Shepherds Pie

Mains

Shepherds pie has always been the sort of meal I took for granted. Effortlessly, my mother would whip it together in a heartbeat: Boil the potatoes, brown the meat, add the veggies, mash the taters, cup the cheese and voila–molten cheese atop perfect potato ridges, and delicious meaty goodness. Unlike mac and cheese, or other “comfort” type foods, this dish never saw a bad day. Nadia Fortune has literally nailed it for as long as I can remember.

Although it’s always been one of my favorite meals, once I left for college I realized shepherds pie was not a staple in most households. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I gift you all with a festive recipe to remember. As a proud  British descendant, I also urge you to keep this on the menu as often as possible!

S H E P H E R D S    P I E

Ingredients

1 1/2 Pound ground meat*

1 Garlic Clove

1 Onion

4 Sprigs of fresh thyme (yields approximately 1 teaspoon)

1 Cup beef broth

2 Cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon flour

6 Medium sized potatoes

1/4 Cup milk

1/2 Teaspoon onion powder

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

1/3 Block cheddar cheese

1/2 Teaspoon pepper

1/2 Teaspoon salt

Note: *Today we used ground venison but ground beef is pretty standard and ground turkey works well too.

Process

For the Potatoes

  1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes into quarters. Place into a large pot with a pinch of salt and boil on high (without the lid).
  2. Once the potatoes can be pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes of boil time), turn off the burner and pour out the water. Mash potatoes with a large fork, mixing in milk, butter, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove all lumps.

For the Meat and Vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop fresh garlic and onion and place into a large pan with olive oil on and set the temperature to high. Let this cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Turn temperature to medium and add the ground meat of your choosing. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
  4. Once the meat has browned, add 1 cup of beef broth to the pan, cover with the lid, and turn the temperature to medium-low. Once the broth begins to simmer, pour flour into the pan sifting 1/2 tablespoon at a time, slowly working it in to create a roux.
  5. Bring frozen vegetables to temperature (either in the microwave or in a separate pan on the stove). Add vegetables into the pan with the meat.

Assembly

  1. Pour the contents of the meat and vegetable pan into a baking dish (8×8 square or 10×8 round should fit well) IMG_2282
  2. Scoop potatoes on top of the meat and smooth down with a fork. (Note: If you don’t like the way your potato plops look, scoop potatoes into a large zip lock bag and snip one corner with a pair of scissors. Hold the main body of the bag firmly, and pipe the potatoes onto the meat instead). IMG_2281
  3. Place baking dish into the oven set to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, place cheese slices on top of the golden potatoes and turning the oven to broil for 3 minutes. IMG_2280
  4. Remove baking fish from the oven and let this cool for 5 minutes. Once the meal has been severed, add a size of Bushes baked beans (I know it sounds crazy) and enjoy! IMG_2249

Fish Tacos

Mains

When it comes to trying something new, I think we’ve all been in this situation before:

  • Meal conceptualized
  • Ingredients purchased
  • Meal executed
  • Defeat

In this particular instance, this cycle underwent two full rotations until victory was achieved tonight. Here’s what happened…

About three months ago, George, Jon’s brother in law brought us a bounty of venison and halibut from his last fishing trip. All the goods were cut, packaged and frozen upon receipt. I, never having tried either protein before, allowed Jon to take the lead in first round preparations. Jon’s first attempt was a beautiful halibut salad with a soy dressing atop.  Although the meal overall was good, neither of us were pleased with the texture of the fish. Disappointed, we chalked it up to accidental overcooking (each slab of frozen fish was a little over 2 pounds). Making a mental note, we decided the next slab would probably need to be halved in order to prevent inadvertent overcooking.

Fast forward one month, and it was my turn for round two!

As planned, I cut the fish in half and vowed to pay special attention to the internal temperature. Thermometer in hand, we tested, flipped and tested over and over. Recipe wise, we decided to keep it simple– just salt, pepper with a little lime and ginger. After several flips and temp checks, I was certain this time we nailed it but of course this was not the case. Only 6 or so ounces of each piece achieved the perfect texture.

Jon, a firm believer in not letting good food go to waste, surprised me with round three the very next day. Instead tossing our left overs, I came home to a bangin’ batch of fish tacos. Three cheers for Jon’s perseverance and a great recipe to hold on to!

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F I S H    T A C O S

Ingredients

1 lb Fish

2 Tablespoons olive oil (if preparing fish fresh)

1 bag of tortillas

1 bag bibb lettuce

1 Mango

1/4 Cup red onion

1/2 Avocado

1 Jalapeno

1 Tablespoon Cilantro

2 Teaspoons olive oil (for the salsa)

1 Teaspoon lime juice

1 Teaspoon honey

Salt and Pepper or creole seasoning, to taste*

*Note: If you’re working with left over fish, you should only need salt and pepper for the salsa. No need to re-season the fish

Process

For the Fish (skip if using left overs)

  1. Place a medium to large pan on high, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Rub 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on all sides of the fish. Season with salt, pepper, or additional spices of your choosing. If using a blend with salt included (such as a creole mix), apply spice as sparingly as you would with salt.
  3. Place fish into the hot pan and allow each side to cook untouched, for 2 – 3 minutes. When the bottom begins to crisp, use a spatula to flip to the fish onto other side for another 2 – 3 minutes.

For the Salsa

  1. Using a cutting board, cut the mango and avocado into cubes and place in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Mince cilantro and dice red onions and jalapeno. Add these to the bowl.
  3. In a small separate bowl, whisk olive oil, honey and lime juice together. Pour this into the large bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Warm tortillas in a clean skillet for 1 – 2 minutes per side.

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Hot Buttered Rum

Drinks

For most people around the world, fall and winter are marked by cool temperatures, warm cobbler and even warmer fire places. Naturally, with only two weeks left until spring, this weekend south Florida was finally graced with winter weather. Seeing highs of 73- 74, and windy weather like you wouldn’t believe— I dare say it was practically blizzard.

In honor of this delayed Christmas miracle, tonight I want to throw it back to the holiday season when Jon introduced me to Hot Buttered Tum. Although this sweater weather will vanish by the morning, I’ll be dreaming of be sleigh bells and roasted chestnuts for the rest of the night!

H O T   B U T T E R E D   R U M

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons dark rum

1/2 Cup boiling water

1 Cup butter

1 Cup brown sugar

2 Cups powdered sugar

1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 Cup whip cream (we didn’t have cream and used 2 % milk instead)

Process

1. Place 2 cups of water into a tea kettle. Set the stove on high until steam begins to whistle.

2. In a medium sized bowl, beat together softened butter and brown sugar. When smooth, add powdered sugar, cream (or milk) along with the spices.

3. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of the butter mixture into each mug,  pouring 2 tablespoons of rum on top.

4. Fill the remainder of each cup with boiling water stir. If available, add a dolop of whip cream and sprinkle with an additional pinch of cinnamon.

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Since this drink is a little on the sweet side, I recommend a biscotti or digestive for a neutral sweet treat!

Curried Cauliflower

Uncategorized

For today’s post,  I just quickly want to highlight something I haven’t had in months. I was first introduced to curried cauliflower about a year ago during lunch at my work and ever since then I’ve found myself periodically drooling over the thought of it. I am a huge fan of curry seasoning and tonight was the night to bring this fantastic side back into my life. It’s crunchy, easy, quick and tasty and I highly recommend giving this cauliflower a try!

C U R R I E D   C A U L I F L O W E R

Ingredients

Fresh cauliflower

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/8 Teaspoon turmeric

1/4 Teaspoon salt

1/8 Teaspon pepper

3 Tablespoons Olive oil

Process

  1. Chop cauliflower head into small florets and place into a large pan with olive oil set to medium-high. Season with salt, pepper, curry powder and turmeric.
  2. Roast cauliflower in the pan for 5 minutes without a lid, then 5 minutes with a lid.
  3. Once the cauliflower is tender (the stems should become less opaque), sauté the cauliflower for 2 minutes on high for a light char.curry-cauliflower

Perfect Boiled Eggs

Hello, Whole 30, Mains, Sides

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Given the choice, I always prefer to start my morning with something savory. I love donuts and granola bars but there’s nothing like the perfect balance of coffee, cream and a little something salty. All that being said, I am pleased to introduce a fool proof process for boiled eggs — my tried and true morning delight!

B O I L E D    E G G S

Ingredients

2 Eggs

Process

1. Fill sauce pan with enough water to cover the eggs.
2. Place a lid over the eggs and turn the stove on high until the water starts to boil (approximately 7 minutes).
3. Turn the heat off, but leave the pan on the burner for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from stove and allow the eggs to cook in the heated water for 10 minutes (the lid should remain on during this process).

Note: If you’re into soft boiled eggs, skip step four and go directly to five. Also, you may want to skip the peeling directions below as you’ll want to treat these eggs a little more delicately. Lightly tapping the shell on the counter should do just fine.
5. Remove the eggs from the pot, and place them into an a bowl of ice water. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.

 

P E E L I N G   H A R D   B O I L E D   E G G S

1. Place one egg into a slender glass lined with a very small amount of water.
2. Cover the glass with one hand while clasping the bottom with the other, shaking the egg and glass horizontally from left to right.
3. Once the shell begins to break, remove the egg from the glass and peel.

 

 

Immunity

Drinks

In my decision to join the rest of America in bearing the cross of health and wealth this year, I realized it was time for me to reincorporate yoga back into my life. Although I originally met yoga with a lot of hesitation (and then distain), once I found an affordable studio and started practicing regularly, I kind of fell in love with it. It was peaceful yet difficult and did wonders for my body and stress levels.

Well, that was almost 3 years ago and now I’m back to being terrible. After two weeks of resolving to start doing yoga (and then not doing it), last weekend I finally brought it back! While ultimately it felt great, my performance overall was pretty sad. In fact, today’s recipe is inspired by my last horrific yoga experience…

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So funny how life is— I’m on the arc trainer yesterday, entertaining myself with an old issue of Health magazine and look so I see? The empress of wellness herself!

Pre new years resolution, I accompanied a friend to a power yoga session that absolutely kicked my butt. My friend (Ann, who has her own studio) glided through the class with no more than a glisten on her brow, while I was shaking and sweating from start to finish. After the session ended, we were greeted by the melody of juicing machines and the aroma of vegetable soup. It was then I decided to treat myself to their legendary “hot shot” and grab Jon their “Golden Milk” to go.

Fast forward two months to the present, I’m so  glad to have hopped back on to the yoga horse and I can’t tell you how much I love these little drinks! With Jon on the verge of a cold, a derived batch of golden milk was just what the doctor ordered last Saturday! Not only do both beverages build immunity, but despite the alarming list of ingredients these bad boys actually taste really good. In fact, just ask Gwyneth Paltrow!

 

G O L D E N   M I L K

Ingredients

1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 Tablespoon honey

1/2 Teaspoon grated ginger

1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 Teaspoon black pepper

1 Cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk)

Process

Mix all ingredients and serve warm or over ice.

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H O T   S H O T

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1/8 Teaspoon ground or grated ginger

1/8 Teaspoon ground cloves

1 Teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 Cup water

1/8 Cup (or 2 ounces) lemon juice

1 Teaspoon raw local honey

1 Pinch of ground cayenne

Process

  1. Set the stove to high and boil one tea kettle of water. (You could also microwave your water for 2 minutes)
  2. Measure all spices and combine into one glass.
  3. Add lemon and 1/2 cup of hot water to the glass, mixing all ingredients. Stir in honey last.
  4. When the mixture is smooth, divide into two portions and drink up! (Or, just keep the entire glass for your self like I do!)

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Note: Both recipes were derived from Shakti Key West after a few quick notes from watching the barista. The next time you’re in Key West, I advise you give this place a try!

 

Shrimp and Zoodle Scampi

Hello, Whole 30, Mains

zoodle-nightDuring Whole 30 I raved about the butternut squash noodles we made with red sauce but I have to say, the zoodles (or zucchini noodles) we had tonight blow that recipe out of the water! First of all, the texture of this vegetable is SPOT ON– the closest spaghetti substitute I’ve met so far. Another attribute? This tasty meal took all but 15 mins to prepare thanks in part to Whole Foods and Veggie Noolde Co!

S H R I M P   A N D  Z O O D L E S

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 Pound shrimp

4 Bacon strips (we used Pederson Farms)

2 1/ 2 Tablespoons ghee

1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 Teaspoon garlic

1/4 Cup lemon juice

10- 12 Ounces zucchini noodles

1 1/ 2 Cup cherry tomatoes (we got lucky and heirloom cherry tomatoes at Trader Joes)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Process

  1. Turn stove on high and cook 4 strips of bacon (turn this down to medium after the first minute or so). Remove the bacon and place on a plate with paper towels. Pour the bacon grease from the pan into a small cup.
  2. In a large pan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of ghee. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the bacon pan. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let this cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and shrimp to the pan of ghee. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper  and flip after 3 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to pan. After 3 minutes, remove the shrimp and set aside in a bowl (this will prevent the shrimp from over cooking).
  5. Add spiralized zucchini noodles to the pan. Let this cook for 5 minutes on medium low. Then, add back in your shrimp, tossing all the ingredients for approximately 2 minutes so the flavors can unite. zoodle-night
  6. While the shrimp and noodles finish up, chop 2 sprigs of basil and crumble all 4 bacon strips. Plate your shrimp, tomatoes and zoodles adding any additional basil and bacon on top.