Friday, October 28, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

After I finished eating this dinner I was so content.  It is more than perfect for a night when you want an easy dish to put in the oven and make every appetite happy!  You can substitute the ground lamb for any other ground meat you prefer.  Feel free to mix in whatever other veggies or cheese you have!


1 1/2 lb yukon gold or new potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1 5oz container nonfat yogurt
1 small onion chopped finely
4-5 carrots chopped finely
3 sprigs oregano
1 lb gound lamb
4 cups chopped chard leaves
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1. Peel potatoes and cover with cold water in a pot.  Preheat oven to 375.
2. Heat pot over medium high heat and cook until potatoes are done (about 25 minutes)
3. Meanwhile heat saute pan over medium high heat.  When hot add a few swirls of olive oil to the pan.
4. When oil is hot add the onion and carrot, cooking about five minutes until softening
5. Add oregano, salt and pepper to the veggies and stir to coat
6. Add lamb to the pan and break it up with a spoon as you start to brown it.
7. While lamb is cooking, mash potatoes and add yogurt and butter.  This is also a good place to add some salt/pepper to the mashed potatoes
8. When lamb is browned, add chopped chard to the skillet and stir to incorporate
9. To make the pie, use a deep baking dish or pyrex dish and spread the lamb mixture on the bottom. Evenly distribute the mashed potatoes on top and use a spatula to smooth.
10. Sprinkle cheese on top and cover with foil
11. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, remove the foil and place the pie under the broiler for 2 minutes to make the cheese slightly crispy
12. Serve with salad and hot sauce (not kidding, hot sauce is amazing on this dish!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Don Mac's Blood and Sand Martini

A very good family friend made this cocktail for us a few weekends ago and we are hooked.  It has an incredible flavor and is a super cocktail to make to impress your friends!


2 shots scotch (cheap blend is fine)
1 shot orange juice
1/2 shot cherry brandy
1/2 shot sweet vermouth
1 maraschino cherry

Combine in a shaker filled with ice and shake well (about a minute).  Pour into a frozen martini glass.  Do it again (Don's advice!).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Perfect Pot Roast

Chuck roast is a versatile and inexpensive cut of meat, perfect for this time of year when a good Sunday stew fits with the weather.  As long as you cook it "low and slow", you can't go wrong!

2 lb. boneless chuck roast (seasoned with salt/pepper)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups red wine
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 cup water
3-4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
7 small yukon gold potatoes

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2.  In a dutch oven or oven safe pot, heat olive oil over high heat.  When hot add meat and brown on all sides.
3. When meat is brown, add tomato sauce, wine, bouillon and water to the pot...the meat should have liquid about half way up the roast...if not, add a bit more water
4. Cook in the oven for 3 hours after three hours, carefully remove and carefully add potatoes and chopped carrots then return to the oven to cook for another hour
5. Remove the pot from the oven and let the roast rest in the juices for 20 minutes, if your roast was tied in string, carefully cut them off after removing the roast to a serving platter
6. Arrange the veggies around the roast and serve the sauce on the side in a gravy boat or similar device
7. We ate this with green beans and fresh homemade bread....YUM!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

It doesn't get more simple than this when it comes to a hearty and delicious fall soup.  You could substitute canned tomatoes in the winter when the fresh ones are out of the farmer's market.


2 lbs tomatoes cored and cut in 1/2
olive oil
10 basil leaves (slivered)
3 cups vegetable boullion
1/3 cup heavy cream room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet cut side up and drizzel lightly with olive oil then spinkle with salt (amount to your liking but not too much because there is salt in the broth)
3. Roast at 400 degrees for an hour
4. Five minutes before the hour is up sprinkle the basil on the tomatoes and return the pan to the oven for remaining 5 minutes
5. Remove from oven and carefully transfer tomatoes and their juices to a pot on the stove
6. Add broth and heat on medium heat until broth and tomatoes are simmering
7. Using an immersion hand blender, blend the broth and tomatoes and add salt to taste if still needed
8. Remove from the burner and slowly stir in room temp heavy cream
9. Serve with toast and enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin cookies with Chocolate Frosting

My friends know I'm not a "baker" but after I cooked fried chicken last night, I need something to make the apartment smell, well not like fried chicken and bacon.  Inspired by the autumnal changes, I decided to make a pumpkin cookie...originally I was going to make the brown butter frosting from Betty Crocker but at the last minute we decided to make a chocolate about one delicious cookie!!  If you don't like frosting you could put chocolate chips in the cookies...I'm just saying the possibilities are endless :)


Pumpkin Cookie Dough:

2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie!)
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Chocolate Frosting (aka Chocolate Heaven)

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cocoa powder (milk or dark cocoa powder is fine, whatever you have)
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a bowl and set aside
3. Combine sugars, vanilla and butter and mix on medium until well incorporated (2-3 minutes)
4. Add eggs and pumpkin puree and mix on low until combined (1-2 minutes)
5. With mixer on low speed, slowly incorporate dry mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed
6. Using two spoons (or however you like to put dough on a cookie sheet) transfer or "drop" the dough in equal size balls until sheet is filled (mine was about 8-9 per sheet)
7. Cook 10-12 minutes until cookies are firm but not crunchy
8. Remove to a rack and let cool
9. Repeat with remaining dough
10. While cookies are in the oven, make the frosting
11. Using a hand mixer, combine butter and cocoa power (about 1-2 minutes)
12. Blend in milk and vanilla
13. Add powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time so you don't have a sugar explosion in the kitchen
14. When all sugar is well mixed in you are ready to use the frosting!  I recommend you let the cookies cool about 30 minutes before you frost.
15. Eat and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baked Falafel

I had an epiphany can make homemade and delicious falafel from almost any type of bean. Here I use a shelling bean in place of the traditional garbanzo but the possibilities are endless (lima, fava, gigante anyone?).  Serve with all of your favorite falafel toppings for a delicious and protein packed meal!


2 cups cooked beans
3 garlic cloves
10 sprigs parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine cooked beans and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse about 1 minute
3. Add egg, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper and puree the mixture
4. Using two spoons, drop the falafel balls onto a greased cookie sheet (as if you were making drop cookies).  The size should be about an 1 inch diameter
5. Cook in the oven 30 minutes or until falafel are browning
6. Serve with pita, Mint Tzatziki, lettuce, thinly sliced tomato and baba ghannoush!