Monday, November 10, 2008

First Dog, Bowling, Saturday Dinner,

There was I worrying about who would walk the Obama's dog when the children couldn't, I discovered today there is a horticulturist (gardener?) who can walk the dog first thing. Apparently there is a staff of 80 in the White House. The first family have their own bowling alley, swimming pool and tennis court of course. Not to mention a running track. These were all installed for different presidents. There is also a secret children's garden so the girls will be OK. The family have to pay for their own food and for their guests unless they are official guests. So if its an official function presumably the Obamas can eat free too. I bet the logistics are a bit complicated. I wonder who does the cooking for the private family? Surely they don't have to hire their own chef? That would cut into his $400,000 a year quite drastically. I would like to have a private bowling alley; they probably wouldn't get a lot of time to practice but maybe I could become a whiz with my own alley. Oh, just occurred to me, it would be 10 pin. Well I guess one could have it converted to 5 pin. No problem surely. The alleys are the same its just the pin setting that is different. I remember one alley we used to go to years ago you could do either if you wished. The pins in 5-pin are actually 18 inches apart although from a distance they don't look it. The other day I actually bowled a ball which went right through between the middle pin and the one next to it, I've never done that before. I said "oh bother" and if you believe that ....... Saturday night's dinner was very enjoyable and mostly everyone ate everything. I started with my latest favourite, Onion and Black Olive Pissaladière, one of my guests didn't like black olives, but her husband did so he got extras. With the Texas Shepherd's Pie which was the main course I served Italian green beans in tomato sauce and for dessert we had bought Cannoli. I picked them up when we were in Costco the other day. They weren't bad, I had never eaten them before, but they were rather sweet and reading up on Cannoli, they should be crispy and these weren't really, having been frozen. I think the pastry part might be a tad difficult to cook so I don't think I will bother to try making them. What I need is a good Sicilian baker. Whilst looking for a picture of Cannoli I came across this great site about Italian cheeses which also includes a bunch of recipes for the cheeses including one for Cannoli filling although it says to use 24 mini cannoli shells so maybe one can buy them already made. I actually posted this recipe in March this year, but here it is again. It came from Cooking Light and every time we have made it, it has been very popular, particularly when we made it in Florida a number of years ago for the grandkids. However as I keep telling people, this recipe is mis-named. Technically Shepherd's Pie should contain lamb and if it contains beef, it is Cottage Pie. Texas Shepherd's Pie Serves 4 1- 1/2 lbs peeled potatoes, cut small 1/3 cup low fat buttermilk 1 oz butter 1/2 tsp salt, divided 1/2 tsp pepper, divided 1 lb lean ground beef 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped celery 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed 1 tsp instant minced garlic 1- 1/2 cups salsa cooking spray 1/2 cup or 2 oz reduced fat sharp cheddar 1 Preheat oven to 375 F. Cook potato and drain. Add buttermilk, butter and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Beat until creamed. 2 Cook meat in a large nonstick skillet over med heat until browned, stirring to crumble; drain. Return to pan. Add remaining condiments, onion, celery, fennel and garlic. Cook over med heat 5 mins or until veg are crisp tender, stirring frequently. Add salsa; simmer over med low for 10 mins. Spoon into 8 " square baking dish, coated with spray. Spread potato over meat. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 mins or until thoroughly heated. Have a great day.


  1. It look miam miam delicious this shepherd'spie !
    Talking about shepherd i don't understand why my colleagues they all are fond of dr Shepherd in the tv show grey's anatomy. He is nice looking, but just as much as many other actors, nothing that incredible !

    i'm glad you got a nice dinner ^^

  2. Never seen the show Gynie so can't comment. I guess its different strokes for different folks. If you understand that term.

  3. Don't know that I'd want to stroke Dr. Shepherd.

    I can't remember seeing any sheep on the one occasion that I visited Texas, we ate beef and alligator while I was there. Perhaps we should rename it Cowboy Pie? :)

  4. I remember Matt eating Desperate Dan pie in England once LOL. I wonder if they do have sheep in Texas, such a small percentage of North Americans eat lamb at all, they probably don't have any there. Have friends there, will ask.