Sunday, April 21, 2013

Turkey meatloaf

This is one of my go-to recipes for dinner. Hubbie loves it, baby loves it, and me? Well, I like it too. To be honest, I am getting a bit sick of it, but it's the best all-in-one type of recipe that I have. You really can serve just it for dinner - meat, veggies, bread - it's all in there! It's a perfect recipe for picky eaters.

This is a recipe that adapts well to variations and additions. Got some leftover green beans and new potatoes from last night? Chop 'em up and throw 'em in! The only thing to be wary of is the meat. If you use only breast meat it can get dry very quickly if you don't take it out of the oven the very moment it reaches 170. This mistake can always be rectified by extra squirts of ketchup at the dinner table, but I prefer to use a mix of white and dark, or just dark. Preferably the latter, as it gives a lot more wiggle room if I forget that I have dinner in the oven because my toddler and I are having a dance party in the living room.

Turkey Meatloaf
adapted from Gourmet magazine

The mixture will be very wet - don't let it alarm you and don't try to "fix" it! Also, the amount of bread crumbs needed is about the amount you'd get from two pieces of regular sandwich bread. I prefer to use quality bread because I think it makes a difference. But if your household eaters tend to take meatloaf as an excuse to slather their plates in ketchup then don't bother. (Bitter? Moi?)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  • 3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 whole large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 pound ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool. 

Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in beaten eggs, then add to vegetables. Add turkey to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.) 

Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, about 50 to 55 minutes. 

Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 3-4 adults.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Buckwheat Pancakes (dairy free!)

I've been meaning to publish this recipe for ages. In the past month of (relatively) no-dairy, I have successfully subsititued coconut milk substitute (this), for milk in most recipes. It worked particularly well for porridge, and also for buckwheat pancakes! These are actually so good that I won't switch back to my dairy version ever, I don't think. (Unless I'm out of coconut milk!)

One thing to keep in mind about these though.... DO NOT OVER-MIX THE BATTER. You know how in traditional pancake making (even if you are cheating and using Bisquik), you are supposed to leave a few lumps in the batter? This is SO important to remember. A few lumps does not result in bites of flour, but over-mixing does result in tough pancakes.

Dairy-Free Buckwheat Pancakes
adapted from the buttermilk buckwheat pancakes in The Joy of Cooking

You can use regular milk instead of coconut milk, and butter instead of coconut oil if being dairy free isn't of concern to you. But I must say that the slight hint of coconut does add to these being uber-delicious. 

Do not over-mix the batter!

2 cups buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flaxseed (optional)
3 medium eggs, beaten
2 cups coconut milk substitute
2-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons agave (or sugar)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a baking tray in oven.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. There will be lumps.

Heat a pan over medium heat, add some coconut oil. Pour pancake batter into pan by 1/4 cupfuls. Flip when bubbles appear on the surface, then cook for the same amount of time on the other side. As pancakes are finished, place on the tray in the oven to keep warm.

Serves 4-6 adults.