Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shepards Pie

Shepard's pie is one of the first things I made from scratch.  I've made it so often that I almost forgot to mention it on this blog.  I really does encorporate evrything I believe in...if a meal could represent ones beliefs...

Wikipedia says... 
Cottage pie or shepherd's pie is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato.  The term cottage pie is known to have been in use in 1791, when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor.

Wikipedia goes on to say that you can use any kind of leftover meat in this dish.  One of our favorites is venison.  My mom and her fella left for Arizona and left us with their meat!  What a score!

Hubbie browned the ground off a few days ago.

That was pefect!  

All I had to do was saute the veggies, add the meat and make the juice. 

I used a full carrot from our garden (stored in moist peat moss), 3 cloves of verona garlic festival garlic, pressed, saute both until soft.  Add meat and a liberal dash of worchestershire sauce.  Prepare 2 packets of beef boullion and add to the mixture.  Heat until flavours mix and the juice gets thicker.  Add a turn of steak spice of your choice and simmer.  When the mixture gets to smelling great...add the peas and corn (or beans) all of which we had frozen while they were in season and stored in ziploc bags in the freezer.

I have to admit to a certain amount of sneakiness here...I hide parsnips in with the mashed potatoes! 

I used several brown potatoes from our garden (stored in buckets in the basement in dry peat).  But I also slipped in 3 hunks of frozen parsnip too.  I boil them right along with the taters and mashed them with milk, a dash of cream and a big helping of butter.  S & P to taste.

I scooped all the venison mixture in a large dish...then smooth out the surface with the spatula. 
I add large dollops of mashed potatoes to the top...and smooth it out too.
I always add a dash of salt to the top of the mashed potatoes and a tsp of butter on top (to make the mashed topping get a bit crispy!)

I love that eating shepard's pie feels like you are eating a bit of history.

What you're really doing is using almost everything out of a garden and adding in someone's free meat

You also have one heck of a great recession-busting, not-made-of-turkey, beat-the-winter-chills celebration dish!  Here's to the home made goodness of gardening all year round!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Making home made donuts...

My hubbie has threatened for some time to make home made donuts...

We both find it funny that Noah the 10 yr old has no idea you can make everything from scratch.

It blows Noah's we like to show him every once in a while how you can do it!

It keeps the kids occupied for some time.  It shows them how to cook for themselves.

It truly is a learning experience to see how much work goes into making things we take for granted in this fast food world.  It's gotten to the point that we have very little patience for waiting anymore.  You can get a full meal presented to you in 30 sec at McDonald's. 

I guess as parents, Ches and I like to show our kids that instantaneous is just not realistic.

So we set out to make donuts...(sorry I got off on a tangent)...we used the bread maker to start the dough.  It proofed for a while.  Owen decided "proofing" meant we stopped making donuts. 
The bread machine then "punches" the dough...basically beating it up a bit and then letting it proof some more.  At that point, Owen was convinced "proofing" meant we were teasing him and there weren't actually going to be any donuts.

We decided to move onto something else...making the filings!  We made a blueberry fill and an apple fill.  The apples were frozen from the ones we picked from our neighbours wee tree.  They are very sweet, so they didn't require too much extra sweetening, just the basics...cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and some brown sugar.  We mashed it all up until it was like a thick apple sauce (and smelled like pie!).

The blueberry filling was good too...we had frozen blueberries bought on Hwy 7 near Madoc.  In case you didn't August...Hwy 7 is THE place to buy your blueberries.  Ches added white sugar and a dash of vanilla.  We simmered it on the stove and mashed it with a fork.

That seemed to tide the kids over until it was time to actually cook the donuts.  We don't have a deep we filled a deep pan on the stove with veg oil and brought it up to temp.  The dough was formed into shapes and left to rise a bit more.  We fried them in the oil for a couple of minutes a side.  Set donuts aside to cool.  After a while you can fill them with one of those icing decorators filled with whatever filling you want.  We coated some with a honey glaze and tossed some in icing sugar mix. 

This was definitely one of the more decadent recipe experiments by far.  Noah remarked that these were the best 6 hours donuts he'd ever had...since that was about how long it took us to get through the whole process...start to finish.  There was no real savings or health benefit in making these donuts at home.  They were pretty tasty...and they lasted a few days after (way longer than the average Tim's donut) without going stale right away.

This was just one fun thing to do with your kids. 

Just make them help clean up the mess of icing sugar after all is said and done.