When I mess something up, at least everyone escapes with all their limbs intact.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Dinner, Anyone?

More specifically, Beef Stroganoff for Christmas dinner, anyone?

I needed a change. We've been eating ham so much the last few weeks, that even though it's traditionally what people eat, aside from turkey, on Christmas, that I decided we were going to blaze a trail tonight. After the success with Eggs Benedict this morning, I decided that I'd try my hand at beef stroganoff, a meal that I love but have never cooked. It's just a day of culinary firsts for me.

And, for realsies, I saw leftover beef stroganoff in my brother's fridge and was seriously covetous. SO! On with the stroganoff.

Take an 8oz carton of sour cream and mix it with 2 TBSP flour. Add 1c water, 2 TBSP beef bullion, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Reserve.
If you like it extra beefy, add another bullion cube.
In a skillet, saute 2c mushrooms, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1/2 diced onion in hot butter.

It was at this point I realized I forgot to add the onion.

Chop wizard = best kitchen tool EVAR.

The recipe calls for the steak to go in at the same time as the veggies, but I let mine sweat a little first. It gave me time to salt my steak tips and let them rest. Add in about 12oz of steak tips.

Steamy goodness

At the point of desired doneness for steak, add in the sour cream mixture and reduce stove to medium-high heat. Continue to stir until sauce thickens. Note - you may need to pour out some fat before you mix in the sour cream, but don't pour all of it out. You've got some massive flavor in there. Though the recipe doesn't call for it, I add frozen peas at this point because a meal without green is an incomplete meal. Just call me the vegetable nazi, ok?

Simmer & Stir, I like it like that.

Once the sauce has thickened, pour mixture over hot egg noodles and enjoy.

If your crowd is picky, be nice because it's Christmas and strain the mushrooms out of the sauce as you plate. Keep all the extra mushrooms for self.

It's not him who's against the mushrooms.

Pat yourself on the back and shove your spouse in the kitchen to clean up.

This is a really fast-cooking meal. Don't ever let someone try to feed you hamburger helper as a "quick fix" meal ever again, because this took less time to make than ANY of those boxed blood-pressure raisers and tastes WAY better.

Yes, husband, I mean you.

So You Want to Make Eggs Benedict?

It's a tradition in my husband's family to make Eggs Benedict every Christmas and New Years' Day. This is never usually a problem, as we are with his family when it comes time to the actual making of Eggs Benedict...only this year, we didn't make the semi-annual pilgrimage to upstate New York for Christmas. This posed a slight problem for us. I've never made Eggs Benedict. Sure, I've seen it made successfully...but I've also seen it fail wildly. Good chance I wouldn't pull it off.

Did that stop me?

To make Eggs Benedict, you'll need to assemble the following ingredients: Eggs (natch), Canadian bacon, butter (1 stick cut into thirds), lemon juice, english muffins, and white pepper.

Starbucks Double Shot is optional, as was the package of
peanut M&M's I consumed in the making of Eggs Benedict.

First thing you need to do is start water boiling for the eggs. Fill a medium-sized pan halfway full of water, and put that bad boy on high to boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to simmer.

Just in case you've never boiled water before.
It's okay. I won't judge.

Crack an egg into a measuring cup, then transfer into the water very gently. I found that putting the egg into a large serving spoon and slipping it into the water that way was effective. Make sure you keep space between your eggs. I only worked with 2 at a time in this pan.

My egg looks like an angel, no?

Let the egg simmer for 3-5 minutes. While you're simmering your eggs, you'll need to start your hollandaise sauce. Put an inch or so of water in another pan and set to boil. Set a metal pan over top to use as a double boiler (or, hey, if you have a double boiler, use that). Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 TBSP of water, and 1 TBSP of lemon juice in the double boiler. Add 1/3 of a stick of butter. Whisk until smooth and thick.

I'd never separated eggs before today, either. Save the
egg whites for another breakfast...like tomorrow's.
Make sure your husband points his finger at the mixture.
It's the secret ingredient.

While the eggs are boiling and the sauce is heating, pop a few pieces of canadian bacon in the microwave, just enough to heat them a little.

Mmmm...bacon flower.
Once your sauce looks thick, add another third of the butter and stir until melted and thickened. Repeat with the last third of butter. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Whisk, whisk, whisk - keep it moving so it thickens but doesn't curdle.
No, that is not a curdle, it's the last third of butter melting.

Pop your english muffins in the toaster. At this point, everything should be about ready to come off of the stove. Place your toasted muffin nooks & cranny-side up, and top with a piece of bacon. Using a large slotted spoon, gently remove 1 egg from the pan and place on top of the bacon. Then, cover the whole thing with a good helping of hollandaise sauce.

If you're awesome, like me, it'll come out looking like this.
Serve, and have a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Phlegm. Let's Discuss.

The one and only thing on my mind right now is sinus pressure. And snot. But mostly sinus pressure. And throat soreness. And ear pain. But still mostly sinus pressure.

I'd like to thank my son for the exposure to all sorts of new germs. I've been sick more in the year and a half that he's been in daycare than I've been in the last decade, I kid you not. It's been especially bad during the colder months - last February I ended up with a nasty, nasty case of strep and followed that up with a wicked sinus infection that left me crying on the phone with my doctor a good 300 miles away on a work trip, begging him to call in an antibiotic to the nearest Wallgreens. Or CVS. Or street peddler. I wasn't going to be picky. Yes I'd tried a neti-pot. Yes I'd taken a steam bath.Yes I'd OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAN, SEND ME THE DRUGS!

Something they don't tell you in those pregnancy and parenting books (among OTHER things), the little nagging bit of neglected insight, is that Mommy isn't allowed sick days.

Mommy is still Mommy, raging-phlem-monster-fever-murder-death-kill or not.

Mommy doesn't get to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over her head until it all goes away.

Mommy has to get up, shape up, and move on with her day because there are little hands that need washing and little noses (and butts) that need wiping and little mouths that need feeding and little boo boos that need kissing. There are dishes that need doing, laundry that needs folding, and floors that need vacuuming. That's what Mommy does.

Perhaps that's why it's taken me three weeks to finally realize I wasn't the only asshole suffering from allergies in mid-December...I've been harboring a damned sinus infection the whole time. Score one for Mom.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh, that's right, I have a blog.

I've tried several times to write a synopses about what all happened last week, and it just hasn't come out right. The things that happened, singularly, sound really trivial and I can't quite get the point across how difficult they were to handle as a whole without sounding like a whiny wimp, which I am most certainly not. However, I do feel justified in not writing about every little detail - especially not on a daily basis, as last week is one I'd rather not relive. It involved a lot of yelling, on my part, out of sheer life frustration.

This week has been much better. Started physical therapy, which is cool, I guess. The therapist is all "hey, you're in pretty good shape, really..." and I am going to spend the next 4-6 weeks practicing walking up a step because that's the only thing, aside from sensory nerve issues in my toes, that I'm really having a problem with. This surprised the therapist - she thought my issue would be balance, but it's not, my balance is great thanks to years of yoga (yet funny how I'm still such a klutz).  

The nerve thing will take time to heal, if it ever really does. I get to help it along by rubbing things of different texture on my foot - a towel, something soft, the toaster - to help the nerves relearn things. Like algebra.

On a much, much brighter note, I went back to the gym this week. I haven't seen my son so happy as when we pulled up to the gym and he realized he was going to get to play in the kids play center. He's been asking about it since I got hurt.  Finally got to that yoga class I was headed to when I broke my ankle in the first place, and it was good. I like the teacher. Made a new friend.

So this week is turning out not to be the polar opposite of last week, but at least a great deal nicer than last week. Will try not to be neglectful trollop in the future, blog. My bad and all. Lucky for you I couldn't sleep tonight.