Thursday, December 2, 2010

Decorating the Tree and Beef Stroganoff

Well, we got our tree. It's up, it's a little crooked, and we couldn't care less. That's how we roll here at 305. They don't call me "Half-Ass Andie" for nothin'. We managed to get one with a crooked trunk, so it just doesn't look straight. It seems reasonably sturdy, though, so hopefully it won't fall over. We've had that happen a couple of times.

Can you believe he wouldn't let me buy the big inflatable Santa? Scrooge.

Pootie helped me get all the Kristmas Krap down from the attic, he turned on Nat King Cole and Vince Guaraldi for me, then he disappeared. I'm in charge of the tree. He loves to look at it and smell it, but he's not a fan of actually decorating it. He's also not a fan of putting it up, which is why it's crooked.

But now it's up and done. Let me take you on a wee tour.

Isn't he handsome?

This was a gift from Ben and Amy. We used to get together on Sunday nights when we all lived in Atlanta and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well, Amy and I watched it. Pootie and Ben ridiculed us. They got me this for Christmas one year, never thinking I'd actually put it on the tree. It gets a place of honor every year.

Ignore the crack in the ceiling, please.

This is our star. It has been our star since our first Christmas. It went on the Tick Tree. Pootie made it out of paper and scotch tape. Miraculously, it's held together, and while we could afford a real tree-topper now, we kind of like our little makeshift one.

Sock Monkey brought to you by Satan. Notice the red glow, much like its home in the bowels of Hell.

This is a #$@#!! sock monkey. I hate them. They creep me the hell out. My sweet, kind mother gave me this last year. Ha ha  ha. Hilarious. I hang it on the tree. By its neck. Hoping it will not be able to escape and kill me in my sleep.

In between festooning the tree with lights and pure, distilled evil, I made quick and dirty beef stroganoff for dinner. (Oh, thank goodness!, you're all saying. Thank god we actually get some food in this blog!)

Sauté one medium diced onion with a pound of sliced mushrooms in about 1 Tbs. of butter. Yes, butter.

Thinly slice a pound of beef filet. I use filet instead of the tougher cuts. It's more tender and I like the flavor in this better. Salt and pepper it generously. Set the beef aside for a minute.

When the mushrooms and onion are reduced and slightly browned, add 1 Tbs. of tomato paste, 1 tsp. of dijon mustard, 2 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. If you happen to have some demiglace, add it. I had some in the freezer and used about a Tablespoon. It adds a lot of depth to the flavor.

Now heat a separate pan over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, then sear the beef in it quickly. Leave it somewhat rare.

Add 1 cup of sour cream to the mushroom and onion mixture. Stir it in over low heat.

When it's incorporated, add the beef. Heat until warm through.

Serve over egg noodles. Here is the .pdf version.

Breaking Tree News:

Here is the next morning update:

Leaning Tower of Tree

Oh my god, y'all, even I'm not that half-ass. Pootie didn't have time to help me deal with this developing situation before he had to leave to teach class. So he made me turn it and prop it against the wall so it wouldn't fall over, leaving me alone and helpless with my shattered dreams. And ornaments. Look at the thing. It's tired already and it hasn't even been on the job a full 24 hours!  Leaning on everything like an attitudinal dishrag limp 15-year-old. We got a slacker teenage skateboard tree!

I'm going to leave you now and go sit on the living room floor in a pile of shedded pine needles with a carton of egg nog and drown my sorrows until I have to get elastic waistband pants. This is just depressing.

I know it has something to do with that @#!# sock monkey. I didn't have this problem LAST year, before he was on there.

I'm sure if Pootie had let me bring this guy home, things would be all right. Santa would have vanquished the Evil Sock Monkey and we'd have an upright tree.

Stay tuned. This could get ugly.


Anonymous said...

This was the very first recipe I EVER cooked. It was 1982 and came from the Raleigh News and Observer. I had always loved the dish so I decided to try it. I recall asking a neighbor if a garlic glove was the entire head. Seriously!

Cooking has been one of my three major hobbies and interest ever since. It seemed so cool I could enjoy food I love if I could find a "formula".

The only difference in the recipe I used was the addition of 1-2 cloves of minced garlic, the meat was lightly dusted in flour, and a can of Campbell's double strength beef boullion was used to deglaze the pan after browning the beef. There may have been some optional white wine but I don't recall.

As for the tree...get one of those large plastic stands which have a large water reservior and 4 sets of top and bottom L-shaped screws which are used to position the truck. We use it on 9' trees with great success, even if they are somewhat crooked. It helps to have someone hold the try and eyeball while the other person adjusts the screws to center and align the tree.
We then test by pulling in all directions to ensure it returns to center. Works great and avoids potentional disaster.


Michaela said...

Ha! Hilarious and very Charlie Brown(only with way better food. We haven't ventured out for our tree yet, but will this weekend, and now that I know to beware of crooked trunks and evil &^%$# sock monkeys,I feel much more the wiser.