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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Emeril Lagasse's Cookbook Sneak Peak: English Cottage Pie with Root Vegetables

I had the pleasure of partnering with Shawnie Kelley, the talented woman behind the Insiders' Guide To Columbus and the fun food blog Manges! Mangi! You should check out the event she's organized for tomorrow night, Fete Blanc--a pop-up picnic for 350 people all dressed in white!

Shawnie introduced me to this Emeril cookbook, so we decided to partner up--she did all the cooking and I did all the photography, then we both ate all the food. :)

We started out with this English Cottage Pie. As she was busy cooking, I said "This looks a lot like a Shepard's Pie" and she responded that a Shepard's Pie is made with lamb, hence the shepard, and that all other pies of the sort can be called Cottage Pie. So most of you who had thought they made a Shepard's Pie but used ground beef, you were wrong! It's a Cottage Pie. I am also guilty of this, but who cares: Americans aren't exactly known for keeping to tradition.

Shawnie has this brilliant little device for getting the skin off of garlic. (It's that tube looking thing above.) You just roll this Garlic Peeler around with the garlic inside and voila! No more peel. I love gadgets like this that are small but immensely helpful at doing tasks I hate.

She also has that potato ricer (with handles, above) that I thought could really come in handy. But I'm sure I'd be lazy and use a spoon to mash them instead.

You might notice that Shawnie also likes the color orange--there was orange food, orange dishes, orange towels, I was in orange heaven. It's my favorite color (notice the orange cake banner image?)

So, even though I didn't eat this cottage pie, the spices smelled incredible coming out of the oven, and Shawnie could hardly wait until it cooled down to take a bite. She was very happy with the result. I think this is a crowd-pleaser recipe. There's nothing scary or adventurous about it, it's just good, hearty food, perfect for a cold winter day.

The finished result is below. It looks nice plated, more like a lasagna than a big soupy mess, which is what mine usually look like. I can't be in a pet household without taking pictures of the pets. It would be rude, right? See, kitty loved the cottage pie, too!

You can find more recipe tests from Emeril's cookbook Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders in the 2 previous posts (quiche and soup), on Shawnie's blog, and on The Secret Ingredient's Facebook Page.

English Cottage Pie With Root Vegetables

5 tblsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
2 tblsp vegetable oil
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for cooking the potatoes
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 c. minced garlic
1 1/2 c. diced turnip
1 1/2 c. diced carrot
2 tblsp tomato paste
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tblsp dried thyme
1 tblsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp plus 1 tsp dry mustard
1 3/4 c. beef stock or canned low-sodium beef broth
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
3 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 c shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese

Grease a 3-quart baking dish with a small amount of butter and set aside.
Heat 1 tblsp of the butter and 1 tblsp of the oil in a deep 5 quart saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ground beef, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1/4 tsp of the black pepper. Cook the meat until browned, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, 10-12 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.

Return the pan to the heat and add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring until soft and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the turnip, parsnip, carrot, and 1/4 tsp of the remaining salt and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Return the beef to the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring for another minute. Add the dried herbs, bay leaf, mustard, stock, and Worcestershire and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat so that the sauce barely simmers, cover and continue to cook, stirring once midway, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, and season with 1/2 tsp of the remaining salt and the remaining 1/2 tsp black pepper. Cover and set aside.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring the water to a gentle boil, season with salt, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Immediately drain the potatoes. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into the same pot (or mash until smooth using a potato masher) and return the pot to the stove over low heat. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons of butter, the half-and-half, white pepper, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir to mix well and cook until heated through.

Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and, using the back of the spoon, smooth the top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the mashed potatoes. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until browned and bubbly on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

8-10 servings

Emeril Lagasse's Cookbook Sneak Peak: Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine

For our second recipe, Shawnie and I chose the Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine. (To view the full story, check out this previous post.)

If it weren't for Shawnie, I wouldn't know what a tagine is! Or how to pronounce it, for that matter. I didn't end up shooting any full shots of the tagine, but luckily, Shawnie did in a previous post. It's a ceramic cone on top of a dish (in my words, of course.) I am told it's great for thickening up sauces, as it has a steam hole. Sometimes when making meals like this, everything comes out a little soupy because the steam doesn't dissipate. The tagine takes care of that!

Because it was later in the afternoon on a cloudy, somewhat dreary day, all of the shots have a tinge of blue in them. It makes this dish feel more like fall than summer, but I think it'd still be a nice summer dish. The lemon keeps it nice and light. But it's a great fall dish since most of the ingredients are either grown in the fall or easy to find on the shelf.

I love all thing chick pea, so this was a great recipe for me. I'm not usually a butternut squash fan, but this one was hardly even noticeable. All of the ingredients melded well together. The raisins and onion really helped add a punch of flavor along with the lemon. The couscous made it into a meal instead of a side dish.

One of the things I love about shooting at someone else's house is they have all new stuff! I get to play with new napkins, dishes, glasses, forks, and locations. Shawnie's sunroom was great for shooting in. Simple surfaces and big windows for perfectly even lighting.

We had to laugh when we finished the 2 recipes, because these were the dishes (not including the 2 final pots!) that were used to create them. While it might all end up in one pot, it takes a lot to get it there! At least for the English Cottage Pie. The Tagine was a little less dish-heavy. Oh well, a few dishes never hurt anybody! I'm willing to make the sacrifice in order to have a warm, home cooked meal-by Shawnie. :)

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine

3 tblsp olive oil
1 1/2 c samll diced onion
1 c small diced carrot
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 c peeled and diced butternut squash
1 1/2 c peeled and diced sweet potato
1 tblsp minced garlic
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c small diced dried apricots
4 saffron threads, crumbled between your fingers
4 cilantro sprigs, tied together with twine
1 tblsp kosher salt
4 c chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
Two 13.5 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tblsp chopped Simple Preserved Lemons
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 c small diced red bell pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
grated zest of one lemon
2 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat 2 tblsp of the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, and crushed red pepper and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and sweet potato and cook for 7 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, raisins, dried apricots, saffron, cilantro sprigs, 2 tsp of the kosher salt, and 2 cups of the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered for 15 minutes. Add the chickpeas and preserved lemon and cook for 30 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and sprinkle half of the parsley over the top. Set aside while you prepare the couscous.

In a 2-quart or larger saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tblsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, black pepper, and remaining 1 tsp kosher salt and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and remaining 2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to steam for 5 minutes, then add the lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and remaining half of the parsley and stir to combine. Serve the couscous in shallow bowls, with some of the stew ladled over the top.

Serves 6

Monday, September 19, 2011

Emeril Lagasse's Cookbook Sneak Peak: Leek and Bacon Quiche in a Potato Crust

Check out some of the great food making its way onto my plate from Emeril's new cookbook coming out on September 27th, 2011! It's called Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. You can pre-order it now on

You can find more recipes from the book on Shawnie Kelley's blog, Manges! Mangi! including Tagine of Chicken with Lemon and Olives, Portuguese Pork and Clams and Emeril's Cajun Shrimp Stew.

I often make quiche, but it's kind of the same way I make soup: whatever is in my fridge that I need to use up goes in, and out comes something reasonably edible. I prefer my quiche with heavy cream vs. soy milk or 2% milk, but I find all of the variations to be acceptable. What I never much care for is the crust. It's fine, it holds the thing together, but I don't really ENJOY it.

Well, Emeril has found a solution! Potato Crust! Potatoes last forever in the fridge, so I can have them on hand. The rest of the ingredients were familiar and things I often have in my house. Except the bacon, I left that out. I'm sure it'd be delicious with bacon; bacon and leeks go well together.

I really enjoyed the oniony flavor with the green onions and the leeks. I like savory breakfasts, or egg dinners, so this is a great recipe for me to make and munch on for a few days.

The leeks smelled AMAZING when they were cooking in the butter! The only thing I'd change is the quality of the cheese I chose: I used a standard packaged sharp cheddar. A stronger, high quality cheese would have been noticeably better. I don't say that about every recipe.

As you can probably see, I overcooked the crust just a bit. I would've gone 5-10 minutes less on the crust baking. I was afraid the potatoes wouldn't be cooked and overcompensated a bit.

This makes a big quiche, so it's great for a group offering at a party or a big family breakfast. It warms up better than any quiche I've had, so you can be like me and make it for yourself, then eat it for 4 days straight. :)

Check out the finished product below!

Leek and Bacon Quiche in a Potato Crust

Nonstick cooking spray
2 tblsp butter, plus 1 tblsp softened and 2 tblsp melted
7 eggs
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/4 tsp plus a pinch of cayenne
2 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and set in a bowl of water to prevent browning
1 egg white, lightly beaten
8 oz bacon, diced
1 large leek, root end and dark green leaves discarded, thinly sliced and cleaned
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 c thinly sliced green onion
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Using the cooking spray, grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Grease a large sheet of parchment paper with the softened butter and cut it into pieces to fit the bottom and sides of the pan (one circle and one long rectangle). Line the pan with the parchment paper, buttered side up.

Whisk 1 egg in a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp of the salt, 1/2 tsp of the white pepper, and the pinch of cayenne.

Set a box grater on a clean kitchen towel. Grate the potatoes on the large holes of the grater onto the towel. Gather the ends of the towel up around the grated potatoes to another clean towel and squeeze again. You may need to do this in batches.

When the potatoes are dry, add them and the melted butter to the egg mixture and toss to combine. Pat the potato mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until golden around the edges, about 30 minutes. Brush some of the beaten egg white all over the potato crust to seal any cracks. Set the crust aside to cool for at least 5 minutes (leave it on the baking sheet for easier transporting). Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Add the bacon to a small skillet and set over medium heat. Cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper two-lined plate and reserve. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.

Add the remaining 2 tblsp butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, add the leek, 1/2 tsp of the remaining salt, and 1/4 tsp of the remaining white pepper. Cook, stirring as needed, until the leek is soft, 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 6 eggs with the sour cream, milk, cream, thyme, green onion, grated cheddar, and remaining 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and 1/4 tsp cayenne until smooth. Add the bacon and leek and stir to combine. Carefully ladle the filling into the potato crust. The filling may come up past the edges of the crust, depending on how high you pressed the potato crust. if so, don't worry.

Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for 25 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and continue to cook until the quiche is nearly set in the center, about 25 minutes longer. It will continue to set as it cools. Remove the quiche from the oven and set aside at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

8 servings

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Emeril Lagasse's Cookbook Sneak Peak: Gigante Bean Soup with Arugula Pesto

For all you Emeril fans out there, he's got a new cookbook coming out on September 27th, 2011! It's called Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. You can pre-order it now on

In the past, the Emeril recipes I've tried have come from searches, one of which is a now a favorite of mine: Gingerbread with Spiced Creme Anglaise. So it was exciting to have a real cookbook in my hands again! After thoroughly perusing the cookbook, I would categorize it as advanced for 3 reasons.
1. Most of the recipes call for many steps, like soaking, refrigerating overnight, and baking one part while whisking another.
2. The recipes are ingredient-heavy. Things like white peppercorns and grapeseed oil aren't items I have in my house regularly and some of the ingredients would need to be found at a specialty store.
3. Many of the recipes call for cookware I don't own. I have a small kitchen, so I don't buy a lot of cooking accessories. (Not that I don't pine for ALL of them!) In the recipes I read through, there were mentions of Tagines, Woks, and Springform Pans.

That said, if you love to cook, and you love to take the time to cook some amazing food, this is the book for you.

The first recipe I made was Gigante Bean Soup with Arugula Pesto. Read more (including recipes) after viewing some pretty photos of this yummy soup in the making.

Emeril says you can use any number of large beans in this recipe, which is good, since I have no idea what a Gigante Bean is. My favorite large beans are Fava Beans. They have a thick skin and a creamy inside. I let them soak for something like 14 hours, because I hate having hard beans. It worked fine. You can also use large Lima Beans.

Most of the ingredients for this were accessible, except for the white peppercorns which I skipped and just used ground pepper. No harm done. I even got to use some ingredients from my CSA and from my own garden, which is always exciting! I skipped the pancetta, since I don't eat meat. If I did add it, I'd probably have cut down on the salt in the recipe, since that would add more salt.

I've made a lot of soups in my time, but it's mostly the kind where I have a bunch of stuff that's about to go bad so I put it in a pot and boil for 10 minutes and voila! Soup. This time, I followed the recipe closely and didn't take the shortcuts I normally would, and I'm happy that the extra work paid off! This is filling and wonderfully substantial, even when made vegetarian, and would be great for all seasons. The fresh vegetables meld well together and the herbs shine through. I didn't think I'd care for the peppers, but they really did add flavor and color.

I garnished with a little extra Parmesan cheese and ate it as soon as I was done shooting. Even lukewarm it was still super tasty!

I think my favorite part of the recipe was the "garnish". Emeril added an Arugula Pesto recipe that is fantastic! I would never have thought of adding pesto as a garnish to a soup, but it was perfect. I will now make it all the time, as I love arugula. I'd put it on a sandwich (ooh, a breakfast sandwich!) or crackers and cheese, or as a veggie dip....It's nice because it doesn't have any garlic in it, so there isn't the huge bite pesto usually has. It does have lemon juice which adds it's own zing without overpowering everything else. Yum. Take a look at the photos below!

While they aren't the easiest recipes in the world, they are wonderfully complex in flavor and you'll be glad you took the time to put such a great meal together. Better yet, freeze a bunch of it and have them for multiple meals! Both of these recipes probably had closer to 7-8 servings vs. the normal 4-6.

Stay tuned for more recipes from Emeril's new book coming this week!

Gigante Bean Soup with Arugula Pesto

Gigante beans are very large white beans with a creamy, almost buttery texture. They are also known as hija or gigande beans and are a staple in Spanish and Greek cuisine. Feel free to substitute large lima beans (or in my case, Fava Beans.)

2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
5 white peppercorns
4 oz. pancetta, diced small (here, optional)
2 tblsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1 onion, diced small
1 small fennel bulb, diced small
1 lb dried gigante beans, picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
3 c. chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c. Arugula Pesto (recipe follows) for garnish

1. In the center of a piece of cheesecloth, combine the thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Gather the ends together and tie securely with a piece of kitchen twine to form a sachet. Set aside.

2. In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta in the olive oil until it is brown and crispy and has rendered most of its fat, 3-5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pot using a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

3. Add the carrots, celery, onion and fennel to the pot and saute until the vegetables begin to wilt and caramelize lightly, about 10 minutes. Add the beans, herb sachet, chicken stock, and enough water to cover the beans by one inch (about 4 cups). Season the beans with 1 1/2 tsp salt. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce the heat so that the broth just simmers, and cook uncovered until the beans are almost tender, about 1 hour. Add the bell peppers and pancetta and cook until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Remove the sachet from the pot and discard.

4. Season the soup with the pepper and the remaining tsp of salt.

5. Serve the soup in large bowls, garnished with a generous spoonful of the pesto, to taste. Serve with a loaf of warm, crusty bread.

Arugula Pesto

4 oz baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1 oz fresh mint leaves (about 1 packed cup)
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 c toasted pine nuts
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

1. Combine the arugular, mint, parmesan, pine nuts lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor. Puree until smooth, then add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Process just until the olive oil is incorporated. Add the salt and pulse just to blend.

2. Transfer the pesto to an airtight container until ready to use. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to 6 months. Makes 1 cup.