Did you miss me?

Baby, if you've ever wondered, wondered, whatever became of me....... Well, I'm not the love child of Herb Tarlek and Jennifer Marlowe, living on the air in Cincinnati, delighting in the misadventures of the staff of a struggling fictional radio station. 

Nope, I've just been busy I guess. And uninspired. This doesn't mean I haven't prepared/eaten/experienced incredible culinary delights of recent, it just means I haven't shared them with you! HA!

The re-cap of said delights includes everything from eating a bacon cookie (bacon in a cookie), taking a lovely class on "mastering meats", successfully making Bonefish Grill's Bang-Bang Shrimp at home (sooooo good), and of course, peanut sauce. MMMM. Peanut sauce.

This past weekend, with the fabulous weather which graces Seattle (and I'm sure Cincinnati) in February, we were in the mood for winter comfort. For me, comfort food means it's hot, and either carb-y, cheesy, meaty, or starchy. Or if you are lucky, a combination of two or three. Well, you can have your cake and eat it too with the recipe I settled on. "Healthy" Shepherd's Pie. I found a recipe which calls for the leanest ground beef (94% lean), with a sweet potato topping.


For the filling:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped very small
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 level tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh beef stock
  • Salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the crust:

  • 2 pounds Sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup scallions, cleaned and chopped
  • 3/4 cup white Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep saute pan. Brown the beef. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the onions to the pan and saute until the onions are opaque. Add the chopped carrots and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add the, tomato paste, thyme, parsley and crushed red pepper. Stir and saute for 2 minutes. Next, stir in the flour, which will soak up the juice, then stir in the wine and the beef stock. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Return the meat to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Peel the potatoes, cut them into large even-sized pieces and place into a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook potatoes until they are tender, about 10 minutes.

When the potatoes are done, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan, add the butter, sour cream, milk and mash them to a puree. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the green onion.  Then stirl in 1/4 cup of cheddar, and 1/4 cup of gruyere until well combined. When the meat is ready, spoon it into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and level it out with the back of the spoon. After that, spread the mashed potato evenly all over. Scatter the cheese over the potatoes and bake the pie until the top is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes.

"Signing off" until the next post! (which WILL be sooner than later)


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