Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Lunch, Cooking.

Monday was our Christmas lunch at the bowling alley, some stupid so an' so couldn't stop eating. I will regret it when I next get on the scales. However, I did manage an excellent first game, a respectable second game and a not very good third game. I also won a box of Lindor chocolates. I was rather sorry I didn't win the $75 for bowling a strike. It's been running for weeks at $5 a time so accumulating. I left a corner pin up, boo hoo. A very good friend turned up for lunch, she hasn't been to the alley for a while because she has had various health problems. I was delighted to discover one of the owners escorted her back to her car after as she hadn't been able to get close to the building. Anyway, it was a fun day.

Today, Tuesday, I am making a chocolate cake (I posted the recipe in 2008)to take to the alley on Thursday to share with four friends of ours plus I plan to make some of the stuffing I need for Sunday. Don't pick up the bird til Thursday then I will be shoving it in brine for a few hours. I haven't cooked a whole bird in about 15/16 years so I am a tad worried about it.

This is a mouth watering vegetarian recipe but what a lot of ingredients!

Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie with Potato-Chestnut Topping

Star chef Grant Achatz swaps in mushrooms for the usual meat and adds woodsy chestnuts to the
potato topping in his vegetarian take on shepherd's pie.


3 pounds white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 lb leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
1 Tbs thyme leaves
1 Tbs black peppercorns
1/2 tsp hot curry powder
2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
8 ounce turnips, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/4 lb sunchokes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 small carrot, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps quartered
2 lbs mixed cremini, oyster, maitake and portobello mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped chives
2 Tbs chopped thyme


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
One 5-ounce package roasted chestnuts
1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup mixed chopped parsley, chives and thyme

1. Make the sauce In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms in 4 batches until finely chopped; transfer to a 12-quart pot. Add the leeks, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, salt, thyme, peppercorns and curry powder to the food processor and pulse until very finely chopped; transfer to the pot. Add the cream and 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

2. Strain the stock through a fine sieve set over a large heatproof bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Return the stock to the pot and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes. Pour the stock into the bowl.

3. Wipe out the pot and melt the butter in it. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking often, until well browned, about 7 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock until smooth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, about 15 minutes. Scrape the sauce into the bowl.

4. Make the filling Wipe out the pot and melt the butter in it. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rutabaga, turnips, sunchokes, carrot, parsnip and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 7 minutes. Add all of the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and their liquid evaporates, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are coated in a creamy sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the filling in a 9-by-13-inch gratin dish.

5. Make the topping In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes, chestnuts and parsnip with the cream and 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir in the nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of salt and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

6. Drain the vegetables in a colander set over a heatproof bowl. Transfer half of the vegetables to a food processor, add ¾ cup of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Scrape into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and another 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Let the puree cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks and chopped herbs and season with salt. Spread the topping over the filling and swirl decoratively.

7. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the pie for about 40 minutes, until the filling bubbles. Turn on the broiler and broil 8 to 10 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Let stand for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day


  1. Sorry you didn't win the money. You scored some food though.

    1. Me too Alex, $75 is not to be sneered at.

      Yup, chocolates from Switzerland.

  2. What kind of Lindors were they? I love the individually wrapped balls that are filled with something delicious like caramel or fudge.

  3. Congratulations on your win, but $75 would have been cool! Chocolate cake, yum!
    Have a truly wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas and if I don't get back again, a truly lovely New Year!

    1. You're right Yolanda, $75 would have been cool. The chocolate cake is all done now. A very Merry Christmas to you and also a Happy New Year. I wasn't terribly impressed with 2016

  4. I love Lindor chocolates...so smooth...yummy. Your chocolate cake looks good and I bet they enjoyed it. Glad you saw your friend also

    1. No they haven't had the cake yet Birgit, that's for Thursday.

      Lindor are great aren't they?

  5. Congratulations on your win - and, while the recipe sounds delicious, I'm not sure I could face all that work.

    1. Thanks Helen. I am sure you couldn't especially in your present state of health.

  6. Please don't put energy into worry about the bird. Which, is not my place to tell you not to worry but please don't worry.

    1. You're right Ivy, dunno why I am doing so. I don't have to impress my friends.

    2. You're not alone in this world of holiday stress. I don't partake in it but I know far too many who do. It's time to enjoy, relax, have fun. Not this crazy days of stress and anxiety.

    3. That doesn't sound like fun at all.

      And, all that bad energy goes into the food (I believe), then we eat it. Ack. No.

    4. No, it's not that bad Ivy. Especially when you get lots done in advance.