Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MMM... Manicotti

I know I've blogged about manicotti before, but I finally got a good picture, and I've decided to submit the recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is started and organized by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast, so I've decided to do it again. This week's round-up is hosted by Ulrike at Kuchenlatien. This recipe makes a lot, and I like to make a full batch and freeze half. Thanks for hosting, Ulrike. Enjoy, everyone!

Recipe from my mother-in-law
*Serves about 8*

1 box manicotti shells
2 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (I use the 5-cheese blend)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8 oz Ricotta cheese (whole milk variety)
12 oz cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce (no set amount, but a lot)

Par cook noodles (about 5 min). Drain, but do not rinse.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all cheeses and egg in a bowl. Stuff noodles and place in a 9x13 pan.

Cover with sauce and bake for 1 hour (45 min covered and 15 min covered).
Let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls

My grandma makes the best cinnamon rolls. When I was growing up, she knew I liked them fresh out of the oven, so she would always make sure they were just done when I woke up. If I wasn't going to be at her house for a while, and on special occasions, she'd bring me a pan to let rise and then bake on my own.

I made them with her many times when I was at her house visiting, but I'd never made them on my own. I put my own twist on them, using the fabulous cream cheese icing recipe on Little Ms. Foodie's blog, but they still use Grandma's basic recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe by my grandma, adapted

Makes 12-16 rolls

1 loaf Rhodes frozen bread dough, thawed
6 TBSP butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
Icing, recipe follows

After dough has thawed, but before it starts to rise, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about a 14 x 6 inch rectangle.

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread the cinnamon mixture on the dough.

Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, starting with the long side (this would be the bottom of the rectangle, for the instructionally-impaired like myself). Cut the roll into 12-16 slices (about 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.

Place them into a greased 9 x 13 pan and let rise for about an hour, or until they have doubled in size.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool, and frost with cream cheese frosting.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Beat together all ingredients until smooth. Use to frost cooled rolls.

Guinness Stew, again

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you've probably figured out that I love Guinness Stew. In fact, I love it so much that I almost feel bad for vegetarians because they'll never be able to eat it - traditional Irish food isn't exactly vegetarian-friendly. Because of that, and because I had so much fun turning the Shepherd's Pie recipe I made a while back into a vegetarian recipe, I've decided to do the same for Guinness Stew.

If you don't like Guinness Stout, don't worry - the final product tastes nothing like the delicious dark brown beverage you would normally drink out of a tulip glass.

Vegetarian Guinness Stew
Adapted by Me

1 TBSP oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
3 carrots
2 stalks celery
3-4 medium potatoes
large meat-y Mushrooms, cut up (definitely optional - I can't stand mushrooms)
1/2 - 1 cup unsalted cashews (optional, but trust me on this one. Cashews take on a meat-y texture when cooked)
Turnips or Parsnips, chopped (if you want to be extra authentic)
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 pint Guinness (use the cans - have a second can waiting in the wings, just in case)
1/2 - 1 cup vegetable stock
3 TBSP cornstarch
1 TBSP paprika
salt & pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Garlic powder
Seasoning Salt
1-2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet (found with the gravy seasonings - it IS vegetarian)
2 bay leaves

Cut onion into quarters, then slice thinly. Cut carrots into thin slices (I like to use a bunch of baby carrots). Dice the celery by cutting the stalks in half, lengthwise, and then in half lengthwise again. Chop into small pieces from there. Mince the garlic. Scrub the potatoes and cut into quarters or smaller. Set all aside.

In sauce pan large, enough to hold everything easily, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add remaining ingredients (except potatoes), bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Add potatoes, cover and simmer at least an hour.

If it starts to dry out or if you like a saucier stew, add more Guinness (half a pint or so). If you would like the sauce thicker, stir in 1 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 2 TBSP water.

Add a lot of salt & pepper to taste. You also probably want to add some cayenne pepper, garlic salt, oregano, and paprika. Use your favorite combination, but I've found the above to give it the best flavor.

When ready to eat, remove bay leaf and serve. I suggest serving it over or with a thick bread or Texas Toast.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Pictures!

I recently made and have now uploaded new, better photos for my Chicken Cacciatore and Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken Pasta. Hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chicken Kiev

Ah, Chicken Kiev. Chicken stuffed with butter. My little heart flutters (and then stops) when thinking about it. Back with my husband and I first moved in together, we ate a lot of those frozen Chicken Kiev things. I know most people reading this will probably scoff at that, but we loved them. To be honest, if we were to buy them and make them now, we probably still would. One day, I decided to try my hand at them. I was intimidated, but with Alton Brown's help, I felt confident. And you know what? It's actually pretty easy. And when you make it, you get to control the amount of salt & butter you put in and whether you bake it or fry it. So it's a win-win. Enjoy!

Chicken Kiev
Recipe by Alton Brown, adapted
Serves 2

Prep Time - about an hour (mostly inactive)
Cook Time - 10 minutes

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning chicken
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large whole egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 cup bread crumbs, plus 1/8 cup for filling
Vegetable oil, for frying

Combine butter, parsley, chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place mixture on plastic wrap or waxed paper and roll into small log; place in freezer.

Place chicken breasts, 1 at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Squirt chicken lightly with water and squirt the top of the plastic wrap as well. Pound to no less than 1/8-inch thickness. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.

Lay 1 chicken breast on a new piece of plastic wrap and place 1/2 of the compound butter and 1 tablespoon bread crumbs in the center of each breast. Using the plastic wrap to assist, fold in ends of breast and roll breast into a log, completely enclosing the butter; roll very tightly. Repeat with each breast. Place chicken in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

Place egg and water mixture in 1 pie pan and 2 cups bread crumbs in a different pie pan.

Heat 1/2-inch of vegetable oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat until oil reaches 375 degrees F.

Dip each breast in the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs. Gently place each breast in oil, sealed-side down, and cook until golden brown, approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove to a cooling rack set in sheet pan and allow to drain for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (Even though Alton recommends frying only, I recommend pan frying in only a small amount of oil to brown the outside of the chicken, and then finishing off the cooking process in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes to ensure the chicken is cooked through but doesn't get too brown on the outside).

Peanut Butter Brownies

I love brownies. Really love them. Not much can beat a nice, fudgy brownie. Well.... except a peanut butter brownie. I've made a few recipes for peanut butter brownies over the past year and have been generally satisfied with each recipe I've tried. Given my recent desire for peanut butter brownies, but lack of any real desire to bake, I decided to get creative and utilize what was, until about a year ago, my arch nemesis: the boxed brownie mix.

I almost feel like I shouldn't blog about these. However, notice I said almost. In the end, I've decided that these are worthy of a blog post because they're so good and so easy.

Peanut Butter Brownies

1 box brownie mix (we like Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies)
2/3 cup peanut butter

Prepare brownie batter according to directions and pour into a 9 x 13 pan (or 8 x 8 if you like them really thick).

Meanwhile, melt the peanut butter over medium-low heat.

Once peanut butter is melted, pour it on top of the brownie batter and use a knife or rubber scraper to swirl the peanut butter around the top and give it a nice marble look.

A visual, in case my description of the technique was confusing...

Bake for the amount of time indicated on the brownie mix box (mine was about 25 min).

Monday, September 15, 2008


I know I'm not the only one who randomly craves Mexican. Sometimes I just want a chimichanga. I've heard rumor that chimichangas are a Tex-Mex creation, but I'm skeptical. I had the best chimichanga ever at a little seaside cafe in Barra de Navidad, Mexico 13-ish years ago. I still have dreams about it. That chimichanga is the inspiration for this recipe.

Chicken Chimichangas
Serves 2
Prep Time - 20 minutes
Cook time - 15 minutes

2 burrito-size tortillas

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
garlic powder
onion powder
Chili powder
Cayenne Pepper
1/2 red onion
1 green bell pepper
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
oil, for frying
Spicy Tomatillo Gravy, recipe follows

Brown chicken over medium heat. Season with any combination of the above-listed spices. I thought my combination gave it a nice smokey Mexican-ish flavor. Set aside.

While chicken is browning, cut the onion and green pepper into thin strips. Cook them in 1 TBSP oil for a few minutes. Add a bit of salt & pepper while sauteeing. When done, they should still be nice and crispy.

To assemble, place a bit of Monterrey Jack in the middle of a tortilla. Place 1/2 of the chicken mixture on top of that, and finish with the onion/green pepper mixture. Fold up like a burrito by tucking in the "short" ends and then securing the "long" ends with toothpicks.

Meanwhile, heat about 1" of oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. Once at desired temperature (on my stove, this was after about 4 minutes of heating), drop in the chimichangas. Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip. Cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from the oil, drain excess oil, and smother with Tomatillo gravy (if desired). Garnish with your favorite toppings.

Spicy Tomatillo Gravy (optional)
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 TBSP flour
1 tomatillo
1 jalapeno pepper
handful diced red onion
1 small can diced green chilis
salt & pepper, to taste

Mix all of the above in a food processor. Pour into saucepan and heat on low while cooking chimichangas. If sauce is too thin, bring to a low boil and add 1 TBSP flour. Once finished, use to smother the chimichangas.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The cooler weather has brought out the soup making at my house. The latest is my husband's brother's recipe for chili.

I didn't know if I could post this recipe for the longest time. I wasn't sure if my brother-in-law kept it under lock and key or if my husband had to take some sort of blood oath to get it from him, but I have now been assured it's safe to post and should be shared with the world (or, my tens of readers... whatever. You've gotta start somewhere, right?). I've taken some small liberties with the original recipe so you don't have to stand at the stove for a whole day cooking, and use every pot, pan, and bowl in your kitchen. You'll thank me later.

I'm not the biggest chili fan in general, but everyone I know goes crazy over this recipe. Be forewarned - it's really spicy.

Scott's Chili
From my Brother-in-Law
Serves 12-18 (yes...)
Cook & Prep Time - 2-3 hrs

*Use a 6-Quart stock pot
*Make this at least a day in advance, let it sit in the fridge overnight before you're going to serve it

1 can spicy baked beans (this is a big can. It should be the only one available)
1 large can Tomato Juice
2 cans hot & spicy chili beans (regular sized cans)
2 cans kidney beans (regular sized cans)
2 packages hot chili seasoning mix
3 lbs stew meat
4 stems celery
2 medium onions
6 jalapeno peppers (cut it in half or de-seed if you don't like spice)
1 bottle Frank's Red Hot Sauce (you'll use about 2/3 of the bottle)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
crushed red pepper
Minced Garlic
Vegetable oil (or canola... or olive - whatever you want)
Tabasco sauce
1 cup red wine (I highly recommend a dry Marsala)

Dice onion and divide into two bowls. Cut celery and put into its own bowl. Dice jalapenos, with seeds, and divide into two bowls. Set aside.

Cut beef into nickel size pieces. Set aside.

Coat stock pot with oil, over medium heat, and add one bowl of onion. Season with salt & pepper. Add 1 tsp crushed red pepper. Simmer until onions are translucent.

Add 1 tsp garlic and stir. Add one bowl of jalapeno peppers.

Add more oil if necessary. Never keep the ingredients dry.

Add 1 tsp crushed red pepper and 2 TBSP Frank's Red Hot. Stir.

Add meat. Right away add half the bottle of Frank's Red Hot. Stir.

Add 2 tsp crushed red pepper. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add 1 tsp Tabasco sauce.

Continue stirring and simmer until the meat is just browned.

Once the meat has browned, add the remaining onions. Salt & pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper and 1 tsp Frank's Red Hot. If the pot is cry, add a little more oil.

Add one heaping tsp. of garlic and the rest of the jalapenos. Stir.

Add the red wine & celery. Stir. Let simmer until the celery gets soft.

Once the celery is soft, add the tomato juice. Stir to combine.

Add the brown sugar and white sugar. Stir.

Next, add the dry chili seasoning mix and all beans (do not drain kidney beans). Simmer on low for about 2 hrs.

Store overnight and cook for at least 1 hour before serving.

Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, or whatever your favorite chili accompaniment is.

Garlic Soup

I know what you're thinking - garlic soup? Stay with me, though .... this soup will knock your socks off.

I don't have much of a story to tell about it. The husband and I went to an Austrian cooking class almost 3 years ago when our old apartment complex had monthly cooking classes, each featuring a different cuisine. Unfortunately, the classes basically entailed watching the instructor cook and then eating what he cooked, but we ended up with some great recipes. I recommend this one as a side, not a whole meal. It's a perfect accompaniment to Wiener Schnitzel (hint, hint - yes, I'm on a mission to get the rest of the world to love Schnitzel as much as I do).

Old Salzburg Garlic Soup
Serves 4-5
Cook & prep Time - about 40 min

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup chopped garlic (as I said above, stay with me...)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
6 cups stock (I recommend beef stock, but chicken or vegetable stock would be delightful)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
grated nutmeg, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
Croutons (I recommend making your own, but store-bought is just fine)
Minced fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


In a large stock pot, cook onions and garlic in the butter over medium heat, or until onions are golden.

Add 1/2 cup flour and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.

Add the stock, wine, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another pot. Stir in sour cream and freshly grated nutmeg, salt, & pepper to taste (I recommend using lots of pepper).

Ladle into bowls and garnish with toasted croutons and parsley.

Homegrown Gourmet 10

It's time for me to pick a winner (yes, I'm aware the deadline for submissions was 3 weeks ago). It has been a very tough choice.

For those of you who haven't been following, I am the host of this round of Homegrown Gourmet. This challenge topic was pizza, which not-so-coincidentally also happens to be one of my favorite foods. I received four delicious entries; you'll understand after reading them why it's taken me so long to pick a winner. So let's get to the good stuff, alright?

First, Megan at Joy Through Cooking submitted this delicious-looking pizza topped with ingredients from her CSA shipment.

Megan says "This pizza featured roasted garlic mashed with olive oil and smeared as the 'sauce,' local heirloom tomatos, sliced, fresh basil chiffonade, super sweet yellow corn sliced off the cob, and two medium balls of local fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced." Are you drooling yet? Cause I sure am.

Next, Erika at Bean's Bistro submitted her Local Pizza Margherita, using ingredients found at her local Farmer's Markets.

Dough from her local pizza company, fresh tomatoes from the farmer's market, and two kinds of cheese? Sign me up.

Next Kate at Paved with Good Intentions submitted this beautiful Four Cheese Pizza with Portobello Mushrooms and Artichokes - a true testament to her California location.

Any pizza with four cheeses (especially my favorites) is OK in my book.

Finally, Megan at Joy Through Cooking submitted a second pizza, this one representative of her husband's hometown of Johnstown, PA, where pierogies reign supreme.

Megan describes her inspiration: "The crust of the pizza would be the pasta. I topped it with lots of carmelized onions, and then mashed potatoes (I used small new potatos, boiled until cooked through, and roughly mashed with some butter and milk added to taste) that I mixed with about a cup of Cabot shredded sharp cheddar ... and a package of that precooked bacon... roughly shredded. When the pizza was almost done, I added even more cheddar on top of it." Yum.

Now you can see why this was such a difficult decision. Before I announce the winner, I just want to thank you all for participating - you're all winners in my book (*cue cheesy music*). You all took this challenge to new heights.

But now, I am pleased to announce the winner is...







Congrats, Erika. Your local twist on Margherita captured my heart and taste buds.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Vegetarian's 100

Not too long ago, I posted the Omnivore's 100. Barbara from Tigers & Strawberries, came up with the Vegetarian Hundred. I'm not a vegetarian, but I think I'm doing better at this list than the other one.

The Vegetarian Hundred

1. Real macaroni and cheese, made from scratch and baked
2. Tabouleh
3. Freshly baked bread, straight from the oven (preferably with homemade strawberry jam)
4. Fresh figs
5. Fresh pomegranate
6. Indian dal of any sort
7. Imam bayildi
8. Pressed spiced Chinese tofu
9. Freshly made hummus (this is on my list to try soon.)
10. Tahini
11. Kimchi (for what it's worth, I hated it)
12. Miso
13. Falafel
14. Potato and pea filled samosas
15. Homemade yogurt
16. Muhammara
17. Brie en croute
18. Spanikopita
19. Fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes
20. Insalata caprese
21. Stir-fried greens (gai lan, bok choi, pea shoots, kale, chard or collards)
22. Freshly made salsa
23. Freshly made guacamole (I'm counting Chipotle because they make it fresh in-store)
24. Creme brulee
25. Fava beans
26. Chinese cold sesame peanut noodles
27. Fattoush
28. New potatoes (yum!)
29. Coleslaw
30. Ratatouille (on my list, once I get up the nerve to try making it).
31. Baba ganoush
32. Winter squash
33. Roasted beets
34. Baked sweet potatoes
35. Plantains
36. Chocolate truffles
37. Garlic mashed potatoes
38. Fresh water chestnuts
39. Steel cut oats
40. Quinoa (though I don't care for it)
41. Grilled portabello mushrooms
42. Chipotle en adobo
43. Stone ground whole grain cornmeal
44. Freshly made corn or wheat tortillas
45. Frittata
46. Basil pesto
47. Roasted garlic
48. Raita of any type
49. Mango lassi
50. Jasmine rice (white or brown)
51. Thai vegetarian coconut milk curry
52. Pumpkin in any form other than pie
53. Fresh apple pear or plum gallette
54. Quince in any form
55. Escarole, endive or arugula
56. Sprouts other than mung bean
57. Naturally brewed soy sauce
58. Dried shiitake mushrooms
59. Unusually colored vegetables (purple cauliflower, blue potatoes, chocolate bell peppers…)
60. Fresh peach ice cream
61. Chevre
62. Medjool dates
63. Kheer
64. Flourless chocolate cake
65. Grilled corn on the cob (see blog - ask me if you'd like the story of when we decided to DIY)
66. Black bean (or any other bean) vegetarian chili
67. Tempeh
68. Seitan or wheat gluten
69. Gorgonzola or any other blue veined cheese
70. Sweet potato fries
71. Homemade au gratin potatoes
72. Cream of asparagus soup
73. Artichoke-Parmesan dip (well, I've had Spinach-Artichoke-Parmesan dip)
74. Mushroom risotto (I've had regular, but not mushroom. Mushrooms are yucky).
75. Fermented black beans
76. Garlic scapes (have been dying to try them since I learned what they are)
77. Fresh new baby peas
78. Kalamata olives
79. Preserved lemons
80. Fried green tomatoes
81. Chinese scallion pancakes
82. Cheese souffle
83. Fried apples
84. Homemade frijoles refritos
85. Pasta fagiole
86. Macadamia nuts in any form
87. Paw paw in any form
88. Grilled cheese sandwich of any kind
89. Paneer cheese
90. Ma Po Tofu (vegetarian style–no pork!)
91. Fresh pasta in any form
92. Grilled leeks, scallions or ramps
93. Green papaya salad
94. Baked grain and vegetable stuffed tomatoes (I'm kinda cheating here because I've done this with peppers... I'm not the biggest baked tomato fan).
95. Pickled ginger
96. Methi greens
97. Aloo paratha
98. Kedgeree (the original Indian version without the smoked fish, not the British version with fish)
99. Okra
100. Roasted brussels sprouts

47/100. I think that's pretty good.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

I ate a lot of Shepherd's pie while studying abroad in London and crave it when it gets cold and rainy. Well, Tuesday was just such a day. Cold? Check. Rainy? Check. Time to make the Shepherd's Pie recipe I've had in the back of my mind for a while. It's not something I'd want to make every day, but it hit the spot on the first real cool day in a while.

Also, I specifically recall one of my faithful readers fairly recently lamenting not being able to eat Shepherd's Pie since becoming a vegetarian, so I have taken the liberty of of noting how I would suggest making this very meat-y recipe vegetarian-friendly without simply substituting fake meat for the real thing. Those notes will follow the regular recipe.

Please forgive the bad photo -
I'm convinced it's impossible to take a good picture of a Shepherd's Pie

Mummy Boome's Traditional Shepherd's Pie
Recipe by Danny Boome, adapted

Serves 4

Cook Time - 1 hr

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup beef stock
3/4 cups garden peas (I used corn)
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.

Add butter and oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until tender for about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables have softened and start to brown a little add the tomato paste and mix evenly. Add the ground beef and cook until beef is no longer pink about 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook and simmer for another 10 minutes. Mix in peas. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and spread evenly. Place potato on top of ground beef mixture and spread out evenly, once the top surface has been covered, rake through with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook until browned about 20 minutes. Spoon out the shepherd's pie and serve.

Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used milk)
3/4 cup grated mature white Cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large saucepan with cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Add potatoes to the water and bring to a boil. Let potatoes cook until soft about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are at a desired density, drain the potatoes and place them back into the saucepan for mashing. Add butter and cream and begin to mash potatoes into a semi smooth consistency. Once at desired texture add cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

***Now, here are my suggestions for a vegetarian friendly Shepherd's Pie - feel free to play around with the veggies and quantities to suit your own tastes**

1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1-2 TBSP flour
1 cup corn
1 cup garden peas
1/2 - 3/4 cup green beans
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, recipe above

Add butter and oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until tender for about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables have softened and start to brown a little add the tomato paste and mix evenly. Add the stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook and simmer for another 10 minutes. If the mixture needs to thicken, add 1-2 TBSP flour and whisk together. Mix in peas, corn, and green beans. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and spread evenly. Place potato on top of the veggie mixture and spread out evenly, once the top surface has been covered, rake through with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook until browned about 20 minutes. Spoon out the shepherd's pie and serve.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The best apple pie ever

It's not quite apple season yet in Minnesota (speaking of which, when will the grocery store start stocking fresh apples?), but that didn't stop me from making my fabulous apple pie recently. I realize, after re-reading my posts, that I actually have blogged about this pie before, but I figure 1). I didn't include a picture before, and 2). it's just that good. I've also used this recipe with fresh rhubarb instead of apples with great success.

Dutch Apple Pie
recipe from my mom

Bottom Crust
1 stick melted butter
1 TBSP sugar
1 cup flour

4-5 sliced apples (sour-ish ones are better)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Top Crust
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix bottom crust together with a fork and press into pie plate.

Mix sliced apples and cinnamon/sugar; put in pie tin with the bottom crust. When filled, it should look sort of like a dome.

Mix brown sugar, flour, & butter to a crumbly mass (do this with your hands). Top the apples with this mixture.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.