11 May 2009

Ah, Controversy! Is There Anything You Can't Do?

I love the smell of indignation in the morning! Unfortunately, my last post only vaguely offended two of you, one of whom only if I hadn't been funny about it and the other only because I don't post more often. Poo! What does it take to offend the greatest group of offense-by-proxy crowd on the planet anyway?? Well, at least you all have a sense of humor, which is more than I can say for most jerks in my life. I'm sure you can say the same. Go ahead, say it. On your blog. Naming names. Can't wait to read it.

Oh, and Fred? I can officially now say that I'm intensely proud to know you. Just knowing that you and your entire ancestral line have been chastized by LDS church leaders for over 150 years is simply heartwarming to me. To think: your entire family tree sitting in hell together, reminiscing over the good ol' days. Just brings a tear to your eye, don't it?

Speaking of hell, remember that little boy Peawhistle sentenced to Hades not long ago? Three days later his mother dropped PW off at home after preschool for me and I heard the two of these children express their undying affection for one another and how they will miss each other painfully while separated for the next less-than-24 hours of their little lives. Peawhistle digs the bad boys it would seem. That's fine, but he just better get a good job while he's at it. As my dad said, "Honey, I don't care who you marry, but he just better have a lot of zeroes after his name."

And for the several, several of you from last week's post whose only concern was that you didn't possess a proper recipe for beef stroganoff and would like to have it so that you, too, may know what goodness tastes like, I congratulate you for shunning crap. Welcome to Abby's Quality Cooking That Is Not Crap 101! And the best part that while it isn't cheap, it is easy. Takes me maybe 30 minutes total to make it.

Here's what you do. Go to the grocery store and buy a packet of McCormick's Beef Stroganoff Sauce Mix. See that? You don't even have to take the time to mix the flour and spices yourself, you lazy creations, you! And it tastes just as good and convincing as if you'd slaved over a mixing bowl yourself. It even comes with a helpful recipe on the back of the packet. Here's what else you have to pick up while you're there (assuming you already have water and vegetable oil in your home): 1 c. sour cream, package of wide egg noodles, and at least 1.5 lbs boneless, quality sirloin steak, the leaner the better. The sauce mix contains dehydrated bits of mushroom in it, but if you're a fan of mushrooms you can buy a small can of sliced mushrooms to add as well.

Some variations of stroganoff call for the sirloin to be cut into strips, but we prefer the version with cubed bite-size pieces. If you choose to go this route, make sure not to cut the cubes too small because they will shrink in size and they'll be miniscule and tough to boot. So make them a little larger than what you'd want. Also, try to cut away as much fat as possible. There's nothing worse than sinking your teeth into rubbery steak. Nasty. Also, trimming and cutting the meat is the most time-consuming aspect of this entire venture. And even that doesn't take too long.

Start boiling the water for the egg noodles when you start browning the meat and they should come out timed OK in the end. Brown meat completely in oil, then add 1 c. hot water and the sauce mix packet. Stir, simmer for 10 minutes (while your noodles are cooking for 8 or 9; you can add mushrooms at this point if you choose, or later if you don't like them as soft), add sour cream, remove from heat, stir, and you're done. Add some butter/margarine to the noodles once they're drained. Serve the stroganoff on top of the noodles. Eat. Enjoy. Send me thank you cards.

And for those of you who are culinarily challenged but whose husbands prefer the good version to that dispicable cheap version, I'd be happy to make this for you one day if you like. Because you're nice. And apparently so am I.

*For the rest of the discussion on this subject, and my advice for making beef stroganoff from scratch, see the discussion on Trina's Recipe Blog here.


Stephanie B said...

The last line of all your posts are awesome. My grandpa always told me, "You can marry more in a minute than you can make in a lifetime."

Bonny said...

You should start a recipe blog. Throw in all your classic Abby comments and it would be fantastic.

Janie said...

you know that packet stuff has MSG as well right?

just sayin

Loralee and the gang... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi said...

I know you are capable of offending me, since you managed to do it in the first week we lived together. I seem to remember vowing not to let you read my stories anymore.

It's funny to remember it now! What an absurd little goose I was! Thank heavens for a sense of humor, which although late in coming, didn't pass me by completely.

Abby said...

Janie, you know I hate to contradict people, particularly when they're wrong as hell, but McCormick does not put MSG in their beef stroganoff packets. In fact, there is no MSG in any McCormick packet in my entire pantry. Perhaps you're thinking of Lipton soup mixes, which do indeed contain MSG in large doses?

Abby said...

Oh Stephanie, you are such a good audience. What would I do without at least one person always laughing at my crap?

Start a recipe blog? Nah. I barely post on this, my one and only blog, as it is. That one would get ignored to death, believe me. Thanks though. I do, however, occasionally contribute to my friend Trina's recipe blog, found at http://weneedmangos.blogspot.com/
Nothing funny though. Just food.

L, I'm glad to have gotten the brain juices flowing on both our parts. Return comment noted.

Oh Heidi, I remember the days of you hating me just because I yelled at you for waking me up that one time that I asked you to. And 'cause I dared to ask you questions about the book you were writing. Yes, entertaining now indeed. To think we overcame such insurmountable odds to actually get along for the next billion years, no?

Jody said...

I will definitely take note of this recipe--and make sure Vann gets it upon his return. Maybe he can make it for me on my rescheduled Mother's Weekend.

Janie said...

I just noticed like 90% of all the packet "stuff" I have used has it - including the gravy mixes from Ikea :(
and this says it does:


maybe they sell ancient packets

Abby said...

Maybe so. 'Cause this site (http://www.mccormick.com/Products/Seasoning-Mixes/Beef/Beef-Stroganoff-Sauce-Mix.aspx) shows the ingredients that are on my sauce packets. It's possible McCormick used MSG once upon a time, but they don't anymore apparently.

Anonymous said...

McCormick? Really? That's your idea of a good version? You think that crap in a packet is all that better than the cream crap in a can? Oh, dear.
If you really want a good stroganoff, you need to use garlic cloves, onion, evoo, fresh spices, and REAL mushrooms. (mushrooms from a can? Oh, such fine culinary taste you have!)Add some heavy whipping cream and cognac - that's the start of a great stroganoff. Using short ribs is better too, although sirloin is good, and much better than ground beef, that much you had right.
Sorry, just couldn't resist. If you're going to be a snob about something, make sure you have something to be a snob about!

From, One Who Cares.

Abby said...

Dear One Who Obviously Cares About Me But Is Too Afraid To Criticize Me While Also Attaching Her Name (I Love You Too!),

Let me ask you an intellectual question. In my previous post I was speaking to the very specific crowd of cooks who think proper beef stroganoff is made with ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. Not to those who take the lazy way out but know a better version is available, not people who make the McCormick version, not people who go all the way to make it from scratch like you do. Just the first group. Do you, an obviously learned and talented individual, honestly think these same people are going to go to the lengths you've described when clearly what they're going for is at least ease of creation, not to mention light on the wallet? They asked me how I make it. I'm lazy. I make it the easy and medium-expensive way, a good compromise in my opinion and certainly one these cooks can replicate to further their understanding of what the original dish is supposed to taste like, or certainly at least closer than what they'd been cooking previously. Now, if you can convince this same crowd to go all the way, including asking a bunch of Mormons to go out and purchase Cognac for the sole purpose of this recipe alone, by all means, dearie. By all means.

FYI, proper beef stroganoff is made with sour cream, period. Not whipping cream, sour cream. Now, isn't personal taste and variation a wonderful thing?

Heidi said...

Ah, the entertainment of anonymous commenters!

Heidi said...

Oh, and the thought of cognac, mushrooms and whipping cream in the same pan has me retching at my desk. If that's the kind of excitement I can expect from reading your blog, I'm going to have to be more wary.

mom of boys said...

Oh I'm glad I stumbled on your blog, what a fun argument.
For what it's worth, the recipe anonymous cited sounds very familiar to a show I just saw on the Food Network, so I looked it up, and sure enough, it included cognac and whipping cream. So, ya know, unless anon is Tyler Florence, I don't thing he/she should be taking credit. Just sayin.

I just wanted to add, that in my attempt to make the cheap way taste better, I add garlic cloves and onion to the pan and add Lea & Perrins to the meat. And I fry fresh mushrooms in the pan. It helps, it really does. But I've never known what to use instead of cream of mushroom so thanks for the tip!