Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Cottage pie. 
I was going to make my usual Shepherd's Pie this morning but had no ground lamb so I decided to substitute black beans for the lamb in the recipe.  This should actually be called a cottage pie, because a true Shepherd's Pie must have lamb.
No salt added black beans.

I like the salt free black beans that I get at Whole Foods that come in a carton.

Saute onions.
Add black beans. 

First you saute a small diced onion in olive oil until soft. Add the black beans that have been drained.  In Shepherd's Pie at this point I would add HP Sauce to the meat, but I substituted tomato sauce which I added to the beans and onion.  Mix all of these and place in the bottom of a greased casserole dish.
Add tomato sauce to beans and onions. 
Bean mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish.

Cook 2 cups of peas and carrots (I use frozen ones) in the microwave for 4 to 5 minutes.  Drain and add on top of the bean mixture.
Frozen peas and carrots
Second layer of peas and carrots.

Frost with mashed potatoes.  This is a good way to use leftover mashed potatoes.  I used ready-packaged, mashed Yukon potatoes to which I added 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk as I heated the potatoes to a consistency good for spreading on top of the pie. Spread to the edges to seal.
Mashed Yukon potatoes.
Top crust of mashed potatoes.

I added some grated Italian cheese to increase the protein content of the pie, since I was not using meat.  Bake in a 400 F oven until brown on top and bubbly around the edges, about 40 to 45 minutes.  
Italian cheese blend.
Top with shredded cheese.

This pie could be made with any leftover veggies as the second layer, and if you don't have ground meat then use black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans as your first layer.
Out of the oven.
Add mixed greens and you have a one-dish meal. 

You can have lunch or supper made in just a short time with whatever you have on hand, and it is a healthful and delicious one-dish meal.  Serve with mixed greens on the side. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Trying to Replicate Sitti Goat Cheese Orange Salad at Home

Goat Cheese Orange Salad with Mixed Greens, Cabbage, Walnuts and Dates.

The other day when Marcia and I shared a delicious Goat Cheese Orange Salad at Sitti,  I thought perhaps I could replicate it at home.  I tried the other night, and it was close, but I didn't use lemon vinaigrette, an ingredient in Sitti's that makes it delightfully refreshing. I did add a few other ingredients as well. 
Lovely purple bowl, gift of Marcia. 
Purple Astrolemia in bowl for centerpiece on table.

As I was making the salad I noticed the purple leaves in the mixed greens and how they matched the lovely centerpiece bowl with purple flowers.  That prompted me to add a bit more purple to the salad---a bit of shredded purple cabbage and a few purple grapes.
Shredded purple cabbage and purple grapes added to salad.

Napking and napkin ring.
Napkin ring.

With all the purple, I brought out the napkins and napkin rings that I had bought on sale at Pier One Imports to match the purple bowl.  They are more of an eggplant color, but they blend very well with the other purples on the table.
Shades of purple on the dinner table. 

We relished  the colorful salad while enjoying the shades of purple in the table decorations. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shopping at the Farmer's Market in Paris (Vicariously)

Logo from Linda Watson's Blog.

Dan, Patrick and I spent a summer in France some 30 years ago, and one of the things I enjoyed most was shopping at the Farmers' Markets---especially those in Paris.  Recently I was able to do that again, this time vicariously, through one of my favorite blogs Linda Watson's Cook for Good.

She described her recent shopping trip to the Bastille Market in Paris on her blog.

Linda Watson at the Bastille Market in Paris.

Now you too can vicariously shop the Bastille Market as you enjoy these beautiful photos* of Linda's. 
A marvelous collection of olives.

Eggs from free range chickens.
Heirloom tomatoes at the Market.

Leeks, celery and greens.
Thank you Linda for sharing your trip to the Market.You can check out Linda's blog  here.

How I long to get back to Paris!!!!

*All photos by Linda Watson from her blog.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Marcia's Birthday 2014

My friend Marcia's birthday is March 18th, the same as our son Patrick's, so she and I usually celebrate her birthday a few days before or after the 18th.  This year we celebrated on the 22nd by having lunch at Sitti followed by dessert at Pie Bird.
Sweet potato hummus.  A different twist on my favorite Lebanese appetizer. 

Goat cheese and orange salad with mixed greens, dates, and walnuts tossed with a lemon vinaigrette.
We tried the sweet potato hummus as an appetizer. and then shared an orange goat cheese salad.  For our entree we shared Chicken Shawarma (Thinly sliced marinated chicken breast served with Sitti rice, grilled tomato,sumac onion, pickled wild cucumber and garlic whip.)
Chicken Shawarma. 
After this wonderful meal at Sitti we headed over to Pie Bird for dessert   We sat outside at a sidewalk table and enjoyed the warm sun as well as our cream pies. 
Marcia's coconut cream pie.

Chocolate cream pie was my choice.

It's nice to celebrate birthdays with a morning out with special friends.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What's a Teetotaler Doing at a Brewery?

Although I'm a teetotaler (almost) I wanted to take our friend and my former colleague who was visiting to one of the local breweries for which Raleigh is becoming rather well-know.  Steve, a chemist, now lives in New Jersey, and he has been microbrewing since he was in Durham almost twenty years ago.  
Lunch at Sitti.

We visited downtown Durham and downtown Raleigh so he could see the changes that have occurred since he left the area.  We had lunch at Sitti's (Steve always knew where the best restaurants were), toured the new library on Centennial Campus at NC State, and had homemade ice cream at Local Fresh. 
Steve at the Library.

I was certain he would enjoy visiting one of the local breweries.  Not knowing much about beer and nothing about the local microbrewers, I checked the internet and found what seemed to be a good bet in the Lonerider Brewing Company.

There is no food at Lonerider, but often there is a food truck out front as there was when we were there.
Food truck outside Lonerider Brewing Company.
The beer menu.
The beer menu offered nine or ten choices, and Steve chose the first four for his sampler.
Steve's sampler.
Jackie, the bartender.
The bartender, Jackie, was wonderful.  She seemed to know exactly what each of the regulars who were in on their way from work wanted.  And each seemed to have their own special mug that was decorated by Jackie.  The mugs are stored there.
Steve's sample of Shotgun Betty.
Steve's sample of Sweet Josie.
Steve is a beer connoisseur, and he thought the Lonerider was great. I suppose I made a good choice. Come back Steve, and we will try another of the Raleigh microbrewers.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hair by Rana

My last haircut was in October when I was in Cape Breton, and it had gotten longer than usual.  I was walking Maggie the other day when I ran into our neighbor up the street who had the best haircut.  I inquired about her hairdresser.  She told me "Hair by Rana".  I immediately went home, called and made an appointment.  I'm happy with my new haircut and my new hairdresser. 
Sola Salons at Seaboard Station.

Hair by Rana is located in Seaboard Station at the Sola Salons, a group of different salons at this one site.
Sola Salon Studios

This is a convenient location for me.
Chandelier in the shampoo room.
I like the decor in this salon too.  You have a great view of a lovely chandelier as you are getting your hair shampooed.

A sign in the salon appears to express Rana who seems to like what she does.
Right side.

Left side.
Front.  It's not blonde, it's white, it just looks blonde because of the light.

This is my life and my style right now.