Favorites: Sukiyaki

One of my college roommates was Japanese, and she wrote out this recipe for Sukiyaki for me:Sukiyaki RecipeWhen we cooked in our on-campus apartment, we made this in my electric fry pan. She was a very neat person (I, on the other hand, can tend to be slovenly) and put neat little piles of the different ingredients – meat, veggies, tofu, noodles – in different sections of the pan. I always loved this meal. And the memories of our times together, including visits to her aunt’s house in Southern California.

I just re-discovered my electric fry pan and was inspired to dig out my old recipe card. I actually found it! Here is how I prepared Sukiyaki last Saturday, here in the year 2015.

Sukiyaki
serves 2

  • 9 ounces beef tenderloin or sirloin, cut into small strips
  • a couple green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • bamboo shoots, about half a can
  • yam noodles (fresh, from an Asian market, or maybe a local supermarket)
  • water cress (one small bunch; could use spinach)
  • mushrooms, sliced (I used fresh shitakes)
  • tofu, about 10 half-inch chunks
  • sauce: 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon mirin (rice wine, or use sherry), 1/2 cup water

Heat a large electric fry pan to 360˚ (or use a large, flat skillet on your stove top). Add a few tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the meat until brown. Push the meat to a corner of the pan. Lower the heat to 320˚ and add the sauce. Put the green onions, bamboo shoots, noodles, water cress, mushrooms, and tofu in separate piles in the pan. Continue to heat until all the ingredients are hot. Serve!

Sukiyaki

250 Cookbooks: Rice – 200 Delightful ways to serve it

Cookbook #112: Rice – 200 Delightful ways to serve it, Southern Rice Industry, New Orleans, LA, 7th edition, 1937. Prepared by the home economics department of the Southern Rice Industry, New Orleans; recipes tested and approved by the Home Economics Department of Louisiana State University (Director: Beth Bailey McLean).

RiceCB“The set table must appear balanced. Dishes must be so placed that no spot is crowded, no side or end is over-balanced with dishes. All the lines on the table should go across or lengthwise of the table. A diagonal line attracts attention, and should be avoided. Therefore, the handles of dishes, bread-and-butter spreaders, oyster forks, salt-and-pepper sets, must follow this rule. If round doilies are used, the threads should also be placed parallel to the edge of the table, not on a diagonal. All dishes, linen, and silver must be placed to follow this rule, or the effect is one of carelessness.”

This is the delightful advice from page 11 of Rice. Yes the book has many recipes for rice, but I enjoy the glimpse into 1930s Americana even more.

table settingMy copy of Rice is almost 80 years old but is in excellent condition. I am not sure whether this cookbook was my mother’s, her mother’s, or from the “Ruth C. Vandenhoudt” house (relatives of my father’s mother). It doesn’t look like it was ever used: no writing or food stains.

As the title states, this book contains 200 recipes for cooking with rice:

“For this book, we have selected recipes that are usable in every section of the United States. Some of the rice recipes are excellent for the main dish in the low cost diet. Other rice recipes are ideally suited to the most elaborate menu in the high cost diet.”

Rice waffles, muffins, fritters; codfish and rice omelet, rice with poached eggs, cheese soup with rice, cream of rice soup, crabs with rice, Mexican and Uruguayan rice, rice loaves, jambalaya, risotto, baked rice and cheese, luncheon salad, rice pudding, rice and raisin pie . . . and more. The recipes are dated, but I’ll be able to adapt at least one of them for this blog.

More Americana, on “Types of Table Service”:

“The English, or family type, is the one most suited to the average family where there is no maid or cook. In this service, all the food is served att he table by the host and hostess, instead of being brought in from the kitchen in individual servings. The hostess of today would do better to perfect this type of service, rathere than to attempt the more formal types.”

 “Rules for Waiting on a Table”:

  1. Food dishes and soiled dishes from the last course must be removed.
  2. Clean dishes and food for the next course must be placed.
  3. This exchange must be done quietly and quickly.
  4. There should be no unsightliness or appearance of great haste.
  5. There should be no display of dishes or silver.
  6. There should be no unnecessary trips to and from the kitchen.
  7. Always consider the comfort of those at the table. Do not make them fear an accident because of the clumsiness or carelessness of the waitress.

I TOTALLY FAIL! If I serve you food, you may be fearing an accident because of my clumsiness!

Okay, enough levity. For this blog, I decide to cook “Stylish Meat Balls”.

Tomato soup? Was there really canned tomato soup in the 1930s? Yes, apparently so. In 1897 a a chemist at  Campbell’s named Dr. John T. Dorrance “invented” Campbell’s Soup as we know it. His idea was to take the water out of the soup, thus selling it in a smaller can and for less money. Here is a little on the history of Campbell’s Tomato soup and on the soup can design.

I do keep canned tomato soup in my pantry, but mostly for making French dressing. For Stylish Meat Balls, I want to make my own tomato soup. I consulted Cooks Illustrated, and modified their recipe for “Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup”. Below is my version of this recipe.

Uncanned Tomato Soup

  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Drain the tomatoes; reserve the juice. Pat the tomatoes dry, then place them on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the brown sugar. Bake at 450˚ until the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes begin to color; do not let them char. Remove from oven and let cool.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the shallots (or onions). Cook until they soften, then add the tomato paste and a little salt. Cook a few minutes, then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds, until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the chicken broth, the reserved juice from the can of tomatoes, and the tomatoes that were roasted in the oven. Let simmer about 10-15 minutes.

If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend the hot soup. If not, let it cool a bit and then blend it in batches in a blender or food processor. If the soup is too thick for your taste, thin it with water or chicken stock.

The soup is ready to eat at this point, or you can add a few tablespoons of cream. I tasted it without cream and said “yum”. But we didn’t eat it as soup, I used it in the “Stylish Meat Balls”.

Stylish Meat BallsBelow is my recipe for Stylish Meat Balls. Note that the original recipe says to shape into “small balls”, but also note that it says it makes 10 meat balls. For 1 1/2 pounds of meat, that’s 2.4 ounces per meat ball. I consider those large meat balls. When I made the recipe, I made about 16-20 meat balls, and they were bigger than the meat balls I usually make.

Stylish Meat Balls
serves 4-6, depending on appetites

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • Uncanned Tomato Soup (recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion (this is very good)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper

Mix the rice, ground meat, salt and pepper. Form into about 16-20 meat balls.

Heat the tomato soup. (I suggest a very large flat pan, so that the meat balls can rest in a single layer in the pan.) Add the meat balls, cover, and cook over very low heat for about 45 minutes. If you cook this too hot, it WILL stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Check it frequently as it cooks and add a little water if it gets too thick.

Serve the meat balls – and the sauce in which they cooked – over rice or noodles. I served mine over brown rice with cooked mushrooms and fresh basil:

Stylish Meat BallsMy Stylish Meat Balls got the comment “these are better than your usual meatballs”. I liked them too! The rice inside the meat balls keeps them moist. (They are kind of like inside-out Pearl Balls!) They definitely earned a “yum” from me.

250 Cookbooks: New Creative Crock-Pot Stoneware Slow Cooker Cookbook

Cookbook #107: New Creative Crock-Pot® Stoneware Slow Cooker Cookbook, Robin Taylor Swatt, Pascoe Publishing, Rocklin, CA, 2001.

New Creative Crock-Pot CookbookI come in from outside on a cool spring morning and a spicy, beefy aroma sends my senses racing. Ropa Vieja is in the crockpot! I think this is what I like most about slow cooker cooking.

I found the Ropa Vieja recipe in the New Creative Crock-Pot® Stoneware Slow Cooker Cookbook. I have covered other crock pot or slow cooker cookbooks in a few other posts in this blog; some history of crock pots and my opinionated thoughts on them is in this blog post. To find my crock pot recipes, search my website for “crock” or select the category “slow cooker” or go to the recipe index.

The New Creative Crock-Pot® Stoneware Slow Cooker Cookbook is nicely presented and pleasant to leaf through. The introduction is written by the “Rival® Kitchen”, and throughout, Crock-Pot is followed by the obnoxious-to-type “®“. No introduction is given by the author.

Notes in this cookbook indicate that I have tried several recipes from this book: a tomatillo chicken, beef roast, and a hoisin chicken. I like the section entitled “from around the world”, and I appreciate the low-fat section. In my opinion, too many of the recipes call for prepackaged seasoning mixes but other than that, most of the recipes I could try. But I probably won’t. I usually cook for just two, and my current Rival® Crock-Pot® is a 3-4 quart cooker, so it makes a lot. And I rarely need the time-saving convenience of a crock pot (a luxury of retirement). These days I mostly use my crock pot for things like pork green chili, spicy pinto beans from scratch, and shredded beef, dishes I usually cook from memory rather than from a recipe. Comfort food dishes I can make a lot of and freeze some for later meals.

But the recipe for Ropa Vieja in the New Creative Crock-Pot® Stoneware Slow Cooker Cookbook could add something new to my shredded beef repertoire. The cut of beef used is flank steak, rather than roast or brisket. This interests me, because flank steak should give nice long “ropes” of shredded beef. (Ropa Vieja does not translate to “ropes”, instead, it is “old clothes”.)

ropa viejaropa viejaI buy a large (and expensive) flank steak. Instead of vegetable broth, I use my own beef stock. I stay with just carrots in the cooking liquid, although I want to throw in onions and garlic. (I know the carrots will just be mush after 7 hours cooking, but they should add some flavor!) I can’t resist adding some spices, like chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. I toss in half a chili pepper that I have in the ‘fridge. Instead of making the tomato-chili-broth and serving the dish like a stew, I decide to use the shredded beef sans sauce in burritos.

Okay. I mangled the recipe. But Ropa Vieja gave me inspiration, and often that’s all I look for from my cookbooks!

Flank Steak Shredded Beef
serves about 6

  •  1 1/2 – 2 pounds flank steak
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • a small fresh chili pepper, or half a larger one (optional and to your own personal taste)

Put the stock and spices (and chili pepper, if using) into a 3-4 quart slow cooker, then add the flank steak. Cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3-4 hours. The shredded beef is done when it falls apart when you grab some with a fork.

Here is the cooked beef:

shredded beefLook at the big ropes of shredded beef! The turned out perfect. It was great mixed with onions and beans and cheese in flour tortillas. I had lots leftover for other meals.

The carrots were as I predicted, mushy like baby food. But the cooking liquid was dark and rich with beef and spice flavors. It would have been good mixed with onions and chiles and tomatoes as in the original recipe, except that it had a layer of fat on top:

shredded beef brothI put the cooking liquid in the refrigerator and a few days later removed the hardened layer of fat. I put it on the stove and thickened it with cornstarch, and mixed it with some of the leftover shredded beef (and olives and onions and cheese) for enchiladas. Yum!

250 Cookbooks: All-Time Favorite Beef Recipes

Cookbook #102: All-Time Favorite Beef Recipes, Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, 1977 (18th printing, 1983).

AllTimeFavoriteBeefRecCBMore ways to cook beef! Guess you know that I am not a vegetarian. I acquired this book in the mid-eighties, and it is a good example of American cookbooks of that decade. The contents include recipes for roast beef, pot roasts, steaks (expensive and less-expensive), meat loaves and meatballs, hamburger recipes, soups and stews, leftover roast beef, and variety meats.

I find it refreshing to open this (dated) cookbook and not be barraged with brand-name ingredients, nor to see packaged mixes as ingredients. Plain fare mostly, not terribly inspiring but some good comfort food recipes.

Paging through this book, I re-discover a recipe I’ve always liked for “Italian Bracioli” – round steak stuffed with onions and rolled up and baked in a tomato sauce. When I was a working mom, I relied on this type of recipe, since I could cook it on a Sunday and heat it up on a weekday. I also tried (and liked) the Spinach-Stuffed Flank Steak and the Oven Swiss Steak. So, I’ll keep this cookbook.

I decide to make “Greek-Style Sandwiches” for this blog. It calls for pita bread, which means I have an excuse to go to the Mediterranean Market on Bluff in Boulder, always an interesting trip (I love exploring shelves of foreign cuisine products).

Greek-Style SandwichesThe above recipe is (in my opinion) an “Americanization” of Greek cooking, so I am calling my version “Beef Steak Pitas”. Most Mediterranean cooking calls for lamb, fish, or chicken rather than beef, and yogurt instead of the sour cream dip with chives. I kept the beef, but I substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream dip, added green onions, and added feta cheese.

Pita breads vary widely. I bought Greek pitas from the Mediterranean store: they were huge and tasty but they did not have pockets. We found we could fold them carefully over the filling like a taco, but it was almost easier to eat them with a fork. Next time I’ll look for pita breads that have pockets. Or, make my own.

Beef Steak Pitas
serves 3-4

  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano (or use 1 tablespoon fresh oregano)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • pita breads

Slice the steak crosswise into thin strips, and then shorten the strips to about 1-inch pieces. Combine the wine, olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper; add the meat, cover, and marinade up to 24 hours.

Drain the meat well, then fry in a hot pan for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, ready the garnishes: lettuce, tomato, green onions, cucumber, feta cheese, and yogurt. (The amounts of these are approximate; add them to your personal tastes. A few hot peppers would be good on these too.)

If your pita is thick, microwave for a few seconds and place the meat and toppings on it and serve it like a taco. If your pita breads have good pockets, slice each pita in half and open each pocket and fill with the meat and garnishes.

meat for beef pitasI first sliced the meat into quarter-inch wide/two-inch long pieces before marinating, as directed in the original recipe (and as seen in the above photo). On tasting the cooked meat, I found it too chewy, so I chopped the meat into smaller pieces before serving. Next time I make these I’ll cut the steak into smaller pieces before marinating – I incorporated this change in my version of the recipe.

Beef PitasThese are very tasty, albeit a bit unwieldy with the thick pitas. The meat really has a great flavor, and they look so pretty on the plate with all the garnishes. I’ll make them again!

250 Cookbooks: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Cookbook #82: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith Press, NY, Des Moines, 1968.

Better Homes and Gardens New CookbookThis is one of my mother’s basic cookbooks. By “basic cookbook” I mean it is the type of cookbook that encompasses all types of recipes and can serve as one of a cook’s core references. For instance, if you want to know how long and hot to cook a roast, or a fruit pie, or a vegetable, the answer is in this book. Such cookbooks tend to be less trendy than what I think of as specialty cookbooks. And, these cookbooks tend to remain useful over the decades.

1968: the publication date of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I graduated from high school in 1967. Thus my mother did not use this cookbook as a reference when I was a young child at home. But, the recipes certainly reflect the type of cooking I grew up on in my mother’s kitchen. Casseroles and one-dish meals, including chili con carne, enchiladas, macaroni and cheese, chicken divan, tuna casserole, hamburger pie, and goulash. Salads for a group, including frosted cheese mold, waldorf salad, coleslaw, five-bean salad, potato salad, ambrosia, and cran-raspberry ring. Other chapters include appetizers, barbecues, breads, cakes, candies, canning, desserts, meats, poultry and fish, soups, and vegetables.

Mother marked several recipes in this book, including Potato Rolls (yeast rolls with mashed potatoes), Herbed Chicken Bake (wild rice, mushrooms, cream of chicken soup, pimientos), and Italian Salad Bowl (lettuce with raw vegetables, Italian dressing, and blue cheese). These recipes are similar to favorites of mine that I discovered on my own from other sources. But for me, the two treasures in this book are the peach and cherry pie recipes. These are her reference – her “work-in-progress” – recipes. On each she wrote notes as to how she made the pie and how to change it next time. What tickles me is that she and I both came up with the same baking method for a peach pie – 425˚ oven for 15 minutes and then 350˚ for 30 minutes – rather than the reference directions of 400˚ for 45-50 minutes. Guess I am my mother’s daughter!

BHG Peach Pie recipeBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book is a ring-bound cookbook: the pages are loose-leaf, it opens flat, and you can remove and add recipe pages to it. Indeed, my mother cut a few pre-punched recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens monthly magazine and added them to the appropriate chapters in this cookbook. A nice idea to keep a cookbook current, but in reality, it kind of makes it messy.

I decide to make “Deviled Swiss Steak”. Swiss steak and salisbury steaks were popular ways to cook beef when I was in elementary school.

Steak. And elementary school. That brings back a memory. I was in first grade, at Vinedale Elementary School in Sun Valley, California. The Art Linkletter Show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” chose me (me!) to go on TV. The show’s crew interviewed me and the other little kids for the episode just before we went on live TV. They asked us what our favorite food was, then we were supposed to combine that food with the name of our principal to re-name our elementary school. Well my favorite food was chicken. But some other little kid had already chosen chicken, so I had to choose steak (I didn’t like steak then, found it too chewy). The principal of our school was Mrs. Salisbury. So they had me say:

My school is “Mrs. Salisbury Steak School”.

I didn’t understand what I had said until years later. They tricked me into saying something I would never have come up with on my own. Ah, show business. So honest, so real.

Back to 2014 and the recipe for Deviled Swiss Steak. It calls for a thick round steak. In my opinion, it’s hard to find good recipes for round steak. It can be tough if cooked quick and to medium rare, and it can be dry and tasteless if braised for a long time. This recipe holds promise because of the flavorful mustard and Worcestershire (Yes! I can spell it), the pounding with a mallet, and the gravy that should result after a long cook time.

Deviled Swiss Steak RecipeI decide to use my old cast iron pan to cook this Swiss steak recipe. It has a very heavy lid, and it’s hard to beat cast iron for braising. Cast iron pans are nearly indestructible (as opposed to my easy to clean but finicky non-stick cookware). I’ve had my cast iron pan since the 70s.

I made a couple changes in the Deviled Swiss Steak recipe as I went along; below is my version of Swiss Steak.

Swiss Steak
serves 3-4 but easily scales up

  • 1 1/2 pound round steak, 1-1 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • water (as needed, start with 1/2 cup)
  • mushrooms, about 1/2 cup sliced

Combine the flour and dry mustard. Salt and pepper the round steak, then sprinkle half  the flour mixture on top and pound with a mallet; turn over and sprinkle the rest of the flour on the other side and pound again. (This is fun!)

Heat a big heavy pan (choose one that has a close-fitting lid) and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Brown the steak on both sides.

Combine the Worcestershire sauce with a half-cup water, pour carefully onto the steak, stir up a little, then cover and turn the burner to a low setting. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Check occasionally and add water as necessary. It’s done when the meat is tender.

Remove the meat from the pan. Scrape the pan juices and heat, adding water until there is about a cup of gravy in the pan. I wanted the gravy thicker, so I rubbed a tablespoon flour into a tablespoon of butter, dropped it in small pieces into the pan gravy, and stirred while heating until it was the thickness I wanted. Add fresh (raw) sliced mushrooms to the gravy and heat just until the mushrooms are done.

Slice the meat and serve with the mushroom-pan gravy. I found there was not enough gravy to serve this dish over rice or noodles, so instead I made twice-baked potatoes.

Comments

This Swiss Steak was good, we both liked it. Not a “stellar” dinner, but a good, tasty, homey, and inexpensive weeknight meal.

Here are my ingredients:

Swiss Steak ingredientsMy round steak has a lot less fat than the one in the photo printed in the cookbook. Look at my mallet! I was my mother’s and I think it’s cool. And I like my old cast iron pan too.

Below is the floured-pounded steak browning in the skillet.

Swiss Steak fryingThe steak cooking (above) is not very pretty. But look at the mushrooms cooking in the gravy!

Swiss Steak - mushroomsI consider this meal a success. And I’ll keep the cookbook, not only for sentimentality, but because I marked several recipes to try.

250 Cookbooks: Römertopf Cooking is Fun

Cookbook #64: Römertopf Cooking is Fun. Wendy Philipson, Eduard Bay, Ransbach, 1971.

Romertopf Cooking is FunI picked this book out of the stack of paperback cookbooks totally thinking it would be out of date and nearly useless. But no, it made me smile, and that in itself has value.

My sister gave me a Römertopf cooker back in the 70s. I did use it a few times, but I’m not sure if I ever used this particular cookbook or even how I got this cookbook. It is not marked with food stains or notes.

And now my big admission of guilt: I broke my Römertopf after I’d had it a couple years. I forget exactly how I broke it, whether it was temperature-shock or a physical drop. My husband glued it back together, but I never felt safe using it for cooking again. So it sat accusingly on the soffit in the kitchen for years and years. I finally tossed it during a kitchen cleaning some time back.

What is a Römertopf cooker? It’s a covered clay pot, one of several brands available. You use it, pre-soaked in water, in a hot oven, for braising meats, cooking fish and soups, and even desserts. Supposedly, it cooks especially well because the soaked pot releases steam as the food bakes and all the natural (and healthy) juices are kept in the finished meal.

Let’s compare clay pots to other braising methods. A slow cooker (crock pot) can be left all day, unattended, which is great. Drawbacks: you need to use a separate pan if you want to start with browned meats, and sometimes a crock pot overcooks everything. Any stove top covered pan is useful for braising, but it needs to be monitored. Covered, stove-top-to-oven cookware like Le Creusets allow you to brown meats directly in the pot, then you can leave then unattended in the oven for several hours. Le Creusets are especially heavy and sturdy. (You can drop them!)

Now we come to clay pots. Clay pots require a soaking in water before use. You cannot set them on a hot stove top to pre-brown meats. You cannot add cold liquids during the cooking process or the pot will break. They are fragile, sensitive both to temperature and physical shock. They are difficult to get clean. (Le Creusets are really easy to clean.)

So why use a clay cooker? This cookbook and even today’s online resources claim that a clay cooker imparts excellent flavor and tenderness to a meal, require no added fat, and keep in all the nutrients. So I will give mine a try.

Oh – yes, I do again have a clay pot cooker – so I am able to cook a meal from this cookbook. I got it for baking no-knead bread loaves. It is a different brand: Schlemmer Topf. The inside of the bottom section is glazed, I think for easier cleaning. Anyway, it’s a clay pot, and I’ll cook something in it for this blog.

clay potA little bit about this cookbook
skip to the recipe if this bores you!

This book is the English adaptation of the original German “Braten und Schmoren im Römertopf”. Wendy Philipson completely reworked and extended the German version. She is from England, and spent time in Germany teaching English at the University of Munich.

Clay pot cooking dates back thousands of years, to the Romans and even before to “our most primitive ancestors, who lived from the fruits of the hunt, cooked the meat of the animals they had killed in simple clay containers placed in the glowing embers of their fires.” Why cook in a clay pot today? Wendy gives several reasons. For one, very little liquid needs to be added, so the natural juices and the full “flavour” and taste and vitamins are retained. “The aroma and taste of food prepared in this way is rich and nutritious.” Secondly, no fat needs to be added to a dish, great for those on a diet for slimming or health reasons. “This has been officially verified by the Institute of Domestic Science in Munich – and the Bay-Römertopf is the only casserole of its kind which has been subjected to these tests.” Third, “cooking in a Römertopf is really child’s play. ‘Overdone’ and ‘burnt’ are words which are completely unknown in the Römertopf kitchen. Once a dish is in the oven nothing can go wrong.”

Finally. the Romertopf is “attractive as well as useful. Nowadays, with modern technical developments, not only in outer space but also in the kitchen, the housewife is grateful for every technical improvement – from the high-speed pressure cooker to the fully automatic oven. Yet sometimes we think wistfully that with all this progress the cosiness of the old-fashioned kitchen is being lost. The Römertopf – much to our delight – combines the best of both worlds.”

(Note the publication date: 1971. Crock pot cookery came to the American kitchen in the early 70s, as per my research for my first slow-cooker cookbook blog post.)

Clay pot basics: Soak the clay pot and the lid for at least 10 minutes before use, put into a cold oven and then heat the oven slowly; never add cold liquids during the cooking process; uncover during the last 10 minutes or so to brown the meat; take out of the oven and set on a folded towel to prevent temperature shock. Clean in hot water with a brush, do not use harsh cleaners, and learn to accept that you will not get it looking sparkly clean.

Basically, in my opinion, using a clay baker will kind of a pain. But, will using the clay pot be worth the trouble? Will it taste fantastic? Will I regain the cosiness of an old-fashioned kitchen?

The recipe

I chose to cook “Roman Pot Beef”. Like many of the entries in this cookbook, the recipe is just sketched out. The majority of recipes are for meats (beef, veal, pork, mutton and lamb, game, and poultry). Fish and soups are also included. Desserts are given a few pages, with the caution “not for slimmers!”. (As I said, this book makes me smile.)

I checked online, and the current Römertopf website has content quite similar to my 1971 Römertopf Cooking is Fun cookbook. (It’s written in English, with a heavy German accent.) The recipe for “Braised Joint of Beef” reads a lot like the “Roman Pot Beef recipe in my cookbook:

Roman Pot BeefRoman Pot BeefA “joint” of beef is a roast. I chose a cross-rib chuck roast. Mixed vegetables, 2-3? I think carrots for sure, then maybe leeks and parsnips. Potatoes would work, but I suggest adding them about an hour before the dish is done, or they will be cooked to death. I like the Hungarian national variation: sour cream, anchovies, garlic, capers, and a bit of lemon. And the red wine from the general suggestion. So here goes!

Römertopf Pot Roast (“Roman Pot Beef”)
serves 4-6

  • cross-rib roast, 2-3 pounds
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • carrots, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, red bell pepper, about 3/4 cup each, roughly chopped
  • fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano) or dried, to your own taste (or use 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning herbs)
  • potatoes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • about 1/2 cup red wine

Soak both the top and bottom of a clay baker in water for at least 10 minutes. Leave your oven off.

Take the clay baker out of the water and towel off. Put the roast in it, then the onion and other vegetables, the herbs, capers, anchovies, lemon rind, garlic, and salt and pepper. Smear the sour cream on top of the roast. Pour a little wine over the mixture. Cover the pot.

Place the clay baker in a cool oven (adjust the oven rack to a low position). Turn the oven to 400˚. Let cook for 2 1/2 hours. You can peek at it during the cooking time to make sure it isn’t drying out and browning, but it does work. And, you can’t add cold liquid anyway, as it might break the pot. You can add quartered potatoes during the last hour of cooking.

Note: CAREFULLY open the clay baker to check the contents. Do not put your face directly over it and pull off the lid. I learned the hard way! It is very hot and steamy! Using a pot holder, lift the lid so that it vents away from you.

At the end of the cooking time, remove the pot from the oven and carefully remove the lid. Take the roast out of the pot, set it on a plate, and cover it with foil. If you wish, use a slotted spoon to remove the (overcooked) vegetables to serve with the roast and then pour the meat juices into a pan to make a gravy. What I did was pour the entire vegetable-meat juice mixture into a food processor, then pulsed until it was fairly smooth. I put that mixture into a pan, added beef stock and about a tablespoon of corn starch, and heated it all until it was thick. It was wonderful!

Comments

This “pot beef” was very, very good, as cooked per my version above. It’s hard to tell whether or not it was better than my usual version of a pot roast (a recipe from Cooks Illustrated). In some ways, the preparation was easier, since I did not have to brown the meat first. In some ways, it was harder, since handling the hot, almost fragile clay pot is tricky. But I do like the connection with the past of cooking in a clay pot. Last June, we traveled to Turkey, and learned a lot about ancient civilizations, including the Romans. So, I’ll probably use the clay pot again for a stew or such. It was fun.

My clay pot began this current adventure sort of dirty. Just saying. It’s hard to get clay pots clean. Before this pot beef, I had only used it for baking bread.

clay potHere are the ingredients that I used. You really can use just about whatever you like. There are onions, carrots, parsnips, red bell peppers, garlic, anchovies, capers, and lemon rind in the bowl.

pot beef ingredientsAfter cooking, the vegetables are kind of overdone. The cookbook claims that the cooked mixtures are a good presentation “as is”. I disagree. Plus, look at all the browned stuff on the sides that will be hard to clean off.

cooked beef potThe meat itself is nicely browned and very tender. As I wrote above, I made a gravy from the meat juices and food-processed vegetables. When the pot had cooled a bit, I used some beef stock to rinse some of the nice browned stuff into the gravy mixture. I served it over big flat noodles and it was excellent. Good flavor, tender meat.

Clean-up time. I soaked the pot in soapy water for an hour or so, and to my surprise, it cleaned up nicely. So no complaints from me.

clay pot soaking

250 Cookbooks: The Wine Diet Cookbook

Cookbook #60: The Wine Diet Cookbook. Dr. Salvatore P. Lucia and Emily Chase, M.S., The Piper Company, NY, NY (Abelard-Schuman also listed), 1974, Bantam Edition, 1976.

The Wine Diet CookbookI bought this book back in the 70s. I love wine and I have to watch calories, so I thought: a wine diet, perfect! Sort of tongue in cheek though, since I know from experience that wine sometimes ruins my personal dieting strategy.

I believe in keeping small amounts of your choice foods in a diet, especially if your diet is long term. Too much denial will derail any healthy eating plan. So for me, wine and chocolate are included – but in moderation. And wine (like chocolate) is good for you. According to the authors of this book: “Wine is a food; a source of energy for work and body maintenance.”

A brief outline of the wine diet is on page 10:

“The Magic Number: 1200. The total daily calorie budget for these menus is approximately 1200, including a 4-ounce glass of table wine with dinner each night. . . . We have selected a 1200-calorie program because at this calorie level it is possible to include the basic elements needed for good nutrition and still give the slimmer a chance to average as much as a two-pound loss per week.”

I agree with the 1200 calories per day for dieting, and that was my goal when I used to (obsessively) count calories. But my 1200 total was without wine, and I was never able to give up a treat of fruit in the afternoon for a glass of wine at dinner.

The authors state that “a glass of table wine brings relaxation and satisfaction that adds greatly to the slimmer’s enjoyment of the meal”. “Wine is a stimulating and a most salutary nutritional element.” “Very little will power will be needed to diminish the volume of a meal.” That may work for some people, but not always for me. Instead, one glass can tempt me to have another glass, and too much wine decreases my will power to stop eating.

This book might work for someone besides me. The diet plan is sensible, including a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fruits and vegetables. Diet margarine and low-fat milk products are employed to shave calories, and all recipes are explicit in portion amounts and calories. Daily menu plans are outlined. Wine is used in many of the recipes, adding flavor without adding calories.

Not many of the recipes in this book beg me to be tried. I appreciate the reminder to use more wine in cooking to boost flavor, but today I find no other benefits in this 50 year old cookbook. I will recycle the The Wine Diet Cookbook.

Before recycling: for this blog, I will cook “Dilly Beef Rolls”.

Dilly Beef Rolls RecipeDilly Beef Rolls RecipeKind of a cute idea, rolling round steak around a dill pickle. I will use the dill pickles I made last summer. I will skip the “2 tablespoons diet margarine” and use a few drops of olive oil instead. For the “1 teaspoons beef stock base” and “1/2 cup hot water”, I will substitute my own beef stock. I buy tomato paste in a tube, so that’s easy. I see no need for instant-blending flour; it’s almost as easy to use regular flour mixed with a little water. California Red Table Wine? No, I won’t leave that out! Not sure the bottle in the refrigerator is Californian, but it’s red. And I have sherry too. Okay, this should be fun. I get to get out my ancient meat mallet too, that’s always fun.

Let’s see if this recipe can turn a usually tough and bland round steak into a flavorful, low-fat meal. My version of the recipe follows.

Dilly Beef Rolls
serves 2-3

  • 9-12 ounces round steak – buy the “thin cut” if possible
  • 1 large whole dill pickle, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2-3/4 cup beef stock
  • scant 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon (I used fresh thyme)
  • marjoram, about 1/2 teaspoon (I used dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • fresh chopped parsley to taste

Cut the round steak into 2 or 3 equal pieces, then pound with a mallet to 1/4-inch thickness. Roll each piece around a pickle quarter, and tie the center with string.

Heat a (coverable) cooking pot until it feels hot when you hold your hand an inch above it. Add a small amount of olive oil and tilt the pan to spread the oil. Lower the heat to medium, then add the round steak rolls and brown them on all sides. Remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate.

Add a few more drops of oil to the pan. Add the onions and sweat them with a little salt, cooking until they are soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms are wet and soft. Add the broth, wine, tomato paste, thyme, and marjoram; stir. Add the beef rolls and any of the pan juices that have collected on the plate.

Cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook for at least an hour and a half, until the meat is nice and tender.

Remove the beef rolls and cut the strings off. Set them aside while you finish the sauce.

To the sauce in the pot, add the 1 tablespoon flour mixed into a little broth (or water) to a smooth paste. Stir until mixed in well; add more broth (or water) if the sauce looks too thick. Add the sherry and chopped parsley. Heat the sauce to a simmer, then add the beef rolls back in and heat it all up. At this point, you can let your dinner “hold” until you are ready to serve.

Serve these dilly beef rolls with any starch, such as mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Comments

I was lucky to find very thin round steak. In the photo below, I have already pounded one of the slices with my ancient mallet.

Dilly Beef RollsThe focus in the photo below is on my dill pickles. Yes, I canned them myself last summer! They are gorgeous, aren’t they?

Dilly Beef RollsI found that these rolls hold together fine with just one piece of string in the middle. Beef rolls formed around a crumbly stuffing are a lot harder to manage. Note my container of homemade beef stock. (I should talk about how I make and store it sometime.)Dilly Beef RollsI browned the beef rolls in my heavy cast iron pot. Lately I’ve been using my LeCreusets a lot, but this old pot with its heavy lid works really well for stove-top braising. Below is the mixture of beef and vegetables and seasonings before the long simmer.

Dilly Beef RollsThe mixture after cooking looks just a little different, but the meat has changed in character from tough to soft. It smells really good, too.

Dilly Beef RollsPlated:

Dilly Beef RollsNote the glass of wine! On a weeknight! Just had to go with the advice of The Wine Diet Cookbook. It’s a small glass, a measured 4 ounces, not very much.

These beef rolls taste really good. I’ll make them again! The dill pickle inside gave them the flavor of a sauerbrauten. The gravy, while low in fat, was very flavorful! And I even forgot the parsley. I did put a little chopped fresh oregano on the green beans, though.

Note the pasta – it is homemade. Last week I got out my old pasta machine and made a big batch of these large macaroni noodles (and froze them in portions). That pasta machine will surely be the focus of a future blog post. The bread is homemade too, a result of my recent acquisition of a new sourdough starter. All is yummy.

250 Cookbooks: George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine Cookbook

Cookbook #40: George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine Cookbook. George Foreman and Connie Merydith, Pascoe Publishing, Rocklin, CA, 2000. (Salton, Inc.)

George Foreman Grill CookbookThis is another cookbook I thought I’d toss. But it has some good ideas in it. There are about 175 recipes, mostly for seasoning different meats for the grill. A few of those are enticing enough to try. Plus it’s a low-fat way to cook, and nutrients are listed with each recipe. So I’ll keep this cookbook.

My first big question was: “Did I throw away the George Foreman grill?” I haven’t used it in years, and had put it aside to give away. I clomped down the stairs to the basement to search. And, there it was, under a shelf. Yay. And I even found the drip trays that came with it. So I’m good to go for trying a recipe from this book.

Why was I ready to get rid of this appliance? Because it is a pain in the neck to clean. The grill surfaces are not detachable, so I have to prop the whole grill up in the sink and rinse with soapy water. It is non-stick, and that helps, but still, it’s awkward to clean. The book says this about cleaning: “Your plastic grilling spatula and a wet sponge will safely remove any food particles.” I wish it were that easy. Also, I use my outdoor gas grill a lot for grilling, even in the winter. Clean-up is so much easier.

Why will I keep this appliance? Well, I have the room for it in the basement. And I’d like to try it for panini-type sandwiches. And the recipe I tried (below) took just a couple minutes to cook – such a quick and easy dinner. I’m ready to play with this grill a little, maybe I’ll come up with an easier way to clean it. And I’ll try a few more recipes from the cookbook, even if I end up using my gas grill to cook them.

I searched today (in 2013) and found that George Foreman grills are still publicized and sold. One model of the new ones has removable grill plates that can be put in the dishwasher. See? I wasn’t the only one who complained about clean-up issues.

George Foreman Grill

For this blog, I decide to make “Poor Boy Steak Sandwiches”. The recipe calls for chuck steak, and I’d just seen it on sale in an ad from a local store. I like the green chiles and tomatoes added to the meat in the second half of the cooking; this will make the sandwich filling tasty and moist.

Poor Boy Steak Sandwich recipeI was able to find some good, whole wheat deli rolls in the Whole Foods bakery section. These made the sandwiches great. You can see them in the photo below. They are probably “club” rolls; they are about 3 inches wide are thick enough to hold up to a big juicy filling.

I cooked one 14-ounce steak for the two of us. There was some left over, and on a hungrier day, my dining partner might have gone back for seconds. But on this night, the doggies loved their dinner a little more than usual.

Poor Boy Steak Sandwiches
serves 2-3; this recipe is intended for a George Foreman type grill

  • 1 large chuck steak, maybe 14 ounces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup
  • 2-3 large sandwich buns, toasted
  • slices of red onion

Preheat a Foreman grill for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the steak in thin strips across the grain and remove any fat.

Place the steak strips in the grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put a drip tray at the bottom of the grill to catch the drippings. Grill for 2-3 minutes. Dump the green chiles and tomatoes on top of the meat and grill another 2 minutes.

Toast the buns and spread them with mustard and mayonnaise to your own tastes. Pile the meat mixture into the bun and top with sliced onions. Serve with ketchup.

Here is the cooked meat mixture:

Poor Boy Steak FillingAnd here is a filled sandwich, served with some cooked baby potatoes:

Poor Boy Steak SandwichThey were good. These would be even better with a New York or ribeye steak, but then the sandwich would no longer be “poor” as those are usually expensive cuts of meat. Sliced thinly, the chuck steak worked fine. It has lots of flavor and maybe fewer calories, and is definitely cheaper.

This is an amazingly fast dinner or lunch to put together. If you slice the steak while the grill heats, the sandwiches will be on the table in less than 10 minutes.

250 Cookbooks: Quick and Easy Recipes

Cookbook #34: Quick and Easy Recipes. California Home Economics Teachers, California Cookbook Company, Orange, California, 1986.

Quick and Easy RecipesThis spiral-bound book is a collection of recipes contributed by home economic teachers in California in the 1980s. It’s a notched-up version of a “community” cookbook, as it is professionally published (it has an ISBN) and has good color photos contributed by several food companies.

My sister sent me this cookbook for Christmas in 1986. She was a teacher in the California school system and that’s probably how she came across this book. She notes three recipes – layered spinach salad, orange bread, and spinach dip – as being really good. Layered spinach salad was a classic back then, a great dish for bringing to a party. You make it the day before so the flavors can meld. This version has spinach, bacon, frozen peas, Romano cheese, fresh mushrooms, red onions, mayonnaise and sour cream. I have made and liked the orange bread (you blend a whole orange!) and the spinach dip, served with fresh vegetables, could be made low-cal by using Greek yogurt.

Like the spinach salad, the recipes in this book are a very good reflection of American family cooking in the 1980s. Classic recipes include artichoke dip, clam dip, cheese rolls, molded salads, tuna casseroles, hamburger stroganoff, and chicken rice casserole. The recipes are not always from scratch, but they are still home-cooked. Examples of typical 80s ingredients are Bisquick, frozen dinner rolls, crescent rolls, packaged pudding, canned soups, cake mixes, dried onion soup mix, tater tots, canned tuna, canned clams, and canned French fried onions. These ingredients may not be the best for us, but they aren’t terrible and they bring both ease of cooking and (to me) a sense of comfort food. And on the healthier side, many of this book’s recipes do include only non-packaged and fresh ingredients, and several recipes are labeled “low-fat”.

I will go back to this cookbook for some of the classics I remember from that time. If I ever want to make artichoke dip or layered salad, now I know where to find a recipe without going online. Plus the cookbook has a note from my sister, so I definitely will keep it!

But what to cook for this blog? As usual, I’m looking for something low-fat that uses ingredients I have on hand, and that will add to my cooking repertoire. This cookbook has a chapter titled “Stir Fry Cookery”; sounds right up my alley. I chose to try the “Shredded Beef with Green Peppers” because (1) I have a flank steak in the freezer and (2) flank steaks are a lean meat and (3) I like the tablespoon of fresh ginger it includes and (4) it calls for very thin slicing and then marinating of the flank steak before cooking. I’m usually pretty impatient when preparing meat for stir fries, tending to cut it into large slices. That works for chicken or pork tenderloin, but not for beef (too tough). I think the very thin slicing – shredding – will get me out of my usual rut.

I plan to modify the recipe (surprise!). My dining partner doesn’t like green peppers, so I’ll tone them down and add some other vegetables that I have on hand.

Shredded Beef with Green PeppersLooking carefully at the above recipe, I see a mistake: It calls for 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the marinade and 1/2 cup for cooking. But in the directions, it says to put 5 tablespoons of oil in the wok, and never says what to do with the other 3 tablespoons. And half a cup of oil is way too much oil anyway – that’s almost 1000 calories!

Another issue: it has way too little meat, at least for our tastes. Two-thirds of a pound of meat is about 10 ounces; I use about 9 ounces for 2 people, and this recipe claims to feed 4.

I don’t like sesame oil very much, and I think it needs soy sauce, so in my version I will put 1 tablespoon soy sauce in the marinade and then taste to decide if it needs more after it cooks. I’ll also up the vinegar (and use rice wine vinegar, not “rice wine”). Why baking soda? That’s a strange ingredient for a stir fry; I’ll leave it out. I also think it needs thickening, so I’ll add a touch of cornstarch.

Guess I pretty much mangled the original recipe, even before I started! And then I began cooking … oooh, more changes are needed. I got the wok nice and hot with a little oil in it, then added the finely shredded beef. No way was it done cooking in 10 seconds. After about 30 seconds there were still a lot of raw pieces of meat, but then the meat released a bunch of juice into the pan. I probably cooked the meat 5 minutes before it was all cooked, and then I had quite a bit of juices in the pan. The juices are sure to add to the flavor – I decided to take it off the heat and keep the juices. (Maybe it would have been done in 10 seconds if I had used 5 tablespoons of oil, but heck, it would have splattered all over the place.)

Whew, lots of changes. The recipe below is how I actually cooked this dish.

Shredded Beef with Vegetables
serves about 2 people

I served this over rice.

Steak and marinade:

  •  9 ounces flank steak, sliced across the grain, at an angle, as thinly as you can – you want it “shredded”
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • sesame seed oil to taste (I used a few drops)

Vegetables:

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • a mixture of thinly sliced vegetables, such as green peppers, green onions, carrots, baby bok choy, cabbage, mushrooms, and/or celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • soy sauce to taste: I used about 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

Combine the sliced beef with the marinade ingredients and let stand about 15 minutes. While it marinades, prepare your vegetables. I used shitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, carrots, green peppers, and green onions. Aim for about the same amount of total sliced vegetables as you have sliced beef.

Heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in a wok (or any fry pan) over high heat for 1 minute. Add the beef and stir fry until all the meat looks cooked but not so long that the juices that come out of the meat evaporate away. Remove the cooked beef (and its juices) from the wok and put in a bowl.

Return the wok to medium high heat. You can add a few drops of oil, if you wish. Add the vegetables (don’t forget the ginger) and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked beef and its juices back to the pan. Add:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in a couple tablespoons water
  • soy sauce to taste (1-2 tablespoons)

Heat through and serve over rice.

shredded beefI sharpened my knife and took some time to “shred” the beef. The pile of sliced beef is about 9 ounces; the rest went back into the freezer for another meal.

vegetables for shredded beef dishAbove are the sliced vegetables (and a hunk of ginger root) that I used in the dish.

Shredded Beef with VegetablesAnd above is the cooked dish. We liked it a lot! Some red peppers might have been nice for color. It had just enough sauce to serve over rice. Taking the time to carefully shred the flank steak before cooking is really worth the while.

I now have a new stir fry recipe in my repertoire! Hmm, this would be good with hoisin sauce in a flour tortilla. Moo shoo beef. Stay creative!

Favorites: Pork with Paprika and Mushrooms

Time to write down a recipe for something that I have always cooked without a recipe. It’s something that I just “throw together”. But this one needs to be shared, it’s that good and simple.

I used to take inexpensive cuts of meat and cook them for hours in onions, seasonings, and stock. When tender, I’d stir in a bit of sour cream and serve over noodles or rice. Comfort food. In the last several years, my old method for making this dish gravitated towards the recipe below. Instead of tough meat, I use pork tenderloin. This version only takes about 30 minutes prep and cooking time.

My husband asks: “What is that dish you are making?” and I never know what to call it. It emerged from my repertoire unnamed. Is it a stroganoff? A goulash? A paprikash? I really don’t know. All I know is that it’s very good, easy, and low-calorie (especially if you use non-fat yogurt).

You might already make something like this, but if not, try this easy recipe. I’ve named it “Pork with Paprika and Mushrooms”.

Pork with Paprika and Mushrooms


Serves 2.

  • 9-11 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 1/8-1/4-inch round or scallop-shaped pieces
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3-4 ounces mushrooms (about 4 large), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or Greek non-fat yogurt
  • noodles (3 ounces dry will serve 2 people)

Halve the onion, then cut into slices. Saute in a little hot olive oil (add the bell pepper slices too if you are using them). When it begins to soften, add the pork tenderloin and cook a few minutes, until all the pieces are browned on all sides. Add the paprika and flour and stir until the flour is incorporated, then stir in the chicken broth and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer the mixture, covered or uncovered, for about 20 minutes. While it simmers, cook some noodles. Currently, I like pappardelle noodles. These are wide, long noodles, usually sold dry and nested. Fettuccini would work well too, or short, wide noodles.

When you are almost ready to serve, stir in the sour cream and gently heat for a minute or two. To serve, spoon the pork mixture over the noodles.

Here’s how it looks just before you add the sour cream/yogurt. You want a small amount of thick gravy, since the sour cream will thin this sauce.

Pork Paprika

Here it is, plated.

Pork Paprika