Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tasty pie full of fish. Yum.

I know, it's been a while. And I'm sorry. Really I am. But when it comes right down to it, I haven't been doing much cooking lately. Doing a lot of travel, but not much cooking. So I'm back and ready to buckle down on the care and feeding of my family. Tonight, for example, I tried something new. Jamie Oliver's Fish Pie. And wow is it ever good.

Try to divorce yourself from the idea of pie crust and think more along the lines of a Shepard's pie. Now you have the picture. Granted, I made a few modifications, changed some ingredients and had to convert grams to cooking measurements I understand (which I'll include below) but the end result is so good, I can't stop wanting more.

Jamie Oliver's Fish Pie (with my modifications)
You can find the original recipe here if you want to compare, or just find a ton of other awesome recipes.
Serves 4 - 6

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2.5 lbs potatoes (I used Yukon gold, and they rocked)
3 carrots
2 stalks of celery
6 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 lemon
1/2 chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
11 ounces cod fillets, skin off and bones removed
1 lb smoked salmon fillets, skin off
olive oil (which Jamie measures in "lugs", so I'm not going to measure it either)

Heat your oven to 400°F.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cube your potatoes, I don't bother peeling them.
Once your water is boiling, dump the potatoes in and cook until tender.
In a baking pan, shred your carrot, celery and cheese. Add the zest of your lemon and the chopped parsley. Cut your fish into bite sized pieces and put them in the pan. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture, add a good drizzle of olive oil, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix it all together.

Drain your cooked potatoes and return them to the pan. Add a good "lugs" of olive oil, some salt and pepper and mash until they are nice and smooth.
Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the veggie and fish mixture. I added little fork ruts in mine and drizzled a bit of butter on top, which made it all golden and crispy, so I highly recommend it.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Eat and enjoy.

Jamie recommends serving it with a salad, or katsup and baked beans. I just ate it straight, but that was mostly because I was wiped out today. Next time, I promise, there will be something green on the plate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My blog just got tagged. Really!

My new best friend (who doesn't know she's my best friend yet) Astrogirl, from Notes from the Bunker tagged me. The deal is, I get to tell you 6 random things about me, and since this is my cooking blog, I'm going to make them all food related. How's that for an awesome twist?

So here we go:

1. I took my first cooking class when I was in 1st grade (mom correct me if I'm wrong on this). The big fancy main course was an apricot glazed roasted chicken that basically involved roasting a chicken slathered in apricot jam. I get queasy just thinking about it.

2. I used to hate tuna in all shapes and forms. No tuna sandwiches, no sushi, no seared ahi. Couldn't stand the stuff. Then I got pregnant with Big Dog, and I craved it non-stop. His favorite sandwich now? Tuna. I also used to hate peanut butter. Got pregnant with Little Dog and couldn't get enough. His favorite sandwich? Peanut butter.

3. While I like peanut butter now, I don't like peanut butter with sweet stuff like jam or chocolate. I like it salty. My favorite peanut butter sandwich is peanut butter and siracha on whole wheat. Yum.

4. I hate eating leftovers. I always cook so we have them, but I hate to eat them. I get freaky about food that has been in the fridge for more than a few days too.

5. I love chex mix. Even the prepackaged junk. Especially if it is the extra bold recipe.

6. On our honeymoon in Belize, we fell in love with Marie Sharp's hot sauce. One of our souvenirs from the trip was a case of the stuff. It took about 2 years to eat it all, then Mr. Dog found a source online and bought two more cases.

Now comes the tagging:


Cutie Booty Cakes

52 Faces

Green Yogurt

Robin from Around the Island

KD @ A Bit Squirrelly

House of Crazy

Feel free to crown me Queen of Split Pea Soup.

Sometimes I even amaze myself. Like today. A crappy overcast, windy Seattle day outside, I decided to make soup for dinner. Something hearty, something that really tastes like Autumn. Split Pea. I like split pea soup even though I loathe peas. Go figure. Or don't, either way, make this soup.

Split pea soup is one of those classic comfort soups for me. It is warm and filling, goes great with a nice slice of fresh bread, and is actually really simple to make.

Queen of Pea Soup
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrot
2 cups dried split peas
7 cups water
7 tsp Better than Bullion
1 tsp dry thyme
2 bay leaves

In a large soup pan, melt your butter and briefly saute the onions, celery and carrot. Once they are slightly soft, add your dried peas (wash and sort first, then just dump them in) add your water, Better Than Bullion, thyme and bay leaves. Turn heat down to medium low and cover your pan. Leave it alone. Sure go stir it once in a while, like every 20 minutes or so, but don't hover. It is completely unnecessary. The peas will cook down and dissolve, as will the onions and celery. The carrots never fully commit, but they end up partly cooked away, only flecking the soup with their beautiful autumn gold in the pot. If that offends you, or if you prefer a perfectly silky soup, use your stick blender to beat those carrots and other small chunks into submission.

When the soup is more or less soupy (about an hour), you can fish out the bay leaves, or if you're lazy like me, make up some kind of "If you get the bay leaf you have to kiss the chef" game and avoid dining with people you'd rather not kiss you.

I like to serve it with a nice hot slice of fresh bread, but you don't have to. Sure, people will talk, but do your own thing.