New Can Be Good…

Who knew my mother was a revolutionary?  But she did date Sparticus, Joan of Arc, and Gandhi.

Last week I talked about my mom upending our decades-old Easter menu.  The baked ham, cold salad buffet was nixed, and in its place was a hot selection of Aunt Candy’s famous (and delicious) ziti, Aunt Polly’s butter beans, slow-cooked string beans, my carrot soufflé, and beef Stroganoff with buttered egg noodles.

It turned out to be a pretty tasty twist, and what was even better was the whole menu was make-ahead, and then finished right before dinner.  Almost every dish could have been made days in advance.My soufflé is easy; everything is thrown into a food processor, and it’s pretty, and even folks that aren’t crazy about carrots are crazy about this dish.

Carrot Soufflé

Prep: 5 min., Cook: 24 min., Bake: 1 hr.carrot souffle1 & 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons vanilla (or one vanilla bean)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cook carrots in boiling water (add 1 tablespoon of the  vanilla {or the scraped pod-reserve the insides to mix into the soufflé } and 1/8 teaspoon of the nutmeg) to cover in a large saucepan 20 to 24 minutes or until tender. Drain well; cool.

Process carrots and eggs in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Add sugar and remaining ingredients; process 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.

 Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until set and barely browned around the edges.  Because there is so much sugar, start checking after 45 minutes.Yield: Makes 6 servings.

The beef Stroganoff recipe came from a trip to my dad’s hometown of Pittsburgh.  We had dinner at my Aunt Eliza’s, and she made it for us.  I’ve tried making it a few times with elevated technique and ingredients.  But like other old-fashioned comfort food, it’s just better if you make it according to the old-fashioned directions.

This can be made a few days in advance.  Then on the day you serve it, put it into a slow cooker and let it slowly come up to temp while you get the rest of the dinner prepared.  It also works great in a chafing dish.

Beef Stroganoffstroganoff2 pounds sirloin tips, in bite-size pieces

2 beef bouillon cubes

3 or 4 cloves garlic, diced

½ yellow onion, chopped

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon sherry

2 cups water

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

All-purpose flour


Salt & pepper

Season flour.  Put some butter into large frying pan and melt over medium heat.  Coat sirloin tips with flour and brown in butter. Put chopped onions and garlic in with meat to soften.  While meat cooks, heat water with bouillon cubes separately in a large pot.  When meat’s browned, empty skillet into bouillon-water along with sherry and turn to low, stirring often.  When meat is cooked-tender, melt a bit more butter in frying pan and cook mushrooms, then stir in tomato paste, sour cream, and Worcestershire. Cook a couple minutes, then add to pot with meat and combine.  Cook for about 10 minutes –bingo (the word bingo was actually in Mom’s recipe).

This is also really good on a chewy brown grain, like farro or barley.

Serves 4-6.

So, change is change, but, change is good.  I might have missed the potato salad, but I can make any number of versions any day of the week.

But the carrot soufflé, even though it’s easy-peasy, just screams “special occasion”.  And my mom’s beef Stroganoff, well, every bite is a little celebration.Thanks for your time.

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