Posts Tagged ‘quick’

I hated Shepard’s Pie when I was a kid! Despised it even. And I could never figure out why. At first, my mom made it with a mix of peas and corn, which makes sense why I hated it because peas are gross. But then she started making it half with corn only – one of my favorite vegetables – and I still couldn’t stand it. Whenever it would come around in the dinner rotation, it was as if my world was ending (remember being a teenager and how that felt – ah, youth!).

I figured that Shepard’s Pie needed a second chance and in honor of the St. Patrick’s day next week, now was the right time. For this version, I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary except adding a thin gravy on top for some added flavor and cooking the sirloin in beer. Although in the end, I could have done with a thicker gravy, I can see that this old stand by is not nearly as bad as I remembered from my childhood.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sirloin, ground
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 1/2 red or orange bell pepper
  • 8 oz middle of the road beer (drink the rest)
  • 12 oz frozen corn (never canned), thawed
  • 2 lbs red bliss potatoes
  • 1/4 c cream (substitute half and half or milk)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 green onions, cut thin

1. Start by placing the potatoes in a pot of cold water with 1 tsp salt. Cook until the potatoes are easily pierced by a fork.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the onion, celery, and pepper to the pan and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the beef and cook until you cannot see any more pink. Pour in 8 oz of your favorite beer. Reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Take off the heat and set aside.

3. When the potatoes done, drain and add to a large glass bowl. Add the butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend with a hand mixer until you reach your desired consistency. If you find there is not enough liquid, add milk or cream slowly and blend until you get the consistency you desire. Add the green onions at the end and fold in.

4. To build your pie, place the meat at the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish. Add the corn and top, and then spread the mashed potatoes on top evenly. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until everything is warmed through and the potatoes begin to brown.

5. Serve hot out of the oven with a gravy.

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When I was growing up, I often tried to help my Dad by carrying the tools or shining a  flashlight whenever he was making repairs to the house or the family car. Something inevitably would go wrong and he always cursed his lack of the proper tools. Even today, we still joke about never having the right tool for the job.

I only bring this up because risotto intimidates many people, but it would be made incredibly simple by having the right tool for the job. In my Boston Baked Beans post, I mention the versatility of the pressure cooker and how it can make you life easier and introduce you to a whole new realm of cuisine. Here is yet another delightful application that can be made from start to finish in less than 20 minutes.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 lb scallops (U-12 preferred)
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 2 c Arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c White wine
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 tbsp butter
1. Take the scallops out of the refrigerator and set on the counter. Mince the onion and add to a pressure cooker with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Sweat the onion for 3 minutes ensuring you do not caramelize the onion. Turn the heat up to high and add the rice to the onion and continue until the rice begins to toast.
     

2. Very carefully, add the white wine to the rice. Wait for the steam to subside and then add the chicken stock and lemon zest to the pot. Stir to combine.
     
Note: If you prefer a more deliberate lemon flavor in you risotto, add 1/4 c lemon juice and reduce the wine to 1/4 c.

3. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and bring up to the highest steam level possible. When the button has popped, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and set a timer for 7 minutes.

4. As the rice is cooking, put two sauté pans over high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to each pan. When the fat is nearly smoking, add the scallops to the pans ensuring that the pan is not crowded and the scallops do not touch. DO NOT TOUCH the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the pan.

          


5. When the timer sounds, release the steam from the pressure cooker. Take the lid off and add the parmesan cheese and remaining butter. Stir and allow to melt.
     
6. Serve the scallops on top of a heaping pile of risotto. Garnish with lemon slices or quarters.

Technically, what I have for you here is not bruschetta. Technically, this is just tomato salad and the bruschetta part only comes into play when you toast some bread and place this on top.  But what-ever. You know exactly what I’m going to show you how to make today and if you reached this through an internet search, you probably typed in “bruschetta” hoping to find exactly this. Far be it for me to deny my readers what they want.

Ingredients (makes about 3 cups)

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut each tomato in half and scoop out the pulp. Dice the tomato halves. There is no rush, so take your time and keep the skin side up when dicing the tomato to make the cuts easier. Place the diced tomatoes into a large mixing bowl.

     

Note: Apparently when you place a yellow tomato on a green cutting board, it comes out orange in pictures. Who knew?

2. Mince the garlic, cut the basil into thin ribbons, and zest the entire lemon. Add these ingredients to the bowl with the tomatoes along with 1 tbsp lemon juice.

       3. Add the olive oil and combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Serve chilled over fish, chicken, or with bread.