Hump Day Blurb - Belated St. Patty's Day Edition

Anyone else look upon Hump Day with the same I-can't-believe-it's-Wednesday-MAN-it's-only-Wednesday goggles as I? Life has been an out-of-body experience for me lately - seeing it happen, but not quite completely there. Weird, I tell you!

Last night I was tapped by Inspiration's Wand and attempted some cookies I've been pondering for a while - Double Chocolate Chip with Cranberries and Mascarpone. They still needs some tweaking, but by all accounts the first batch was a rousing success! All the cookies I brought to work disappeared; a few co-workers even came back for seconds. I gave one cookie to the lady who brings caters our lunches (she's also a cookie-maker extraordinare!) - I'm going to pick her brain tomorrow. Isaac thought they were awesome, I gave a small batch to Shiloh's daycare provider;and Ben brought the rest to work. Spread the calories, that's my motto! I have a couple of ideas on how to make them better; and whence the cookies reach my standards, I'll share the recipe.

The other day, whilst gazing fondly upon the memories of the Rocking Good Time, I saw the photos of my Irish Heritage Culinary Homage. I completely forgot to regale you with its fabulousness! The Shepard's Pie I shared last year, but this year I got crazy with my bad self (in terms of presentation that is). The instructions at the end say to "Spread the potatoes and make decorative swirls with the back of a spoon." 3. 2. 1. Use your pastry bag and star attachment! Pastry bag - not just for frosting! Anyone who knows me well at all will understand the kind of effort it took for my gray matter to jump that hurdle...


Turkey and Leek Shepard's Pie

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

FILLING

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic,minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, or 1/2 teaspoon dried, rubbed
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey, or chicken (see Tip)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

MASHED POTATOES

  • 2 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2-3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
WAHT TO DO:
  1. To prepare filling: Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and carrots and cook, stirring, until the leeks soften, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
  2. Pour in wine and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add flour and sage and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour starts to turn light brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and the carrots are barely tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add turkey (or chicken) and peas and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a deep 10-inch pie pan or other 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
  4. To mash potatoes and bake pie: Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Cover and shake the pan over low heat to dry the potatoes slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  5. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or whip with an electric mixer, adding enough buttermilk to make a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg and 1 tablespoon oil.
  6. Spread the potatoes on top of the turkey mixture. With the back of a spoon, make decorative swirls. Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake until the potatoes and filling are heated through and the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: 10-inch pie pan or other 2-quart baking dish
  • Tips: Use leftover roasted turkey or chicken. Or to poach chicken breasts, place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 331 calories; 8 g fat ( 2 g sat , 4 g mono ); 73 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein;5 g fiber; 358 mg sodium; 991 mg potassium.
I could eat this whole thing in one day
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

CAKE


1 cup Guinness
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
2 1/2 tsp of baking soda

topping


8 oz of cream cheese
1 1/4 cups of confectioners sugar
1/4 cup of heavy cream (I used 1% milk)

WHAT to do:

CAKE


Preheat the oven to 350; butter and line a 9 inch springform pan. (One speciality baking item I do possess - woo-hoo!)

Pour the Guinness (glug, glug) into a large, wide saucepan, add the lipids (butter) and heat until the butter's melted. Then whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a separate bowl beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Pour that concoction in with the brown, buttery beer; finally add the flour and baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool in the pan on a cooling rack - this is quite a moist cake. (Did you know that moist is one of the moist reviled words in the English language?? Even more so than the "F" word...)

TOPPING

Lightly whip the cream cheese in a mixer until smooth. Add the sugar by 1/2 cupfuls until blended. Add the cream, or milk, until a creamy-yet-not-runny consistency. Whence the cake is completely cooled, pile on the icing - "it should resemble the frothy top of the famous pint."



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