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Meatloaf Plain And Simple

Meatloaf the ultimate comfort food

Ahh… Meatloaf, in my humble opinion just about the ultimate comfort food. So simple to make and so delicious and leftovers make a truly wonderful sandwich. This is my take on my Mom’s meatloaf, it was always tender and juicy and so delicious. I used ground pork and beef, freshly ground bread crumbs, vegetables (carrot, celery, onion and parsley) ground in the food processor and sauteed green pepper and mushrooms. I also add worcestershire sauce, heavy cream, and eggs. How easy is it to mix it up, plop it in the pan, shape and bake. No muss no fuss. I had to top it with ketchup, I am a huge fan of the stuff, you can make home made ketchup but I used plain old Heinz. I love serving this with creamy mashed potatoes and a vegetable side, and  I am flooded with memories every time I take a bite. Gotta love meatloaf!!

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef (85%)
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 medium
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley with the tender part of the stems
  • 1 small size carrot peeled
  • 1 small ripe tomato pureed in blender
  • 1 pepper I used cubanelle but a small green pepper is fine chopped into small pieces
  • 6 white stuffer mushrooms gently cleaned and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ketchup to glaze

  • Break up bread and pulse in processor until they are crumbs, set aside. Add celery, onion, carrot and parsley to processor and pulse until ground (not pulverized), set aside. Chop green peppers and mushrooms, place small saute pan on med high heat, add a little olive oil, first put the peppers in and saute until they begin to soften, add the mushrooms and saute both until they are softened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Chop a ripe tomato into chunks and puree in the blender.

  • In large mixing bowl add the meat, ground vegetables, sauteed green peppers and mushrooms, tomato puree, worcestershire, eggs, cream, bread crumbs and salt and pepper. NOTE: to test for seasoning I microwave a spoonful to make sure that it is seasoned correctly. Mix well. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees

  • Lightly oil a baking pan, plop the meatloaf into the pan and shape into loaf. Pour some ketchup on top and spread on the loaf Bake for 60-70 minutes until done. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Apple Cider Applesauce Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Applesauce Coffee Cake
I make this recipe every year during apple season, it’s hands down one of my favorites. The cake is so moist and the aroma when baking is heavenly. I like to make homemade apple cider applesauce for the cake, it’s so easy and I think it really adds to the flavor of the cake, but using commercially made applesauce is perfectly acceptable. I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine about 6 years ago. It’s loaded with apples, spices and is utterly delicious. I can’t wait for the apples to arrive at the farmers market this will be the first thing I make. My family loves it as do I. It keeps well and even tastes better the next day.
  • 1 pound juicy apples (Macintosh work very well) peeled. cored and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup  apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, you can use white, turbinado or brown your choice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Clean, peel, core and quarter the apples. Add to a medium saucepan. Add the cider, sugar and salt and boil until apples are soft. Remove from heat and mash (I used a potato masher) keep some small chunks of apples. Set aside to cool.
  •  The Crumble Topping
  • 4 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecans chopped (If you have a nut allergy the nuts can be omitted)
  •  The Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons  cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves (Optional, I didn’t use, really don’t like cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup  apple cider applesauce
  • 2 small juicy apples (Macintosh work very well) peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans chopped OPTIONAL
  1. Make your crumble topping. In small bowl combine the butter, sugar, oats,flour, cinnamon, salt and pecans mix with fork or by hand to combine. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat your tube pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil. (I recommend using a non stick pan) Sift flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Cream butter and white and brown sugar in your electric mixer until smooth about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time make sure egg is incorporated before you add another one. With mixer on low add the applesauce and then the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Add the optional chopped pecans and fold in.
  3. Pour batter into oiled pan. Place apple slices on top of cake tucking some into the batter,sprinkle on the crumble topping. Bake for 60-70 minutes check by inserting cake tester (I used a bamboo skewer) near the middle of the cake and it should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cake cool in pan on wire rack.
  4. Remove from pan and if you do not serve immediately wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to serve. NOTE: if you make in a bundt pan like I did it could take some coaxing to get it out of the pan when  cooled. It could be easier to remove from a tube pan because it does not have all the grooves that a bundt pan does.

Fig And Goat Cheese Tart

Fig And Goat Cheese Tart

Figs are in season and then they are gone like a flash. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fresh figs available in a recipe using Mosto Cotto syrup. It’s delicious, and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. I used it as a syrup to pair with a buttermilk panna cotta and as a glaze for ribs. It’s so versatile. For this recipe I steeped fresh mission figs in Mosto Cotto with black peppercorns, orange and cointreau. I wanted the figs to retain their shape and texture so instead of poaching in the syrup I steeped them for a few hours. The figs were soft but firm enough to retain their shape and the flavor of the syrup permeated each fig. I then sliced them, and reduced the syrup by about half and used it as a glaze for the figs. The tangy goat cheese only slightly sweetened with honey and  the figs steeped in delicious Mosto Cotto syrup is delicious. I made a traditional pie dough because I wanted something flaky and a bit more delicate than a tart dough, I used my go to recipe from Julia Child. This would be equally delicious though in a more substantial tart crust or even puff pastry.I created this recipe when I was asked to do a guest post for Marx Foods, who carry Mosto Cotto,  and I happily agreed to do so. I will always keep a bottle in my pantry, it’s just that good.  The beauty of this tart is how easy it is to prepare. It really takes almost no time at all to put together, and makes a lovely not too sweet dessert or put a slice or two of prosciutto di parma on top for a nice lunch. NOTE: If you can purchase Mosto Cotto I highly recommend but if you can’t use wine, the Mosto Cotto is made from Montepulciano grapes from the Abruzzo region of Italy and also Amarena Cherries, try to find a wine using those grapes if you can (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)  for the syrup if you cannot then use a good red wine it will be fine.

Figs and Syrup

1lb (6-7 fresh ripe figs)
1/2 cup Mosto Cotto Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
2 strips (approx 2 inches wide) orange skin- careful not to include the pith
3 whole black peppercorns
1 tbs cointreau
Bring mosto cotto, sugar, orange rind, peppercorns and cointreau to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s simmering slice the figs in half and place in heat proof bowl. Pour the hot syrup over the figs and cover. Let sit until it reaches room temperature.
Making the tart
10.5 oz soft goat cheese (chevre) at room temperature
1 heaping tbs honey (I used peach blossom)
Favorite pie dough, tart crust recipe. (You could also use puff pastry for this)

Juilia Childs Pastry Dough

Makes enough dough for a double crust 9 inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

4 tbs shortening or leaf lard cold

1/2 cup ice cold water

You can make this either by hand or in the food processor. To make by hand, put flours, salt, butter, lard or shortening into mixing bowl, use pastry cutter to combine until it resembles pea size crumbs. Add water mix with fork, gather with your hands, divide dough into a 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In Food Processor, add the flours, salt, butter and shortening or lard into the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. Add the water and pulse a few times until it becomes a cohesive dough.  Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Blind bake your pie dough, I like to use a rectangular shape for this tart, either use a fluted rectuangular tart pan or a small 1/2 sheet pan. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out your dough to fit into the tin, prick with fort multiple times, ( chill in refrigerator at least 20 minutes before baking) place a piece of parchment on top and add pie weights or beans.Bake for 15-20 minutes, remove parchment and weights and bake again for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. While the pie crust is cooling slice the figs into thin slices approximately 1/4 inch thick, set aside. Pour the remaining syrup into sauce pan, removing peppercorns and orange zest and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and reduce by 1/2 (It takes about 10 minutes) or until syrup thickens.  Let cool.
Place goat cheese in mixing bowl add honey and whip until fluffy.
Smooth onto tart, arrange figs on top and brush some of the reduced mosto cotto syrup over the fruit. Serve as is or it’s delicious to lay a slice of prosciutto di parma on top.

Chocolate Brown Butter Hand Pies With Banana Hazelnut Filling

Chocolate Brown Butter Hand Pies

Every month I look forward to Bake Together, Abby always comes up with a delicious recipe to challenge and entice. Septembers Bake Together is a party, to celebrate the release of Abby’s new cookbook, Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets ~100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat! The pie dough is amazing, it’s really adapted from a cookie dough in her book. There is brown butter and brown sugar and each pie is filled with a delicious fruit filling. I took Abby’s wonderful recipe for Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies and added my own touch, I thought it would be fun to make a chocolate crust filled with banana’s and hazelnuts with a hint of orange, a bit of a change from your traditional filling. Abby’s pie’s were rectangular I decided to go for round, using a fluted cutter. The banana mixed with the nuts, brown sugar and orange zest is delicious.

For the  chocolate brown butter dough
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (7 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup+ 1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
4-5 medium size ripe but firm banana’s chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar not packed
1/2 tsp orange zest
Make the filling right before you are going to assemble the tarts, place chopped banana, hazelnuts, orange zest and brown sugar in a bowl and toss to combine, the brown sugar should coat each piece of banana.

Make the dough
Put the butter in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until nutty brown and the milk solids are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar is almost dissolved, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Using your fingertip, check the temperature of the batter—it should be warm but not hot. If it’s hot, set the pan aside for a few more minutes before continuing with the recipe.

Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Add the flour and cocoa and stir until a smooth, soft dough forms.

 Arrange two pieces of plastic wrap on the counter and scrape the dough onto the center of one. Divide the dough in half (about 14 3/4 ounces each) and put half on the second piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, shape both into 5-inch squares.Wrap in the plastic and set aside at room temperature until firm enough to roll, about 3 hours. (You can pop the dough into the refrigerator for a hour or so, but you don’t want the dough to be too chilled. It would be impossible to roll.)

Assemble and bake
Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick liners. Put the egg and water in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix until well blended.

Working with one piece of dough at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment (this dough is soft, so the parchment is a must for successful rolling), roll out to a rectangle slightly larger than 9×15 inches. Using a sharp paring knife or a fluted roller and a ruler, trim the edges to get a neat 9×15-inch rectangle, then cut into 3 x 2 1/2-inch rectangles (for a total of 18 rectangles).  Arrange the pastry rectangles about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets and cover with plastic. Roll out and cut the second piece of dough as you did the first one. NOTE: I made round pie’s so I did not make an even rectangle.

 Uncover the dough on one of the cookie sheets. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each rectangle and spread down the center, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges. Using a small pastry brush, brush the edges of each rectangle with egg wash. Lay the remaining rectangles over the filling. Using the tines of a fork, press (or crimp) the pastry edges to seal. Lightly brush the top of each hand tart with egg wash. Using the tip of a small, sharp knife, cut 2 small slits in the top of each hand tart to let steam escape. Sprinkle the tops with some of the turbanado sugar and slide the cookie sheets into the fridge while the oven heats up. (NOTE: because I used fluted rounds I brushed the edge of each with the egg wash, laid the top on and gently pressed all the way around to seal)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake on center rack in oven for approximately 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan then remove to wire cooling rack. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

A Tribute in Lights-9/11/2012

Fox News Photo Of American Flags 9/11/2012

Sitting on my stoop in Brooklyn I have a beautiful view of the Tribute in Lights, it’s awe inspiring. It feels like yesterday when we were attacked and so many innocent people were murdered. I saw the Towers in billows of smoke on that day and every September 11th I re-live it. I count myself lucky that I wasn’t in Manhattan working when it happened but it still rips my heart out every time I think about it, for hours that day I didn’t know the whereabouts of my daughter. On that day she had to go to Battery Park City in the shadow of the World Trade Centers. There was no cell phone service that day and for what seemed like centuries I could not reach her. She left for work late that day, we both watched in shock and horror as a plane hit the North tower, at that time it was speculated by the media that it was just an accident, a small plane must have lost control and flown into the Tower. After she left I found out the sad truth about what happened. Her train stopped mid station, just short of the WTC station that was damaged. It took her hours to get out, they had to evacuate the train and in the dark the passengers were guided by MTA employees, FDNY and NYC Police to the station and then had to make their way out to the street. Imagine the chaos in that station and then on the street. The South Tower had collapsed when she got out and you couldn’t see anything at all. A friendly hand on her shoulder guided her to some light and she started to walk home. She walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to her friends house and called me. When she got home she was covered in soot and you could see the hand print on her blouse, it was a Fireman who helped her. Today I am thankful, but still sad for all the lost lives and how our country has changed as a result of this terrorist attack.

I tried to take a picture of the Tribute in Lights from in front of my house but my iphone just couldn’t pick it up well enough, this is my picture, you can barely see the two blue lights and the tree’s in front of my house but they are there.

Here is what it really looks like, this is from Google pictures:

Tribute in Lights

Polls Are Open-Cocktails and Mocktails Marx Foods Contest

Hi Everyone, short post here, wanted to let you know that polls are open to vote on the Cocktails and Mocktails for Marx Foods. There is an exciting array of drinks. My Bloody Mary and Plum Juniper Berry Fizz are in the contest. If you feel so inclined and would vote for my drinks I would be soooooo appreciateive. Here is the link and thank you so much even if you don’t vote. I appreciate all of you checking out and stopping by.

Bloody Mary

Plum Juniper Berry Fizz

Buttermilk Ice Cream With Plum Juniper Berry Swirl

I love ice cream, and really enjoy making it rather than buying commercially prepared, don’t get me wrong I buy ice cream often but when I have the time and ingredients I really love home made. This idea came to me because I had  some things I needed to use before they spoiled.  I had some buttermilk I needed to use right away and  plum juniper berry syrup left over from the Marx Food cocktail contest. I thought that the tangy buttermilk custard would go nicely with the sweet/tart plum syrup. It really did go well together and the resulting ice cream is delicious. I took the plum syrup and reduced it by about 1/4 so it was more of a loose jam consistency and would make a nice swirl in the ice cream. This tastes like cheesecake ice cream, it’s creamy and a little tangy and the plum swirl is subtly flavored with the juniper berries. If you have never had buttermilk ice cream I recommend you give it a try, its really good.

The Custard:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup full fat buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tbs clear corn syrup.
In heavy non reactive saucepan heat cream, milk and buttermilk to scalding. Beat egg yolks and sugar with a whisk or electric mixer until light in color and thick. Slowly add some of the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture whisking constantly. Whisk to combine and add to the pan with the hot milk whisking constantly. Heat over med/hi heat until it becomes thick (165-170 degrees) and coats the back of the spoon, to test it swipe finger making a line, if it’s done the line will remain intact.NOTE: if you don’t have or cannot find full fat buttermilk use the low fat, omit the whole milk and increase heavy cream to 2 cups.
Pour into heat proof container, cover with plastic directly onto the custard. Let cool at room temperature then refrigerate overnight or until it reaches 40 degrees. You can also prepare a ice bath, pour the custard into a zip lock bag, seal it well and immerse in the ice cold bath until it’s cooled. Then refrigerate or use right away
Plum Juniper berry syrup:
2 1/2 cups ripe plums (I used methley plums they have beautiful dark almost black skin and bright red flesh) quartered with skin left on (I used 5 plums.
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole juniper berries
1/2 cup water
Place everything in saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat to med and let cook until thick and plums are broken down and it’s reduced by approximately 1/4 it takes about 15 minutes. Strain into a jar with a lid, pressing the plums leaving only the pulp and skin, let come to room temperature then refrigerate until ready to use. It’s pretty thick and when it’s cooled its like the consistency of loose jam.
Before you pour custard into  the ice cream maker add the tbs of corn syrup to the custard, pour into ice cream maker following manufacturers instruction. When it’s ready it will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Put half of the custard into a freezer container, drizzle some of the syrup over the ice cream (I used 1/4 cup) and using a bamboo skewer or butter knife, swirl into the ice cream. Put the other half of the ice cream on top of it and swirl more syrup. Freeze until it is a scoopable consistency.

Marx Food Cocktails And Mocktails Recipe Contest-Bloody Mary And Plum Juniper Berry Fizz

Bloody Mary

This months challenge from Marx Foods is to make 2 drinks a Cocktail which would include alcohol and a Mocktail, well you know what that is, no booze. All of us that participate in this challenge were sent a box of goodies, spices and other items, one of which has to be used in each drink. I received, saffron, juniper berries, dill and fennel pollen, long pepper and dried fresh pineapple. We have to use at least one of these items in each drink. I do so love a challenge and this in particular was challenging for me as I am not an accomplished mixologist, honestly the extent of my expertise is opening a bottle of beer or wine. I do love a good cocktail or mocktail as long as someone else mixes it for me.

My first entry is a Bloody Mary, that I tweaked a bit, it’s not your traditional drink other than the fact that it contains tomato juice. For this drink I used two of the ingredients from Marx Foods, the long pepper and fennel pollen. I used the long pepper instead of black pepper and rimmed the glass with a combination of kosher salt and fennel pollen. It’s a bit spicy thanks to the long pepper and hot sauce, a bit tart from the lemon and I also added a pinch of sumac which is both peppery and citrusy. It’s best to make the tomato juice mix the day before serving so that everything melds together.  I was happy with how it turned out, maybe I’ll start mixing more cocktails from now on.

The mocktail was a lot of fun to make. I wanted to use something seasonal,  I had some beautiful methley plums, (they are so gorgeous with their dark almost black skin and bright red flesh), that were perfectly ripe and I thought that the juniper berries would go beautifully with them. I love the combination, the syrup with ripe plums, sugar and juniper berries is delicious, so good I am thinking it would make outstanding jam. This drink is very simple, plum juniper syrup, sparkling water and lime. The plums with the juniper berries give it a complex flavor and the lime gives it some zing, It’s pretty too!!

Bloody Mary
Makes one 8 oz drink
4 oz tomato juice or V-8 vegetable juice
1/4 tsp homemade celery salt
juice of 1/2  Lemon
splash worcestershire sauce
splash of hot sauce, tabasco, sriracha, cholula
pinch of sumac
pinch of ground long pepper
3 oz vodka
 To Rim glass and Serve
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fennel pollen
small young celery stalk with leaves for garnish
slice lemon for garnish
Homemade celery salt
1 tbs celery seed
1 tbs kosher salt
To your spice grinder or mortar and pestle add the celery seed and the salt and grind. Store unused celery salt with your spices in an airtight container.
Pan roast a couple of long pepper, just for a few minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Grind in spice grinder or mortar and pestle (these can be used instead of black pepper and when you dry roast the flavor intensifies)
Crush kosher salt and fennel pollen using mortar and pestle.
Add tomato juice, lemon juice, celery salt, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, ground long pepper and sumac stir together and refrigerate for at least an hour or preferably overnight.
 Rub around the rim of the glass with lemon and dip glass in salt fennel pollen mixture.
Add some ice cubes to prepared glass, pour in vodka, top off with the tomato juice mixture, garnish with celery and lemon if you like.

Plum Juniper Fizz

Plum Juniper Berry Fizz
Makes 2-4 drinks depending on how much syrup you use
2 1/2 cups ripe plums cleaned and quartered skin left on. (I used Methley plums that have a dark almost black skin and red flesh)
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole juniper berries
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lime (approx 1 tbs)
Place plums, sugar water and juniper berries in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium/low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit until it cools to room temperature.
Strain into a jar with lid and refrigerate until cold.
To Make Drink
 Rub lime wedge around the rim of the glass, dip in sugar (optional) Pour 1/4 cup (4 tbs) plum syrup into glass add lime juice, top off with sparkling water.Serve garnished with lime.