Why stew about weighty matters?

By John Owen | Jan 30, 2014

The players scurried out the dressing room door, clutching equipment bags or cases.  They nodded and smiled when congratulated by spectators exiting into the parking lot.

They hadn't defeated the San Francisco 49ers, but they gave Till Eulenspiegel all he could handle in an eventful evening at Edmonds Center for the Arts.  Performances like the one witnessed on a recent Monday explained why Cascade Symphony offers the hottest ticket in town, despite the absence of touchdowns, field goals or trash talking.

Agreed, Super Bowl tickets are hard to come by.  But Cascade symphony concerts were sold out before the season even started.  And conductor Michael Miropolsky generates the kind of fan loyalty that Pete Carroll creates at Century Link Field.

Both have European heritages. Carroll's paternal great grandfolks were Irish immigrants.  His maternal grandfolks came from Austria.

Carroll's progress as an athlete was hindered by his size.  As a high school freshman, he weighed 110 pounds.  Yet at the end of his high school career he had won varsity letters in football, baseball and basketball.

Miropolsky lived alone from the age of 13, yet musically he advanced to play violin for the Moscow State Symphony.  He spent 20 months performing in a Soviet Military Ensemble.  In 1990, he immigrated to the U.S. where he became an acclaimed violinist with the Seattle Symphony.  He formed the Seattle Violin Virtuosi and the Seattle Chamber Orchestra. Groups under his direction have made numerous recordings.

If there was an MVP award on the Washington state musical scene, Miropolsky would be a prime candidate.

Like Pete Carroll, he is blessed with an infectious sense of humor.   Like the Seahawks’ coach, his greatest fans include the members of the organizations they lead.

Together, members of the Cascade Symphony published a "Measures and Pleasures Cookbook."

I have also published cookbooks including one recipe with a Russian accent.  It's called:


Georgian Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

1 1/2 pound lean beef chunks

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons black pepper


dry white wine

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon coriander

2 teaspoons paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

If you don't have fresh basil, then use canned tomatoes with basil.

In a heavy kettle heat the oil and sauté the onion until soft, then remove from pan.

Dump the flour, pepper and salt into a paper sack.  Add the beef chunks and shake to cover.

Sauté the beef until brown, then add the cooked onion.

Add white jug wine to barely cover kettle ingredients.  Cover the pot and shove into a 300-degree oven for an hour.

Remove lid from the kettle and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, the coriander, paprika and cayenne.  Simmer until meat is tender, maybe 30 to 45 minutes, adding more wine if needed.  Add the parsley, cilantro and basil, and cook another 10 minutes. Add salt if needed.

This will serve four or more over freshly cooked noodles.

When I was a freshman in high school, I weighed 118 pounds. If I had discovered Georgian Beef Stew in time, I might be coaching the Seahawks today. Or playing cymbal in the Cascade Symphony.

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