Tag Archives: tuesday meals

MondayMeals- Shepard’s Pie

So good!

Monday Meals!  Monday Meals!

So last week I finally got to try the recipe I’ve been wanting to do for a while- Shepard’s Pie. 

I was excited to try this one, not only because it is so yummy, but because I would also get to kill 2 birds with one stone.  1. I’ve never made Shepard’s pie before, and 2. I’ve never made mashed potatoes before!  For those of you who may not know (for whatever reason), Shepard’s pie is a 3 layer masterpiece- bottom layer of beef, then veggies, then mashed potatoes.  Mmmmm!

This week, I don’t think I’ll go through the whole recipe- you can look at it yourself if you click here!  BUT I will say this- here are a couple of things to be aware of when making this meal.

1.  I didn’t make enough mashed potatoes.  I mean I could have just used the first round, and it would have looked budget, but still tasted good.  I just didn’t want my first Shepard’s pie to go out like that though.  So after I had piled all the beef, then corn, then the potatoes I had into the dish, I left it to sit for like 30 minutes while I again, boiled water, then cooked the potatoes, then mashed them.  Ugh.  Was it worth it?  YES!  the 2nd round of potatoes were much mashier, and creamier, and better all together. (the first round were more clumpy than anything, but blended in none the less.)

2.  The recipe lied about the number of potatoes needed to make this pie. (See number 1.)

3.  Guinness tastes sooooooooooooooooooo much better when it is cooked with, rather than drinking it straight!  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  I know!  I’m Irish, but I just don’t like to drink the stuff.  Truth be told, when I visited the Guinness brewery, I wasted my whole glass of Guinness.  Didn’t really drink more than one sip!  Anywho, back to the pie- you’re probably thinking, Erin- Guinness isn’t even on the list of ingredients!  No, it’s not you’re right!  BUT I always read the suggestions or comments to the recipes, and in this case someone suggested using Guinness while cooking the beef to thicken it up.  Well, it didn’t really thicken anything up in my case (I also might not have done it correctly though), but boy did it ever smell and taste delicious!  Try it for real! Oh, I also added mushrooms and onions to the beef (not the carrots and peas).  Also, my pie was built like so (in case you didn’t figure it out already!) : bottom layer was beef, then corn, then mashed potatoes! (Just like Dad used to make!)

4.  It’s really hard to mess this up! 🙂

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Alright.  That’s it for tonight.  And yes, I do know it isn’t Monday any longer, but I started writing this last night in hopes of making it before midnight and didn’t get it done!  Deal with it!

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Monday/Tuesday Meals/Desserts

mmmmmm!

what what!

So when I got back from my 30th birthday trip, I decided to recreate some brownies that my friend Bai made my first night in Cali.  Didn’t work.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe the sugar didn’t melt into the chocolate the way it was supposed to, perhaps putting them in the refrigerator when the recipe said store at room temperature did it.  But whatever it was the brownies were hard, and all stuck together like cement.  It was gross.  AND very inedible.

So last night I decided to re-recreate these suckers! 

Here is the recipe:

(FYI I was totally going to type it all out until I realized Bai sent it to me over email!  Yay copy and paste! 🙂 )

Classic Brownies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)

So yea.  When I started mixing the sugar into the melted chocolate, it was looking really lumpy AGAIN, but I didn’t freak out….I just continued.  Also, Bai gave me a few tips before starting this time- try using cake flour as opposed to regular flour, it will be fluffier, and this tip he gave me while in California- use high-end chocolate.  It does make a difference.  Seriously.  Aside from dinner today, brownies was all I ate.  I love them. 

Long story short, they did turn out.  Though I didn’t wait for them to cool completely, so they are all in like weirdly shaped clumps in the tupperware, but they are fantastically good weirdly shaped clumps, so no worries! 🙂

finished product!

the aftermath :S

 

Oh, before I forget, funny story!  While in San Fran, I discovered that Ghirardelli Chocolate is made there.  Sooooo good!  Which is the chocolate Bai used to make his brownies.  So when I got back, naturally I tried to find some here.  I tried everywhere!  grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Pharmacies, Bulk Barns.  You named it, I tried it.  I then went to Facebook to appeal to friends to see who knew where to get some!  Well, I learned a couple of things then.

1.  There is a lindt warehouse in Mississauga.  Dangerous!

2. Roger Leavens is a man of his word. 

Roger is a friend of my husband.  (Well ok, he is my friend too :P)  Anywho, he lives in the Tdot, and replied that he would mail me some.  2 days later, I got an Xpress post package delivered FULL of chocolate! 

Thanks Roger!

 Keep in mind there are 2 bars missing that I used to bake with!  It was an exciting piece of mail to say the least!  I also ended up getting a belated birthday gift from my sister in-laws of ghirardell chocolate too, which was also very exciting.  I guess Facebook can be good for something after all! 🙂

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Tuesday Meals…Mardi Gras Edition!

Mardi Gras Parade!

So as you all know (if you’ve been reading the blog!) I visited New Orleans just about a month ago.  Well, today is Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Pancake Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday.  In honour of today, I decided to go all out and make pancakes! 

Pancakes=easy right?  Well I guess it depends on what kind of pancakes you’re making.  Since I decided to make pancakes for dinner, I tried to recreate a favourite recipe of my gramma’s (and yes I know I spelled grandma wrong, but that’s just how I spell it!)- potato pancakes.  It’s never really been a super fave of mine…I’m a texture person, and frankly pancakes in general are just a tad too mushy for me.  HOWEVER, when I was in San Fran- blog about that still to come (I’m in the process of writing it!), we went to a German restaurant/bar, and we had the BEST potato pancakes EVER!  They weren’t even really pancakes, they were more like cakes.  Super good potato cakes.  Mmmmmm!

So, I looked up some recipes, and they all basically said you have to grate potatoes, and all of them basically said that grating them sucked.

I don’t really know what kind of potatoes they were grating, but it look like 4 minutes total, and it was pretty fricken easy.  Take that potato pancake recipe writers!

Ok, so you basically grate potatoes, then…. well to be honest I didn’t really follow a recipe.  As per usual I guess!  Matt came home and got on the computer, and wouldn’t get off it, so I kind of remembered what was in most of the recipes, and just went from memory. 

Here’s what I did put in them:

  • grated potato
  • an egg
  • about 2 table spoons of flour
  • chopped onion

I think that’s it.  Oh- I did use seasoned salt.  But that’s it.  I basically just mushed them into balls, put them in a frying pan, and waited until they looked brown.  Mine didn’t really ever get brown.  In fact, while cooking I got really disappointed because they looked almost green.  I think it might have been the EVOO I used in the pan, but I can’t really be sure- I’ve never made these before!

fry 'em up!

Anywho, I only made 4 because I wasn’t sure about them, but they were actually really good, and Matt was sad I didn’t make more.

Because we were still hungry………

I ALSO MADE CREPES! 

I was very ambitious tonight!

So a little side story here…. when I was little my gramma used to make me “pancakes”.  I loved them.  She’d put apples, or blue berries in them, or just make them plain with a bit of sugar.  They were delicious!  She still makes them today and I love them.  However, she was making crepes.  I did not know this.  Then one day I slept over at a friend’s house, and her mom said she was making us pancakes for breakfast.  Well they were much different from my gramma’s, and I didn’t like how mushy they were.  Those were real pancakes.  😛  So tonight my friends, I also attempted to make apple cinnamon crepes!

I did follow a recipe.  But really it’s just all about a good balance between flour, milk, eggs and water.  Seriously.  Matt was shocked that there was nothing really special about the ingredients.

Here’s how I made them:

  1. Mix 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter until it’s smooth.  (Use a whisk!)
  2. Whisk in 1 cup of flour until it’s smooth.
  3. Cut up an apple into tiny pieces.  Add them to the mixture.
  4. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste. 
  5. Cook in a frying pan, or griddle like I did!!! (We got it as a wedding gift, and it was so handy and awesome!)

Gooey-appley crepey goodness!

Not sure why, but I didn't actually take a picture of the crepes cooking. None the less, here's the griddle!

Mmmmmmm!

That’s it yo.  If you want them thinner, add more liquid, if you like them thicker, do a tiny bit less water/milk.

Yay to pancake Tuesday!  Now I have pancakes for lunch tomorrow too! 🙂  Woot woot!

PS  I’ve been following a blog lately called One Wild and Precious Life.  The writer lives in NOLA, and blogs about everyday life there.  For the past couple weeks she has written about the days leading up to Mardi Gras.  It’s really pretty interesting.  Especially if you’ve never been to Mardi Gras!  Check it out fo sho!

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