Monday, August 29, 2011

Let the birth-week begin!

This weekend was flawless.  Sunny, not too hot, and filled with lots of friends and food.  On Saturday, we watched the series premiere of The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network!  It was all I could have dreamed.  The horses, the cowboy hats and boots, the cute kids, the food!  Ah!  Then we ran some errands, and made a couple of additions to our deck garden  A yellow hibiscus (which I didn't even know existed until I saw it at the store) and a pink phlox.  They add a lot more visual interest and color, and even though they're late-comers, they're perennials, so we'll get to enjoy them for several summers to come.

 I also harvested my garden's first tomatoes!  Tiny sweet pear-shaped yellow heirlooms.  

And on Saturday night, we began the 7 nights of feasting to celebrate my husband's birthday!  First on the menu: broiled steaks, cheesy mashed potatoes, and green beans.

I was being cheap, so I got these bottom round steaks that were on sale.  A little tough, but still pretty good!  I wish that ribeyes had been on sale, though.  I really do.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Fair warning: these are not low-fat.

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 pieces of bacon, cooked until crispy, chopped into bits

In a large pot, cover potatoes with at least an inch of water.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 5-10 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted into a potato comes out very easily.  Drain, and return to the pot over low heat.  Mash with a potato masher.  Add butter, half and half, and sour cream, salt and pepper, and continue to mash together.  Add cheese and keep on mashing.  When it's all combined and melty, serve alongside steaks and green beans topped with more cheese and bacon.

Serves 4.

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