RECIPES

I love food. A lot. I especially love cooking tasty food from scratch. Cooking is a great source of inspiration for me. If I get stuck on a chapter or need a break from sitting at a computer, I usually head to the kitchen. Working with my hands gets my creativity flowing. As an added bonus, I then have treats to keep me fueled up and happy. The following recipes are some that I toyed with while writing, reminded me of certain characters, or were ones I just love to eat! Have fun trying these out and pair with a good book.

BEN’S SHEPHERD’S PIE

Ben's-Shepherd's-Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a beautiful meat pie topped with mashed potatoes instead of crust. One of the best things about the dish is that it is so versatile; feel free to expand on this simple recipe to find a combination of veggies and spices that you like! It’s a perfect, hearty meal for chilly Minnesota winter nights!

 FILLING:

  • 2 pounds ground beef (or you can use lamb, if you’re feeling extra fancy)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A bit of olive oil
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • Assortment of fresh vegetables (chopped celery, corn, peas, etc.) *optional*
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups beef stock

 

TOPPING:

  • 3-4 pounds of potatoes, skins left on, cut and diced into cubes (you can use your favorite variety; I’ve found that I prefer Yukon Gold or red potatoes for mashing)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Grated cheddar cheese (I’m from Wisconsin–the more cheese the better!–but you can easily leave this step out if you wish)
  • A few dashes of garlic salt
  • A handful of chives and parsley for garnish

 

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

  1. Brown the meat and drain all grease. Remove from heat.
  2. Add the bit of olive oil and cook the chopped onion for 3-5 min., or until the onion is soft but not browned. Add carrots, parsley, thyme, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2-3 min.
  3. Stir in the flour and then add the broth. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the meat into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 min (stirring occasionally). Add more salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F).

 

TO MAKE THE TOPPING:

  1. In a large pot, cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water for 15-20 min., or until easily pierced by a fork.
  2. Drain and mash. Add the butter, milk, garlic salt, chives, and parsley, and stir until smooth.

 

Transfer the filling to a large casserole dish. Heap the mashed potatoes on top and spread around until smooth. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly browned and you can see the juices from the filling begin to bubble up. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese and cook for another 2 minutes.

Enjoy with a tall glass of Guinness and a thick slice of soda bread!

 

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST BANNOCK

Blueberry-Breakfast-Bannock

Bannock comes from the Scottish Gaelic word Bannach meaning a cake. Traditionally, bannocks are thick, flat breads cooked on a griddle. I’ve added more sweetness and spices to give this traditional oat cake more of a decadent, scone-like flavor. Perfect when paired with a cup of organic coffee and a good book.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup fresh local blueberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • Coconut oil
  • Sucanat for dusting
  • Cinnamon for dusting

PREPARING:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  3. Grease a cast iron skillet with coconut oil. Pat the dough in the center of the pan and spread it out evenly with your fingers.
  4. Brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle with Sucanat and 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated cinnamon.
  5. Bake until golden brown for 20-25 minutes.  Be careful not to over bake or the bannock will be dry. Remove from oven and serve immediately with a dollop of clotted cream or local honey and a steaming cup of tea.

 

Recipe adapted from and photo courtesy of  http://ediblearia.com/2009/08/01/metis-wild-blueberry-bannock/

 

HOMEMADE HOGMANAY ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2-3 Tbsp Irish Cream
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup Sucanat

 

Whisk ingredients together and pour into ice cream maker. Follow ice cream maker directions. If you are really adventurous, omit the Irish Cream and add whiskey to taste. Enjoy anytime of the year!

 

JULIA’S HOMEMADE PIZZA

This doesn’t have anything to do with the book, but is one of my favorite recipes and got me through hours of editing! Happy Pizza Night!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • A few handfuls of pizza seasoning
  • 2 c. flour
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Garlic salt for the cheese (optional)

Makes 1 pizza about the size of a large cookie sheet or two smaller round pizzas

 

Directions:

Mix the first five ingredients together. Coat a wooden spoon with olive oil and mix in the flour. Stir together until you have a sticky dough. Rub your hands with olive oil and knead, adding more flour until the dough isn’t sticky anymore. Coat the dough ball with olive oil and set aside in a bowl covered with a towel until raised (about doubled in size, but I’m really not too picky about this part). I put mine on a heat pad to make it go faster. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare any toppings. Once the dough rises to your liking, punch it down and roll it out on a floured cutting board, adding more flour as needed. Transfer onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Slather with sauce, 3-4 varieties of shredded cheese (I usually mix in a few shakes of garlic salt and more pizza seasoning to the cheese as well), and any other toppings you like. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. DEVOUR! 🙂

 

Recipe notes:

I never time how long I knead the dough. I usually just knead it until it’s no longer sticky. I don’t worry too much because I figure the crust only has to rise a tiny bit, right? In regards to how long I let the dough rise, I usually set the bowl on the heating pad and then go grate my own cheese and chop up a bunch of vegetables. After I’m done preparing the toppings, I punch the dough down. Usually, this ends up being about a half hour. Again, I don’t worry about it too much. Good luck and have fun!!!! J