I had planned to sit down Sunday and write up something about the lovely weather on Saturday and how I did yoga outside and dug in the dirt and planted seeds. I thought about telling you about the broken garage door and how Michael had a small bought of handyman's tourettes (his words) while fixing it because by golly he was going to get it fixed THAT day because of scooters. I could have told you about being able to read only the top line of the eye chart with my left eye and trying on so many different frames for glasses that I finally just grabbed two styles (that in retrospect look very similar to each other). There's also the whole story of waking up Sunday morning to a layer of snow or how I spent the day in the basement creating a huge pile of stuff for donation pickup. Oh and there was that blissful hour and half I spent on my yoga mat, lox with cream cheese and CBS Sunday morning. Le Sigh. Instead of writing about any of that stuff on Sunday, I decided to make this vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe from Bon Appetit. I don't know if you know this but Bon Appetit is French for "be prepared to spend eight hours in the kitchen preparing this meal". Also, you will need every single pan. All of the pans. Some of the pans you will use more than once, so be ready to wash pans. There was this complicated sauce that took hours to cook. It involved straining and thickening. Once every thing was cooked this way, you cooked it again a different way for another half hour. All of the kitchen windows were fogged over with steam from boiling potatoes and simmering sauce. I layered the lentils and veggies as instructed and then poured the sauce over every thing. The pie dishes filled to slushy mess level and I still hadn't attempted to top with mash potatoes. At this point Michael stepped in and said that we should dump everything back in the pan and thicken the filling even more (so much cornstarch). Once the filling was back in the dishes, I used my hands to smear mashed potatoes much in the same way you would spackle a wall. Then guess what? They went into the oven to cook some more!
Sometime around 8:00 pm, Michael and I finally sat down to dinner. I don't have a picture. It looks just like the Bon Appetit version. Except there's sauce oozing out around the edge and the potatoes are way lumpier. And maybe not as crispy on top. The shepherd's pie was not uneatable. In fact, the meal was tasty, but it was not I-just-spent-hours-slaving-over-a-hot-stove tasty. I think the irritating part was not necessarily the time that went into making the meal, but the pretentiousness of the steps involved in making the meal. I know how to cook. I know how to boil water (I always laughed at that line in Sabrina: "Today, we learn to boil water"). I understand that some meals are just complicated and take some preparation time. But we are talking about shepherd's pie here and I even cheated. I bought the precooked lentils at TJs and used a bag frozen mixed veggies. Does a sauce really need an hour of cooking time? What happened to mashed potatoes the way mom makes them? What the Hell is a ricer?!? I'm pretty sure it didn't take half a day to prepare this dish in the 1700s and they were using WOOD BURNING STOVES!
Michael has agreed to restraining me the next time I think a Bon Appetit recipe is order.