Thursday, June 14, 2007

Shepherds Pie

According to Wikipedia, so called because it was originally made with lamb. When I looked for a bit of info this blog showed up. I have been there previously and what a lot of work this man puts into his blog. It is great.

In the comments someone said that since sheepherding is a solitary occupation... it should be apostrophe s... someone else says it is of s apostrophe.. still others say.... oh, who knows now..I read all that a few days ago. I forget. Please do check out his site though....
There is a ton of info to read through as well as his great recipes and methods. He has lots of wonderful pics showing the whole of his process for whatever he is demonstrating.

This particular day I was using ground turkey as I had some leftover from my previous day.. now I have forgotten what I was making...oh, yes...enchiladas...
One thing I always do when making my Shepherds Pie is to put an egg in my well mashed spuds..along with some butter. I also make sure to put the mashed potatoes right against the edges of the casserole dish so that it does not boil over the edges..and mostly it doesn't.....also..that means I must make an opening in the center to allow for juice and steam to escape... Always place the casserole dish on a baking sheet in case.... you don't want to clean your oven just because you made Shepherds Pie! A spill on a baking sheet is so much easier to clean.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Artichoke Chicken

8 or 10 chicken thighs (pounded thin)
1 small jar artichokes ( I buy marinated..more flavour)
Handful of mushrooms
Half a small onion
Small clove of garlic
Feta cheese.. ( as much or as little as you like)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese…or Tomato Basil Havarti
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Sprinkle of sweet basil
Sprinkle of parsley
Sprinkle of thyme (or you could use Herbes De Provence)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)

In a bowl, combine some cheese, dry mustard, paprika and any of the other spices that you like. Use as much cheese as you want to distribute over the number of pounded thighs you have in your baking dish. Reserve some for the topping……

Sautee mushrooms and onions… I like to use a bit of butter and some of the marinade from the artichokes. Add minced garlic near end of sautéing to avoid burning it…

Place pounded thighs in a lightly oiled baking dish. (you could also use a small amount of the marinade if that is the type of artichokes you chose). Distribute the spice and cheese mixture evenly over the thighs. Break up the artichokes and distribute them over the chicken as well. Cover with the remaining chicken thighs. Pour the wine into the dish..or use some more of the marinade and a little chicken broth.

Bake at 350 F for about 30 mins. or so.. I like to start baking without a lid…but if the exposed parts of the thighs tend to get a bit dry looking.. place a lid for part of the cooking time. Near the end of the baking time.. add the reserved cheese mixture and leave lid off. If you may broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Just giving you some flowers today...
Siberian Iris in full bloom....

Friday, June 8, 2007

His and Hers Enchiladas

That's what I call them anyway .... because if you notice, there is cheese and plenty of it on the left side and not much at all on the one guy waaaaayy over to the right side. That is my side. Waaaaahhhhhhh.... oh, alright it is not a big deal. So far "he" doesn't have any problems with cholesterol or anything else for that matter... I, on the other hand, inherited some defective genes it seems. I eat no cholesterol at all.. none... and still my cholesterol level is up there. Like so many things in just ain't fair! but, there you have it...and so... isn't that the great thing about doing your own cooking and baking? You can adjust amounts of anything and everything you use for ingredients... gotta love it. This is my "sort of" basic recipe...but use whatever you like in amounts you like... I just use what looks good for ratio in most of my cooking... and sometimes less or different ingredients if that is all I have on hand.

Chicken Enchiladas

most of a large tin of diced tomatoes
cup of Salsa
cup of yogurt
cup or cup and half of sliced cooked chicken
cup of cheese of choice
tin of refried beans ( with green chilis for a heat kick)
sauteed mushroom and onions (optional)
4 or 5 tablespoons of corn relish..(optional)
sprinkle of dried herbs as you like (basil, cilantro, Herbes de Provence, etc)
4 or 5 large tortillas

Combine tomatoes, Salsa and yogurt until blended and set aside. Combine chicken, cheese and relish if using. (I just leave all ingredients separate so that I can mix and match my tortillas.. some for me...some for him..etc... ) Heat tortillas in microwave in moist towel to make them easy to roll and fold.. or.. heat tablespoon of oil in pan and cook a bit til hot. Drain on paper towel if using oil.

Spread each with some of the refried bean paste but stay about an inch or so from the edges; add some chicken mixture, onions and mushrooms if using; a dollop of yogurt; then roll up tucking in sides if possible. It prevents the mixture from oozing out when it bakes.

Place in lightly oiled baking dish with a bit of the tomato mix on the bottom... then pour the remaining tomato mixture over the rolls. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 20 to 30 mins or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle more cheese on top and bake a few mins longer til melted, th
en turn oven to broil for a few more mins. Enjoy!..

Look...Leonard is finished. And.. he has a friend..... actually that is Leonard IV with the ladybug... Leonard V feels left out in the bug department.. sort of looks like he is pointing ...saying... see? bug!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 bananas
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (I never use it…salted butter has plenty for me!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
Small handful dark semi sweet chocolate chips (to personal taste)
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer… add the sugar and continue to mix ‘til light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla and the bananas; continue to mix ‘til bananas are well broken down.

In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and then add all at once to the moist ingredients… toss in some chocolate chips.. a small handful is plenty! Stir with wooden spoon just until moist and still lumpy. Don’t over mix or it becomes like cake batter (well, unless that is what you prefer …. as you may already know… I like rustic texture for my muffins).

Spoon into paper lined muffin tin….(for easier clean up!) Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 20 – 25 mins. or so, until golden brown …depends on size of muffins…. Check with a toothpick for doneness. I use a tin that makes 8, but if you have a smaller could probably get 12 with this recipe.

Hint: When bananas get soft or brown and you don’t want to eat them .. put them into the freezer. When you want to use them for baking… take them out a few hours in advance.. they will be perfect. When it says add bananas…just slice off the top and squeeze the contents into the mixer mess no mashing!
If you forget to take them out soon enough... you can always microwave them on a plate for a few minutes at a very low setting to defrost them.

There you are Gaby...give them a try... then I am coming for tea and muffins...

Poor little Leonard hung out all day ...waiting for various body parts to be stitched. One ear is still just pinned... he needs stuffing...and toes...yep... pudgy ones....

Hiya....I am Leonard. Look...even bears can go to College...hahahhahha

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

mmm...more muffins.......

A perfect day for baking... it is pouring rain. The banana/chocolate chip muffins are done... now for chocolate date loaf.

I am getting some work done on the bears too... a nose for Leonard V today...finally he can smell the muffins! Better watch I don't get any chocolate on his fur......

The little girl in the background is a painting on the front of a cutting board given to me by a Russian friend. I never use it for a cutting board! She is too cute to put face down.

Back later with the recipe... onward....