Saturday, July 13, 2024

Rory’s Stroganoff

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A few weekends back, I went to visit Caren and Jake. I found myself at one of the many second-hand stores on their side of the mountains with Caren and her roommate Rory as we rummaged through the second-hand goods offered by the pound. By-the-pound is the perfect place to find fabrics for quilting, rags for the shop, and sometimes a book or two with old-fashioned recipes.

Much of what is offered has seen better days, and it takes a discerning eye to see what is or what could be. I don’t believe in saving all things... I only have so many heartbeats in a day, so I have to really like the texture and color of the fabric or have a use for the item before it gets to come home with me. (The older I get, the more I apply this logic to new purchases.) I picked up a particularly beautiful water glass. I held it up to see it more clearly and turned to Rory, “Isn’t this beautiful?” I asked. She held her hand out; I gave it to her. I expected her to hold it gently as I had, twist it around, and admire the pretty sheen as I’d done, but no; she tried to stick her hand inside the empty glass in an intentional and very purposeful manner. It wouldn’t fit. My second question was, “What are you doing?” “Checking to see how hard it is to wash this,” she told me. “My hand won’t fit inside it to wash out the bottom of the glass. I wouldn’t buy it.” She handed it back to me with a slight shrug of her shoulder, letting me know she didn’t actually care one way or the other what I spent my hard-earned greenbacks on, then turned away to continue with her own treasure hunt.

My basement apartment doesn’t have a dishwasher, so I wash my water glasses by hand. I thought about what Rory had just said and set the water glass back in the bin. I decided my matching set of wide-mouth mason jars would do just fine for drinking water... besides, with wide-mouth mason jars, I can always find replacements for my set of twelve when one breaks as glass always does.

After a day of treasure hunting and good company, we headed home for a nice meal of pork stroganoff. Rory likes pork loin, and she’d found some on sale. Made into stroganoff, it was mighty tasty.

Rory’s Stroganoff

Enough cooked egg noodles to feed the family

1-2 cups pork or beef cut into thin strips 2-4 Tablespoons oil, fat or butter

One small onion diced 3 Tablespoons flour

1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon thyme 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup liquid (water or broth) 1-11⁄2 cups sour cream

Saute the meat and onion with oil, fat, or butter in a saucepan. Mix the flour with the thyme and nutmeg in a small cereal bowl. When the onion is translucent and the meat is no longer pink, add the flour, thyme, and nutmeg to the pan and stir. When the flour is well blended in with the meat and onions (the flour will stick to everything, making it gooey, and there won’t be any white powder in the pan) add the liquid a little at a time, stirring all the while (without good stirring the flour-oil mix will be lumpy) When the liquid stiffens into a thick gravy let it bubble a bit (still stir as it bubbles-about 30 seconds to a minute) then add the sour cream all at once and stir until the sour cream is incorporated into the stiff gravy and take it off the stove because too much heat for too long will make the milk in the sour cream curdle. Add more sour cream if the consistency isn’t what you like for stroganoff. When the stroganoff gravy is to your liking, serve it over the cooked noodles.

Choices: Any thinly sliced meat will work with this stroganoff recipe. The sauce can go over almost any starch, potatoes, biscuits or bread, rice, or cooked whole grains as a gravy. Even made without meat, the milk plus the grain or potato will give the body complete protein.

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