Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cooking blind

...or possibly deaf. Either way, it was definitely cooking with a handicap.

I go to the gym a few times a week and I usually listen to NPR's 'Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!' on my iPod. Sometimes music helps me run faster but lately that's not so much of an option and the show just gives me the patience to stay on the machine for an extended period of time.

So I'm riding a bike, listening to my iPod AND watching the Food Network on a TV channel at the same time. The TV had no sound but I watched the hostess make something that looked really good. It was some tortellini with what looked like a stroganoff-esque cream sauce served over it. I couldn't tell exactly what ingredients she was using but I re-created her recipe as best I could with what sounded good (and healthier) to me. If that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is. But... it turned out really good! So here's the recipe (mine, not hers. I never did figure out what it was.)

3-cheese tortellini (4 servings)
3/4 pound lean beef (sirloin, ranch steak, whatever) thinly sliced
1/2 onion cut into very thin strips
1 medium portabello mushroom, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
big sprinkle of beef bullion or soup base
garlic powder
1 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper

Get the water for the tortellini boiling

Spray a skillet with with non-stick spray. Sprinkle your sliced beef with salt and get it searing in the pan. When it's about half done, add the onions. At the end, add the mushrooms and saute' them down.

Sprinkle in the beef bullion and garlic powder - add the 1/2 cup water, let the meat and veggies simmer in the broth for a minute. Get your tortellini in the hot water and cook according to package directions.

Whisk your flour into the milk and add the mixture to your meat and veggies. Mix well and simmer until sauce tightens up. (Real cooks would use heavy cream here instead of 2% milk but I can't deal with those calories.) Salt and pepper to taste. At the very end, stir in just a sprinkle of tarragon. Serve over hot tortellini.

If you've timed it right, your sauce and tortellini should be done at the same time. The whole meal took me 20 minutes to put together. If you give it a try, I'd love to know what you think!

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