new jams and jellies. I made kimchi and a blackberry shrub. I scrawled notes in cookbooks and on scraps of paper that were meant to become timely canning posts, but will instead become untimely posts that go up over the winter. I shuttled heavy, jewel toned jars down to my basement larder, and felt proud that I met all of my canning goals for the season and then some (posting a final jar count and a photo of the full shelves is also on my blog to do list). In my canning frenzy, I fell progressively behind on my weekly CSA posts and accompanying recipes, which seemed like such a great and do-able idea at the beginning of the summer; c’est la vie.
In addition to madly canning in the four weeks after we returned from Portland, I spent gobs of time preparing our house for a new family member. I scrubbed floors with diluted vinegar (the strange fact that I was basically pickling my floors was not lost on me), found all-small-things-which-could-be-swallowed and stashed them away up high, put up baby gates and brought home loads of new gear. On Sunday, September 23, a fluffy, peppy, snuggly 8 week old puppy joined our brood. Her name is Dilly Bean (Dilly for short) and she is pretty much the greatest dog ever. We are teaching her to sit and lay down, to chew on her toys and not our walls, to walk on a leash without pulling and to pee outside; she is teaching us to be calmer, to slow down and rest, to speak softly, and to make time to play (the vacuuming can wait).
About that trip to Portland. We visited waterfalls, mountains, gardens, evergreen forests, the desert and the beach. We drove on crazy back roads and saw the most gorgeous landscapes. We drank pretentiously good coffee whilst listening to the Shins. We made countless Portlandia jokes (truly, that show hits the mark). We spent time with some dear old friends, and scored some new cookbooks at Powell’s. We attended a cooking class. We sipped wine at a vineyard and I geeked out at a super cool jam shop. And we ate, and ate, and ate, and ate.
One of our favorite meals (although honestly it is hard to choose a favorite) during our trip was at the Joel Palmer House, where the menu focuses on mushrooms and wine. Everything we ate that night was out of this world good, but the beef stroganoff was the most memorable. I wanted to try to recreate the dish at home and was lucky to find the recipe online. We made a few small tweaks to the recipe (I didn’t have a 1/2 cup of Oregon white truffles, sadly) and were thrilled with the results. I’ve reduced the quantities from the original recipe (which made a whopping 1 1/2 quarts of sauce) — my version yields enough for 4 dinner portions, but you can easily double the recipe to serve a larger group. It is actually a really easy meal to put together, and would be great for a dinner party (just realize that it is a super rich and filling dinner, so just a salad on the side is all you will need to round out the meal).
- 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin or tenderloin (we used top sirloin which was much cheaper than tenderloin but still very tender and flavorful)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 small onion, minced and divided
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
- 2 1/4 cups water, divided
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/8 cup pinot noir (or other red wine that you like and have on hand)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup beef stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chinese oyster sauce
- 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 2 cups room temperature heavy cream
- 1 cup room temperature sour cream
- Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the steak. Allow steak to come to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- In a medium sized pot, combine the rice, 1 teaspoon minced onion, thyme, chile flakes, 2 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce flame to low. Cook rice for 10-15 minutes, or according to the directions on your package of rice. If your rice is done cooking before the sauce and steak are ready, simply take it off the burner and keep a lid on it until you are ready to serve.
- In a small jar, combine 1/4 cup of water and the cornstarch, screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously (do this over the sink in case your lid leaks a bit). Set aside the slurry.
- In another medium sized pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium flame. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, beef stock, chicken stock, remaining minced onion, oyster sauce, mushrooms and soy sauce, mix well and simmer for 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure the cream does not burn. Once the sauce has come to a boil, give the jar of slurry another good shake and pour about half of the slurry into the sauce and stir well — the sauce will thicken up very quickly. Add more slurry if needed (I didn’t need extra, but you may). Reduce flame to medium low, add sour cream and stir until completely incorporated. Taste test for salt and pepper. Cover pot and reduce flame to low to just keep it warm while you grill the steak (give the sauce a stir every few minutes, just to make sure you don’t scorch the bottom of the pot).
- Use remaining tablespoon of butter to grease a grill pan. Heat pan over high flame, add steak and grill for about 2-3 minutes per side (our steak was about 1 1/2 inches thick and this cooking time yielded a medium rare steak, but you will need to adjust your cooking time based upon how thick your steak is, and how rare/well done you prefer your steak). Transfer grilled steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 2-3 minutes before thinly slicing into bite sized pieces (note, the steak in my picture isn’t sliced as thinly as it could be — I would slice it thinner next time).
- To serve, spoon rice into the bottom of 4 large bowls. Divide sliced steak among the four bowls. Ladle sauce over the steak and rice. Serve hot, with the rest of the bottle of wine (you only used an 1/8 cup in the recipe, so you might as well drink the rest of the bottle now that it is open).