October – Turkey Meatloaf

October – Turkey Meatloaf

California is in the midst of a historic drought. Along with taking short showers, letting our lawns die, and passing on tap water at restaurants, our family is considering the water that is needed to produce the food we eat every day. Global agricultural production accounts for 92% of the water footprint, and in the U.S. meat alone is 30%. Doesn’t it make sense to take these facts into consideration when doing meal planning?

Beef requires 1,847 gallons of water to produce 1 pound, shocking isn’t it? Lamb needs 1,248 gal./lb., pork is lower at 718 gal./lb. Most efficient is chicken at 518 gal./lb. Eggs are a winner at 395 gal./lb. Because of these environmental facts, we are limiting the amount of beef and lamb we eat on a regular basis.

I was fine with those environmental limits until I saw a post by the blog The Frugal Housfrau for Steakhouse Meatloaf. I haven’t made a meatloaf in years and suddenly I had to have one! Just looking at her pictures made my mouth water. But, we are limiting beef consumption, remember? Could I adapt her recipe to use something less water hungry like turkey? Yes! My family judged it a success and it made wonderful leftover sandwiches. Turkey can be dry so I made some alterations to her original recipe. The Frugal Housfrau came to the rescue again, she had added ricotta to her chicken/turkey meatballs to keep them moist, and I had borrowed the same idea for my lamb burgers last March. Both of those recipes turned out very well, why not meatloaf which is really a big meatball or burger, right? And for an extra burst of nutrition, flavor, and moistness, I added a grated zucchini to the mix. After all, isn’t zucchini bread a vegetable?

Here goes.

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 ounces of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2/3 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, whipped with a fork to mix
  • 2 pounds of ground turkey, dark meat preferred but either is fine

Topping

  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot chili sauce
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, add the chopped bacon. Saute until the bacon is beginning to brown. Remove it to a large bowl.
  3. Add the second tablespoon of oil the the skillet, then add the onions and shallots. Saute in medium until softened, translucent, and just starting to brown and the edges. This will take about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic to the skillet and continue to cook another minute. Add the contents of the skillet to the same bowl and let the contents cool.
  5. Add ketchup, grated zucchini, oregano, mustard, Parmesan cheese, ricotta, beaten eggs, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix to combine.
  6. Add the ground turkey to the bowl. Mix gently to distribute the ingredients. I find this easier to do with well washed hands.
  7. On a foil lined baking sheet form the meat into a free form loaf.IMG_3637
  8. Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Meanwhile mix the topping ingredients together. I was serving pasta with the loaf so used the same marinara I intended to use with my penne.
  10. Pour the topping over the loaf to cover the top. Continue to cook until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. This took another 15 minutes.
  11. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting into slices to serve.
Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

It was delicious, moist and flavorful. My men folk made grilled cheese and meatloaf panini the following day, I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures as I was out with some girlfriends.

This recipe is gluten free if you are watching that in you diet, also low carb if you don’t serve it with the pasta. Or use some spiralized zucchini instead of the pasta.

Sprialized zucchini

Sprialized zucchini

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday, I’m a day late but there will be leftovers and the party is still “a happening”, co hosting this week are Kaila and Mila.

Note 10/29/2015: ok everyone, where’s the meat? I forgot the turkey! I apologize if anyone tried to make this recipe. Use 2 pounds of ground turkey, I prefer the dark meat because I think it has more flavor. But, both will be fine. The recipe has been edited.

June in the Kitchen – Lavender Nut Cake

June in the Kitchen – Lavender Nut Cake

My blog has been going for almost a year, yet this is only the second dessert recipe I have posted. My tastes don’t usually run to sweet, more to salty. And in the interests of keeping the “middle-aged spread” to a minimum, I carefully dole out my carbs. Enter this wonderful vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, Paleo friendly, low carbohydrate cake made from cashews. I served it in thin slices for dessert with fresh fruit, but you could cut it into larger slices for breakfast scones.  It would be wonderful anytime with a cup of Earl Grey. It’s dense and flavorful with honey and lavender. And best of all, this is an easy and delicious recipe.

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Lavender season is in full bloom in Northern California so it seemed appropriate to season it with fresh lavender. Make sure you purchase food grade lavender (I purchased dried lavender at Williams Sonoma) or use blooms that have not been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides.

Lavender

  • 1 1/2 cups of Cashews (or 1 1/3 cups ground). I used unsalted but roast Cashews.
  • 1/4 cup of Arrowroot
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of lavender
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons of honey (or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

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  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch metal pie plate with parchment paper.
  2. Blend the cashews in a food processor until powdered.
  3. Whisk all the dry ingredients (powdered cashews, arrowroot, salt, baking powder and lavender) together in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients together, stir into the dry ones.
  5. Pour into the lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

    Cashew and Lavender Cake

    Cashew and Lavender Cake

  6. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday for the guests at Angie’s to enjoy.

Fiesta Friday

May in the Kitchen – Green Beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

May in the Kitchen – Green Beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

Green beans with spinach and seedy mix

Green beans with spinach and seedy mix

The seedy mix will add a crunch to many vegetable dishes. The green colors in this dish are very peaceful and the seedy mix adds flavor and crunch. The inspiration for this recipe came for the cookbook “Seven Spoons“. It is based on an Indian green bean subzi or vegetable dish. Feel free to use the black mustard seeds called for in the original recipe, or add some black mustard seeds to the seedy mix. I think that would be rather nice and I might do that next batch.

Green Beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

  • 1 lb of green beans, trimmed and cut into 4 inch pieces if large
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 package of baby spinach or a large handful, washed and dried
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of seedy mix
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the green beans and blanch until bright green but still very crisp. For my beans that was 4 minutes.

    Green beans

    Green Beans – blanched

  2. Drain the beans in a collander and run cold water over to cool. Spread out on a fresh tea towel.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute gently for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the garlic and continue to saute, stirring, for another minute.
  5. Add the drained green beans to the pan and cook until tender, perhaps another 2 to 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat in the pan and add the spinach. Stir until wilted.
  7. Add the seedy mix plus salt and pepper to taste.

    Seedy Mix

    Seedy Mix

Transfer to a warm serving dish prior to serving, this is also good at room temperature.

Green beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

Green beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

Just in case anyone needs another suggestion for the seedy mix, I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday #67 to share with Angie and the other guests.

 

April in the Kitchen – Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crispy Kale and Hijiki

April in the Kitchen – Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crispy Kale and Hijiki

The pictures don’t do this dish justice, it was absolutely delicious. You can serve this vegetable dish either warm or at room temperature as a salad. It’s an amazing combination of flavors and textures. It’s also a powerhouse of nutrition. Sweet spring carrots, creamy avocado, crispy baked kale, and crunchy hijiki seaweed combine to make a stunning salad.

Recipe adapted from “The Fat Radish, Kitchen Diaries“.

Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crispy Kale and Hijiki

(serves 6)

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons seasame oil
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 ounce dried hijiki (about 1/4 cup), rinsed and soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stripped from the stem and torn into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 pounds spring carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into wedges. 
  • Black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, seasame oil, mirin, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Add the drained hijiki and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
  3. Place the kale on a baking sheet and rub with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the five spice powder and salt. Place in the oven and bake, turning once, until crispy, about 20 minutes. Set the kale aside to cool.

    Crispy Kale

    Crispy Kale

  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a bowl and add the carrots. Cook until nearly tender, about 10 minutes depending on size. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. Cut in half lengthwise.
  5. Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Add the carrots to the pan and cook, stirring until brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Spoon the drained  hijiki and its marinade over the carrots, add the kale and avocado wedges (if not serving immediately, wait to add the avocado), stir gently to combine.
  7. Add the avocado just before serving and combine gently.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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This dish would be suitable for vegetarians and can be gluten free if you use gluten free soy sauce.

April in the Kitchen – Toasty Cauliflower Cream and Cheese

April in the Kitchen – Toasty Cauliflower Cream and Cheese

Spurred by the success of my roast cabbage steaks with cream and cheese, I took on the challenge of remaking a dish for cauliflower cheese and “fully loaded cauliflower”. Creamed cauliflower or cauliflower cheese is a popular side, it can also be the star of a vegetarian dinner. The recipe usually involves steaming the cauliflower, making a white or cheese sauce, then baking in the oven. For “fully loaded cauliflower” you add additonal cheese, sour cream, bacon and scallions. Bet you have already figured out it’s meant to be a replacement for a fully loaded baked potato, I can feel my waistline expanding!

All that is too much work for a midweek dinner, for me at least. And, I prefer some toasty crunchy bits of cauliflower, which doesn’t happen if you steam or boil it.

But it is one of my favorites and one of my English grandmother’s as well. There is quite a lot of nostalgia in this recipe. She really did love a good white sauce, but I think she would like this one even without the sauce.

This recipe is the result of experiments to simplify the recipe (as well as take out some calories). My family really enjoyed the cabbage steaks I made a few weeks ago, could I do the same with cauliflower?

Toasty Cauliflower Cream and Cheese

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, rinsed, patted dry, then cut into “steaks” about 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese 
Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower Steaks

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Line a large sheet pan or baking dish with parchment paper, or butter a gratin dish.
  3. Place the cauliflower steaks, in one layer, on the parchment paper or in the gratin dish. Drizzle each steak with heavy cream, concentrating the cream in the center (it will run out, that’s ok).
  4. Sprinkle each slice with parmesan and cheddar cheese.
  5. Roast for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Use a spatula to carefully transfer a slice to each plate.
Cauliflower steaks with cheese

Cauliflower steaks with cheese

You can also bake this in a gratin dish.

Toasty Cauliflower Cream and Cheese

Toasty Cauliflower Cream and Cheese

And, if you are feeling very decadent, turn this into a dish of “fully loaded cauliflower” with the addition of bacon and some sliced scallions.

Fully Loaded Cauliflower

Fully Loaded Cauliflower

Crispy bits of cauliflower, toasty cheese, creamy center…and all in about 30 minutes start to finish (most of which was in the oven). Winner!