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Beware the Friendly Stranger
22 December 2012 @ 12:00 am

Fight the future.
Beware the Friendly Stranger
30 July 2008 @ 04:54 pm
Some of you might know that I have a hard-on for cooking. That's no lie. I refuse to eat chain restaurants, I will not eat fast food unless it's quality, and furthermore I'm pretty pompous and douchey about it. Sorry, that's just the way it is. If I wanted to eat dog, I'd go to any number of countries where it's acceptable and prepared exquisitely, or I'd never have quit my job at animal control.

I've decided, since last night, that I will be chronicling my food adventures, both good and bad. People are going to want to know... how it all went down. That's from Cloverfield. See, if you got that it might be funny, but if you didn't, you might think I'm arogant.

Also, I didn't take many pictures, but starting after this one, this will be a full-on picture post.

Shepherd's Pie

This is extremely easy to make. When I say extremely, I mean, it's easy. Anyone can do it. I can do it. Your mom can probably do it, so do it already.

It was originaly a recipe I found on Foodnetwork.com, but I changed enough of it that I think I can call it my own.

You will need:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used vegetable oil since I was out of olive oil)
1 onion, diced (I used brown but you could really use any kind. I wouldn't use red though)
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/3 pound ground beef (Trader Joe's sells it at about 1.3 pounds. Lean or not is fine)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional -- I put some in without Vikki knowing or else she'd kill me, but she couldn't tell it was in there. It gives it a bit of spice that wouldn't have been there without it. So do it.)
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup peas
3 large sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup of milk

Step 1. Get a large pot of water going under high heat. Bring to a boil and add your sweet potatoes, cut into relatively large chunks. Boil for about twenty minutes. Start this other stuff once the potatoes are in the water.

Step 2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put butter and oil into a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Mine's however big I don't know, it's good size. Saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until tender and slightly brown, about 7 - 10 minutes. I accidentally let the stuff get toasty on the bottom. This was a good accident, it made it taste better. So if you want, let it char only slightly on a few of the pieces.

Step 3. Add tomato paste and mix in. Add the ground beef and brown until there's no pink left, about 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and beef broth, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for another 10 minutes, and then mix in the peas.

Step 4. Once the potatoes are nice and soft, drain them, and then return them to the pot. Mash them with the 4 tablespoons of butter and milk. Once they're at a nice smooth consistency, pat down the meat in the skillet with a large wooden spoon. Then, using the same spoon, cover the meat with the sweet potatoes until it looks like the picture up there. Drag a fork through the potatoes lightly to make peaks that'll toast up in the oven.

Step 5. Place the skillet in to the oven for 20 minutes. This is why you need a cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, you can transfer the meat first into a 12" baking dish and then cover with the potatoes. Having a cast iron, though, means you don't have to dirty up several dishes.

After the timer's gone off, bring it out and eat it. We had it with sliced sourdough and tea.

The original recipe called for 'cheesy mashed potatoes,' not sweet potatoes. Also there were other differences that I either didn't feel like doing or didn't have the ingredient to do it with. As you can see, this recipe is very versatile.

That's all for now. There will be no encore.