Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie

On March 18, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Thank you FoodieChats. If you are not familiar with #FoodieChats on Twitter, I highly recommend you join the weekly chat held every Monday night at 8pm EST.  The group’s Facebook page posted a Shepherd’s Pie recipe from Gordon Ramsay that looked quick and flavorful so I decided to give it a try.  Here is the video rapidly showing how to make it:


Boil 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes in a pot of salted water.  Let them cook for about 10 minutes and start cooking the meat filling while potatoes cook.

First you begin with a pound of ground beef and a 1/2 pound of ground lamb. Cook it down, not letting it burn or get dry. Using a grater mince 1 1/2 medium size carrots and a small red onion and 2 cloves of garlic.


Let that all cook for about 3 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of worcester sauce, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. Let that combine and reduce until the wine is reduced by half for about 3 more minutes.  Then add 1 cup of chicken stock.  Let that cook down until the liquid is evaporated.

Once evaporated, spread the meat mixture into casserole dish.  Your potatoes should be ready by now and you can mash them with some milk, butter and 1/4 cup of Parmasen cheese.

Now spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture using a cake knife to make it smooth.  Using another 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmasen cheese spread that on top of the potatoes and then “fork” the potatoes to give it small peaks. Place in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes checking for a nice light brown top, no burning.

Will serve about 4 people.

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Vegan Paella

On March 16, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Paella is one of my absolute favorite dishes.  Of course, I’m talking more about a traditional Spanish Paella full of shrimp and sausage.  This vegetarian take on Paella from a new cookbook I received for my birthday last month, takes a vegan attempt at this classic dish. I skipped the setan meat substitute which was probably a mistake, but my wife and I just don’t care for the fake meat-like substances.

The dish is a combination of cooked vegetables that are then added to a pot of saffron flavored risotto.  The combination provides great flavor and it is a dish worthy of making again; however, it’s the Paella attribution that bothers me here.

Personally, I just don’t think anything without shrimp and sausage can be called Paella, even with the fake meat-like substitutes. So I like to see this dish as a good vegetable and rice dish.  Seeing it through that lens makes it a great option for a Meatless Monday dish or a night when you need to take a break from a real Paella.

Full the Recipe see the Amazon cookbook’s page (Editorial Review Section) as it is published there in its entirety: Vegan Paella


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Tandoori Chicken Parcels

On March 5, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

This is a rather simple recipe that calls for filo dough, chicken, tandoori paste and yogurt.  You’ll need some ghee or oil oil for brushing the filo dough.  This is quick and easy though after making it tonight I think it could use some vegetables like some onions, carrots or even chickpeas with the chicken.

I used two store bought items. One for the filo dough and the other for the paste.

Marinate the chicken in the Tandoori marinade (paste) and yogurt for at least 30 minutes. I did it for about 8 hours having thawed the chicken overnight and diced the chicken into bite-sized cubes then coated in the marinade.  When ready lay out 3 layers of filo dough brushing each piece with oil or ghee.

Place a good scoop or two of the marinated chicken on to one-side of the filo dough.

Okay, not the most appetizing photo ever, but start folding the chicken three times folding the sides before the last fold.

After repeating this 3 or 4 times, add each parcel to a lightly ghee or oil coated oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  I baked these for 40 minutes uncovered and then add a loose piece of foil, to keep the parcels from burning, and cooked an additional 15 minutes.

The parcels should be a golden brown.  Plate and serve with an Indian side dish like Chana Dal and some rice.

Click here for the original recipe: Tandoori Chicken Parcels.

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Go Vegan for the Sexual Cruelty

On March 2, 2012, in Food, by Chris Baccus


Is animal cruelty not enough of a reason to convert to Veganism? How about a more powerful sexual drive that will leave your partner in a neck brace and limp?

Believe it or not that’s the latest pitch from PETA in their new ad campaign: BWVAKTBOOM, “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me.

Who knew cutting out an animal product diet would assist with one’s sexual prowess.  The campaign features a younger Steve Colbert looking male with his model girlfriend along with playing it safe tips for your “newfound stamina, desire, and penile strength.”

Personally, I think I’ll stick with a low meat diet. Neck braces just are not that attractive.

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Michael Pollan at SMU

On March 2, 2012, in Food, by Chris Baccus

Michael Pollan at the afternoon student Q&A

I had the pleasure yesterday of seeing author Michael Pollan twice.  First at a student Q&A session for a hour in the late afternoon and then later that evening when he gave his talk about Food Rules at the Tate Lecture Series.

As always, Pollan was insightful, thought provoking, and funny.  He entered the stage as if he just returned from grocery shopping carrying about 5 plastic bags full of food from the local Tom Thumb market.  We later learned the contents included things like breakfast cereal bars with the milk processed in them, a couple of the new sugar waters, and white whole wheat Wonder Bread with 37 ingredients.

Pollan’s talk was basically clearing the air around the confusion of how we approach eating.  To maintain the Western Diet, we are constantly looking to demonize one ingredient or nutrient like fat, salt, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, whatever. It always changes.  With this constant shift of “if we only get rid of this one thing the Western Diet we can eat whatever we want.”  Of course, this approach has many flaws and has caused such poor performing situations like the low-fat craze in the 1980s when we made everything low-fat or fat-free, but then replaced the fat with tons of sugar.

Second balcony We also learned about what’s next in the food industry.  Pollan, who reads the food trade publications, found the next opportunity is the addition of more brain foods that are designed to increase our ability to think, remember, sharpen our mental capacity. And the name of the target audience for this new market: “The Cognitive Decline Market.”  So the next time you see someone drinking a food with brain enhancing supplements, just remember to go easy on their ability to reason their food decisions.

He ended with a few learnings from the best nutritional scientist we’ve had in our history. Grandmothers. And our grandmothers are basically culture, showing what we have learned through the ages to inform our society’s decisions.  Culture has taught us many great food rules and you can learn some of them on this video:

I personally disagree with one he shared last night:

“Don’t get your food from where you get your car’s fuel from.”

Obviously, Pollan is not familiar with fine gas station tacos so prevalent here in Texas. Perhaps next time he is in Dallas a stop at Fuel City or The Green Spot will change the rule.

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