π r squared (but these pies are round)

Pardon my absenteeism lately – I don’t really have an excuse.  It’s spring, the time change has knocked me for a loop, and my creativity in the kitchen is severely stifled these days.  Otherwise, things are good.

Flowers are blooming, the weather is lovely, and we’ve started our summer garden.  We’ve expanded it by approximately 200 square feet, which means we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.  It also means (hopefully) that we’ll have a lot more food coming out of it this summer.  We’ll see.

I don’t have anything new to share with you, unfortunately, but in honor of national π day (March 14, i.e. 3.14), I thought I’d share some of my favorite pi(e) posts from days of yore.  I hope you enjoy some pie with your π.

One of my most popular posts to date: Shepherd’s Pie (also appropriate for St. Paddy’s Day on Saturday)

 In Celebration of a Life: Peanut Butter Pie

Dried Apple Slab Pie

This ridiculous chocolate pie

This nut tart, which is like a pi(e) – right?

Cherry Pie, to be shared.

Happy π Day!

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Shepherd’s Pie from Modern Classics by Donna Hay

I’m a sucker for beautiful food photography, which is how I ended up with 3 or 4 cookbooks by Donna Hay.  I was completely drawn in by the stunning photographs of Con Poulos, never considering that the recipes might be less than acceptable.  Luckily, I have never been disappointed.

Today’s recipe comes from Ms. Hay’s Modern Classics, Book 1.  I love shepherd’s pie, and this recipe seemed simple and authentic enough.

Start by peeling 2 lbs. of potatoes.

Cut them into 1-2 inch pieces and boil in liberally salted water until fork tender.  Mash with 1/4 cup milk, 2 1/2 oz. butter and 1/2 cup cheese (I used a dry sharp cheddar).
Chop 2 medium carrots (or a couple of handsful of mini peeled carrots) and two small onions.  Saute in 1 Tb. olive oil until tender.
Add 20 oz. beef or lamb mince (a.k.a. ground beef) and cook until browned.   To this mixture add 2 Tb. tomato paste, 1 cup beef stock, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme and 1 14 oz. can peeled tomatoes.  Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Uncover, add 1 cup frozen or fresh peas and simer 15 minutes more, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Pour meat mixture into a 4-cup baking dish.
Cover with mashed potatoes and bake at 375F for 35 minutes, until potatoes have browned.  Serves 4-6.
shepherd’s pie
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
20 oz. lamb or beef mince
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14 oz. can peeled tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
sea salt and cracked black pepper
potato mash
2 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 oz. butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup freshley grated cheese (I used cheddar, she suggests parmesan)