Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not Your Average Sheppard

Hello Sweets,

Are y'all having a wonderful weekend?  Mine is pretty quiet and that's only because I'm dealing with a lot of pain, surprise surprise :(  But none the less I am alive and smiling (most of the time), so I really can't complain right?  I know it's been forEVER since I have written a post and for that I apologize, but I have still been creating in the kitchen so I think once this post is done it will really get the ball rolling again!  So I know I gave you guys fair warning of cookie overload due to my little sisters upcoming wedding, but I thought today I'd step away from the sweets (only for a moment though lol) and get back to where my love of cooking really came to head :)

Like most little girls, my kitchen adventures started by helping mom and grandma with baking. One of my favorite things to help with when I was little was, and yes it is silly, sifting flour.  I don't know what it was but I loved the noise the sifter made with each click of the handle and I ALWAYS had to do it lol.  But it wasn't until I was about twelve years old that I cooked a meal for my family all on my own, yup no help at all :)  First I'd like to give you a little background on my family so you can understand why this was my first dish that I made :)  My grandmother in English, her grandparents immigrated here after world war one so we had typical dishes such as fish and chips, now don't get me wrong I love my grandma but she doesn't use a whole lot of spices lol I don't know if that's part of her upbringing or what but my grandfather hates that.  My grandfather is Maltese (Italy kicked Sicily and pushed Malta, seriously that's what it looks like lol), he immigrated here when he was nineteen years old, he comes from a lot of pasta dishes....obvious huh.  So naturally my mother stuck more to the English side of the cooking, but thank the Lord she used spices lol she's the one the taught me no measurements just the nose ;)  So I made a dish that she had made my entire life, Sheppard pie :), except for one little thing that I don't think she even realized.  Sheppard's look after sheep/lambs so naturally the meat in the dish is corresponding with the association, well not quite at our house because we used beef.  No big deal right?  Well funny thing happened today, it's no secret I'm a huge fan of Gordon Ramsey so I watch a lot of Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen, and by a lot I mean all lol.  So while relaxing early I decided to watch some reruns and what happens?  He orders Sheppard's pie from this restaurant and it's made with beef, he looks at the waitress with one of his priceless looks and says "it's not Sheppard's pie, it's a cottage pie when it has beef in it".  Well you know the saying 'you learn something new every day', well I just learned something new and I'm glad I did because I wouldn't want to misinform my lovely readers :)  And I was surprised when they served it with gravy  and thought to myself jeez I think my mom invented a whole different dish, but then he pointed out it shouldn't have it lol.  Any-who here is my "updated" version of Sheppard's, I mean Cottage Pie, and I say updated because I've added some new things :)

Cottage Pie
1lb extra lean ground beef
2 large russet potatoes, cubed
1/2 onion, diced
1 can of corn, drained
2Tbs butter
couple dashes of milk
1/2Tbs garlic powder
1Tsp cayenne powder
1/2Tsp black pepper
pinch of salt

1)  Wash the potatoes and cut into smaller cubes to boil, I left the skins on but you can peel them if preferred.  Place in a pot of water and boil until they become soft, or until a fork pierces them easily. 

2)  While the potatoes are boiling, place the onions into a frying pan and sweat them off (soften).  Add the ground beef cooking thoroughly with a little of each of the spices added and then drain the excess grease from the pan.  Place the meat and onions in the bottom of a casserole dish.

3)  Next you want to mash your potatoes; drain the water from the pot and add the salt, some pepper, garlic, and a pinch of  cayenne.  Add the butter and milk and mash away!

4)  Place the corn in a layer over the beef, and then finally the mashed potatoes.  Finish it off in the oven at 400F until the potatoes have slight color and crispiness to them.

There you have it, the very first meal I ever made on my own when I was young :)  I know some people like to add gravy to theirs, but if you season everything correctly you won't need it ;)  

Just so y'all are aware the cookie overload commences again tomorrow, so be prepared to see something sweet, besides me that is lol just kidding.  Until next time................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxoxo

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