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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.

What’s a girl to do when she’s up to her ears in Japanese eggplants and cherry tomatoes from the garden? Make a delicious pasta dish! (Pictures on their way – camera forgotten at someone’s house, which is a real shame since this is a nice colorful dish.)

Summer Eggplant Pasta

4 Japanese eggplants, quartered lengthwise and then cut into chunks

4 cups multi colored cherry tomatoes, halved

6 cloves garlic, chopped

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Red pepper flakes to taste

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 lb pasta (penne, farfalle, or fusili work best)

1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Freshly grated parmesan

  • Place olive oil in heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat over medium to medium high heat.
  • Add garlic and eggplants and stir frequently as they brown.
  • Add cherry tomatoes, basil, and spices and cook just until warm (do not overcook).
  • Cook and drain pasta, and then stir a little bit of sauce into the pasta so it doesn’t stick.
  • Scoop servings of pasta into bowls, sprinkle some cubed mozzarella onto the pasta, and top with the sauce.
  • Sprinkle parmesan on top.
  • Toasted pine nuts would also be good sprinkled on this pasta.

I think Meliza originally found this recipe in O magazine. It’s delicious! When I made it, we had a whole bunch of smoked salmon that we had made and screwed up because we followed a recipe for a brine that made the salmon taste more like a salt lick than the delicious smoked salmon we like to make and snack on. Since this was specifically for salads involving that salty salmon, I omitted the salt. This made for some very delicious salads. Another delicious salad addition when using this dressing is fresh corn, sliced off the cob and thrown into your salad bowl.

Ranch Dressing

1 clove garlic, very finely minced

1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • Place all ingredients in a jar or sealable container that is good for pouring.
  • Shake well.
  • Pour over salad.

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.

100_1253While apricot picking last weekend, my cousin reminded me that my grandmother used to make apricot-pineapple jam. Inspired by this, I decided to make an apricot-pineapple crisp for yesterday’s ostrich eggstravaganza, and it was delightful! I had seen this recipe in Bon Appetit, and kind of used it as a guide. Here’s what I did:

Apricot Pineapple Crisp

Filling:

2 large chicken eggs

1/2 cup ricotta

1/2 cup cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tbsp bourbon

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup all purpose flour

6 cups apricots, pitted and sliced

1/2 fresh pineapple, cleaned, cored, and cut into small chunks

1/4 cup dried tart cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Butter a large (9 x 13) glass or ceramic baking dish.
  • Place fruit, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of flour in a large bowl; mix and then pour into baking dish.
  • In a smaller bowl, place eggs, ricotta, cream, vanilla, bourbon, and 1 Tbsp flour; whisk together.
  • Pour egg mixture over fruit in baking dish.
  • Make your topping, and follow the instructions below.

Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

6 Tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tsp finely grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Place dry ingredients (everything but butter and vanilla) in bowl and mix with a fork.
  • Add butter and vanilla; mix with a fork until crumbly.
  • Using your dominant hand (your right hand if you are right handed, and your left if you are left handed), sprinkle evenly on filling.
  • Place baking dish (with all contents) in oven, and bake for about an hour (until custard is set).
  • Cool for an hour or so, and serve warm with ICE CREAM!

100_1256I went apricot picking over the weekend, so I decided to use a bunch of them in a black rice salad. I’d had a delicious black rice salad at a cooking group dinner, but could not get a hold of the recipe or the chef, so I figured it out myself.

Black Rice Apricot Salad

1 cup black rice

1 3/4 cups water

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh apricots, pitted and sliced

2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp pine nuts

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

5 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

5 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced

1 T fresh parsley, chopped

1 T fresh chives, chopped

  • Place rice in colander and rinse until water runs clear.
  • Transfer rice to pot, and add water, pepper, salt, cumin, and cayenne.
  • Bring contents of pot to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 35 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
  • Add vinegar and oil (or butter) while rice is hot.
  • Cover, and allow to cool (maybe about an hour or so).
  • When rice is cool, transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and then stir.
  • Refrigerate.
  • This dish is best served cold, and it gets better as it sits, so if you can make it a day ahead, that’s the way to go.
Ostrich Egg Frittataspanolouffle with Black Rice Salad

Ostrich Egg Frittataspanolouffle with Black Rice Salad

When I found out that Whole Foods was selling ostrich eggs (thanks for the heads up, Monica), I instantly had a vision of a frittata-esque dish. Then, I looked through my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated and saw a recipe for Tortilla Española. I decided to use this as inspiration, as I thought the subtle flavors of potatoes and red onion would allow us to taste the flavor of the ostrich egg, which I’d read taste different from chicken eggs.We noticed that the ostrich egg had a delicate, almost sweet flavor. I’m not sure it’s really worth 10x the price on any kind of a regular basis, but it was definitely worth it to try it out, and maybe for some sort of special occasion. The one ostrich egg was roughly equivalent to a dozen chicken eggs, and boy was it hard to break into that thick shell. Christin took pictures of me struggling with the thing. First of all, you really have to whack it, and it’s as if you’re whacking a dinner plate – bits of shell flew everywhere. I ended up just prying open a large enough hole that I could pour the egg out.

I should have used a wider pot for this, but it was kind of fun to eat a really tall Tortilla Española – Frittata – Souffle hybrid, so I’m not sorry I used my old standby 5.5 quart Creuset pot for the job.

Ostrich Egg Frittataspañolouffle

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

8 small Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced with skin on (preferably from Holly’s CSA box)

2 tsp salt

½ tsp cayenne

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 ostrich egg (or a dozen chicken eggs, or probably 8 duck eggs)

1 Tbsp cream

¼ cup swiss cheese, shredded

¼ cup provolone, shredded

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Place olive oil in heavy bottomed, 5.5 quart or larger, oven safe pan over medium heat.
  • Slice onion and place in pan, stirring occasionally. Add salt.
  • Scrub and slice potatoes, and add to pan.
  • When potatoes and onions have started to brown, add your spices, then cover and cook until potatoes are tender.
  • While potatoes are cooking, whack and pry open your egg, pour into a bowl, and whisk with cream.
  • Add cheeses and parsley and whisk once more (I forgot to do this before adding to the pan, which is why you can’t see the parsley floating around in the picture – it would have been easier if I’d remembered to do this before pouring the egg into the pan).
  • Cover pan and place in oven. Cook for about 45 minutes (check at about 30 minutes), or until the egg springs back when you poke it in the center.
100_1241
Check out the size of this thing!

100_1242

100_1243
After whacking the bejeezes out of it, I finally have a hole I can pry open.

100_1244
Pouring the egg out of its shell.

100_1245
That’s a big egg.
100_1246
Whisking the egg.
The egg is now in the pot!
The egg is now in the pot!
It’s a masterpiece! (Or at least the tallest frittata Sasha's ever seen)
It’s a masterpiece! (Or at least the tallest frittata Sasha’s ever seen)