Log in

No account? Create an account

Earlier | Later

pâté chinois

One of my goals for 2006 was to make a new recipe each month, something I hadn't made for dinner before. The recipe for February was what most of you know as shepherd's pie (though my copy of Joy of Cooking explains when you use beef, it's properly called cottage pie). However, everyone in my family calls it "Chinese pie," because we're French-Canadians by descent and that's what they call it, pâté chinois. (Actually I thought the name in French was plat de chinois, I don't know whether I'm misremembering, or whether both names are used.) The origin of that name is more complicated than I realized. I always understood it was just a reference to the Asian style of preparing all the food together in a single dish rather than as separate dishes. When I was growing up, the school lunch menus always called macaroni and hamburg "American chop suey," presumably for a similar reason.

Making the dish reminded me of why I don't like cooking. It's a very simple dish: sauté a pound of ground beef with chopped onions and put it in a baking pan; then put in a can of creamed corn; then top it with a layer of mashed potatoes; bake it at 350F for 30 to 45 minutes. Well, it took me an hour and a half just to get these very basic ingredients prepared and put into a pan, so I could bake it. That is way too long! There are plenty of things I'd rather spend an hour and a half doing than preparing a meal that then takes half that time again to cook. For special occasions, sure, but not on a daily or even a-few-times-a-week basis. I did grudgingly admit to myself that maybe if I took a cooking class as certain people are always pushing me to, I might learn some super-secret ninja techniques for reducing preparation time. Still, I can't imagine ever having the enthusiasm for cooking, particularly for experimenting with cooking, that my younger sister has. I'd rather do the clean-up.



( 9 have written — Write )
Feb. 27th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
ok, seriously...
I can't stand listening to her cause her voice throws me into a rage, and hearing her say EVOO. ARGH!!!! but... you should drop the $20 on a little cookbook called 30 minute meals, by Rachel Ray. give it a shot, or go look at the book at the book store. you might skype some of the recipes from the web site at foodnetwork.com too.

As I understand the history of shepherds pie, is it was a means for shepherds to take lunch with them to the flock, and not 'worry' about everything mixing. that being said, I would make it as a leftovers sort of meal... "oh gee, I have some left over mashed potatoes, and can of corn, and what the heck am I going to do with that ground beef I have in the fridge..." BANG! done. the mashed potatoes are the time killer here. really, aside from baking the pie, the prep should be minimal.

as for the cooking class, ninja technique is right... I would hope the cooking class would focus on knife skills. The knife is more important than anything else, you do have a good 6" / 8" chefs knife right? and its sharp right, and not one of those crappy 'ever sharp' knives. anyway, I still say, take a class. or, check if the local library / or a friend has the Good Eats DVDs. Alton Brown's explanation of food prep and the science might interest you enough to try things again.

Heidi could expand on the cooking thing even more than I can... but, I encourage you not to throw your hands in the air, and scream about 1.5 hours of prep. Just don't use the Joy of Cooking as your guide. The Joy of Cooking was started when people (more commonly Mothers, no dis from me Dickie Joe, you'll always be the MAN to me) stayed home all day long and cleaned and cooked. 1.5 hours of prep time was nothing, start that after cleaning up lunch, and have it on the table by 5:00.

I agree 2+ hours totaly ain't worth the reward of shepherds pie. (though, I think I could make it in far less time. cook the beef until browned, spice accordingly, then add the corn to the beef after straining off excess fat. cook til warmed through, at the same time, make INSTANT Potatoes, yes I said it. instant. hell its going on shepherds pie for christs sake not as the side for a roast duck. into pie dish, and then under the boiler, oh add a little shredded cheese to the top of the potatoes. watch carefully while under the broiler you're just melting the cheese, and firming up the top of the potatoes... I bet totay time less than 30 min prep and bake.

anyway, put the joy away. get a more modern cook book. The Joy is great for reference. I have the Betty Crocker book myself, but I understand the need for the Joy. If I need a recipe for pancakes, or a basic chocolate cake, BANG Joy / BC. if I want to make a new recipe = a newer cook book.

do check out Alton Brown's show and books. I think alton has gotten several men I know interested in cooking. Heck, My Dad has been watching the show, my sister got him the DVDs for x-mas. Check out Rachel Ray's cook book line. and check epicurious.com and foodnetwork.com

do you like Shrimp? it can be made with chicken, but ... I suggest looking up a recipe for 'KILLER SHRIMP' or experiment, I've been making more stir fry at home stuff... cause I don't like some things that they put in a normal restaurant stir fry... easy, easy easy, put in what you like. I bet there are some super asian markets in Seattle. good stuff cheap. I could go on and on about this, I'm starving.
Feb. 27th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
Re: ok, seriously...
but, I encourage you not to throw your hands in the air, and scream about 1.5 hours of prep

Aww, where's the fun in that?

The Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals book has been recommended to me before, and I keep forgetting about it. I will pick it up. What is "EVOO" and why does she say it?

Leftover mashed potatoes would've been preferable, yes, but it's so rare for me to make potatoes, I never have any around as leftovers.

I have a decent IKEA set of knives, which came with a sharpening stone, which I do actually use on occasion.

I have been using Joy of Cooking as a reference so far, for actual recipes I've used Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen! and Going Solo In The Kitchen (or something like that).

No, I don't like shrimp, and I have in fact even tried them before.

I could go on and on about this, I'm starving.

I don't know whether responding to the post made you hungry, or whether you were already hungry, but either way that's funny. :-)
Feb. 27th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
Re: ok, seriously...
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

oh man, Killer Shrimp is excellent, but with Chicken its fine too. long preprep great reward. : )

keeep the knives sharp, no dish washer if you have that luxury. and run them over the stone / steal before each use.

just starving. : ) shepherds pie I can pass on... ; )
Feb. 27th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Re: ok, seriously...
Oh I meant maybe writing that long response all about food and cooking made you hungry, not the shepherd's pie made you hungry. :-)
Feb. 28th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
Cooking class sounds like fun! It might be tough for you, because you are such a picky eater.

Before you do a class, you could start by asking ppl you know for 30 minute recipes. I've got a few (from the back of cooking light - a pretty good mag). I've got a pretty good stir-fry recipe that is tasty and ready to eat in about 30 minutes (assuming you put the pea-pods in whole :)


Mar. 3rd, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)
Well, taking the class wouldn't be so much about learning new recipes as it would be about learning and refining cooking techniques, so that I'd be a more skilled and more efficient cook.
Feb. 28th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
if you must do instant potatoes -- which usually make me cringe -- there is a brand that does not make me cringe: paradise valley http://www.usfds.com/fresh_potatos.htm . they come in teeny blue sacks. ignore the directions, and make them entirely with milk. they're quite yummy.

other ways to make mash faster: cut the potatoes smaller. you can also nuke them, but they seem to be better boiled. you can have mash-ready potatoes in 10 minutes if you just cut 'em into cubes.

i also agree with jay: it's a really good way to use leftovers. i made two turkey chinese pies after thanksgiving...
Mar. 3rd, 2006 05:46 am (UTC)
Trust me, I don't care what Jay says, I'm not touching instant potatoes if I can avoid it.

Yeah, I should've cut them into smaller cubes. I may have also let them boil longer than I needed too, as the book said "10-15 minutes for small ones, 20-25 for medium" and I seemed to have a mix. I think I cooked them for 15 minutes.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 12:30 am (UTC)
Mr Phil,

You have stumbled upon the dilemma that is near and dear to my raging heart: how to get "leftovers" in order to make Shepherd's Pie (or cottage pie). Truly, the idea is to use leftovers and not make everything from scratch. The problem growing up was that in my family, there were never leftover mashed potatoes. What I would have to do was deliberately set some aside for shepherd's pie.

Here's my quick way of doing shepherd's/cottage pie:

1) Arrange for leftover mashed potatoes.
2) Brown the meat, forget about the onions.
3) Mix the meat with a can of corn (not creamed) and a can of peas. If you have leftover cooked carrots, now is the time to throw them in, too.
4) Liberally dot with butter.
5)Cover with mashed potatoes.


( 9 have written — Write )

Latest Month

January 2019

The List: June 2011

List of tasks or activities I need or want to do this month.


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner