Archive | July, 2011

Shepherd’s Pie Ain’t No Lie

27 Jul

Shepherd’s Pie has been around for ages but known as “cottage pie”. In the 1790’s potatoes were making their way into the affordable veggies group- cottages were owned by modest people with modest budgets= cottage pie since potatoes are key in the recipe. Shepherd’s Pie is kind of like baked macaroni- some recipes really work, and some really don’t. Here at Dueling Bakers we are trying to usher in the cooler months (bake-able, or it would have been chili!) so Shepherd’s Pie was an easy choice.

The guidelines for this duel are as follows:

  • Ease of prep/baking-20
  • Texture-20
  • Flavor/taste -20
  • Ingredient ratios- 20
  • Ease of serving/eating- 20

Shepherd’s pie came about with the use of mutton as the meat instead of beef- since shepherds watch sheep and not cattle. I’ve personally never had Shepherd’s Pie with mutton so I stuck with beef. So- I guess I made Cowboy/Ranch-hand Pie.  So, on to why I picked what I picked. My food pyramid consists of 3 things… cheese, ice cream and sour cream. Lucky for me I found a recipe that incorporated two of these. This recipe had sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic and mashed potatoes- who cares that there are nasty-healthy veggies in there!

Here’s how it broke down:

  • Ease of prep/baking: 18/20 It wasn’t as intense as I thought going into it and looking at other recipes, it was mostly just combine-dump-bake. The potatoes were the hardest part- but the most amazing, so it worked out.
  • Texture: 20/20 The veggies were soft, the potatoes were great and the beef… was, well, beef.
  • Flavor/taste: 20/20 This was, hands down, the best shepherd’s pie I have ever had. The hubs ate about half of the pie the next day for “lunch”. Loved the potatoes and the pie shell almost tasted like a doughy biscuit thrown in the mix. mmmm
  • Ingredient ratios:  20/20 Everything was great. If you got a bit there was meat, veggies, tatoes and crust. Yummo.
  • Ease of serving/eating: 10/20 Cutting-easy, serving- hard. It was messy in the process of serving, had this been done in a baking pan instead of a pie crust it prob would have been better.

Best Shepherd’s Pie ever: 88/100 Everything but serving was great.

Andrea here! Generally, I think of shepherd’s pie as a meal best saved for cold winter months, but to my surprise, it worked well in the summer too! I knew shepherd’s pie would be time consuming, so I looked for the easiest recipe and decided on this one. I did make a few changes that were personal preferences and didn’t change the recipe in a dramatic way. I left the peel on the potatoes because it tastes good and is good for you! I also thought it gave the pie a more rustic appearance. I used non-dairy butter and milk for the mashed potatoes. I also cut the butter by about half. There is no way this recipe needs a whole stick of butter (who do they think they are? Paula Deen?)! I used new potatoes, onion and corn from the Jasper Farmer’s Market, frozen peas and canned carrots.

While it was cooking, I kept wanting to add garlic, but I had to stay true to the recipe. I did take liberty and make garlic mashed potatoes for the top because the recipe just said “season to taste”. I think this helped the overall flavor of the dish.

Here is how it rated:

  • Ease of prep/baking-15/20 Prep and baking wasn’t necessarily difficult, just time consuming.
  • Texture-20/20 Obviously you can make your potatoes however you prefer. I prefer smashed to creamed and I think the texture of the smashed potatoes complimented the beef mixture very well.
  • Flavor/taste -15/20 The pie was tasty, just seemed like it was missing that something I couldn’t put my finger on. My boyfriend did end up adding steak sauce and ketchup.
  • Ingredient ratios- 20/20 The amount of mashed potatoes was a perfect ratio to the beef mixture.
  • Ease of serving/eating-15/20 No issue with cutting or eating. However, the recipe said 4 servings and we easily got 8.

Overall this recipe got 85/100. It was tasty and all the leftovers got eaten, but I’m not anxious to make it again.

Here is a picture of the full meal: shepherd’s pie, fresh, sliced homegrown tomatoes, and a piece of garlic bread that’s just slightly mesquite 😉

Nobody’s Hotter Than Harry Potter

20 Jul

…Or Ron Weasley. Andrea here and I am super excited/depressed/delighted/anxious about the final Harry Potter movie. Basically, I just have a lot of feelings! Magically, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 came out on my fave friend, Holly’s birthday! How fun! We saw a double feature of Parts 1 & 2 and to celebrate, I made Amy’s Butterbeer cupcakes!

We aren’t rating this week due to busy Harry Potter schedules, but can I just tell you? These cupcakes were absolutely fabulous. Like, you all need to make them right now.

I used the same Gryffindor cupcake wrappers used previously for the Corniest Cornelius Fudge muffins. The mild cake balances out the sweetness and they taste like Butterbeer straight from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I will definitely make these cupcakes again just because they were so tasty! I also ended up with a full bottle of butterscotch ganache, which is amazing drizzled on ice cream!

And just for fun, Holly and me at the midnight premiere!

Krista here… Once upon a time I was one of those kids making fun of the HP kids… I went to every movie but never really got into it… until Dobby died. :*( Then I had to read all the books so I could be prepared for part 2 so I could fight ugly crying since it wouldn’t be a surprise. We also went to the midnight show for part 2. I had to fill an order for the local theater who wanted broom stick treats. Changed the flavors up a little and the shape of the brooms (because that site looks like shovels.. truth.)

I’m not a big plain pretzel fan, so I put a little “extree” candy coating over the pretzel. I have all the stuff to make Butterbeer cupcakes- that should happen this weekend! Here is me and my munchkin at platform 9 3/4! 🙂

Happy Independence Day!

6 Jul

No recipes this week! We hope you had a fun July 4th weekend!

-Krista & Andrea