About a million years ago – 1976 – I moved to Lake Tahoe.  A friend of mine, Steve Johnson, had recommended me for a job at The Old Post Office in Carnelian Bay on the North Shore.  I had known Steve for about 5 years… We managed restaurants for the same owner – me in San Francisco, and Steve across the bay in El Sobrante.  We were pretty good friends.  I even lived with his girlfriend for about a year…

Steve and Shelley broke up and he eventually ended up moving back to Tahoe – he was from the area, originally.  I quit the other restaurant, worked at a couple of other places and ended up getting laid off.  I did absolutely nothing for several months, collected unemployment, smoked a lot of pot (it was the ’70’s – it’s what one did!) watched Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and generally enjoyed life.

So…  I got the job, moved to Tahoe, and Steve and I became roommates in a little 2br 1930’s uninsulated summer cabin in Tahoe Vista.  We had a blast! He bought a little Fisher stove and burned coal to stay warm – driving down to Reno in his VW bug and hauling 600 lbs at a time back up the hill – at 10 mph up the steeper grades.)  Sweet youth.

The reason for all this history?!?  Steve made great Beef Stroganoff!  I almost always think of him when I make it.  He made a really, really simple version, browning the beef and mushrooms, adding sour cream and a dollop of mustard, and served over noodles.  That was pretty much it.   And it definitely worked for me. I would spend several hours making stuffed chicken breasts in a champagne mushroom sauce served with roasted root vegetables.  He’d whip up dinner in minutes.  Show-off!

I’ve played with his recipe over the years and while classic Beef Stroganoff calls for white wine and tarragon, I usually add a splash of sherry and a bit of dill.  Sometimes paprika.  Garlic.  Definitely onions…

Tonight’s recipe was:

  • 1 lb beef, cut in strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • about 1 lb mixed mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp Champagne Garlic Mustard
  • flour
  • paprika
  • dill
  • salt and pepper

I cooked the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in a pat of butter about 5 minutes (they were well-cooked.)  They went into a bowl, and then I browned the beef after  rolling it in flour, paprika, salt & pepper.

After it was browned, i added the mushroom and onions and the sherry.  I cooked it down and then added the heavy cream, then the sour cream and the mustard.  Heated it all though and served over wide egg noodles.

It was yummy, with enough left over for lunch tomorrow!

So what happened to Steve, you ask?!?  He married a great gal named Diane that I worked with at the Old PO.  They moved to Truckee where Steve went to work for the Truckee Sanitation District.  We lost track of each other about 10 yerars ago.  Victor and I went up to see them and they moved not long after…

If you’re reading this, Steve – drop a line!