Slow-cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash

Serve this hearty stew with buttered egg noodles, passing extra sour cream at the table.

Been pretty much steering clear of buying beef last couple years due to high prices, but I found this a great recipe to have tender, melt in your mouth beef at reasonable cost. I prepare and cook on the weekend, and provides plenty of great leftovers to heat up for the week ahead. This recipe follows closely the one found in America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, but have made some modifications over the years to give it more flavor.

1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
7 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped medium (Food processor a must for me. The tears!)
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves chopped
2-1/2 cups of chicken(or beef) broth
1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
4 tablespoon of tomato paste 
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

  1. Dry the beef with paper towels (important to get as dry as possible), then season with 2 tablespoon of the paprika and salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in large (preferably iron) skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the beef, about 10 minutes,  than add to slow cooker. Return skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and the remaining beef.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, bell peppers, remaining 5 tablespoons paprika,  and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups chicken broth and tomato paste, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer, then pour into slow cooker (note: you may have to do in 2 batches too)
  3. Add one can soup in cooker and stir. Cover and cook, on ether low or high heat. 7 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 6 hours on high.
  4.  Set the slow cooker to high (if necessary). Whisk the flour with the sour cream and the remaining 1/2 cup of broth until smooth, the stir into slow cooker. Cover and continue to cook until the sauce is thickened and no longer tastes of flour, 15 to 30 minutes at most. Before serving, stir the vinegar and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Make Ahead
Complete through step 2 and store separately in refrigerator. Add to slow cooker and proceed to step 3. May be a little longer cooking time due to chilled ingredients.

The Twilight Sad at the Independent

A band that hails from the Glasgow area arrived in SF last week to support their 3rd studio album, No One Can Ever Know. The album got my attention with their new synthesizer sound that reminds me of the Cure. My friend Patrick more aptly described it as sounding ” like the bastard child of The Pogues and Joy Division.” With a name and album art that tries too hard, it’s the voice of singer James Graham that really elevates this band to something special. With a nice Scottish brogue he woke up a subdued Thursday night crowd. If you at one time embraced the new wave/post punk culture of the eighties, this should capture your attention. Listen to the complete album on Spotify, if the first song below gets your interest. The whole album is pretty good, I just have to find the lyrics to understand wot e is sayin’!

A Journey Worth Investing In?

As a unknown protagonist wearing a hooded red robe in the middle of a empty desert, I was left with no explanation of why I was here, and what to do next. With a endless expanse of sand in every direction, it was only the slightly higher dune with a small formation on top that stood out. I inevitably headed in that direction to the promise of what lay beyond.

This is how it goes from thatgamecompany’s latest $15 downloadable game. It’s an experience built on curiosity. With amazing visuals and sounds, it draws you in. Their is no right, wrong or fail state. Just pushing forward to see what lies beyond. What also seems unclear is this seemingly life of solitude, is a multiplayer experience. Their is no pregame lobby, avatar names that pop up in-game or voice chat, but you may come across someone as you travel forward. At first this character seemed confused, erratic and shy. It slowly seems to follow my lead and learn from my actions as I sailed the sky and skied down sand dunes. Then we danced together to new heights and soared through expansive environments for untold miles only to separate in different directions. Later it led me and showed me the way, when I was uncertain. (Did the fact it had a longer scarf then me, equate greater wisdom in this land?)

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People of Walmart

Great Game Music from 2011

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My Top 10 Games of 2011

10. LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3):  Despite its undeniable charm and ambitious tools to create and share your own games, I was not a fan of LittleBigPlanet. The controls and level design let me down. LBP2 fixes my issues as being a mediocre platformer, by providing creative gadgets and new genres of games to create and play. Best of all, level design has gotten much better. New stuff had me interested all year—It justified my Move motion controller purchase and was into a user created action-RPG. It provided me with a continued strong co-op experience from a community that is helpful and fun, not competitive and cruel. This is a YouTube-like experience for games that has matured and become worthwhile. So far I have only taken from the LBP community, but it’s creative richness has me inspired to give back or, at the very least, continue to check-in to see what’s new. Read more of this post

Wall-e from Revoltech

Got my new desk toy. Endless posable options and detailed down to the dent on his front chassis.

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