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This is obviously a picture of some leftover meatloaf, since it was so delicious I forgot to photograph it the first time around.

This is obviously a picture of some leftover meatloaf, since it was so delicious I forgot to photograph it the first time around.

We went in on a 1/4 of a cow (we’ll call her Bessie) with some relatives. A good portion of my freezer is now occupied by beef. Meatloaf made of high quality grass fed beef from a cow you’ve named is NOT to be missed! Delicious, delicious, delicious. In fact, this meatloaf turned out so delicious that I forgot to photograph it when it was in loaf form, and only remembered a few days later when it had become delicious leftovers.

1. Prepare the Pan

1 tsp olive oil (yes, just a tiny bit to coat the onions, since you’re going to top the meatloaf with bacon)

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

sprinkle of salt

  • Heat oven to 400.
  • Pour olive oil into pan, heat over medium high heat, and add onions and salt.
  • When onions are wilty, add garlic.
  • Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, as you mix and form the meatloaf.

2. Prepare Meatloaf

2 lb ground beef

1 cup high quality stale bread, cubed

1/4 cup asiago, cubed

1/4 cup fontina, cubed

1/4 cup grated parmesan/romano blend

1/8 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

red pepper flakes to taste

3 eggs

  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with hands.
  • Be very careful not to over mix, as this will make the meatloaf tough and bouncy. Only mix long enough to evenly distribute all of the ingredients, and only mix with your hands. Never use a mixer, or you will end up with a football on you hands, and not a meatloaf.
  • Form into a meatloaf shape.

3. Bake Meatloaf

Heavy bottomed pan with sauteed onions and garlic

Meatloaf

1/3 – 1/2 lb bacon (that Applewood smoked uncured stuff from TJ’s is REALLY good!)

2 packages frozen peas

  • Add peas to pot with onions, and mix.
  • Clear a space in the center of the pot for the meatloaf.
  • Arrange bacon strips on top of the meatloaf.
  • Cover, and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove lid, and bake until meat thermometer reaches desired rareness temperature (about 30 more minutes, depending on the shape of the loaf).
  • If the onions start to stick to the pot, add a little water or broth. This will also make a really nice sauce.
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This post has been on hold since July when things got hectic because that guy Dan proposed to me and then we launched straight into wedding planning. Fortunately, September is a good month for barbecues, and this potato salad is fantastic for barbecues! (Picture will be added later – I forgot my camera at someone’s house last weekend, and that’s where the pictures are.)

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My grandma made the best potato salad, but I can never leave well enough alone so I added a few things. I believe I have maintained the integrity of the dish, however, with the perfectly balanced flavors and textures of big chunks of red potato and hard boiled eggs, and a nice creamy sauce. We had this with Dan’s smoked ribs and our home made barbecue sauce and, let me tell you, THAT was a match made in heaven!

Grandma’s Potato Salad, with a Twist

1. Boil the potatoes, and then dress them while they’re hot. Here’s what you’ll need:

2.5 lbs red potatoes (as fresh as possible so the skin is still tender), scrubbed, bad spots cut off, and cut in 1-inch cubes (do not peel)

Large 8 – 10 quart stock pot

Enough water to cover the potatoes, plus about 2 inches more

1/8 cup salt (for boiling the potatoes)

1/4 cup cider vinegar (to dress the potatoes after they’ve boiled, but while they’re still hot)

1/8 cup olive oil (to dress the potatoes after they’ve boiled, but while they’re still hot)

  • Pour a few cups of water into the stock pot to throw the potatoes into as you chop them. My mom told me this prevents them from getting gray. I never questioned it; I just do it and the potatoes never get gray, so do with this information what you will, as I cannot explain the chemistry behind it and have never not done it.
  • When you have cut all of the potatoes and they are in the stock pot, make sure you have covered them with water, plus about 2 more inches above that level.
  • Use a larger stock pot than you need in order to prevent a big foamy mess on your stove. You should have at least 4 inches of clearance between the top of the water, and the lid.
  • Add salt.
  • Cover pot, and place over high heat.
  • Keep a close eye on the pot, as potatoes always look sweet and innocent, and then they suddenly boil over.
  • If you’re bored, hard boil your eggs and start chopping scallions as you wait.
  • As soon as the potatoes feel a bit tender (but just before you think they’re perfectly done), pour them into a large colander. They will continue to cook after you drain them, which is why you want to drain them before they taste perfectly done.
  • Transfer potatoes back into the pot, and pour the cider vinegar and olive oil over them.
  • Place in fridge to chill and marinate overnight.

2. Hard boil the eggs. Here’s what you’ll need for that:

10 chicken eggs (preferably brown, cage free, hormone free, antibiotic free, made by happy chickens)

2 -3 qt sauce pan

Enough cold water to cover the eggs

  • Carefully place eggs in pot, and cover with tap water.
  • Place pot on stove, and heat over medium to medium-high heat to rolling boil.
  • Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, pour off water, and run cold water over the eggs.
  • Crack and peel eggs while warm (it seems to be easier when they’re warm, and then they’re easier to store in the fridge overnight when they’re out of their shells).
  • Store in fridge overnight.

3. Make the Dressing

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I like the Trader Joe’s organic kind)

1 – 2 Tbsp crumbled Roquefort (optional)

Fresh dill to taste, coarsely chopped (optional)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

  • Place mayo, sour cream, and Roquefort in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
  • Add dill and pepper in bowl and mix.

4. Assemble the Best Potato Salad Ever:

Chilled potatoes (from step 1)

Chilled eggs (from step 2)

1 bunch of scallions, chopped

Dressing (from step 3)

  • Place chilled potatoes and eggs in a large bowl.
  • Chop scallions and add to potato/egg bowl.
  • Pour dressing over potatoes, eggs, and scallions.
  • Stir with a large spoon to distribute dressing.
  • Snack on some while you’re nice and hungry.

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100_1240I realize this isn’t the most appropriate recipe for summer, but it was really cold and gloomy here last week, which is when I made it.

Meaty Meaty Pea Soup

1 package bacon, chopped

1 package pre-cooked no nitrates andouille sausage (Niman Ranch is a good one), chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

6 celery stalks, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 cups broth

2 cups dry split peas (I used the yellow ones, but you could use green if you prefer)

  1. Chop meats and place in a heavy bottom pan over low-medium heat. Stir periodically as they brown.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to brown, stirring periodically. (You can remove the meats and pour off the fat, but then add a little olive oil as you saute the onion and garlic.)
  3. Add the carrots and celery, stirring periodically as they cook. When they have softened, add the broth, sage, parsley, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, and then add the split peas.
  5. Cook over low heat until the peas get creamy, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add water as necessary if the mixture starts looking too thick. I even add water when I reheat the leftovers, as the mixture tends to get thicker the longer it sits.

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100_1209These hearty cookies seem to have magical powers. They kept my starving brother alive when he arrived in Spain with no cash and a broken ATM card. They were the only thing my cousin (the one who dubbed them “quarter pounders”) could keep down the day after his 21st birthday. They are magical and delicious, and I’ve been making these cookies since I was probably about 10 years old.

Quarter-Pounders

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (NOT quick oats)

1 cup unsalted butter, partially melted

1.5 cups dark brown sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (Guittard is best)

  1. Preaheat oven to 350
  2. Combine flour, salt, and oats in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon (NOT a mixer), stir the mixture until it is of uniform consistency.
  3. Pour the butter over the top, and stir again until all butter is incorporated and dough is crumbly.
  4. Add the brown sugar, and stir again until all dough is of uniform (crumbly) consistency.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir with a fork to dissolve baking soda.
  6. Pour buttermilk mixture over dough, and stir again until dough is of uniform crumbly consistency.
  7. Add chocolate morsels and stir again.
  8. Using your 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop dough from bowl and form into a ball (as you would a hamburger patty), and then press flat, so they are about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.
  9. NOTE: The dough will feel very crumbly and awkward to work with. That’s just the way it goes. Do NOT try to fix the dough by adding more liquid ingredients. That will throw off the texture and make them cook unevenly.
  10. Place the “patties” on a cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  12. Cool for about 2 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to rack.

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Dan smoked some ribs yesterday, and they were DELICIOUS! I can’t really take credit for anything but helpful comments such as “So what if that’s what the recipe says? We don’t need to do it that way” and “Um, no, we’re not using store bought barbecue sauce. We’re making our own.”

Ribs waiting to be smoked with their friends The Salmons, also waiting to be smoked

Ribs waiting to be smoked with their friends The Salmons, also waiting to be smoked

Sorry, we don’t have pictures of the finished products because they just didn’t last long enough to take any. I’ve eaten a LOT of ribs in my life, and those were absolutely the best ribs I’ve ever had. I’m not even kidding.

Here’s the link to the recipe he used: http://virtualweberbullet.com/rib1.html, except that we omitted the MSG because MSG scares us, and we did not remove the membranes because they make us feel like cavemen, and we like that feeling.

Here’s the recipe for the barbecue sauce. I’m not totally uncompromising, so we did use regular store bought ketchup (rather than figuring out how to make that from scratch too). We did make a few adjustments, so I’ll write what we did below, but here is the original recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bourbon-Barbecue-Sauce-103642 (from Bon App├ętit, July 2000).

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup dark unsulphured molasses

1/3 cup bourbon

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon habanero sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 cup honey

  • Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan.
  • Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until sauce thickens and flavors blend, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes or so.
  • Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover; chill.

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