Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One Powerful Meatloaf

This recipe is Joel's mom's, and it lured me away from my freshman-year foray into vegetarianism. It's quite good, and Joel makes it now. He does a couple things a little differently, like (when we find it) using a mixture of ground beef, veal and pork instead of just beef, and he definitely uses more Worcestershire sauce, but essentially, it's the same excellent recipe.

Joel's Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground meat (preferably beef, pork and veal)
2 eggs
About 1/2 c. finely chopped red onion (I add pressed garlic too, because it's better that way)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
(I also add a teaspoon of smoked paprika) 
Several long glugs of Worcestershire sauce
1/2-1 c. breadcrumbs (or as much as it takes to make it feel "right" - I use Panko)

Mix by hand in a large bowl, shape into a loaf, and place in an electric skillet. "Frost" the top with ketchup. Slice baby red potatoes in half and cover the rest of the skillet bottom with potatoes. Put the lid on, set the temp to 275-degrees F, and cook for 40 min. to 1 hour.

Updated (10 years after the original post) for cooking in the glorious Instant Pot: 

Prep the meatloaf, and form it into a flat, round disk shape that will fit into a steamer basket. You can do a ring-type loaf if you do a 3-lb. recipe. Put 1 cup of hot water in the bottom of the IP pot, then put the steamer basket into the IP pot. Add the meatloaf (either skewering it right through the center with the post in the middle of the steamer, or centering up the meat loaf ring in the basket, if you've gone with that shape). "Frost" the top of the meatloaf with as much ketchup as you like, without getting it down the sides of the loaf. Pop the lid on, lock it in (in the sealing position), and push the "Manual" button. Set the time for 9 minutes, and walk away. When the cook time is up , use the natural pressure release method (about 15 minutes), then release the pressure valve. If you do a 3-lb. loaf/ring, cook for 10 mins. on manual with the same natural release at the end. This should give you a 160-165 degree F temp for the loaf that leaves it tender and moist, but fully cooked. 

You can put potatoes (halved, lengthwise) under the steamer basket, if you want, and cook everything at once, but I do mashed potatoes in the IP separately, in large batches, since our potato-loving girl will eat them just about any time. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

We got some amazing organic strawberries recently, and then rhubarb from the Farmer's Market, so I hunted down a crisp recipe. It's adapted from a recipe off Allrecipes, but I cut the sugar and the butter, and next time I'll make it in an 9x9-inch pan instead of a 9x13. It's a keeper, and easy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Fruit filling
3/4 c sugar (or 1 c, depending on sweetness of berries)
3 Tbs flour
6 c. (total) sliced fresh strawberries and diced rhubarb

1 c. flour
3/4 c. (not packed) brown sugar
1 cube unsalted butter
3/4 c. rolled oats

Mix filling in large bowl, then pour into 9x13 baking pan. Use a pastry blender to cut butter into sugar, oats and flour for topping, and sprinkle over fruit layer. Bake at 375 for about 35 to 40 minutes or until golden on top. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Truly Perfect Pie

We picked up some gorgeous rhubarb at the Farmer's Market this afternoon, intending to make Jerrie's rhubarb custard pie. First time I've ever made a fruit and custard pie, and in spite of the fact that I should've given it about three more minutes to bake, it was absurdly excellent.

Creamy, vanilla custard, topped with tart delicious rhubarb — a sprinkling of cinnamon nutmeg sugar on top and a flaky crust to boot. Perfect. Truly. Good thing I bought way too much rhubarb. Darn. I'll have to make more pie now. Might be a good time to invite yourself over for a visit too...

Rhubarb Custard Pie recipe (via Jerrie's fabulous mother-in-law Lee!)

3/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons flour (slightly rounded)
1/4 cup butter (melted - like liquid, not just soft)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
pinch of salt
unbaked bottom pie shell
Rhubarb (about 2 cups... or more) 
*cinnamon/nutmeg/raw sugar to sprinkle on top (optional - we put on the last 25 minutes of baking or so)

Stir flour into sugar
moisten with milk (a tablespoon or so)
add butter, eggs, vanilla, salt & remainder of milk
*stir until thick and custard-y...

Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Add rhubarb on top. (The recipe calls for 1 cup, but we tend to add MORE - 2 cups or so or until the filling is up to the bottom lip of the crust).

Bake 20 minutes at 375.
Bake 25 minutes at 300. It is finished when knife is pulled out clean and it should jiggle a little. You may need to bake it for a few more (up to 15) minutes if the custard is too far from set - you be the judge!).

EAT. Eat warm. Eat cold. Eat with ice cream. It is delicious!
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hey Cupcake!

There's just something great about cupcakes. They're fun, they're delicious and they seem so decadent — maybe because you're eating a whole little cake all by yourself!

I did super quick, fun cupcakes tonight and used my new large Wilton coupler and open star tip to get the easiest, fastest frosting job ever. Love it! Will be using this a lot.

No recipe here. Dark chocolate cake mix, chocolate and vanilla extracts, Care Bear cupcake liners (picked out by M for Uncle Nick's birthday), whipped cream "frosting" (add a little dry gelatin, some vanilla and powdered sugar to heavy whipping cream), and topped off with fresh, organic strawberries. Use the magical Wilton tip to frost, and voilà! I frosted them right at the table (outside — it was gorgeous today) and the kids loved it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Aunt Lora's Biscotti

E had great fun helping me make biscotti (or "Iz-Got-Tee" as he says) this afternoon. At the time, M was mesmerized by the symphony DVD that Grammy bought for them at the symphony last Saturday. E loves the DVD too, but for him nothing can compete with something going on in the kitchen. He loves using the mortar and pestle, and watching things mix in the Kitchenaid very much. Well, and eating. Hahahaha! And helping too —"Eh-ik hep Mama. Tir (stir) Mama, hep'in!" He was also laughing and saying, "Bah!" because I said it a few times when I went to turn the mixer on and it was unplugged. I always unplug it right after mixing when the kids are up working with me, just in case they try to turn it on, but I often forget to plug it back in before flicking the speed lever back on again.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe a bit since I didn't have rum or brandy extract. I used 1 Tbs. vanilla, 2 tsp. anise, 1 tsp. lemon extract and 1 tsp. almond, plus the zest of one lemon and about 2/3 c toasted sliced almonds. I think I'll have to do a citrus-only, a chocolate and dried cherry, and probably a chai spice version of this recipe too...

Aunt Lora's Biscotti

3 c. flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 and 1/2 sticks of soft (unsalted) butter (or omit salt if you use regular butter)
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. anise
1 tsp. brandy
1 tsp. rum

Sift dry together, blend wet ingredients in Kitchenaid, then add dry. Divide dough into thirds and use a floured pillow case or a pastry cloth to roll each 1/3 into a long rectangular "roll". Bake on cookie sheet for 30 mins. at 350-degrees F. Cool slightly before slicing. If you want crunchy biscotti for dunking, bake the sliced biscotti an additional 7 mins. per side then cool on a wire rack.


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