June Hubit from Santa Rosa, Calif., was looking for a recipe for the mushroom stroganoff that was served at a little restaurant called Henderson's Grandmother in Corte Madre, Calif., in the 1980s. She said it was the best she has ever tasted and that she still craves it, but nothing she has tried has come close.
Unfortunately, I did not have any success locating the restaurant or the precise recipe Hubit was in search of. However, I did find what I thought was a wonderful recipe by the chef Marcus Samuelson for an easy version of mushroom stroganoff. The chef said he developed this recipe last winter as a lighter alternative to traditional beef stroganoff. "To keep the stroganoff flavorful, but light, I used a dry red wine instead of cognac and replaced the sour cream with plain yogurt," he said. "The fresh rosemary, oregano and thyme do the bulk of the flavor work here. The result is a succulent and satisfying winter light meal."
When I tried the recipe, I used a combination of baby bellas, chanterelle and oyster mushrooms that I picked up at the farmers' market, but just about any mushroom would be delicious in this dish. As the chef suggested, I served this lighter, meatless version of the classic dish over buttered egg noodles along with a green salad, and had the perfect comfort food meal for a crisp fall evening.
Lorraine Brown from Baltimore is looking for a recipe for making "spingi" that a Sicilian co-worker gave her years ago and she has lost. The dessert included cooked rice and yeast that was deep fried and then rolled in powdered sugar and honey.
Anne Calhoun from Baltimore is looking for a recipe for making a cookie similar to the Apple Newton that Nabisco used to make and has since discontinued.
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Easy mushroom stroganoff
Makes: 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
8 ounces baby bellas, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme, chopped
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup dry red wine such as pinot noir
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Add butter and olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-low heat
Stir in onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute onions and garlic until the onions become fragrant and translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add rosemary, oregano and thyme.
Add in mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are slightly browned, stirring occasionally
Add yogurt and beef stock to the pan, stirring until the yogurt is fully incorporated. Add in red wine. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure not to let the sauce come to a boil. If the sauce begins to boil, turn down the heat.
Remove about 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid into a cup and stir in flour until dissolved. Add more cooking liquid or stock if needed. Dissolving the flour before adding it to the heat ensures that you will have a lump-free sauce. Add flour mixture back to the pan and simmer until sauce is thickened.
Season again with salt and cracked black pepper, to taste.