Saturday, May 21, 2016

Beef Stroganoff and James Newton Howard

Sorry loyal readers, we've been busy and R&R has suffered. But we decided that I would write this and then we could get back on track. So...beef stroganoff! It's something we both like but have only ever made from Hamburger Helper type kits. We used this recipe which appealed to me because it was very straight forward and claimed to be "authentic." Authenticity isn't our goal necessarily but in looking at recipes this one seemed focused on simplicity and seemed rooted in the writer's Russian heritage and that sounded nice. It was also new to me that it's traditionally served with mashed potatoes so we also made those from scratch (embarrassingly, I usually make instant potatoes!)  

First off, the recipe is not explicit about what kind of steak to use and so I looked around online and thought I found a recommendation but I think by the time I made it to the store, I'd gotten mixed up and whatever I bought (I can't remember!) was pretty tough. I also didn't cook it quite right- I know I didn't have the temp high enough and I crowded the pan. Lesson learned!

The rest of the recipe is easy but the sauce does come out really thin and ours was just not especially flavorful. Perhaps a different meat cooked better would have lent more flavor to the sauce but it really just tasted like vaguely meaty mushroom milk. Not a bad taste but nothing I'd want to recreate. The mashed potatoes were good though! I just boiled 'em up, mashed them with 2 forks, put in butter and cream until they felt right. I left the skin on because who's got the time to also peel potatoes? My dad always says potato skins are good for you but I'm pretty sure that's been disproved.

We listened to a record Matt picked up based on the unusual cover and the sticker labeling it as "weird rock" by James Newton Howard, who we had never heard of. Once again, this artist's lack of fame makes sense once you listen to their music. Or rather, his solo music, which was the dullest, least rocking shit you've ever heard. All instrumental, the worst being a 12 minutes song called "Margaret, I'm Home." But the guy went on to score like every movie you've ever seen (Waterworld, Space Jam, The Dark Knight, Hunger Games, etc.) So that was interesting to discover but we will never be jamming out to it again. We also listened to a record by German band Kuken which was very basic, albeit pleasant garage punk rock which was very welcome after the boring-bordering-on-unpleasant James Newton Howard.

Beef Stroganoff - C
Edward James Newton - F
Kuken - B-

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