Pi Day Special – Shepherd’s Pie

3/14, that most special of days! For those who aren’t quite as nerdy, it’s Pi Day, celebrating π, that mathematical constant usually used for calculating areas and volumes of circles – 3.1415926535… Okay, fine, it’s basically just an excuse to celebrate pies in all shapes and forms! So in honor of this day, I’m crashing Jessie’s blog to share a recipe that I prepared myself for Pi Day!

Since we are in the middle of Winter Storm Stella (STELLLLAAAA!) here in New York, I thought rather than a sweet or dessert pie I’d prefer something a little more hearty, to get me revved up for all the snow removal we would be doing later on. Shepherd’s pie, with its fluffy mashed potatoes atop savory ground beef filling, was the perfect solution.

DSC07758

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes, cubed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter (alright… I used 1.5, cuz more butter makes mashed potatoes so good!)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used provolone, which I had on hand)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, beans mix)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Melted butter to brush on top of mashed potatoes

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the potatoes. Cook until tender and easily pierced by fork, around 15 minutes. Drain in colander and mash in large bowl with butter and shredded cheese until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until starting to turn transparent, around 3 minutes. Add celery and continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Add mixed vegetables and cook 5 more minutes. I cooked until the water from the frozen vegetables had evaporated. Set aside vegetables and clean pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In the clean frying pan, add a small amount of oil. Add ground beef and brown, around 8-10 minutes. Drain of excess fat and reintroduce the vegetable mixture. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Spread the ground beef mixture in an even layer in a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and spread in an even layer. Brush melted butter on top of mashed potatoes.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. If the potatoes aren’t golden brown, you can put them under the broiler for 5 minutes or until they are browned, I like to watch it to make sure it doesn’t get burnt!
  7. Enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor! I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and if you would like to visit my blog please feel free (shameless plug over).
DSC07763

a messy plate of shepherd’s pie, living life on the edge… of the table.

~Peggy

Yakisoba

IMG-20170312-WA0005Adapted from My Korean Kitchen and Just One Cookbook and No Recipes

2 8-oz packages (400 g) fresh udon noodles
vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into thin sticks
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I forgot to buy!)
5-6 leaves of bok choy, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper (I used up some spinach instead)
dark soy sauce, sugar, rice wine (mirin), sesame oil, salt and pepper
yakisoba sauce
2-3 scallions, chopped

Heat a wok on high, then add the oil, then the seasonings with some water and swirl (to prevent burning). Cook the onion, then carrots, then bell pepper, then bok choy, and any other vegetables. Boil udon noodles according to package (about 1 minute for pre-cooked ones). Add the udon to the wok and stir fry and mix. Cook for about 4 minutes more, until noodles are still soft but with a slight crunchy exterior (some noodles will be a light brown color). Add yakisoba sauce, turn off the heat and coat well. Transfer to a plate, top with scallions. Serve.

~Jessica

Pappardelle al ragù alla bolognese

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

olive oil
1/2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, trimmed and finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g turkey mince
400g plum tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, dried oregano, 2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
125ml red wine
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
basil leaves, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
75g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
400g pappardelle (or tagliatelle or fettuccine if you like)

If using meat, cook the bacon first. Saute onions in olive oil/butter on medium heat until fragrant. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes. Add the carrot, then the celery and cook until softened. Add the ground meat and wine. Cook a bit. Add the tomatoes and puree/water, the chili pepper if you like, and all herbs. Let stew for 30-60 minutes. Boil water for the pasta meanwhile. Cook pasta one minute short (al dente). Add the pasta to the sauce and swirl to coat thoroughly. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan and torn basil. Buon appetito.

~Jessica

Stir fry noodles with bok choy

img-20170116-wa0034Adapted from mao mao mom

500 g Chinese noodles (I used fresh wheat)
3 splashes of soy sauce, 1 glug of vegetable oil
olive oil
1 bunch green scallions
garlic, ginger, chili (all chopped fine)
90 g shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 small carrots, julienned
400 g baby bok choy, separated into leaves
salt, white pepper, broth
2 glugs of sesame oil

Cook the fresh noodles in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain noodles and return to pot. Mix with the soy sauce and oil and “brown” the noodles on medium heat.

Heat oil in wok, and saute the scallions, chili, ginger, and garlic on high heat for 30 seconds. Add carrots and stir fry. Add mushrooms and stir fry. Add bok choy and stir fry. Season to taste with salt, pepper, broth.

Remove from heat, add the noodles, season with sesame oil, and toss. Serve hot.

~Jessica

Roast chicken & giblet gravy

img_0343Adapted from Ina Garten

7 lb. roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1/4 stick butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Set aside the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally season the inside of the chicken with salt, pepper, and herbs. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme/rosemary, both halves of lemon/orange, and all the garlic. Stuff butter under the skin of the chicken. Cover the wing tips with foil. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan (we didn’t have fennel, but added celery and potatoes). Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove chicken from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve.

img_0346Adapted from Alton Brown

chicken giblets, etc.
onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf } for giblet stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon potato starch (I’d use cornstarch)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the giblet stock: Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the neck and backbone and saute 5-6 minutes or until browned. Add the giblets, onion, carrot, celery and kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 4-5 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of water and add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and black peppercorns. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the stock reduces by half. Strain the stock. Discard all but giblets (chop and set aside). Combine some of the cooled stock with flour and starch, and add this back to the stock, whisking constantly, raising the heat and boiling for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk until desired consistency achieved. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped giblets and stir to combine.

~Jessica

Pot-au-feu

Adapted from Food Network and Buzzfeed (via Anthony Bourdain)

1 bouquet garni
1.4 L broth
pinch of black pepper
Camargue salt
6-8 whole cloves (I didn’t have)
1 onion
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 small leeks, outer leaves peeled, halved lengthwise
1 bunch carrots, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/2 celery stick, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 small turnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
some bone-in meat of your choice (I used a can of cassoulet de canard)
2 spoonfuls extra-virgin olive oil
200 g winter greens (I used frozen spinach)
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh parsley, to garnish

Tie 1/2 the parsley (I also added a sprig of thyme and bay leaves for a bouquet garni) and place in broth with spices. Simmer 10 minutes. Add leeks, carrots, turnips and cover. Bring to boil then simmer 15 minutes. Reserve broth and set aside vegetables. Here I heated a can of cassoulet and poached it 5 min. Add olive oil and greens, cook for 5-10 minutes. Return vegetables to the pot (discarding the green part of the leeks) and enough of the reserved broth to cover, then simmer for 10 minutes. Chop parsley and add to the pot. Ladle into bowls to serve, adding reserved broth as needed (less if you prefer gravy to soup).

Potatoes would have been good in this, or flour to thicken the soup into a gravy, and I didn’t have cloves. Green cabbage is an option as well. Traditionally served with coarse salt and Dijon mustard, horseradish sauce, and pickles.

~Jessica

Bun Chay

Bún Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad). Adapted from smitten kitchen and Cooking with a Wallflower

4-8 ounces dried rice sticks or vermicelli
12-18 large shrimp
peanut oil

Sauce
1 lime, the juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 cloves garlic, minced
ginger, finely grated
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
Chili pepper/chili paste, miso, Asian fish sauce, mirin (rice vinegar, if you can find it)

Greens
mixed greens
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of mixed herbs, coarsely chopped or torn (basil, mint, cilantro)

Garnish
2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and chopped
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
scallions
toasted sesame oil
Lime wedges (to serve)

imag0012Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, dissolve the sugar. Leave for 15 minutes. Refrigerate extras and use within a few days.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Toss vegetables with 1 spoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 – 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped marinated protein. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste. Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.