The Motherload!

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Over the years, I have tweaked, adjusted, and morphed my meatloaf into what is lovingly called meatload in my house. This is not your mother’s meat loaf, nor my mum’s for that matter. It is a dense, almost-terrine like version of the original that packs a herbaceous punch with a smokey backbone. More…

I am not exactly sure why, but many comfort foods out there have cheese or tomato sauce–or both. This is an issue for me as I am not a big fan of either. In fact, I really only eat smoked cheese. As for tomato sauce, I rarely use it and when I do, it is used rather conservatively. The thing is, I still like comfort food, so I lean towards the meat and potatoes side such as hearty Irish stew, braised short ribs over vegetable gravy, or a simple meatloaf over a bed of mashed potatoes adorned with sweet, vibrant carrots. And when I have not thought ahead but still need a reassuring meal, the latter is a perfect option.

Over the years, I have tweaked, adjusted, and morphed my meatloaf into what is lovingly called meatload in my house. This is not your mother’s meat loaf, nor my mum’s for that matter. It is a dense, almost-terrine like version of the original that packs a herbaceous punch with a smokey backbone. I have also rebranded mashed potatoes for my family’s taste with a few key ingredients: rosemary and white chocolate. The white chocolate was actually not my idea, I saw it in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, but it is a damn good one! The result is a blanket of scented creaminess that is still dense. And my carrots are are boiled in salted water and rosemary, and once cooked, finished with a knob of butter. Simple, familiar, and delicious. All in all, this meal is like a strong, warm hug from that big bear uncle, you know the one. It’s the perfect thing to brighten a bad day, but always welcome!

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Meatload with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes & Herb-infused Carrots

INGREDIENTS

Meatload Ingredients

  • 454 grams (16oz/1lbs) ground beef
  • 454 grams ((16oz/1lbs) turkey Italian sausage
  • 113 grams (4oz/1/2 cup) Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 slices of bacon

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

  • Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & quartered
  • salt, for boiling potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, shaved
  • 57 grams (2oz/1/4 cup) of heavy cream
  • 57 grams (2oz/1/4 cup) of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

Herb-infused Carrots Ingredients

  • carrots, peeled and cut on diagonal
  • salt, for boiling carrots
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (or 2 of thyme)
  • 1 knob of butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

MISE EN PLACE

  1. Get meats and egg out of fridge. Set out loaf pan. Measure out bread crumbs and seasoning.
  2. Peel and quarter potatoes. Fill stock pot with water. Mince rosemary, shave (or cut) white chocolate. Measure out cream, butter, salt, and pepper.
  3. Fill medium sauce pan with water. Peel and cut carrots. Get out rosemary, butter, and salt and pepper.

STEP ONE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix meats, bread crumbs, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper until . Pack into loaf pan, making sure to press firmly removing any air pockets. Place bacon over the top, cutting as necessary. Cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 1 1/2 hours). All to rest for 10 minutes (or more).

STEP TWO
When the meatload internal temp is at approximately 130 degrees, bring large stock pot to a boil. Add salt and potatoes. Turn down to a simmer and cook until tender. While waiting for potatoes to cook, in a small sauce pan over low heat, warm cream, butter, white chocolate, rosemary, salt, and pepper. When potatoes are done, drain and rice into large serving bowl. Pour cream mixture over riced potatoes and stir. Taste for seasoning.

STEP THREE
Once the potato water is at a boil, turn on the medium sauce pan to bring to a boil. Once there, add salt, carrots, and herb sprig(s). Turn down to cook at a simmer, checking for doneness periodically. Once done, drain, pick out any rosemary, and add butter to melt. Add pepper. Taste for seasoning.

STEP FOUR
Cut meatload into 1/2″ or 1″ slices. On a serving platter, place sliced meatload, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to the table, and dig in!

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Curry in a Hurry!

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For the most part, I love cooking. But there are some days when I just want to kick my feet up, sip on a hearty glass of wine, and enjoy the moment. Today was one of those days. But just because I was not in the mood to spend too much time in the kitchen did not mean that I did not want a robust dinner to match that full-flavored glass of vino. More…

For the most part, I love cooking. But there are some days when I just want to kick my feet up, sip on a hearty glass of zinfandel, and enjoy the moment; maybe even watch the sky fill with twinkling lights as the day turns into night. Today was one of those days. But just because I was not in the mood to spend too much time in the kitchen did not mean that I did not want a satisfying meal to match that full-flavored glass of vino.

One of my favorite no-fuss meals requires just a smidge of prep and then it is only a matter of sitting back patiently to reap the flavorful results. The funny thing about this recipe though it that it was the result of a fluke mishap in grocery shopping, or lack there of. I had forgotten to get some chicken to add to a basic Japanese curry and had no desire to venture out to get the missing ingredient as night was falling. My lovely daughter had told me at some point previously that she had started putting chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in her curry instead of potatoes and I always have a can or two on hand so I thought that might be a good protein replacement, but I still needed some bulk beyond the sweet carrots and tender onions. I took a look in the fridge to see what I might be able to steal from another planned meal later in the week (I am a fan of putting off today what I can do tomorrow; at least when it comes to grocery shopping). The cauliflower was yearning to be used and, if I am not mistaken, winked at me. And with that, a star was born–or at least a stellar meal!

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Cauliflower Curry in a Hurry

INGREDIENTS

FOR RICE

  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

FOR SAUCE

  • 1 large organic sweet onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 29oz-can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut in florets
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled & cut in 1″ pieces
  • 1 3.5oz-packet of golden curry sauce mix, broken in pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • fresh herbs, if desired
  • crispy onions, if desired

MISE EN PLACE

  1. Measure out rice, salt, ghee, and water for rice.
  2. Mince onion, drain chickpeas, cut cauliflower, peel and cut carrots, and mince herbs (if using)
  3. Break up curry block and measure out water for curry.
  4. Make sure ghee, salt, and pepper are within reach.

STEP ONE
To make this foolproof rice and quick and easy curry that is protein packed and loaded with fresh veggies, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated, bring water for rice to a boil in a medium ovenproof sauce pan. Stir in rice, butter, salt and water. Cover and return to a boil. Put rice in oven and set timer for 15 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes (until sauce is done). Fluff.

STEP TWO
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt ghee. Add minced onion, cooking until tender and slightly golden(approx. 5 mins). Add cauliflower florets and 1″ carrot pieces. Cook for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Add golden curry pieces. Stir to dissolve. Add chickpeas and stir. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until veg is tender (approx. 10 mins), stirring occasionally. Ladle sauce over prepared rice, and some fresh herb and crispy onion, and serve!

Makes four generous servings.

As you can see from the lack of steps, this curry in a hurry is not only quick, it is easy! But don’t let that make you think it might be lackluster. By using the golden curry sauce mix, the flavor is anything but boring. Personally, I like the hot golden curry sauce mix, but there is also mild and medium hot, and extra hot available. You can normally find it at your local grocery store in the ethnic/international aisle, but if not, you can also purchase through Amazon.com via the links above. And yes, I get a few pennies for your purchase, but whether you buy at your store or online, the most important thing is that you try it. The combination of ingredients marries so well in the curry. Because the curry cooks so quickly, there are no muddled flavors or textures. The carrots are sweet and chunky, the onion slightly caramelized and soft, the chickpeas have a slight chew, and the cauliflower is toothsome yet mellowed from its raw state. And when you pour this spicy mixture over fluffy, tender rice, everything visually pops–all your senses are engaged. As I sit here sipping the last few drops of my wine, I can’t help but wonder when the stars will align, and we–the cauliflower curry and I, that is–will meet again.

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