Chopped endive and fuji apple, with Caesar dressing = bitter + sweet.
And finally, unphotographed but equally delicious: Ensalada Tostada at Reposados in Palo Alto
I’m no stranger to turkey meatloaf and meatballs. In the past I’ve written tabloid-like posts about “Killer Meatloaf” and “Best Meatloaf Ever,” which may sound extreme given it’s not the most glamorous dish. But meatloaf is comforting and cozy for fall, and turkey keeps it light.
I’ve experimented with different ways to keep the lean meat tender and most, and to avoid the rubbery effect. Tonight I used pear instead of apples, along with gorgonzola crumbles. Another trick to add to the list along with shredded apples, honey, or pumpkin.
Turkey + Gruyere + apples + spinach = killer meatloaf, with a side of mashed potatoes. Back in December, I thought I had made the “Best Meatloaf Ever” with manchego, apples and leeks. Well, turns out Gruyere is the secret weapon to making a killer meatloaf.
Same principles apply: ground turkey, shredded apples for moisture and a little sweetness, plus a dose of green (chopped spinach in this case). But the smoky flavor of the Gruyere leaves a memorable taste that will forever be hard to beat in meatloaf experimentation. Creamy mashed potatoes are an ideal side too – and last night I learned that a fork works better for fluffiness, than a potato masher.
BLT + sauteed apples + provolone = BLTAP. Some consider the classic BLT to be the perfect formula. But in my kitchen, there’s always room for a little creative license. So tonight, I introduced apples into the equation – apples cooked in bacon fat. I’ll admit the flavor wasn’t totally apparent in the sandwich, but it was a good way to reduce the acidity of the apples and make up for a shortage of tomato slices. Plus, who doesn’t love a little extra bacon flavor?!
Verdict – David preferred the BLTP; while I enjoyed the full BLTAP. What other ingredients have you added to the BLT?
Dinner with David + 365 days ago = birthday blog! One year ago I started blogging about what took place in my kitchen on busy weeknights. That evolved into a challenge of incorporating Farm Fresh to You deliveries into dinner planning, which has taken on a life of its own.
While I still whip together meals to wind down after a busy workday, I’ve started really enjoying cooking on Sundays. I pick out my recipe in advance, spend time thinking of the tweaks based on what’s actually in my cupboard, and spend Sunday evening cooking and blogging about it. I’ve learned new techniques and worked with unique ingredients like kale, and made more batches of risotto and butternut squash soup than I thought I ever would.
One of the most exciting things about this whole experience has been the response from friends, family and followers. I love hearing that I’ve inspired someone to try a new recipe, or simply shared in the joy of food. It’s one of my favorite things to talk about, and everyone has their own unique viewpoint and legacy in the kitchen.
To celebrate my blog birthday, I’ll be posting some of my favorite techniques… starting with fruit! Since David and I don’t eat up the seasonal fruit in our kitchen fast enough, I’ve created many ad lib recipes by cooking fruit with meat. This week I came up with a couple of new approaches, inspired by one of my favorite recipe resources: Everyday Food.
- Saute sliced, halved apples in olive oil; toss with honey and serve over pork chops (or pancakes/french toast for breakfast!)
- Poach chicken breasts in homemade veggie broth or low-sodium chicken broth; add orange slices once chicken is cooked through and simmer for a few extra minutes
- Roast pork chops with sliced apricots; drizzled with honey
- Add peeled, grated apples to ground turkey to make extra moist (and a little sweet) meatloaf or meatballs
What’s your favorite way to use fruit and meat together?
Ground turkey + leeks + manchego + apples = best meatloaf ever. I made a hybrid recipe inspired by Everyday Food’s Turkey Meatloaf with Fontina and Mushrooms, and my own meatloaf experiment with apples earlier this month. Plus, I substituted manchego for fontina, left out the garlic (didn’t have any!) and used one leek instead of two. Miraculously, the resulting meatloaf was my best yet – David and I were both impressed!
Here’s the skinny:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Saute sliced mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil until golden brown; place in mixing bowl
- Saute sliced leeks in 1 tablespoon olive oil in same pan until soft; place with mushrooms in bowl to cool
- Meanwhile, grate 1 cup’s worth manchego cheddar (or fontina, gouda, etc.)
- Peel 3 small apples and grate until you have 1-2 cups
- To the bowl containing the mushrooms and leeks, add 1 lb. ground turkey, 1 egg, grated cheese and apple
- Mix by hand, or a potato masher is a good trick if you don’t want to get your hands dirty
- Form a 10×4 inch loaf in a pyrex dish; bake for 45 minutes and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes (Martha’s version uses parchment paper, but the apples make mine extra juicy so a dish is your best bet)
If you’re not following @everydayfood on Twitter yet, be sure to check them out at http://twitter.com/everydayfood.
Seasonal veggies + cleaning out the fridge = experimental vegetarian. Last week’s pre-made dinners were a breeze, and with the short holiday week I set out to create a similar outcome. I started with enchiladas, which are hearty enough for three nights as a main course – and not to be mistaken as healthy or vegetarian! 😉
From there, I had an overabundance of Capay vegetables left to deal with: butternut squash, collard greens, cabbage, carrots, and apples, oh my! I searched high and low on Epicurious and Everyday Food, and came up with the following items:
Butternut Squash, Apples and Braising Greens – An adaptation of SF chef Traci des Jardin’s recipe on Epicurious; I used butternut squash in place of sweet potatoes (based on the reviews I wasn’t the only one to do so!) and collard greens. I didn’t have parsley, but didn’t notice. Tomorrow night, I might try blending the dish and adding it to stock to make a soup – another reader’s suggestion.
Vegetable Stock – The perfect solution to freeze for later use! Using ideas from Martha Stewart, Sam Beall and Epicurous, I made my own hybrid by sauteeing chopped onions in olive oil, and then adding chopped cabbage, 5-6 cups of water, sliced carrots, dried oregano, a little white wine, and salt and pepper. After boiling for an hour, I strained out the veggies and brought the stock to room temperature before putting in tupperware for the freezer.
Butternut squash + pumpkin + apples = stocking up the fridge. The cold, rainy weather was a good excuse to finally put the remaining fall & winter produce to use. I dug up recipes from Everyday Food for inspiration, and made a mess in the kitchen, but it was worth it! Now we can enjoy at least a week’s worth of butternut squash soup, roasted pumpkin, meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
About once a year I go to battle with a butternut squash, armed with knife and peeler, and tonight was no exception. But knock on wood, I haven’t lost a finger or pulled a muscle yet, and the various recipes I’ve used never disappoint. This time, I tried “Corn and Butternut Squash Chowder” from the September 2009 issue of Everyday Food. I made some slight adjustments, substituting olive oil for vegetable oil, and cumin instead of curry. The changes seemed to fit right in and the results were just as delicious, with the added texture of corn.
Meanwhile, I cut and peeled the last sugar pie pumpkin from my Capay delivery to use in a Roasted Pumpkin recipe from the October 2008 issue of Everyday Food. I left out the sage and substituted onions for shallots. The pumpkin was soft, but a little bland without the sage, so I’ll likely add it to pasta or chicken and rice later this week.
This one’s an original, and an experiment at that: I thought apples might make a nice addition to turkey meatloaf, which has previously been dry due to a lack of moisture (and fat) in the meat. So I peeled and shredded three apples in a bowl and added ground turkey, an egg, salt and pepper. I baked the “loaf” at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes (or until the meat was cooked through and slightly browned on the edges). The apples leave juice at the bottom of the pan, but that means extra moist meatloaf with a nice sweet aftertaste! We had ours with buttery mashed potatoes on the side.
We have leftovers across the board – so one night of extra dishes might help alleviate the next 2-3. 😉