Friday, July 29, 2005
Are we all going senile?
I am going to have to track down my yearbook.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I know it is a small world. I am the first to admit that Newfoundlanders get into to more cracks, crevices and hard to reach places then roaches, but come off it.
She was nice, we knew common people, but I couldn't remember her name and I think she could tell. That is always awkward and painful. We chatted pleasantly about me being a bad friend and pregnant peers and she ran off to catch a flight.
Maybe I will bump into her in St. John's, too.
(I still can't remember her name)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Stuffed Turkey Loaf with Sweet Potato Frosting
2lbs lean ground turkey
2 med carrots, grated and chopped
1 lrg onion, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cream of celery soup, undiluted or milk
2 tbsp chili sauce or ketchup
1 tbsp dried rosemary, ground
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 box Pepperidge Farms Stuffing
1 stalk of celery
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp savory, ground
Sweet Potato Frosting
1 lrg sweet potato (I mean large, use two if you are unsure)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven at 375F.
2. Combine carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and pepper in large bowl. Add turkey, soup and chili sauce. Mix evenly with hands.
3. Lay out large sheets of wax paper and dust with flour. Lay turkey mixture out and roll flat until about an inch thick with rolling pin or bottle (I personally use a full bottle of Jameson's). Width should equal length of loaf pan. (see below)
4. Mix your dressing according to instructions on the box or make it from scratch (I sauteed onions and celery which I combined with my box dressing. I also added savory to make it taste more like traditional Newfoundland dressing). Distribute dressing/stuffing evenly over tukey mixture leaving small area at either end uncovered. (see below)
5. Roll turkey mixture into a loaf as you would roll a jelly-roll. Lightly press to connect join at end. (see below)
6. Place roll in loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 180-190F.
7. Boil sweet potato in salted water until soft. Drain (you may want to reserve some of the water for a gravy base) and mash. Add cinnamon, 3/4 tbsp brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Take meatloaf out of oven when cooked. Cover top of loaf with uniform coating of potato mixture. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar on top of loaf. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until sugar begins to caramelize. Remove meatloaf from oven. (see below)
9. Let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve. (I served it with mushroom gravy - see below)
A few things I learned were, firstly, make your dressing/stuffing a little drier than you think as it absorbs a lot of the meat juices. Secondly, it is important to get that internal temperature up because, although it is a meatloaf, it is still poultry. And finally, it may be a little better with a brown sugar glaze instead of sprinkled sugar.
All in all, a pretty good recipe that is easy to modify to your ideas about Thanksgiving. Although, in making it it reminded me of an old joke whose punchline is "Wrecked 'im? Damn near killed 'im!".
Monday, July 18, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005
Tonight I saw The Wedding Crashers and, yes, I do think Vince Vaughn is the god of comedy. I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it was crass. Yes, it was smaltzy, but dammit it made me laugh. Not to mention that meatloaf played a small role in one very funny scene.
So go see the movie. It is funny, it has
Saturday, July 09, 2005
So today, I got up early and after making a very pleasant omelette for breakfast, I thought about meatloaf. Where does it come from? Who created it? Why does it seem to be cross-cultural, at least in the meat eating cultures?
My friend Stephen said something to me recently that stuck with me. In having a conversation with his mom, Antonia, they came to the realisation that most American dishes are just versions of famous ethnic or gourmet dishes made with prepackaged ingredients and more time saving shortcuts taken in the preparation. This would marginally explain Chef Boyardee or the use of transfats, but how does it impact meatloaf? This made me turn to my Larousse Gastronomique. I have two of these useful books, one from 1961 and one from 2001. For those of you that don't know Larousse Gastronomique is basically an encyclopedia of food and food preparation. It gives the origins, common types, and uses for any number of ingredients, dishes and utensils. It does all this from a French cuisine bias, but it still is incredibly useful, especially for a trivia nut like myself.
Anyway, Larousse doesn't have a listing for meatloaf and there is barely a mention of it under the entire meat section. Being of French origin, I didn't think this was too surprising. I mean meatloaf isn't French in spite of the huge section on pates and forcemeats. So I went to the English for help. The Oxford Companion to Food (1999) is basically an English knock off of Gastronomique. This is a common practice among dictionary/encyclopedia publishers, but Oxford does, at least, have a reference to meatloaf. According to Oxford meatloaf is:
a dish whose visibility is considerably higher in real life, especially in N. America and Britain, than in cookery books. This situation might be changed if it had a French name (pate chaud de viande hachee, prealablement marinee dans du vin de pays et des aromatiques), but it does not. In the USA the term was only recorded in print from 1899, in Britain not until 1939 (although liver loaf and ham loaf occurred earlier). The use of 'loaf' is particularly appropriate as most recipes include bread, usually in the form of soft breadcrumbs. Also, it is shaped like a loaf and may indeed be baked in a loaf tin or something similar. A worthy dish, which can embody the sort of rusticity which the word 'peasant' evokes, but can also exhibit the kind of refinement associated with bourgeois cookery. Its range, however, does not extend into the realm of haute cuisine.Strange that Oxford fails to mention that a meatloaf is actually made from meat, but I guess they are not perfect. I should mention that, the editors of this book crack me up. There is a underlying humour in almost everything they write. You can almost picture the smarmy, mousey looking researcher sitting at their desk giggling as they write stuff like "this situation might be changed..." or "a worthy dish..."and especially, "the editors... assert that meat loaf is usually eaten cold...". You can almost hear the resounding 'Jolly Goods' and 'Brilliants' coming from the editorial meetings, but I digress.
The editors of the OED assert that meat loaf is usually eaten cold in slices.
It is funny that it seems to be a point of honour, taken up by the contributor, that meatloaf is too low brow for the French, but it coould be rectified by a high-falutin' name change and also that the 'loaf could never be part of haute cuisine.
And I don't know if it is just me, but it is like this reference simply says that meatloaf is a peasant dish, served earliest in the USA (ie the peasants) with adoption in the UK at a later date where it is raised from its humble roots (ie bourgeois cookery), but, of course, it could never possibly be improved, especially not by those haughty French bastards.
I guess meatloaf, like other dishes, is, in fact, best served cold.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
Because of this I asked Bill to send me his recipe for nut roast. It is a great dish (so is Bill) and I thought it needed to be shared. It is a great example of vegetarian cooking that isn't bland or boring, isn't a poor copy of a meat dish and is better than the sum of its parts. So here you go.
Vegetarian Nut Roast with Miso Gravy
You won’t believe how delicious this nut roast is especially when it’s smothered in rich miso gravy, which tastes like the real thing. But it’s purely veg – perfect for those nostalgic vegetarians who pine for the flavour of gravy on special occasions – or any time, for that matter. Don’t assume this dish is just for vegetarians, either. The biggest meat-eater I know tried this nut roast and he loved it. It’s perfect as a side dish, too. But you absolutely must to try the gravy on some mashed potatoes.
Vegetarian Nut Roast
1 large onion
2 large cloves garlic
1/8 cup butter
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup whole unsalted cashew nuts
1 cup whole pecan nuts
1 cup white bread, torn into pieces
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x 284 gram bag spinach
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shiitake mushroom, sliced, cut in medium dice
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 cup white bread, torn into pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
2. Grease and line a 1 lb loaf tin with parchment paper. Use a pair of scissors to cut the paper into two strips – one strip to fit the length and one for the width of the tin. Make sure there is enough paper hanging over the edge so that you can easily pull the paper up to remove the nut roast from the tin. Make sure the parchment paper is greased, as well.
3. In a medium-sized saucepan, lightly sauté the onions in a combination of olive oil and butter until tender but not brown. Remove from the heat.
4. Grind the cashews and pecans in the food processor with the bread and garlic and add to the sautéed onion in the saucepan (off the heat), together with the boiled vegetable stock, fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper.
5. Let this mixture stand while preparing the stuffing.
6. Wash the spinach leaves, break off and discard the stems.
7. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Fill a small bowl with ice water and place near saucepan on stove.
8. Plunge spinach leaves in boiling water and blanch for 1-2 minutes.
9. Immediately remove spinach from boiling water with a slotted spoon and drop into the ice water in order to cold-shock it. The spinach will retain its vivid green colour this way.
10. Drain and thoroughly squeeze excess water from spinach. Set aside in small bowl.
11. Put shiitake mushrooms into a different bowl and drizzle sherry vinegar and olive oil over top.
12. Add chopped garlic and thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes to absorb flavours.
13. In a small skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until it turns translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes or until they are tender and the juices have released. Let cool.
14. Grind bread, spinach and mushroom mixture in food processor and moisten with vegetable stock, if necessary.
15. Pour half of the nut mixture into the prepared tin, top with all of the stuffing, then spoon the rest of the nut mixture on top.
16. Dot with the remaining butter and stand the tin another larger tin to catch any drippings.
17. Bake for 30 minutes or until it turns deep brown. Remove from oven.
18. Cool for a minute in the tin, then slip a knife around the sides. Turn the nut roast out onto a cutting board and strip off the parchment paper strips.
19. Cut roast into slices and serve fanned out on a platter. Serve with miso gravy.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 carrot, peeled, finely, diced
1 finely diced stalk celery
1 finely diced medium Onion
1 leek, (white part only), rinsed, finely, diced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups canned vegetable stock
1 tbsp barley miso, soybean paste available from any health store
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh parsley, with stem, cut in 3 parts
1 tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a skillet, over medium heat, saute the carrot, onion, celery and leek in the vegetable oil until caramel-y on the edges and the pan is fairly dry.
2. Add the wine and bring to a medium boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve any brown bits into the liquid. Simmer until most of the wine has evapourated.
3. Add the vegetable stock, Miso, soy sauce, thyme and parsley and stir until Miso is dissolved. Bring up to the boil then reduce to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let the herbs steep in the liquid for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Strain the sauce with a fine sieve. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer over medium high heat. Mix the cornstarch with 1/3 cup water in a measuring cup and stir together with a fork.
5. Add the cornstarch mixture to the gravy and simmer until it thickens slightly.6. Keep warm until ready to serve, or refrigerate and warm up when ready to go.