Sunday, April 18, 2010

She's Back!!! - GIRLICHEF Returns with a Shepherd's Pie

Why do we start blogging???

Why do we continue blogging???

Why do we stop blogging???

Why do we return to blogging???

In early January, one of the most prolific and popular bloggers dropped out.  She made a short announcement, and then was gone.  GIRLICHEF was on everyone's blogroll, she guest posted whenever asked, and not only updated nearly daily on her own site, she was instrumental in starting at least 3 more community sites.  At one point, I considered dropping out.  Honestly, thanks to three bloggers (one was GIRLICHEF), I continued through a rough spot and continued blogging for all new reasons.  There have been many others that have dropped out (Crazy Asian Gal and My Tasty Treasures come to mind) recently, and I wish they would return.  There have been a few that dropped out and slowly returned, after taking a break (I was thrilled to see Accountants Can Cook? return recently).  But   GIRLICHEF's return and the manor of her return made me ask myself anew all those questions above...

Won't give you my answers yet (but I would love to hear your thoughts).  But for now, Welcome back Heather.

To me, the finest way I have to honor a blogger is to select a recipe from their blog.  Either making as is, or taking inspiration, I love making a recipe I read on someone's blog.

And sure enough, on only her third post since her return, heather posted this easy quick and incredibly pleasing recipe for SHEPHERD's PIE.  Follow that link to Heather's site.  You will find her original posting of the recipe, as well as reading of her inspiration, and a surprise (best if you wait to go there after the 24th, but you will have to read her post to understand why I say that (Click HERE to get to that post)).

Have you been paying attention?  yesterday, I posted a terrific recipe for a warm potato salad with ricotta cheese and my version of Herbes de Provence.  I made extra, as I had this recipe in the back of my head to use the leftovers.  Fine line between flavored mashed potatoes and potato salad.  Once you mush up the big chunks in the potato salad, there is not even the fine line.  These leftovers made a great topping for my shepherd's pie ala GIRLICHEF.

Here's what she said to do...
Shepherd's Pie
from Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron
yield: 4 svgs. (I doubled this & used a 9x13)

1 lb. ground beef, 85% lean
1/4 c. onion, diced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 lbs. potatoes (~4 med.), peeled & sliced 
I used red potatoes, just quartered
1/2 c. chive & onion cream cheese (red. fat) 
I used regular Neufchatel
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs.milk
1/4 tsp. black pepper
14.5 oz. can creamed corn

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef and onion together.  Drain well and season with salt and pepper.  Place the beef mixture in a 9x9x2" baking dish.  Set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a medium pan for 20-25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl.  Add the cream cheese, butter, milk and pepper.  Mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour the creamed corn evenly over the beef mixture.  Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the corn.  When the potatoes have cooled, cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Uncover and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the corn is bubbly around the sides.
And low and behold, pretty much exactly what I did...

I used my leftover tater salad, which already had ricotta cheese, so I left out the cream cheese.  Heather changed the recipe a bit by topping with a little cheddar cheese and then a small can of drained peas.  i took her advice!

Heather advertises this as a make ahead meal, easily frozen or made earlier in the day when it is convenient (as I did), and then left in the fridge.  It was perfect to wait for Jackie to get home from her inconvenient day job, allows us to go out our door, take a right and snorkel around our bay for an hour.  Come home, pop this in the oven, take our showers to get the salt water off us and the meal was hot, ready, tasty and perfect!

Loved the corn in this.  Added such a great new taste to an old classic.  An old classic recipe and a classic blogger I missed.



  1. I miss Palidor and Donna also, but I'm so glad that Heather has returned! She is one of my faves.

    You'd better not letter the blogger world! Who else is going to show me the way to a guy's heart?

    This is a great tribute to Heather, and it looks super tasty!

  2. Dave. Dave, Dave, Dave. Yes, a totally amazing, flattering, Year on the Grill-type tribute! Thanks so much for welcoming me back in such a huge way and for sending encouragement my way when I needed it. Although the food, the writing, the photos and the appetite were major reasons for returning to blogging, friends like you (and so many others I've met in the wonderful community of foodie-bloggers) weighed in right at the top, as well! Such a wonderful, supportive community and I'm so glad to a part of it again!! Thanks again for the fabulous welcome-back...and your shepherd's pie looks awesome (lovin' the use of the tater salad)...if only I could have eaten it after a fabulous day in the salt-water. ahhhhhhh...... :)

  3. Why do we start blogging???
    To connect with people. In food blogging this has even greater importance to me, because we share our passion for food with other food freaks (freaks meant as a term of endearment here).

    Why do we continue blogging???
    Two fold for me. First, it is like the pencil marks when you measure your kids height on a wall year after year. I can look back and see the progress I have made. Second, blogging continues to make me grow, learn new things, expand my culinary horizons and skills.

    Why do we stop blogging???
    I will when it stops being fun or I no longer learn from it.

    Why do we return to blogging???
    Let's face it, they missed us (ha ha).

  4. Dave - Ah Donna and Palidor's blogs are missed. And mine is slowly coming around again (thanks for mentioning it). If it wasn't for the pending divorce I'd be cooking up a storm...instead I'm golfing, riding my motorcycle and reconnecting with friends. The cooking will return (I set my bbq on fire last night...too panicked to get pics). :)

  5. Great post Dave - I guess people blog for many different reasons. My reason? How cool will it be for my future grandchildren to read my "diary?" And have access to all my recipes?!

    My husband loves shepherd pie - although only in the winter time - I'll book mark it though!

  6. I was happy to see Heather back with us. She was one of the first blogs I followed, and she personally assisted me when I was newbie with technical questions. She is wonderful!

    I am sure if you put bloggers in a room together to discuss why we blog, I think we could agree on a few themes:

    1. Allows for a creative outlet for our passion. In our case it is all things food.
    2. Once you start blogging, and participate in the blogging world, you become part of a world community, that is just amazing.
    3. You learn everyday from the blogs that you read, you hope that as a blogger that you are contributing something to the blogging world too.
    4. The downside is that blogging can become very time consuming and the pressure we place on ourselves can be tiring. I know that I have to remind myself that I own my blog, my blog does not own me. Lastly, life happens and most of us at some point, will have to take time away from our blogs to focus on life events.
    A blog that comes to mind is George from a A Nod is as good as a wink-
    I am glad to see Cathy moving back into the blogging world. I would love Donna from Tasty Treasures to venture back too.

  7. I was so happy to see Girlichef was back as well! It was great of you to make her recipe! And yeah, just where is Donna?!

  8. I was excited to see Girlichef back as well, and I agree, I miss Donna and Crazy Asian Gal.

    I started blogging in order to share my recipes with my family and friends who were always asking me for my recipes. Then the blog started to grow followers, and many of my followers have become some very dear friends.

    Blogging is a creative outlet for me; it allows me to combine three of my hobbies into one format, reading, writing, photography, cooking (oops that's four); never was good at math.

    I've seen people quit for different reasons, health, divorce, birth of children, death, poor sportsmanship, and sometimes it's just the busy-ness of life.

    I'm glad you didn't quit. You have grown so very very much in the short time I've "known" you and of course, I have learned much from you. You're a terrific writer, cook, and blogging friend. Hope you stay 'round for a loooong time.

    Love shephard's pie. It's a huge favorite here. I could go for some right now!

  9. Dave,
    Thanks for mentioning the fabulous Girlichef! I just signed up to follow her blog & love her approach to food.
    Blogging has been so rewarding since starting last August - I remember when we were first in touch & think how much I've learned since then about food, writing about food, taking photos of food etc... and it's been such a fun journey. As always, looking forward to your next post:)

  10. I too am happy Heather is back :) I do wonder though why your version of her recipe is purple? Is it my monitor or something you did differently?

  11. I am new to blogging and I really love your blog. My husband and I drooled over the BBQ chicken pizza with carmelizecd onions. We decided that the stuff in the baggie is really herbs and he said, "We should make that." In fact he just reminded me. "You should stay home [from niece's recital] and make the herb mix. Too tempting. We will be making your herb mix (as well as the decadent pizza). Two days ago (before I had to shove of for work), I was watching the video on your site with Julie Child making an omelette. So of course, I had to give a try immediately. I started out by burning butter in about 3 seconds, but I made two omelettes since then and love the buttery taste. I have Julie's Mastering cookbook and we share respect for that lady. So.... Thanks for sharing your experience. I really like blogs that show passion and fun with cooking. Bloggers that "are about blogging for the sake of blogging" do not make it to my favorite list.

  12. I actually COL'd (cheered out loud) when I saw Girlichef was back. Love her blog.

  13. Firstly, about the why's and why-nots of blogging, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Chris and Velva. Sencondly, I too am happy that Heather is back and sad that George and Donna are not (as of yet), and hope they are all doing well. Thirdly, I love you use of the extra potato salad! It has to be delicious. That dish looks like the serving you saved for me, no?

  14. Yay! Heather is back. I have visited her blog on a regular basis hoping to see her back and am so glad she is. George will be back I am sure. Sometimes family issues have to take priority. I have been feeling discouraged lately with my blog but I know it will pass. This community is too important. Don't even consider stopping Dave.

  15. See! How can you not feel the love and support from this amazing community of people!? Thanks again for your support and it makes me so happy to hear that people love me...they really love me ;) Boy, I've missed it!