Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Today was a rough day at work. A new VP for my division was named a couple of months ago, and as always a change at the top means changes throughout. My department wasn’t directly impacted, but someone I worked for for years has been shuffled out. I respect her very much as a manager, and over the years I had come to see her as a friend. She has always been there to listen and offer advice. I’m not worried about her, but I am sorry to see her go. I hope our office friendship has what it takes to be a real friendship.

The announcements and the feeling of uncertainty change always brings has me pretty down. It’s the kind of day that calls for comfort food. Shepherd’s Pie is a favourite of mine, one of those dishes that soothes the soul. I based this vegetarian version on a Chuck Hughes recipe. I’ve made this a few times, each with a little change. Originally I used goat cheese then switched to feta. I’ve also gradually be upping the sweet potato to regular potato ratio. I think all of my adaptations have led me to something pretty tasty.

Combining the sweet potato with regular potato allows the sweet potato flavour to shine through while the regular potato cuts down on the moisture. I really like the combination of lentils and spinach with the mushrooms, and I truly believe feta makes everything better. Well, almost everything.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • olive oil for frying
  1. Soak the lentils in 2 cups of water for 1 hour. Drain then set aside.
  2. In a medium pot, fry the onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add two cloves of garlic and fry until you can smell the garlic. Stir in the lentils, then cover with two cups of water. Add the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary, along with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 30 minutes (you can taste the lentils to test). Drain the lentils and set aside.
  3. In another medium pot, cover the Yukon Gold’s and sweet potatoes in cold water and add salt to taste. Place over medium heat, bring to boil and cook until both kinds of potato are tender then drain. Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk, then crumble the feta and mix it in. Set aside
  4. Heat the onion to 400F
  5. While the oven is heating prepare the spinach and mushrooms. In a medium pan, fry the mushrooms with the final clove of garlic until browned. Stir in the spinach, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the lentils. Remove from the heat.
  6. Spoon the lentil mixture into a baking dish, then top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
Enjoy!

Ratatouille Pizza

I’ve changed my blog theme again. I think I might have theme ADD. That’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed with wordpress.com, it’s incredible easy to change everything. I think I might stick with this one for awhile though. Last time I changed themes I wanted something cleaner, but what I ended up with felt heavy to me. It was just too manly. This is more what I was looking for; clean, light, with a little touch of girly. I like it, and I hope you do too.

In other news, I’ll Have What She’s Having now has a Facebook Page. I realized recently that I had advertised this on Twitter and Stumbled the page, but I never actually told my readers. I’m using it as a forum to share my posts as well as posts from other bloggers that catch my, plus the occasional food news.

And finally the recipe. I saw a photo in the most recent issue of Ricardo Magazine of Ratatouille Pizza and I knew I just had to try it.

This is the perfect time of year to make ratatouille; peppers, zucchinis, and eggplants are all at their peak. It’s great as a side a couple of times but then what? I like to use it as a pasta sauce for baked pasta dishes. Ricardo recommends canning it and using it at a pizza sauce in winter when vegetables are just kind of sad. I obviously couldn’t wait that long. I used his ratatouille  recipe (translated to English below) and some store bought pasta dough as I have yet to master the art of homemade pizza dough. I topped it with cooked Italian sausage and mozzarella.

This was hands down the best pizza I have ever made, and it was better than most delivery pizzas I’ve had too. This recipe is definitely a keeper. The photos I took were all a little out of focus, but I’m sharing anyway because this was just so good.

As this is a magazine recipe I will be submitting it to Magazine Monday. It’s been forever since I did a Magazine Monday Post so for those of you who don’t know, it’s an informal blog event hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice. Make a magazine recipe, send her the link, and she’ll share it with her readers. Easy peasy.
Ratatouille

  • 1 medium egglant, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups Italian tomatoes diced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 5-10 basil leaves, chopped
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a very large pot on medium high, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the diced eggplant to the pot along with a touch of salt and pepper, brown the eggplant. Once browned, remove the eggplant from the pot and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. In the same pot brown the diced onion, adding more oil if necessary. Once browned add the onion to the eggplant bowl.
  3. Brown the sliced mushroom then add them to the eggplant and onion.
  4. Brown the zucchinis and green pepper, along with some salt and pepper.
  5. Add the tomato to the zucchini and green peppers, followed by the eggplant/onion/mushrooms. Add the time sprigs to the pot then simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the time sprigs then stir in the fresh basil. Turn off the heat.
Serve as a side dish, pasta sauce or on pizza.
Ratatouille Pizza
  • Pizza dough
  • Ratatouille
  • Italian sausage, sliced and cooked
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Basil for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough then place it on a greased and floured baking sheet.
  3. Top with the ratatouille as a sauce, then the sausage and cheese.
  4. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes (keep an eye on it!)
  5. Garnish with fresh basil.
Enjoy!

Guest Post: Beef Stroganoff

Once again, a very kind blogger has come to my rescue with a great guest post. Sawsan, AKA The Food Doctor, from Chef in Disguise has written a great guest post. Chef in Disguise is full of wonderful recipes from around the world, and most come with stories of family and friendship. It’s a pleasure to read, and I’m so glad Sawsan has taken the time to share this post here!

Beef Stroganoff

The Food Doctor

Beef stroganoff  to me is more than tender strips of beef and mushroom cooked in a cream sauce. It  comes with a set of memories. It is one of the first dishes that “converted” my husband to a mushroom lover (though he still wouldn’t admit it). You see, my husband had a long list of things he wouldn’t even try, mushrooms were on the top of the list followed by okra, eggplant and red beans to name a few.

I personally loved mushrooms and was not ready to omit it from my menu without a fight.

I started making dishes with ingredients my husband loved and sneaking in the mushrooms, it didn’t work at first but slowly and I mean SLOWLY things began to change. Straganoff was actually the first dish (that contains mushrooms) that huzz asked me to make.

You can make this with cooking cream instead of my version with stock and heavy cream but I find mine slightly lighter. I love the addition of oregano, I think it does beautifully with both mushroom and beef. If you have never tried the oregano mushroom before, I urge you to  give it a try but if you have something against oregano please feel free to omit it. It is entirely optional.

I usually serve stroganoff with rice or pasta (fettucini is my favorite) but I know people who love it with noodles, fries or a good slice of bread. It is entirely up to your taste .

Beef stroganoff

250 gm Beef cut into strips

2-3 tablespoons vinegar

Salt

Pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 can of mushrooms (you can use fresh)

1 onion chopped

1 tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon mustard

1 tablespoon soya sauce

125 gm heavy cream

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Add the vinegar to the beef, toss to coat and set aside (This will tenderize the meat and add a hint of sourness)

Melt the butter and then add the olive oil to the pan.

Drain the beef strips season with salt and pepper,add them to the pan and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.

Push the meat to one side of the pan, add the onions to the empty space.

Stir the onions occasionally for 2 minutes then add the mushrooms, saute for 5 minutes

Add the flour and stir till it begins to change color to slight golden, add the chicken stock , allow to come to  gentle boil .

Add the mustard, soya sauce  and oregano then lower the heat stirring occasionally.

When the mix starts to thicken,add the heavy cream and stir to combine, cook for 5-7 minutes.