The end of Daylight Savings, and Shepherd’s Pie.

Hello, faithful readers. I appear to be falling behind in my updating, since it’s nearly Thursday and I’m going to tell you about my weekend. As in last, not this. But I’ve just crossed a big school hurdle, so I hope to have a bit more time now (until the next one comes along).

Over the weekend, another finance exam was looming, and that always means stress cooking. Luckily, the exam is now behind me, so I hope we can avoid discussing the WACC, NPV or dividend policy if at all possible. I know that will be an inconvenience for you. This weekend was also our switch back from daylight savings, which afforded me a much needed extra hour of sleep. I hope you also used your hour wisely! From here on out our days will be shorter, we’ll leave work in the dark and the weather only gets colder. Soooo, I’m ready for April already.

There’s something about this time of year that makes me crave a certain meal — Shepherd’s Pie and Baked Apples.

In early November 2004 I moved into my best apartment in Manhattan, marking the first time living by myself and a return to the island after two years in Queens. I’d had a crazy schedule — I spent September/October looking for apartments at every waking moment with like 5 brokers and then I traveled for work every week up until move-in. (I think I even went to LA the weekend before to visit friends … because I’m a glutton for punishment.)

It was by far the worst move of my life — in addition to the traveling, the end of the living situation had been emotional, and I had two hours of sleep the night before because my employer didn’t release quarterly earnings until 2 a.m. On top of no sleep and a mostly unpacked house, throw in my neighbors stealing from me and a renegade van of Serbian movers who way underestimated what it takes to move one person (I own a lot of stuff) into a 4th-floor walk-up. I put my hands on every box that came up those stairs. Angela remembers.

Due to that hectic pre-moving schedule, I hadn’t cooked for months beforehand. (Or watched TV, and Time Warner made me turn in my full-to-capacity DVR at the new address. I nearly threw myself on the cable guy and wept.) Anyhoo, you know what happens to me when I don’t get the cooking out of my system for awhile. After I collapsed in a heap in my new box fort, Shepherd’s Pie and Baked Apples was the first meal I made. It’s the perfect stick-to-your-ribs dinner that embraces the rush of cold weather and fall produce, so I just had to have it again this weekend.

I’m never at home during the week, so I try to do one massive cooking project on weekends. Shepherd’s Pie is a casserole of meat and vegetables in gravy topped with mashed potatoes. It does feed a crowd. I experimented a bit this time, so the traditionalists will have to forgive me. I added a layer of roasted spaghetti squash, which was, I’m proud to say, my first encounter with that particular vegetable. It was quite exhilarating, actually. It’s very weird and different, but tasty! The squash added a different layer of texture and a slight sweetness that I really like. Plus, more vegetables aren’t ever a bad thing. I stole that idea from Chuck‘s vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie recipe, and inspiration took hold when I saw the spaghetti squash display in Trader Joe’s. I think the Shepherd’s Pie is a hit — it’s pretty delicious.

I also baked some Braeburn apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. They’re just a basic, easy and foolproof comfort food, only heightened by the addition of salted caramel sauce. You could throw on a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you so desire.

I can’t tell if any of you care about recipes, so I haven’t yet posted the instructions. If you’re interested in trying out Shepherd’s Pie, baked apples and/or salted caramel sauce, contact me or leave a comment below. I’m happy to share!

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