Chef Anthony Sedlak of the The Main- Cottage Pie …CCC

The January, 2008 Cooking Club Challenge
link to event
was to cook Cottage Pie by Anthoney Sedlak.

I really enjoyed this pie.

I didn’t use the breadcrumbs and was a bit short on potato.
I used ground round, and I was out of dry red wine so I substituted Marsala with a touch of vinegar to balance the sweetness.

It was enjoyable with the flavor of rosemary and thyme, although I could barely hint the bay.

Chef Anthony Sedlak of the The Main- Cottage Pie

4 tbsp vegetable oil
500 gram ground beef
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup diced onion — about 1/2 medium
1 cup diced celery — about 1 stalk
2 cups diced carrot — about 2 medium
2 cloves garlic — minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp flour
1 cup red wine
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
7 medium cooking potatoes — peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic — smashed
1/3 cup butter — cut into cubes
1/4 cup 35% whipping cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 square casserole dish — (9 inch)
Extra grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional)
Salt and pepper

Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil to large saucepot over medium high heat. Add ground beef.
Allow excess liquid to bubble away; stir and cook until meat is well browned and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Drain excess fat using a colander.
Deglaze pot with red wine, scraping up browned bits and let reduce slightly.
In another large pot, add remaining vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook until golden, about 5-7 minutes.
Add garlic, stir briefly and add tomato paste. Brown paste slightly and sprinkle in flour. Cook out for a minute or two
Add in red wine from deglazing beef, scraping up crispy brown bits from bottom of pan.
Add beef stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Return browned meat to pot. Simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.
Remove lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes; liquid will reduce and thicken. Remove rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add quartered potatoes and smashed garlic to medium pot. Fill pot with cold water just to cover potatoes; season cooking water well with salt (it should taste like the sea) and bring to a boil.
Boil on medium high heat until potatoes are tender but not overdone, about 15-20 minutes.
Strain potatoes; let dry out slightly in colander before returning to pot. Add cream, butter, pepper, Parmesan cheese and more salt if necessary.
Mash roughly with fork or potato masher.

For Assembly

Preheat oven to 400. Spoon filling into the bottom of a 10-inch round casserole dish. Top with potatoes.
Grate parmesan cheese on top and dot surface evenly with butter. Season with salt and pepper and, if using, sprinkle over bread crumbs
Bake on middle rack until top is golden and filling is warmed through, about 20-25 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.


Jamie At Home

I am totally falling in love with Jamie Oliver’s new show on Food Network, ” Jamie At Home”.

I love his rustic from the ground to the table type cooking, and he even wears a sock cap while in his kitchen!

He has made quite the stir with his free range chicken and animal welfare issues, yet viewed as forked tongue with his representing certain supermarket chains that go against his views.

You know how people are when one comes under the public microscope.

That is why I would never tell someone to go totally organic or local..I mean gee what kind of prison one puts the self in when telling others what to do.

Just do the best you can, and hope you never get under the microscope yourself.

Rachel Rays One Pot Moroccan Chicken with Nutty Couscous

We have finally had an accumulation of snow. Up until today all we have had this year has been a dusting. I believe we have three inches and it is still snowing.
view from our back deck

I have been thinking about what a food rut I have been in.

Last night as I watched Rachel Ray she was talking about how someone can get in a chicken rut and how her Moroccan Chicken with Nutty Couscous would get you out.

She was right! I loved this dish. She used thigh meat while I used breast.

Moroccan Chicken

I was also out of couscous so I subbed bulger wheat and walnuts for the pine nuts, it was still great.

A winner for sure.

Moroccan Chicken
Rachel Rays One Pot Moroccan Chicken with Nutty Couscous

2 each chicken breasts, no skin, no bone, R-T-C — cut in 1″ cubes
1/2 cup red onion — sliced
1/4 cup chopped carrots
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 each bay leaf
1/8 cup cumin
1/8 cup coriander
1/8 cup paprika
2 teaspoons cinnamon
salt and pepper — to taste
1/2 cup dried apricots — chopped
1/4 cup raisin — (or prefered dried fruits)
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup black olives — chopped
2 tablespoons lemon zest
lemon juice
olive oil
— For nutty couscous
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup pine nuts (pignolia) — (or prefered nuts)
water — or chicken stock
parsley — chopped

Brown chicken in oil on stove top, add onion and carrot. Cook until carrot is crisp tender then add garlic and spices and bay leaf and chicken stock. Cook about 5 minutes more then add lemon zest and olives. After a couple minutes just before serving add lemon juice. Remove bay leaf. Serve over nutty couscous, or with couscous on top as Rachel did on her show.

For couscous add butter to a pot and melt. Add nuts to toast in butter over medium heat. Add water or stock and bring to a boil then add couscous and cover. Remove from heat then after 5 minutes top with parsley and flake with a fork.

Happy New Year

I know it is a little late in coming. My wishes to all readers have been delayed for computer and personal problems.

The computer problems are things I have to live with..The personal things involved in a civil suit.

Just before Christmas someone encroached upon our land and cut down $8000.00 worth of trees.

I have been livid and running back and forth to the County Court House. The thing is that the trees are only the surface problem in the matter and the rest is too hard to even try and blog about. This guy is a crook!

Needless to say I have not had a mind to do much cooking, and what I have cooked has been old standby comfort type meals in which not much of a recipe is involved.

I feel I owe this blog at least a swipe at a recipe so here it goes..


Butterscotch Cookies

2 1/2 butterscotch chips
1 cup butter or margarine — softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecan

Heat oven to 350º.
Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in 2 1/2 cups butterscotch chips and pecans.

Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls about 2 inches apart onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until set. Cool 1 to 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.