Friday, April 26, 2013

Creamy Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Most of the recipes I post on here aren't that bad for you - it's just that... well... the "less healthy" ones tend to stand out more because... uh... they're just so darn good... that's why! And speaking of good... and, take note, this recipe will NOT be found on your Weight Watchers list, folks... this Creamy Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes recipe completes a Sunday evening dinner perfectly!  It goes well with fried chicken, steak or pork chops and works well for those Springtime potlucks... people will be on this like a piranhas to blood. Ms. Paula Deen can be credited for this hearty, Southern creation... y'all! ;-)

Creamy Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes
by Paul Dean


3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, finely minced
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, 1 tablespoon reserved, for garnish


1. Place the potatoes into large pot and cover with cold water. Salt generously. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for roughly 13 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, melt 1 tablespoon of butter into a saucepot. Add the minced shallot and saute until soft. Add the cream and rest of the butter being sure not to bring to a boil.

3. Drain potatoes in a colander. Return to pot and mash with a potato masher. As soon as they are mashed slowly add in the hot cream and butter. Stir slowly and do not overwork or the potatoes will be heavy. Add the sour cream and the bacon and fold in the chives. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Cut a round in the top of the bread. Pull off and remove top, reserve. Pull out all of the soft bread inside. Be careful not to take out too much, as you want this to be a serving vehicle for your mashed potatoes.

5. Place potatoes in bread and garnish with chives.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil-Parmesan Mayonnaise

The following recipe is, without question, one of the best dishes I have ever prepared... and something I plan adding to my list of favorite recipes. This slow-roasted filet of beef with basil parmesan mayonnaise by Ina Garten (from her cookbook, Foolproof) is so wonderful and loaded with so much flavor that you'll attempt cartwheels in your kitchen after trying it. :-)... but seriously,  the secret is all in the homemade basil Parmesan mayonnaise, which compliments the slow roasted filet nicely... it's such a lovely combination and a perfect match made in Heaven. I would suggest allowing yourself plenty of time for preparation for this recipe... don't bother trying to rush and toss it together at the last second... there's a reason why it's called "slow-roasted filet of beef" after all. This brilliant dish goes wonderfully with a nice glass (or bottle) of cabernet sauvignon or a pinot noir. Enjoy!

Note: There are two recipes here - the first is the filet of beef, the second is the basil Parmesan mayonnaise. You'll have plenty of time to prepare the mayonnaise while the beef is roasting... plus is stays good for about a week in the refrigerator.

 Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef
by Ina Garten

1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise, for serving (see recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Use an oven thermometer to be sure your oven temperature is accurate.

2. Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry with a paper towel.

3. Brush the filet all over with oil, reserving about a half a tablespoon.

4. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper - it will seem like a lot but it makes a difference.

5. Place tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen string to them in place and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

6. Roast the filet of beef for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare.

7. Remove and cover the filet of beef with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

8. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature with the Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise.

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, mustard, basil garlic 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. Taste for seasoning - the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week

Friday, April 12, 2013

Shepard's Pie

On St. Patrick's Day,  I wanted to make something "Irish"... or close to it. I turned to one of my favorite food blogs Food Wishes by the wonderful Chef John. I absolutely love this blog and Chef John is wonderful in presenting recipes that are both delicious and easy to follow. But, back to St. Patrick's Day...  I decided to make Chef John's Shepard's Pie... though, he would call it a "Cow Pie" because I used ground beef instead of ground lamb.

Side Note - I've never tried lamb. Can you believe that? That's a food goal of mine this year - to try lamb!

This is a great one-dish recipe for a busy weekday. I also found it could be prepared in advance and then popped in the oven at a later time. I would suggest really investing time in looking for a nice aged Irish white cheddar cheese... it does make a difference. :-)

Shepard's Pie 
by Chef John from

For lamb mixture:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
2 pounds lean ground lamb
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp ketchup
2 1/2 cups water or broth (use more or less to adjust thickness as needed)
12 oz bag frozen peas and carrots, thawed, drained well

For the potato topping:
2 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 pound Irish cheddar
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp milk

  1. Place cubed potatoes and garlic in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  3. Brown ground beef over medium heat in a skillet. Stir in flour, mixing with beef drippings.
  4. Add beef broth, ketchup and vegetables. Stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, until thick.
  5. Transfer beef mixture into an oven-proof casserole dish.
  6. Drain potatoes and smash them a little bit before adding 1/4 cup of grated cheese and sour cream. Mash together until smooth.
  7. Spoon potatoes onto the middle of the meat mixture. With a fork, spread potatoes from the center to the edges to form the top layer.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sauteed Carrots

I enjoy the combination of sauteed carrots and fresh dill... and this recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten is definitely a winner. I'm trying to use more fresh vegetables... as opposed to canned... and what a difference in flavor that alone makes. This is a quick fix side dish... and it couldn't be more simple to make. Enjoy!

Sauteed Carrots


2 pounds carrots
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


1. Peel carrots and cut them diagonally in 1/4 inch slices. Should have about 6 cups of carrots.

2. Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, salt and pepper in a large saute pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for  7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through.

3. Add butter and saute for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter.

4. Take off the heat, toss with dill and sprinkle with salt & pepper.