The other day I came across a recipe for meatloaf that certainly seemed like something ‘special’. Years ago, every family had a meatloaf recipe that was so dearly loved, it achieved iconic status. Today, I’m not so sure that is the case anymore. Nevertheless, this recipe was called ‘1770 House Meatloaf’ which made me curious as to what the history was behind it. Most every review raved about it being pure comfort food and much more than just meatloaf.
From my research on this meatloaf I found that the 1770 House is an East Hampton Inn and Restaurant famous for this dish. East Hampton Village on Long Island, New York is a beautiful village. It’s been that way for years with a glorious pond right as you come into town where swans swim in summer and skaters take to the ice in winter.
The 1770 House has welcomed guests with hospitality and comfort, a tradition that continues to attract guests from around the world to the intimate Inn, steps from the heart of East Hampton Village. The venerable home, today a boutique hotel and restaurant, seamlessly integrates historic elegance with luxurious, modern amenities and first-class dining.
This glorious colonial house has two restaurants—a more formal fine dining room on the ground level and, down a flight of stairs, a cozy ‘tavern’ with its roaring fireplace and comfort food menu. And always, on this seasonally changing menu, there is Chef Kevin Penner’s remarkable meatloaf with its even more remarkable garlic sauce.
This familiar dish is simple enough that it can be prepared as a weekday meal, but that has been elevated by adding a few key ingredients. The celery and thyme infuse the mix with intense flavor, and the garlic sauce works perfectly. The outcome is a delicious dish with moist texture: not your average meatloaf.
So there you have it …. meatloaf with first-class dining status!
1770 House Meatloaf w/ Garlic Sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion & celery and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent but not browned. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place the beef, veal, pork, parsley, thyme, chives, eggs, milk, salt & pepper in a large mixing bowl. Put the panko in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the panko is finely ground.
Add the onion mixture & the panko to the meat mixture. With clean hands, gently toss the mixture together, making sure it's combined but not compacted.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Pat the meat into a flat rectangle and then press the sides in until it forms a cylinder down the middle of the pan (this will ensure no air pockets). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the middle reads 155 F. to 160 F. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve hot with the Garlic Sauce.
Combine the oil & garlic in a small saucepan & bring to a boil. Lower the heat & simmer for 10 -15 minutes, until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will be bitter. Remove the garlic from the oil and set aside.
Combine the chicken stock, butter & cooked garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat & cook at a full boil for 35 - 40 minutes, until slightly thickened. Mash the garlic with a fork, whisk in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper & taste for seasonings. Spoon the warm sauce over the meatloaf.
- Since there are just two of us, I made the full recipe then divided the mixture into 3 portions. I baked all 3 & used one for our supper meal today, froze the second one for a future meal & with the third, I sliced it for 'meatloaf' sandwiches. Doesn't get better than that!
Oblong and common in Mediterranean cooking, orzo has a look of rice and the texture of pasta. Orzo, also named risoni, is an extremely versatile pasta shape used in a multitude of recipes and cuisines. Translating to mean ‘barley’ in Italian due to its resemblance to the grains of unprocessed barely, it is categorized as a ‘pastina’ meaning ‘little pasta’.
The most common variety of orzo is made from semolina flour, which in turn is made from durum wheat. Because the wheat base gives it a heartier texture, it is better able to absorb the flavors of the ingredients around it as well as providing the pasta with a firmness needed to ensure it maintains its shape while remaining soft and light in texture.
Like most pasta, orzo is boiled in a pot of water to prepare. From there, it can be used in multiple applications. Traditionally it is used in soups and sometimes as a side dish, both hot and chilled, with herbs, olive oil or butter, and parmesan cheese.
Today, I’m incorporating orzo in a ground pork & vegetable, one-pot meal …. pasta, meat & veggies, what more is needed!
Pork Vegetable Orzo
In a large saucepan, crumble fry ground pork until cooked. Steam chard stalks in a microwave dish until almost tender-crisp. Add onions, zucchini & chard to saucepan with pork. Sauté until onion has softened & veggies are tender-crisp.
Stir in garlic, Montreal steak spice & orzo, cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth & milk. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring often. Turn heat to a medium low temperature. It should gently bubble vs. boil as you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
Remove from heat, stir in parmesan. Cover & gently cook 3-5 minutes until the mixture has slightly thickened. Remove from heat & serve.
Onion rings first made their appearance in an ad for Crisco in a New York Times magazine that was published in 1933. The advertisement included a recipe for onions that are sliced, dipped in milk, dredged in flour, and then deep-fried.
With the expansion of fast-food restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s came the inclusion of the onion ring. As our society has evolved, and so has the onion ring.
Onion rings in their most basic form are cross-sectioned onions cut into ‘rings’ that are then coated in a batter, then fried. Simple, but within this, there are variations such as beer batter, tempura batter, pancake batter, onion strings, or even the ‘onion bloom’ where the whole onion is cut into ‘petals’ battered and fried whole. All of which are usually accompanied by a dipping sauce or rémoulade.
But the thing is, not all ‘alliums’ are created equal. Leeks may be delicious in a soup or braise, but good luck trying to turn them into onion rings. Shallots make a beautiful crunchy topping when fried, but their tiny frame and shape will make it nearly impossible to yield a ring suitable for dredging and battering. If you want onion rings, bigger tends to be better. White and yellow varieties are decent picks, but for optimal onion rings, go for sweet onions. These kinds don’t have as strong of a sulfuric taste and frying them brings out their caramelly aromas. If you’re short on sweet onions, you can tamp down the potency of other types by soaking the sliced rings in ice water.
Onion rings aren’t just sides for hamburgers—they pair well with beef, chicken, and seafood. There are many takes on onion rings nowadays, including variations of ‘stuffed’ onion rings. Today I’m making a pork/shrimp filling to place inside the rings then frying them. Served with rice they make an interesting entrée for our supper.
Stuffed Onion Rings
Combine all stuffing ingredients & set aside for 15 minutes.
Lightly dust onion rings with flour. Place the onion rings on a flat surface & divide filling evenly between them, filling the inside of the rings. Smooth out filling.
Heat a non-stick skillet; add some oil for shallow frying the rings. Brush sides of the rings with beaten eggs. Carefully place rings in skillet & fry until filling is cooked & golden brown.
Top with grated cheese of choice & serve on a bed of rice.
The meatball is a food that transcends cultures. Char siu pork meatballs, are one of the most popular pork dishes in Chinese/Cantonese cuisine and one of the most ordered dishes in restaurants.
They are full of all the flavors we love in Chinese food takeout. Salty, sweet, smoky, charred edges with juicy tender pork inside. Todays recipe was inspired by Chinese char siu with the use of 5-spice powder giving them that unmistakable flavor. This is a blend of star anise, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, and Chinese cinnamon.
Char siu, loses something in its basic English name, barbecued pork. This sweetly marinated and basted meat has become a symbol of comfort food in Cantonese cuisine and means so much more than just barbecued or roasted meat.
The traditional dish is made from seasoned boneless pork. The pork is covered in a sweet, savory glaze and placed on wooden skewers or forks over low heat. It’s cooked until tender but not falling apart. The use of the skewers changes how the meat cooks. It should heat slowly and evenly from all sides. The char siu marinade is very distinctive in its flavor. Many cuts of pork can be used in char siu such as neck meat, pork belly and pork butt. Just about any lean boneless cut will work but I like pork tenderloin the best.
Meatballs are one of those creations that can be used in many different applications. The flavor profile can be varied with different spices or sauces. When they are paired with rice or noodles, they make a good main course. Alternatively, they are perfect as an appetizer or even just a snack. You can also make them in bulk and freeze them for use later. What’s not to love about something so versatile?
Chinese Char Siu Pork Meatballs
In a large bowl, combine pork, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder & pepper. Mix well. Divide mixture into 20 pieces & roll into balls.
in a skillet, heat oil. Fry meatballs in batches. Cook without moving for about 2 minutes or until the bottoms are cooked through. Use a spatula to carefully rotate the meatballs to cook on the other sides. Remove from skillet to paper towel.
In a small bowl or measuring cup combine all your sauce ingredients except the water and cornstarch. Pour your sauce mix in the skillet heat over medium low heat.
Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and pour in the skillet while stirring continuously. When the sauce begins to thicken add the meatballs back to the skillet and allow it to cook over low for 3-4 minutes, until they are coated.
Everyone has their own idea of the ideal meatball. For me, it’s a plump, juicy ball of well-seasoned meat that’s so tender a spoon can pass right through it with almost no resistance.
Too often turkey meatballs are dry because ground turkey is leaner than more traditionally used beef or pork. Perhaps you had never considered it but working both ground turkey and pork into your meatballs improves the texture and flavor.
Instead of buying pork sausage meat, we always buy just plain ground pork. I can make my own sausage easily enough with the ground meat, and this gives me more options of how I use it. It’s the perfect complement, in both flavor and fat content, to the turkey. Together, they make a wonderful meatball.
Some years ago, I had posted a blog making zucchini noodles. We found it was a good alternative to pasta for something different. Turkey/pork meatballs compliment zucchini noodles nicely.
Garlic Butter Turkey/Pork Meatballs w/ Zucchini Noodles
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey and ground pork, cheese, grated garlic, Italian seasoning, bouillon cube, red chili pepper flakes, chopped cilantro, & black pepper. Mix well with your hands or fork & form medium turkey meatballs. Arrange the turkey meatballs on a plate & set them aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the turkey meatballs for 8 – 10 minutes on all sides, until browned and cooked through. While cooking, baste the turkey meatballs with a mix of butter & juices. Remove to a clean plate & set aside.
In the same skillet melt the remaining tablespoon of butter; then add lemon juice, hot sauce, minced garlic, & red pepper flakes (if you wish). Add the zucchini noodles & cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until zucchini noodles are done but still crisp and juices have reduced a bit. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper & garnish with more cilantro or parsley if you like.
Push zucchini noodles on one side of the skillet add the turkey meatballs back to the pan and reheat for a minute or two. Serve the garlic butter turkey meatballs with lemon zucchini noodles immediately.
Timbale is derived from the French word for ‘kettledrum’, also known as timballo, can refer to either a kind of pan used for baking, or the food that is cooked inside such a pan. The crust can be sheet pastry, slices of bread, rice, even slices of vegetable.
This dish is much hardier than soufflé, and is often likened to a crustless quiche, because it is less likely to fall after being removed from the oven. A timbale is different from souffle in several ways; to begin with, the eggs are not separated, but beaten together. Timbale also incorporates breadcrumbs for body, and frequently uses milk rather than cream. It is made with a variety of cheeses.
Common ingredients in timbale include ham or other meats, along with vegetables. It can make a hearty meal or an excellent accompanying side dish, and is also delicious when served cold. Timbale is usually cooked in a tray of water, because the steam helps the custard to set.
Timbale dishes are made from a variety of materials, including enameled metal and ceramic. They are designed to be partially submerged in water during cooking, and are usually capable of standing up to extreme temperatures, since they are used in the oven. They come in a wide variety of shapes, although round dishes are most common. Timbale is often prepared in individual ramekins. Most are attractive enough to be brought directly to the table for service, although many timbales are unmolded and plated so that they can be dressed with a creamy sauce.
For our timbale, I decided to make it without eggs & make a nice cheesy sauce instead. To make it a full meal deal, I added some ground pork but stayed with the original concept of layering everything. It not only tastes great but makes a nice plate presentation.
Timbale of Zucchini & Sausage
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic & mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add flour & cook 1 minute, stirring to combine. Remove from heat & gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, then return to the heat & cook, stirring until thickened.
Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard & 3/4 cup of the combined parmesan & smoked cheddar cheese (reserving 1/4 cup), stirring until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat & stir in the parsley.
Sausage & Veggies
In a saucepan, scramble fry ground pork until cooked. Drain on paper towels. Sauté mushrooms until moisture evaporates.
Slice zucchini thinly & lay on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt to help draw the moisture out; pat dry. Slice potato thinly, leaving skin on.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 2 – 5-inch round pans with removable bottoms with foil paper to prevent leaking.
DIVIDE veggies, sausage & sauce BETWEEN THE 2 BAKING PANS. In the bottom of each pan place a layer of potato slices, overlapping slightly. Next layer some leeks & mushrooms, top with a bit of sauce then layer sausage (sprinkle sausage with smoked paprika) & zucchini. Spoon a bit more sauce over all & repeat with a second layer.
Cover with foil & bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil & bake for a further 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup grated cheese. Allow the timbale to stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining 1/4 of sauce on the side.
Tourtiere is a traditional French Canadian meal enjoyed by many people throughout Canada. There is no one correct filling; the meat depends on what is regionally available. In coastal areas, fish such as salmon is commonly used, whereas pork, beef and game are often included inland. The name derives from the vessel in which it was originally cooked, a tourtiere.
While the smell and flavor are unique, they aren’t difficult to like. The flavors are ultimately simple and comforting and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand often. This galette version works perfect in my favorite basic cornmeal pastry crust. Tourtiere can be made ahead and frozen, then baked off as needed.
Apart from making tourtiere in the traditional form, try using the filling in tourtiere meatballs, phyllo rolls, burgers, turnovers or chicken tourtiere tartlets. The filling recipe I’m posting today comes from a tiny little pamphlet I probably have had for 30 years from a meat packing company. It has been one that I have worked with the spices to suit our taste.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas.
Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough.
Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Cut bacon into small pieces & fry over moderate heat until cooked but not crisp. Add pork, veal, onion & garlic; cook until meat is lightly browned. Add water & spices; reduce heat to simmer; cover pan & cook 45 minutes more. Combine meat with mashed potatoes; cool slightly.
Remove pastry from refrigerator. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll out pastry dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer pastry (leaving it on the parchment paper) to a large deep pie dish. You should have about a 1 1/2-inch pastry overhang. Place tourtiere filling in the pastry shell then carefully fold pastry over it, making a pleated look. Brush pastry with egg wash.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until pastry is cooked & golden brown. Basically you are only baking the pastry since the filling is already cooked.
- Very often tourtiere recipes call for cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves. Neither Brion or I care for those spices in this recipe so its a personal choice you can add or leave out.
Parsnips are one of those vegetables that very often gets over looked as being bland and tasteless. The unassuming parsnip has neither carrots’ obvious sweetness or potatoes mashable, fryable, butter-loving appeal.
I’ve always loved their sweet, mellow, complex flavor. To me, parsnips have a taste reminiscent of hazelnuts, cardamom and a gentle peppery spice. They are at their best after a few autumn frosts, which converts the tuber’s starches into sugar. In fact, if they are left in the ground over winter and dug at the first sign of spring, parsnips are nearly as sweet as carrots.
Over the years, I have used them in many different applications. Pork with parsnips is a common savory pairing but grating them into breads and spice cakes is equally good. Making cakes with vegetables used to be a necessary economy, while today we use it as a way to improve the quality and it adds a range of flavors we’d forgotten about.
Using some fresh root veggies at this time of year seems to be a good choice. This cheesy parsnip bake makes such a flavorful meal.
Pork & Cheesy Parsnip Bake
Peel parsnips & cut into chunks. Cook in salted boiling water until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
In saucepan, heat oil & sauté onion until tender crisp. Add the mushrooms & cook gently for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in pork & fry, breaking it up as it cooks, until lightly browned.
In a small container, combine vegetable broth with cornstarch. Carefully add to meat mixture, stirring until it starts to thicken. Add extra broth if needed. Stir in chopped zucchini & cover. Turn heat to low & cook gently while preparing the parsnip topping.
Turn oven on to broil. When parsnips are soft, mash thoroughly. Stir in butter, milk & grated cheese. Spoon pork mixture into an ovenproof dish. Evenly spread the cheesy parsnip mixture on top. Place under a broiler until the topping starts to brown. Serve immediately.
My love for noodles, dumplings, etc. probably could be accredited to my German heritage. This recipe for Russian pelmeni has been hovering in my ‘must try’ file for quite some time, so today’s the day.
It seems most food historians agree that these Russian dumplings originated in Siberia. Although pelmeni forms the heart of Russian cuisine and culture, it does have numerous look-a-likes in particular the Ukrainian vareniki and the Polish pierogi. The easiest way to spot the difference is to look at the shape and size; a typical pelmeni is almost circular and about two inches in diameter. The other forms are usually more elongated and larger in size. Also, the fillings in pelmeni are usually raw, while the fillings of vareniki and pierogi are typically precooked. Pelmeni will never have a sweet filling , unlike its Ukrainian counterpart. The recipe may actually be an adaptation of Chinese pot stickers.
Fillings differ but essentially they are ground meat (pork, beef or sometimes lamb), fish or mushrooms as well as being quite spicy.
The word pelmeni comes from ‘pelnyan’ which means ‘bread ear’, a reference to the food’s ear-like shape.
Although this meal was favored by hunters who were looking for light, easy to prepare, nourishing food to take with them on long trips in the winter, its also seen as Russian fast food among students or bachelors.
This recipe gives you the option of making traditional pelmeni or using an alternate method called ‘lazy’ pelmeni. Both equally as good.
For Cooking 'Lazy' Pelmeni
In a bowl, combine all dough ingredients & knead until a smooth dough ball forms, about 10 minutes. Cover, set aside & allow dough to rest until your filling is prepared.
In a bowl, combine ground meats, onion, garlic, salt & pepper. Mix well.
FOR THE TRADITIONAL PELMENI:
Divide the dough in half & roll each portion out into 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch diameter circles & place about a teaspoon of the filling on each circle. Fold the circle in half & crimp edges well, then bring the ends together & crimp. Repeat to use remaining dough & filling. It is best to refrigerate or freeze finished pelmeni before you are ready to boil them.
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place pelmeni in the boiling water & cook until they float to the top then cook for about 5 minutes more. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add butter & mix to coat. Serve with sour cream & fresh parsley.
FOR 'LAZY' PELMENI VERSION:
Once dough has rested, transfer to a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a large thin rectangle. Spread meat filling over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch at the far side of the dough.
Tightly roll the dough up, starting from the wider side, forming a log. Put seam side down to seal the edges. Seal ends of the dough as well. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough log into 2-inch sections.
In a large skillet that will accommodate all pelmeni, heat oil & cook onion until translucent. Add garlic & continue cooking until fragrant. Add carrot & 1 bay leaf; cook until the carrot is tender, about 1-2 minutes.
Place pelmeni rolls into the skillet with veggies, add the vegetable broth, salt, pepper & the other bay leaf. Cover with the lid & cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Check pelmeni from time to time, to make sure there is liquid in the skillet. Add more if it evaporates too fast. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately with sour cream if you wish.
Meatballs don’t have to be boring. Tender, juicy meatballs, wrapped in puff pastry and served with a zesty sauce makes an easy, inexpensive version of the classic beef wellington.
Economical and versatile, cooking with ground meat opens up plenty of avenues for experimenting. Beyond reliable beef, almost all meats can be ground, but each kind of meat should be treated differently to fully enjoy the benefits.
Consider the fat content of ground meat before you buy. Some fat content is desirable as it adds flavor and helps to keep meat moist during cooking. Choose different types of ground meat for specific dishes. For example …. fatty beef makes juicier burgers but leaner ground turkey or chicken works better served as smaller meatballs or in a sauce. Ground pork makes for a cheaper burger than beef, plus it is unlikely to dry out. Flavor pork with spices like mace, or herbs like sage, thyme and fennel seeds and of course always ensure its cooked through. Ground meat is one of those things that generally ‘you get what you pay for’.
These meatballs make a tasty meal that can be ‘dressed up or down’, depending on what it is served with.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Saute mushrooms, onion & garlic until onions & garlic are soft & most of the moisture has been released from the mushrooms, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine cooled veg mixture, pork, breadcrumbs & seasonings; mix all ingredients until incorporated. Shape mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
Cut thawed puff pastry into thin strips. Wrap each meatball with a few strips of the pastry & place on the baking sheet. Brush pastry with egg wash.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden & meat is cooked through. Remove from oven & place on serving platter. These are nice to serve with steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.