Because we're still not getting out a lot, this will be another recipe post (which have been pretty well received!)
Probably twenty years ago we went over to a friends for dinner and were served Shepherds Pie. Well technically if it's not made with lamb or mutton, it's cottage pie, but what the heck. Anyway, we loved it and I have been making it in various forms ever since.
Start with a pound or two of hamburger, sauteed with garlic and onions till its nice and brown and the onions have released their juice and are translucent. Then add in some veggies, whatever you have on hand, but peas, carrots and corn are my favorites. If you have a bag in the freezer that will do just fine. Let these all mix together till nice and warm and bubbly.
When this is all blended I like to add in a can of cream of mushroom soup and a cup or so of milk. When this is all blended, add in a package of dry gravy mix. Now you can use beef broth here, or even chicken stock, or even make your own gravy, just be creative and use what you have on hand. The consistency you are looking for here is like the filling for a meat pie, neither too dry nor too wet. When it looks just right, it's time to begin the final seasoning.
I like to add a bit of Worcestershire, and then see where it goes. A bit of rosemary, a pinch of oregano, a hit of Cholula, use your imagination, but be sure to taste it to make sure it's heading in the right direction.
When it tastes really scrumptious, put it in a casserole and go on to the next step which is the potatoes. Ideally, this will be freshly mashed potatoes, but I've been known to use leftovers, instant mashed potatoes and even frozen hash browns in a pinch. I like to add some cheese to the potatoes, just to give them a bit more flavor but this is optional. Next, slather the mashed potatoes all over the beef mixture and make it nice and pretty. Sometimes I make rows in the potatoes with a fork so there will be a bit of design to brown up on the top of teh casserole.
Bake it for about thirty minutes at 350 degrees and it should be dandy!
As I write this, I've just taken mine out of the oven and OH NO, I've made a HUGE mistake. I'm such a ninny . . . Instead of making it in a nice flat cake pan, I made it in a taller sauce pan, and it never got crunchy on top.
But you know what? As Terry says, "It still eats good".
And it is yummy if I do say so myself. That said, it's not going to win any points in the presentation category! C'est la vie!
While I'm talking about cooking, I'd like to mention my newest most favorite kitchen item. They're called Ove Gloves and they are just the best thing since sliced bread.
I've been wrestling with oven mitts in various forms for years. The quilted ones are never thick enough and I've gone through three sets of silicone mitts, all too thick and clumsy to actually perform the job they were designed for.
Ah, but the Ove Glove, now that's a thing of beauty. These are actual gloves, knit (knitted?) from kevlar, with some blue silicone applied on the surface so that they are not only heat resistant but non slip.
Since they are gloves rather than mitts, they give you great flexibility. While you will feel a teensy bit of heat if you go all the way into the oven, they definitely allow you to reach right in and pick up anything that is piping hot without ever coming close to hurting yourself. They even say that you can reach right into a fire pit and move logs with these gloves, but I haven't tried that, I'm a chicken. The one thing you need to know is that if they get wet, they will conduct heat, but if you use them dry, they really can't be beat.
While they're a bit expensive at $15.00 per glove (and you REALLY need a pair, one won't do) they're totally worth it.
We have high hopes of going out to view the cranes tomorrow, so maybe I'll finally get some more pictures to post.
Life is good.