Archive for April, 2009

Meatloaf … Not Yo’ Mama’s!

Right along with the mashed-potato revolution, meatloaf is now as popular as ever. Especially in these anxious times, we become more needy for good ol’ home-cooking—”just like Mom’s.” I like simple and tasty meatloaf with maybe an outside wrap of bacon or a brushing of barbecue sauce or ketchup. And a big sandwich of thick slices of leftover loaf piled high on mayo-slathered, squishy white bread is still an American classic.

 

But I can really become quite inspired creating fun variations. Regular ground beef can be paired up with ground veal, pork or sausage. Or, for a lighter version you can use part ground turkey or chicken. Meatloaf can be quite dressed up with goodies such as wild mushroom sauce or roasted corn salsa. One of my favorite twists is Green Chile Meatloaf with Spicy Tequila Tomato Sauce. It will warm up your menu with some real south-of-the-border heat.

 

The perfect tools for mixing meatloaf are your own (clean) hands. It’s like making mudpies when you were a kid! But while you’re having all that fun mixing meatloaf, don’t over-handle it; and when filling the baking pan, be sure to pack the corners and get the air bubbles out, but don’t compact the mixture too tight.

 

Most meatloaves can be shaped either by packing in a loaf pan or ring mold, or by placing the meatloaf mixture in a jelly roll pan or sided baking dish then patting into a free-form oval, round or rectangle. Cooking time will vary depending on the shape; a good instant-read thermometer is your best guide. In general, loaf pans and other compact shapes will take a bit longer to cook than flatter, more free-form shapes. Also, individual size meatloaves made in mini-loaf pans or muffin tins take only about 30 minutes to bake.

 

Whether you choose a classic or a newfangled style, meatloaf can be a welcome comfort food to offset the winter blues!

 

 

GREEN CHILE MEATLOAF WITH SPICY TEQUILA TOMATO SAUCE

 

Makes 6 – 8 servings

 

Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground pork

3 eggs

1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup chili sauce

1 small can (4 ounces) diced green chiles

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

 

Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup 1/4-inch-chopped onions

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup tequila

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in puree

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh or canned jalapeños (taste for heat—they vary a lot!)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pan-spray a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.

 

Mix meatloaf ingredients together until well combined. Place mixture in pan and pack in well, rounding and smoothing the top. Then rap pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

 

Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Cool meatloaf for 10 minutes then drain off grease. Loosen from sides of pan with a knife and remove loaf from pan.

 

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions until translucent, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and sauté about 1/2 minute more; do not brown garlic. Add tequila and tomatoes, stir well and bring to a boil. Stir in jalapeños and salt, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until liquid is reduced and sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 – 7 more minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in sour cream and cilantro.

 

Cut meatloaf in thick slices, and serve with the sauce.

 

Chef’s Note: For a quick variation, serve meatloaf with salsa instead of making the sauce.

 

©Copyright 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

 

2 comments April 2nd, 2009

My Clam-tastic Weekend at Ocean Shores!

This past weekend I was invited to judge the Ocean Shores 3rd Annual Razor Clam Festival Clam Chowder Cook-Off, and I jumped at the chance! I love any activity that involves foraging for you own ingredients: picking huckleberries, hunting mushrooms, and of course, digging for razor clams! We started the day with a 7:30am dig on the beach and then headed to the festival where there were over 12,000 razor clam enthusiasts in attendance. At the festival there were tons of booths full of art, educational information, baked goodies, books, and all sorts of other clam-related items.

My sous-chef Travis and I helped judge the Non-Professional Chowder Competition Cook Off, and let me tell you – it was stiff competition! After much deliberation, Ocean Shores resident, Tra Eang, took home the First Place ribbon, with DeeDee Bass and Don Toon in a close second and third, respectively.

As for the Professional Chowder Cook Off, the Clam King, Rob “Otter” Augustus, helped me pick the winner, Home Port Restaurant of Ocean Shores, who also took home the People’s Choice award that day. Second place was Emily’s at the Quinault Beach Resort and third was Front Street Cafe at Seabrook.

All in all, it was a clam-tastic day full of great food, fun items, lovely people and, of course, lots of clams!

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Hard at work tasting all of the chowders!

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Half Moon Bay Bar & Grill in Westport, WA has, hands-down, “Washington’s Best Bloody Mary” garnished with shrimp, celery, pickled green bean, pepperoncini, salami stick, cheddar cheese cube, lime, pickled onion, cherry tomato. Located at 412 E Neddie Rose Drive, Westport, WA 98595 Tel: (360) 268-9166

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Clam Cookie (it’s a girl!) from Suzie’s Cakes in Hoquium, WA

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Glass Razor Clams from Avalon Glassworks in West Seattle

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King and Queen of the Clam Festival, Rob “Otter” and Roberta “Orca” Augustus

1 comment April 1st, 2009

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