Monday, December 26, 2011

Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie is one of those dishes that I did not grow up as a child eating but fell in love with after I met my husband. He is that kind of guy who really likes comfort food as much as he likes to eat out at fine restaurants, makes for very eclectic meals. And believe it or not it was my husband who taught me how to make Shepard's Pie.

In the past I have blogged about Cottage Pie which is quite similar to Shepard's Pie but has more ingredients and takes more time to prepare. The nice thing about Shepard's Pie is there are really only three ingredients that make this delicious dish.

Here is what you do ...

Shapard's Pie
1 1/3-1 1/2 lbs of ground meat (ground turkey, ground beef or meatloaf mix will suffice)
salt n pepper (or your favorite seasonings)
1 can of cream corn
1 cup of frozen corn (frozen corn has more flavor than canned corn)
5-6 medium potatoes (boiled and mashed)

Cook the ground beef in a skillet till golden brown. Add the salt n pepper and favorite seasonings while cooking meat. I also sometimes add a sauteed onion and crushed garlic for more flavor.

When meat is finished drain all the grease and cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cover the meat with the can of cream corn and add a layer of the frozen corn.

Lastly cover top with mashed potatoes. You can also sprinkle some cheese and paprika over top for flavor.

Bake in over for 30-45 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

This is one of those dishes that gets better with age. We find that the second day is much better than the first.

So when you are in a bind for what to make for dinner, if you have corn, ground meat, and potatoes try this great Yummy dish.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Carlo's Bakery

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went on a weekend road trip to New Jersey to see a play, The Nutcracker & I, another family member had in production. We really had no plans for the weekend other than the play and thought we would just make it up as we went along. When we checked into our hotel in New Jersey we found out we were 5 miles from the TV famous Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ. Since my family is Italian and love Modern Pastry in North End, we knew this Bakery was going to be one of our stops.

The town of Hoboken is very sweet and adorable. We wished we had more time to walk down the road the bakery is on, but our time waiting to get into the bakery consumed most of our time. In Hoboken there are so many little shops, and restaurants to stop at, so we decided the the next time we come we are most definitely going to spend more time in Hoboken, NJ to explore. You see the reason we did not have time was going to this bakery is an all day affair, it took us about four hours from the time we got in line to the time I made my purchase. We got in line around 10:am and got a number, around noonish we were in front of the bakery awaiting to go in, around 1:30/2:pm I made my purchase.

When you get inside the small Bakery the smell brings you to a true Italian Bakery. There are cakes, cookies, pastries of all kinds to drool over in crystal clear glass cases. Which makes it so hard to decide what you want to bring home. The one thing to remember is we still had to wait for our number to be called once we were inside the bakery, but those smells wafting from the kitchen were enough to fill my belly till #71 was called.

Italian Cookies


The night before my Mom & I went on the Carlo's web site to think about what kind of treat we wanted to take home with us. There are so many to choose from but since I have my favorite that would be what I would get, sfoilletella.

If you are a reader of my blog you already know I go to the North End to get sfoilletella early on a Saturday morning when they are still hot to bring home for desert that afternoon. These are my favorite treats and I am quite picky when it comes to them. Only Modern Pastry in the North End makes the best (you can also get them at Caffe Victoria's with a cafe latte, since they get theirs from Modern Pastry). In my opinion they cannot have candied fruit in them and they must be the right mix of textures, from soft creamy interior to crunchy, flaky exterior.

I know I have high standards but I had to see if this bakery could live up to them. At first glance I noticed they are much smaller than the ones you get in the North End, but they looked so yummy.

My tied box of treats


As you can see I picked up a half dozen of them. We waited till we got home to have our treats, and found that the Modern Pastry still has the best Sfoilletella around. The ones from Carlo's did not have any candied fruit, which is good, and had great texture, but there was something off with the flavor and none of us could figure it out. So the next time we pick up some Sfoilletella we are going to the North End.

The one thing I will say is we went to Carlo's Bakery, we missed the Cake Boss, at least we have family photos of us in front of the bakery, and a good story to tell our grand-children.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pickity Place

This week my Mom & I decided to go on an adventure to Pickity Place in Mason, NH. I personally have never gone but my Mom was there once with her Garden Club, but it was so long ago she was excited to go again. After I read about it I knew this would be the perfect place.

We drove and drove to get there, and we drove mostly back roads, through the woods. And how funny that we drove through the woods since the house the restaurant is in, is the original House that the story Little Red Riding Hood was illustrated from. There is even this huge oak tree in front of the house that is in the book as well.

The house is so old there are really no level floors, low ceilings, narrow doorways, and three small rooms to eat it. The grounds and the samll cottage have such a New Hampshire feeling you cannot help but fall in love the minute you step out of your car. Over the past few years it looks like they have added a solarium to eat in that overlooks the gardens, which must be so beautiful in the summertime.

The nice thing about going here is they have a fixed 5 course menu that changes each month. Since we just went last week if you go between now and the end of December you can experience the same menu. This is what we had ...

Crackers with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Spread

Golden Russet and Creamy Carrot Soup

Apple Pecan Slaw

Winter Solstice Fruit Bread with Cranberry Lemon Butter

Chicken & Eggplant Neapolitan


Winter Vegetable Cassoulet

Pickled Red Cabbage

Brandied Eggnog Pie

When you look at the menu they always have a Vegetarian dish on the menu (that was the one I had) and it was so good I forgot they was no meat or chicken. Every course is delivered to you, with some kind of herbs that came right from their garden, how awesome is that.

All I know id the menu for January looks like comfort food at its max I am looking for someone to go with me? Any takers ... I know you will live every morsel that you eat.