comfort food

friday night jay and i were home alone after a rare day spent together (we were both off on the same day, hooray!)  we felt pretty good after seeing one of our charlotte friends at lunch, purchasing some things off our registry for the house (seems no one wanted to give us the bathroom trashcan!), and ordering a pair of warm fuzzy boots to accompany lauren on many nyc walks this winter.  but as pleased as we were, we couldn’t deny the slight twinge of homesickness–knowing half our charlotte friends were gathering at thomason’s house to send off the kinlo’s, and the other half would be gathering at hudzik’s house the next night.  a random commercial flashed a picture of the charlotte city skyline.  we looked at each other with frowny faces and tears in our eyes. 

and then we started cooking.  because really, we had just enjoyed an awesome day in nyc. 

for dinner we made shepherd’s pie with a twist.
in a skillet, brown:
onion
garlic
1 lb lean ground turkey
carrots
then season it with:
ketchup
rosemary
ground pepper
add some beef stock to it and let it simmer.

add two potatoes and two turnips (chopped) to a pot of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes.

spread meat mixture into a two quart pyrex dish.  spread 2 cups frozen peas on top.

drain “neeps and tatties” and mash ’em with a little butter.  we added 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar to the mash.

spread the mash mixture on top of meat and peas, sprinkle another 1/2 cup cheese on top.
bake uncovered at 375F for 35 minutes.  let it sit (and cool) for a bit before serving.

while the shepherd’s pie was in the oven, we made up some apple muffins.  my girlfriend bethany turned me onto an awesome food blog called smitten kitchen, where i found my inspiration for these muffins.  our edited recipe follows:

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup local honey
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large apples, peeled and chopped

we mixed all the dry ingredients together (next time i think we’ll do equal parts flour and oats) in a large bowl and all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl.  we added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixed it up, and then folded in the apples.  i cut my apples way too chunky–i was shocked the muffins came out at all!  the batter really fills in the space around the apples once it bakes, but i still think i’ll chop up smaller apple chunks next time.

spoon batter into muffin tins and bake at 450F for 10 minutes, and then 400F for 5 minutes (note that baking at two different temperatures is difficult on a micro-oven, but it can be done!)

by the time we finished eating our shepherd’s pie, the first batch of warm apple muffins were out of the oven.  we made 16 muffins, but immediately took 4 of them to keith as an excuse to meet his new puppy chloe, and to say sorry for accidentally missing yoga the night before!  baked goods are made to share.

i should add that our playlist for the evening included the soundtrack from lion king (the musical) as well as eddie money.  my apologies to the neighbors if they heard us singing!

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