More Insight Into Kitchen Mechanics

Yesterday, I was finally feeling up to cooking, but I had no plan for a meal.  Usually in this situation I throw around some ideas with Theresa, either via e-mail or gmail chat during the day.  I thought I’d share how last night’s meal progressed with a sample of our gmail chat (with our typos and and bad english included for your amusement).  It actually contains the recipe that I used:

  • me:  I had a quick q for you
  • you have any requests for dins?
  • Theresa: eh… not really…
  • maybe we can finish up the cider and do root vegetables in cider
  • me: sounds good
  • Theresa: with what, I don’t know

Some serious root veggie love. Sweet Potatoes, Carrot, Rutabaga (I took pictures of parsnips, but didn't use them in the end).

  • me: make a shepards pie???
  • cider braised veggies and bits of pork with I don’t know, a cheesy not potato crust?
  • maybe a biscuit crust?
  • Theresa: could work… or it could be really weird
  • me: so true….
  • Theresa: I’m game to try!
  • me: you sure?
  • Theresa: what the hell, we are at the end of our stint with winter food
  • time to get crazy
  • me: I suppose so
  • okay
  • I’m game
  • Theresa: a cheese-busqiut crust sounds good

Chopped up onion, half a rutabaga, two carrots, four sweet potatoes, and ham, all tossed with a little bacon fat.

  • me: how do you think I could cook the veggies so that they become like they did on Sunday?
  • you cooked them with the cider, what else?
  • also, in the dutch oven, what temp and how long?
  • Theresa: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/roasted-fresh-ham-with-cider-glaze-recipe2/index.html
  • with plenty of Theresa Mods
  • me: so, what mods?
  • or at least major mods
  • Theresa: The “brine” was about 1 tbs salt, 2 tbs sugar, 1 tbs molasses, 4 cloves, 1 bay leaf, good shake of crushed red pepper, about 1 tbs mustard, and enough water to wash it all into the pork bag
  • I would use about 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • me: yes, you brined the veggies?
  • Theresa: I threw that mix in with the pork, cider, and other stuff when I started to raost.
  • me:  I see
  • Theresa: so add that mix to 1 cup apple cider

Brine solution, just as described in the gmail chat.

  • me: I see
  • brine plus apple cider
  • got it
  • Theresa: toss in the veggie in an UNCOVERED dutch over at 400 and let it go for a really long time
  • me: then what?
  • Theresa: ta-DA!
  • stir only once or twice
  • me: uh huh, you think I should cook the veggies with the brine and apple cider, and with chunks of ham like this
  • then put it in a baking dish and cover with biscuit crust later?
  • cook veggies, then crust
  • Theresa: cook veggie and then crust
  • me: good show
  • Theresa: the burscuits will take 30 minutes top, not nearly enough time to cook the vegetables

The vegetables and ham roasted till perfection, then put into an appropriately sized baking dish.

  • me: yep
  • do you think I should move the veggies to a different dish to put biscuit crust on top?
  • Theresa: depends how much you make and how much buscuit coverage you want
  • me: hm….
  • Theresa: you could move it to a different dish if you didn’t want to cover the whole surface area with dough
  • me: so really surface are to volume issues
  • Theresa: exactly
  • me: I want it all covered with dough
  • I think
  • Theresa: if the veggies are cooked, and the busciuts need just a few minutes…
  • I would go for the round dish the strawberry thign was in
  • me: okay
  • I’m game
  • that was what I was thinking of doing
  • okay
  • Theresa: sounds like a good plan
  • me: any other thoughts to add?
  • Theresa: do you intend to mix the cheese in or sprinkle on top of the dough
  • me: not sure
  • do you recommend either one?
  • I probably would put it on top….. but that’s just laziness
  • Theresa: thats fine with me, I would go that route too
  • more- concentrated cheesyness

The completed pie, before baking: veggies and ham with biscuit and cheese on top.

  • me: okay dokay
  • that sounds good to me
  • I am up for making it
  • I should probably get the veggies going
  • sooner than later
  • Theresa: sounds good, I will talk to you later
  • me: okay, toodles
  • Theresa: toodles

And thus, our meal was summarised in a rather verbose gmail chat.  I have to say that it was pretty simple, but way good!

The baked pie. Look at all that toasted cheese!

I’m going to call this a ‘spring shepherd’s pie’.  You know, its pretty much spring, we used things that a spring cupboard has -a motley crew of root vegetables, left over meat, flour, cheese, and old apple cider seriously fermenting (you could just call is very fizzy).  So Spring Shepherd’s Pie.  Whatever.  I know its supposed to be potato and not biscuit.  I don’t care.  Either way, our Spring Shepherd’s Pie was delish.

The served meat and veggie pie. Nom.

A good combination of things.  Replacing the parsnips with rutabaga made the veggie filling lend itself to a more savory crust. The chopped ham was very well brined and tender from cooking in a brine cider mix for a long time. Nom.  Even the cats thought so.

Fitzwilliam trying to get in on my spring shepherd's pie. Startled to be caught in the act. Of course I couldn't help give the handsome kitty-man some ham.

Everyone last night was in good spirits.  Nice weather, good dins.  Feels like spring.  Our windows have been open for the past couple of days.

Shera being a little dippy.

Theresa also wanted to make a nice scrummy dessert to go with dinner.  Some frozen blackberries were thrown into action, and a bit of cake batter.

Blackberry Cake. Blackberries with cake on top.

We sliced the blackberry cake and ate it with sprinkled maple sugar. Nom.

All in all, a lovely evening with really good food.  What more can I say?   Happy Thursday everyone!

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