and ramblings on everything in between
Around this time last year, I moved into my first big girl apartment with no roommates and no stuff. From the minute I walked in the door the first time I viewed the place, I knew it was mine. I knew I would write here. I knew I’d entertain friends here. I was excited to show it off and I invited a friend over for dinner about two weeks after moving in.
While cooking our dinner, Cottage Pie, my carbon monoxide detector started going off. While trying to stop the beeping, I simultaneously called my landlord, phoned the fire department, and opened all the windows. About this time, the Cottage Pie started bubbling over in the stove and smoke was coming out of the oven. While the not hot and very old firefighter walked into my house to assess the situation, my friend showed up. Saying I was embarrassed is an understatement. This wasn’t how I pictured my first dinner date going at the new place.
The carbon monoxide level in the house was fine; the firefighter chalked it up to a faulty monitor. We settled in the kitchen to eat dinner and two bites in, a mouse ran out from under my stove. I didn’t flinch when it happened. I merely looked at it and looked at my friend and said, “There’s a mouse in my kitchen.” She looked over her shoulder and laughed, “Yep, there sure is.”
This time I was beyond embarrassed – I was mortified. I had just moved into this place and now my friend would think it was a dump with four-legged friends running around! We quickly wrapped up dinner and I escorted my friend out so I could buy a mousetrap. A year later, there has yet to be another mouse sighting in my apartment. Who knows where he came from that night.
I’m sure I will forever remember this night when the dinner date was a disaster but the dinner itself was delicious. This recipe is perfect for fall and I’m ready to tackle this one-pot wonder again. I hope this time no furry intruders show up.
Recipe found in Real Simple magazine
3 Pounds New Potatoes (About 30)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
1 Cup Whole Milk
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Pound Frozen Pearl Onions, Thawed
1 ½ Pounds Ground Soy (or Beef Chunk if you’re a carnivore)
¼ Cup Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Low-Sodium Veggie Broth (or Chicken Broth if that’s your thing)
1 Medium Butternut Squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 Cup Frozen Peas
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes in large pot, add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch, and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to pot; add milk, butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mash.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 4 to 6 minutes; transfer to medium bowl.
Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in Dutch oven. Add soy (or beef), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking soy (beef) up with spoon, 4 to 6 minutes; mix in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, squash, peas, and onions and bring to simmer.
Transfer soy (beef) mixture to 9×13 inch baking dish and top with potatoes.
Bake until potatoes are lightly golden, the filling bubbling, and squash is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.