Thursday, September 30, 2010

shepherds pie

Mark has been asking for shepherds pie since the weather got cooler. This is a slightly unintentional twist on it, in that I grabbed ground veal thinking it was ground pork. It ended up being a happy accident.

Shepherds Pie

3/4 lb lean ground beef
3/4 lb ground veal
1 large well-washed leek, chopped (you can use onion instead)
2 large cloves of garlic
2 cups sweet corn (frozen works fine)
4 large russet potatoes
2/3 cup of milk
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel potatoes, chop roughly and place in a large pot. Cover with water and set to boil.

Meanwhile, brown the veal and ground beef with the leek (or onion). When meat is almost cooked through grate or mince the garlic and add it, stirring well. Allow to cook a couple minutes more. Once cooked through, remove from heat and drain any fat off. Spread evenly in the bottom of a casserole dish and set aside.

When potatoes are cooked through, drain thoroughly. Return to pot, add half the butter and the milk (you may need slightly more or less milk, depending on the texture you like your mashed potatoes. I don't like mine super smooth...I prefer them a little chunky, aka: Irish style...hah!) and mash. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread sweet corn over meat layer in baking dish. Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the corn. Dot with remaining butter. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until warmed through and top is starting to brown.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

turkey burgers, sesame green beans, and roast potatoes

I used my basic turkey burger recipe - ground turkey, some onion, a couple cloves of garlic, a little salt and black pepper, dash of cayenne, one eggs...and instead of bread crumbs, I used some going-stale scali bread torn / rubbed into crumbs. It made the burgers have a lighter texture, which I liked a lot.

The green beans are so easy, and SO yummy! I just snapped the ends off a bunch of fresh green beans and threw them into a ripping hot pan with a splash of olive oil and a splash of toasted sesame oil, as well as a handful of sesame seeds. I stir-fried them until crisp-tender (I HATE mushy green beans), and that was it.

My potatoes were simply cut-up red bliss potatoes tossed with a couple glugs of olive oil, some sea salt, and some thyme. I spread them out on a big non-stick pan and put them in a 500 degree oven for about 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. The high heat might seem excessive, but if you like your roast potatoes nice and crisp, it really is necessary.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sunday night dinner

We stopped in at one of the local farm stands on the way home to look for something for my dad, and I ended up finding some really cute little Japanese eggplants and some lovely rainbow chard. I had no clue what I was making with them when I bought them, and I think probably in terms of cohesiveness I could have done a lot better...but everything still tasted really good, so I'm happy.

For the pork chops, I took thin-cut boneless loin chops and dosed them with thyme, black pepper, and a little garlic salt. Those went into a 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes (no, really, they were THIN) and were done. The eggplant was cut into rounds, tossed in a beaten egg, then in a mixture of flour, a little corn starch, some breadcrumbs, black pepper and cayenne. I laid them into a pan of smoking hot olive oil in batches so as not to crowd them, and flipped them when they got crispy and golden. The chard was washed, chopped roughly (including most of the stems because I like the crunch), and thrown into a hot pan with some chopped onion. I covered the pan tightly so that the water on the leaves would help to steam it and cook it through. It took about 6-7 minutes for the leaves and stems to get tender. I dressed the chard with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

I liked the chard and wouldn't change anything with it, I don't think...but I wasn't really satisfied with the eggplant. I keep making eggplant, thinking it's going to taste like something on its own, kind of doesn't. I need to work on that. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spanish chicken skillet

SO yummy, and really quite healthy and inexpensive. We will definitely be having this again.

Spanish Chicken Skillet

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (3 half breasts)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes, UNDRAINED
1/2 cup chicken broth

- Mix flour, salt, and all the spices except the crushed red pepper on a plate or wide bowl. Cut chicken breasts in half to make 6 serving-sized pieces. Dredge chicken lightly in flour and spice mixture. Reserve remainder of flour mixture!

- Cook chicken in hot oil in a large skillet on medium about 3 minutes per side, until browned. Remove chicken from skillet, set aside. Add bell pepper and onion to pan, cook and stir for about 5 minutes, until tender.

- Stir in tomatoes, broth, and remaining flour mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in crushed red pepper to taste. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

- Serve chicken and sauce over brown rice. Makes 6 servings.

Friday, September 10, 2010

kielbasa kale soup

Sorry I've been gone so long! We've moved house, and are just about settled in. The kitchen is far bigger and easier to work in than my old one, so I'm very excited to get back to cooking regularly.

Tonight's effort, for your nomming pleasure:

Kielbasa Kale Soup
this was inspired by a conversation with my good friend Amy, about a kielbasa soup she threw together on the fly that turned out really well. As always, thanks Amy! :)

1 loop of kielbasa, chopped (I used McKenzie)
half of one yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large (or 2-3 small) cloves of garlic, chopped
2 big handfuls of kale, washed, stemmed and roughly chopped
6 cups of chicken stock (I use half low-sodium and half regular)
1 15-oz can of white beans
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven, lightly brown kielbasa. Once browned, remove meat but leave rendered fat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook over medium heat until all is softened slightly. Add chopped garlic, cook a minute or so more. Add the kielbasa back into the pot, along with the chopped kale. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until kale softens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add a cup of chicken stock, scraping bottom of pan to deglaze. Add the rest of the chicken stock, the beans, crumbled thyme, bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 15-20 minutes on low, or until kale is tender.

We had it with some nice semolina bread that I brushed with garlic and olive oil and toasted under the broiler.