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Morrocan Shepherd’s Pie

What to do with ground lamb? Meatballs…maybe. Burgers…another maybe. In the end I came across this pie recipe on Pinterest…not a surprise. It was fantastic! You will never make a traditional shepherds pie after you try this one.

Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie With Sweet Potato (Our Four Forks)

Prep time 30 mins Cook time 40 mins Total time 1 hour 10 mins Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground lamb or beef (omit for vegan)
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15 oz. cans drained) (optional for meat version)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about ¾ 28 oz. can, drained)
  • ½ cup stock (vegetable, chicken or beef) + salt to taste
  • ½ cup currants or raisins
  • ½ bunch cilantro, stems removed, chopped

For the mash:

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (use white if you don’t have any sweet potatoes) OR…use the instant Idaho brand potatoes and just add the spices…
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (more if needed)

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground meat in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Remove meat from skillet and set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to the pan along with the onions, garlic, ginger, spices and salt and cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion is softened.
  4. Return the meat to the pan (if using) along with the honey, tomatoes and stock.
  5. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes more.
  6. Add chickpeas (if using), currants, and chopped cilantro, stir and remove from heat.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the mash:

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Drain well and add the olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, salt and milk.
  3. With a hand blender (or potato masher), blend until they reach a creamy consistency.

Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Fill a 13 in x 9 in casserole dish with the filling and spread the mash on top.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes until the topping is beginning to brown.
  4. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro, if desired.
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Reef Spaghetti (also known as Scoglio)

One of our favourite restaurants in Merida, Yucatan Il Caffe Italiano serves this wonderful seafood dish. We usually pop in after Sunday afternoon symphony. This is one wonderful dish and makes a little seafood go a long way! If you are buying fresh seafood, just purchase TWO pieces of EACH seafood PER PERSON.

Reef Spaghetti – Spaghetti allo Scoglio

Ingredients

  • fresh clams (although I used frozen and they were just fine)
  • fresh mussels (frozen is fine)
  • shrimp (frozen is fine) De-veined and tails removed!
  •  2 or 3 plum tomatoes chopped (I would use more next time)
  • bunch of parsley
  • basil
  • 1 clove of garlic OR MORE
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • spaghetti (dependent on how many people)

Preparation

If using frozen seafood, first thaw them in the refrigerator in cold salted water for  about 30 minutes. Thaw each seafood separately. Salt a pot of water for the spaghetti and set it to boil. Heat 2 T. of oil in a broad skillet with the garlic. When the garlic is browned, remove it (and eat it if you want..LOL). Add the drained clams and mussels. Cover and cook over a brisk flame, shaking the pan every now and then until the shellfish have opened. Turn off the flame and let them cool slightly. Remove empty or unopened shells. Do NOT try to open closed shells as they are already dead and eating them could make you quite sick!!!

Start to boil the spaghetti!!

In a separate deep skillet add more oil and garlic. Add the chopped tomatoes. and shredded basil leaves.Salt. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Stir in all of the shellfish (including the shrimp), adding some of the white wine (to your taste) Simmer another five minutes.

Transfer the drained, cooked spaghetti to your serving dish, add a little olive oil and ground pepper. Toss and then stir in the sauce with the seafood. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the sauce…and don not forget more wine…to drink, of course!!

Greek Salad a la Larry

Larry decided to explore several different Greek salad recipes one day – the result was his version below, which turned out to be very good!

Larry’s Greek Salad Recipe

Dressing Ingredients:

1 1/2 TBS  lemon juice

2 TBS     red wine vinegar

6 TBS       olive oil

2              small garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp      white sugar

1 tsp      salt

½ tsp     course ground pepper

1  tsp     Dijon grainy mustard

6 to 8     black / Kalamata olives finely chopped    Note: 15 oz can, the remainder go in the salad.

Mix all ingredients well in a salad dressing mixer or glass jar with lid.  Adjust quantities of ingredients to your individual taste.  The small amount of sugar cuts the acidity and is pleasant on the tongue without being sweet tasting.

Salad ingredients:

1              small red onion, very finely sliced

 Cut into approx.  one inch cubes:  1 green pepper,  1 red pepper,  1  yellow pepper (seeded, etc)

½ c          coarsely chopped flat parsley leaves  (if you like, you can also add some chopped mint leaves)

12 -16    Kalamata / black olives, pitted and halved

4              mini  cucumbers  (Costco), quartered lengthwise, and cut in 1” thick slices

200 gr    feta cheese, cut into small ½” cubes ( in Mexico, I use Apetina brand found at Superama, in brine)

1 cup     Plum tomatoes, halved ( more if you like)

Mix all the ingredients together and toss with some of the dressing.  I like to add the feta cheese to the individual salad bowls.   Guests can add more dressing if they like.

Another option:  let guests add their own dressing and feta.  If there is salad remaining, it will store better without the dressing added.