I tried two new recipes this month.
First I tried the Peanut Butter Blossom cookies I read about in this blog post. They looked easy and I had most of the ingredients already. A quick trip to Walgreens for Hershey's Kisses and eggs and I was good to go.
The recipe and pictures from the post were deceptive. I guess what 1" balls means is different to different people. I made 1" balls and I got 12 cookies, but the recipe called for 48 Hersheys Kisses, for 48 cookies. I halved the size of the balls or sometimes even made some really tiny, much smaller than 1". I got 32 cookies out of the batch. That size was, to me, just the right proportion of chocolate to cookie. The cookies are dry by themselves; they need the chocolate.
I found, once the cookies had cooled and the Kisses hardened again, I did not like the combination. I think next time I will try using a pastry brush and swirl the softened Kisses over the cookies while still warm. I tried microwaving some of the cookies and doing that later. They tasted better but looked worse. So I'll experiment. They do LOOK nice with the solid Kisses on top, for sure.
Last week I also tried this recipe for Shepherd's Pie from one of my cookbooks. It took me longer than 30 minutes, because it takes longer than that for me to peel and boil 2 lbs of potatoes.
The recipe doesn't look all that difficult, but I had to keep 3 pots going on the stove at once -- the potatoes, the veggies/meat, and the gravy -- plus I made a sauce for mashing the potatoes. A lot of dishes and pots and ingredients going on there.
I also only had 1 lb of meat on hand so I should have halved the amount of potatoes, but I wasn't thinking. I tried bulking the filling up with extra carrots and extra frozen peas.
The recipe works like this:
- Peel and boil 2 lbs potatoes. I didn't know how to tell how many potatoes that required, so I Googled. I used a 4 cup liquid measure cup, cubed the peeled potatoes and threw them in it. 4 cups of the cubed potatoes is about a pound, close enough.
- Brown about 2 lbs ground beef, then add a chopped onion and a chopped carrot and cook longer to soften the veggies. I ended up with overcooked meat (a little too well done for my taste) and under cooked carrot. Probably due to messing with the proportions.
- Make a gravy starting with a rue, add a cup of beef broth and some Worcestershire, cook until thick. I found that I needed a lot more gravy for this recipe, possibly due to more vegetables than meat? I would just double it, it was too dry for me. Also my sister commented it needed more Worcestershire and I agreed so I would add more flavoring.
- Add the gravy to the filling and add frozen peas then cook a bit more to defrost the peas.
- Make a sauce for the potatoes and mash or whip. This made the recipe more complicated and you could possibly just mash with your usual butter or milk. BUT I love the flavor this sauce added to the potatoes. It was a combo of an egg yoke, sour cream and regular cream but I used half and half since I had some. I would make twice as much of this next time.
- Pour the filling into a baking dish. The recipe said "small" but I used a standard cake pan.
- Scoop the potatoes over the filling and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle paprika. I just sprinkled a good amount bc who knows, really?
- Pop it under the broiler. Heck I don't even know where my broiler is. I turned the oven on "BROIL" and got it really hot. The recipe said to put it 6-8" from the heat for 2-3 minutes so I pout it on the 2nd shelf. I found it had no effect. So I put it on the top shelf for another 3-4 minutes in order to brown the top.
It seemed to come out well!
Of course, it was like eating a lot of really good mashed potatoes with a little flavoring of meat and veggies in gravy, but it was a hit.
And after all those pots and pans and mixing bowls, you bet I was eating on paper plates!
I like cooking, wonder what I'll try next....