Beef and Beet Stroganoff

I wrote in one of my recent posts about how difficult it was for me to talk about myself.  The immense trust that I need to feel in order to open up and how much easier it is to listen to other people and sympathize, offer advice or just simply listen.  I was struck again this week with it all when I received a request from a website called is a site dedicated to canadians and their recipes.  You can join and add your own recipes, search for others and review the ones you've tried.  I add all of my recipes to the site and have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it and even having my recipes featured.  Last week they contacted me about being a featured cook, a 'foodstar' in fact.  Being the diva that I am [not], I said 'yes' and 'thank you' and 'flattered' and got handed [read: sent] a list of questions that I had to fill out.  Frozen.  In my tracks.  I am completely and utterly paralyzed.
I read the questions and to be honest they are pretty standard.  But I might want to be funny here and there or think of something super cool or come up with something truly unique... like... what?  What's my favourite kitchen gadget?  What?  I don't know.  My perfect meal?  god, really?  I haven't ever thought about that.  Should the answer be Mother Theresa or something?  I feel like maybe there's a magic answer that I'm missing.
I haven't even started to type out my answers.  I have to send them a message and tell them I'm still working on it.  That I haven't forgotten about them.  Here's the kicker though - after I've typed out all my super awesome, insightful, witty, intelligent answers then I have to submit my favourite recipe.  Like I have a favourite recipe.  My favourite recipe is whatever one I'm making today.  Seriously.  I need to retool that in my brain as my 'go-to' recipe or something.  It's just not going to make sense for me otherwise and then I'll get totally stuck on that too.

This is segueing rather awkwardly to this stroganoff recipe.  In fact, the recipe has nothing to do with any of the stuff except I made it today.  You might know me well enough by now to know that I have a habit of loading veggies where they might not otherwise be.  Hence the addition of beets.  The beets should be golden or chiogga beets unless you want the stroganoff to be a deep red instead of a lovely dark orange colour.  I did not add tomato to this recipe because once I tasted it without the tomato paste I thought it was more than fine without it.  The lemon was essential for me and we all thought that having the stroganoff with crusty garlic bread was a novelty [read: kid #2 pretty much only ate the garlic bread].

The outdoor dinner: complete with towels for placemats (everything else is in the laundry) and stroganoff on the right.  p.s. radishes do, in fact, taste pretty good with cheese and bread
Beef and Beet Stroganoff adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
serves 4 - 6

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cups golden beets, ends cut off, peeled where necessary (where little roots are growing) and diced into 1 inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb Beef tips or stewing beef, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
4 cups mushrooms (I used button b/c that's what I had but cremini or wild would work well), thinly sliced
3 tbsp flour or corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp paprika
3/4 cup beef or vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
1/4 cup sherry or white wine (optional: you can use extra broth instead)
1/4 cup cream
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
squeeze of lemon juice

2 tbsp fresh dill, coarsely chopped
sour cream for dolloping
Crusty Bread

Heat a heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat.  Add about 2 - 3 tbsp of butter or oil.  Add the onion and beets and cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium low and continue to cook for another 8 minutes or until the beets are just beginning to soften.
Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.  Add in the beef and mushrooms and continue to cook until the meet browns.
Add in the beef and mushrooms and continue to cook until the meat browns.
Add the flour or corn starch, salt, sugar and paprika and mix well.
Add in about a 1/4 cup broth to the pot to keep things from sticking.  Make sure the scrape the bottom of the pot so that everything that's sticking comes off and the flavour is retained.
Add the sherry, cream and Worcestershire. Stir well and check the taste.  Add the squeeze of lemon juice.  Simmer at very low heat for about 25 minutes or until the beets are completely soft.
Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh dill.
Dollop each serving with a little sour cream.
Serve with egg noodles or crusty garlic bread.

Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn

Here are some musings to start out your week.
According to this book we now have a new list of things we're not supposed to eat:
Black Beans (maybe all beans - not sure)
Apparently they make us 'inflame' - whatever the hell that's supposed to really mean.  Ugh.

If you are having some trouble keeping your man around and/or you want to ensure that you'll be keeping the one you've got close by then give this article a read.  It worked in the fifties - unfortunately women alcoholics were at epidemic levels but I'm sure that this is a coincidence.  I'd say a shopping trip for lacy, pink gitch (our word for underwear) is in order.

The huge food box this week.  I ordered hella stuff... not even all of it is pictured.  This is my form of retail therapy - forget the lacy, pink hitch.  Already freezing the blueberries for later use.

This guy is at the top of the charts in the UK.  This makes me more than a little jealous and definitely angry at the state of popular music in North America.  The first time I heard the song I thought it was good.  The second time I listened I thought it was really good.  The third time I put it on I repeated it three times.  Watch the video all the way to the end... PLEASE.

This article reminds me that sadly we don't learn from history.  I understand militant feminism, I really do... I'm just not always comfortable with it.  I'm glad that the author here makes the point that this is not a new phenomenon but rather centuries old.

D put me onto this comic strip.  'Why I run'.  Amazing.  I understand the 'Blerch'.  Reading it resonated but felt oddly vulnerable, almost emotional at the same time.

BTDub - I made peach ice cream again and wanted to post it because I changed the sweetener in the recipe to a mixture of brown sugar and .... wait for it... honey.  I know, right.  Then it felt lame and I decided not to post it.  Plus I just felt kinda lame for even making ice cream again and posting the recipe would feel super-hero-lame but now that I've written it down here I suppose that none of it makes any difference.

I'm digging deep with this recipe because it's emptying the dregs of my fridge.  The leftover roast chicken.  The broth that I made from the carcass of the chicken.  The frozen corn that needed to be used up from last year.  Ok - that's the freezer I realize.  The dreaded, inflammatory black beans.  I left out the equally inflammatory tomatoes though - god be praised.  We can eat this with only half of the guilt and bloating that we might otherwise feel if it were made with tomatoes.  I couldn't call this white chili because it's not.  It's speckled.  Speckled chili sounds weird and unappetizing.  So this is officially chicken chili.  More like chicken and bean stew with chili seasoning but you get the idea.  You will notice that it doesn't have much in the way of spices because I discovered that I'm out of things like cumin and ground coriander which sucks.  I seasoned this bad boy up well enough though and thanks to a well done broth it came out quite tasty.  Feel free to season yours as you might any other chili.  This came together for me in about 20 minutes.

Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn adapted from 'Simply in Season'

1 med onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 - 3 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 cans black beans (or a mix of black and red kidney), drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth) - low salt if possible
1 1/2 cups corn
2 tsp salt
3 - 4 tbsp chili powder (to your taste)
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
3 - 4 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup (or so) fresh coriander, roughly chopped (I did not have this lying around)
heaping 1/2 cup cheddar or jack cheese, shredded

Heat a large, heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat.
Add a couple of heaping tbsp of olive oil (or whatever you use).  Throw in the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Turn the heat down to med/low and add in the garlic.  Cook together until the onion is soft and a little browned on the edges.
Add in the diced chicken, rinsed beans, chicken broth and corn.
Heat through just until starting to simmer and then turn the heat down just low enough to keep the stew barely simmering.
Add the salt, chili powder, oregano, thyme, chipotle powder and mix well.
Add in the corn starch just a tbsp at a time, mix well after each addition.  Add only enough corn starch to get the liquid to the thickness that you are happy with.
Add in the coriander and the cheese and mix.
Check the taste and adjust if necessary.
Simmer for another 15 - 20 minutes and serve with a dollop or sour cream and some more sprinkled cheese.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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