As I write this final post for my ECMP 355 course I am becoming quite sad. I truly enjoyed this class for a few reasons: there was a great teacher, the subject area was of great interest and use to me, and finally that I got to take time to learn something I have learned to love.
Before this class I was a classic student; I ate a lot of ramen and kraft dinner and as a server I also ate a lot of food from work. When I would cook it was extremely simple and I followed a recipe quite strictly. I have enjoyed baking for a long time; when baking you must follow the recipe diligently to receive a perfect product.
Over the course of this semester, on top of learning more about technology and education, I learned how to cook proper meals. This was quite the undertaking as I tend to be broke most of the time and don’t have a lot of spare time. I believed that cooking well meant you needed the best ingredients and that it would involve slaving away in a kitchen all day. I was so pleased when my first cooking endeavor took less than two hours. My first post was lemon honey chicken and asparagus and hassle back potatoes. This was a delicious meal that was not overly expensive and tasted very good. I then followed it with my barbeque challenge. Later on, I tried pan-frying a marinated steak with a broccoli cheddar twice baked potato. My next endeavor involved collaborating with a fellow classmate, Tanya. She and I made a peach and basil pizza vegan style; her learnnig project was to learn how to cook vegan. Each of these required less than 50 dollars, gave me two servings and was delicious.
I loved using Pinterest to find new exciting things to cook. At this point I began to feel more comfortable in the kitchen, I started stocking up on groceries and cooking more often for myself. I even made my own homemade hamburger helper, it was quite good to be honest, but needed more cheese. My last two posts were focused on creating casserole-like meals which I could portion and use for lunches for more time. Part of my reasoning for choosing cooking was so I would feel more comfortable, but also so I would start eating better food and taking better care of myself. Learning to make the cottage pie and the lasagna were two of my biggest cooking accomplishments thus far. I learned how to make bulk meals that tasted good, were broke student friendly and would last a long time. I am so glad I was able to take this time to learn the art of cooking so I might continue on my own. I will continue to use Pinterest and hopefully keep updating my blog so you can continue to follow my journey as I attempt to further my love and skills in the art of cooking.
For this weeks post I decided to make one of my favorite meals when I was a child. This time I decided to do it without using a recipe, so all by myself. This was a test to see how much I had learned so far. I knew the basics as I have made it before but never quite like this. I took all the things I liked about shepherds pie and decided to give it my all. Interestingly enough Oh, how I love Shepherd’s pie. Or is it Cottage pie? I found online that shepards pie is also known as cottage pie, the difference being that shepards pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. Think of it this way, shepards watch sheep and most cottages in the wilderness will have one or two cows. I also found that there are many versions of this pie, check out this link to learn more.
I started by deciding what I wanted in the pie, the typical groceries came to mind; cheese, potatoes, milk, salt, ground beef, peas, corn and a gravy-like sauce. I knew the first few steps; peel the potatoes and boil them, defrost and brown the ground beef and of course preheating the oven. I also had to heat the peas and corn and then mix it with the ground beef after it was drained. The next step was to use this handy little gravy packet to make the beef extra saucy and flavourful. I mixed the ground beef and vegetables in with the sauce and put it on the bottom layer of the dish.
My next step was to complete the mashed potato topping, not to brag but I have been told my mashed potatoes are delicious. I mashed the potatoes while adding some milk and butter. I then added a little garlic powder and paprika to spice it up. This made the second layer of the dish. I then topped it with a nice layer of sharp cheddar cheese. Let it be known that cheese is one of my favorite things on this planet because it is part of all the best dishes. I love; cottage pie, mac and cheese, cheese burgers, pizza, fondue and of course poutine. What Canadian doesn’t love poutine. Anyway, I then put the dish in the oven at 375 degrees.
35 minutes later I removed my dish from the oven and let it cool. Finally, buda bing buda boom I had my pie! Let it be known it was delicious! Next week I will be making lasagna, another one of my cheesy friends.
So far, I have done two posts about what I have cooked. The first one went over very well, especially the potatoes. However, I wanted to incorporate more vegetables. The BBQ challenge also went over very well but I did receive one comment asking me if i had done a marinade. At that exact moment, I had no idea what that meant so I went on a small hunt. Instead of trying something completely new I wanted to take this opportunity to improve on what I have done up to now. I started with incorporating more vegetables. While I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for potato recipes I came across this great one for a twice baked potato with cheese and broccoli. Right from the title I saw a vegetable so of course I had to click on the delicious looking picture to see what it would require. I was pleasantly surprised when it asked for not only broccoli, but also for cauliflower. I got a little confused as I didn’t see the cauliflower in the picture, until I read the directions for the recipe. I was amazed that it told me to mash the cooked cauliflower in with the potatoes scooped out of the shell. I loved this idea so I ran to superstore and got all the ingredient it required, except for the buttermilk because, well I forgot. I also grabbed I nice big steak so I could make the world best marinade, which I also found on Pinterest. When I got home the first step was to follow the marinade recipe, which I altered by adding honey garlic sauce and eliminating the soy sauce. I also added some cayenne. I let the steak sit in the sauce for about three hours, and then I began the potatoes. I had to pierce them with a fork and cook them so when I cut them in half I could scoop out the insides. I then mashed the potato “flesh” as said in the recipe with the cooked cauliflower. After that I was supposed to add the buttermilk, but since that wasn’t possible I used regular 2% milk with some lemon juice which I found online as a replacement for the missing ingredient. I also added some cheese in the mixture before scooping it back into the shells. After they were all full and tantalizing I added the cooked broccoli (I stood it up so the stem was inside like a tree) and of course more cheese.
I then baked it in the oven for about 8 minutes. While the potatoes cooked I took the time to pan fry my steak to a perfect medium and voila, Bon Appetit!