Friday, October 26, 2012

I am Meatloaf, and So Can You!

Dear Boo,

I am writing this to you from the jury holding room at New York's criminal courts. What could be more American than bearing witness to a centuries old justice system, stepping into a pillared court house, and grousing about doing your civic duty? In that spirit, I'd like to share with you another pillar of American culture, the meatloaf.

Have you ever asked yourself the question: why don't I make meatloaf more often? Probably not. And yet, this is exactly what I said to myself the minute I made this recipe for the first time. It's high in protein, not terrible for you, easy to make, makes amazing leftovers (for what is better than a meatloaf sandwich?), and, I've found, in these days of visiting friends with newborns, when it is practically criminal to arrive without a meal, highly portable. And did I mention it's freaking delicious, especially when you add my little secret twist?

Okay, so it's turkey meatloaf. Which maybe some true patriots will disagree is actually meatloaf, but I have to say I prefer it. Our mother always used to season turkey meat for burgers or meat sauce with a dash (or more) of worcestershire sauce. What I didn't know then, was that worcestershire is made partially from anchovies, which contains umami, that depth of flavor and extra oomph that hits you in the back of the mouth in that place just under your tongue that gets all worked up when something tasty is coming its way, and which is noticeably lacking in bland meat like ground turkey. I just thought it made it taste more like beef, which was a good thing. This recipe uses a copious amount of worcestershire as well as other umami-packed ingredients like tomato paste and ketchup, which is, I think, what makes it so dang tasty.

As mentioned, I added a little twist, which may make some other patriots question the Americanness of this particular meatloaf, (patriots, perhaps, like those whose grandparents immigrated here but who think if you get stopped for a traffic violation and you look kind of brown and kind of illegal, you should be asked for your papers. but I digress), but which I think makes it that much more American for its melting-pot nature, and what's more American than progress and improvement? We know I love the picadillo, another meat-centric comfort food dish that the Husband grew up eating, which involves olives and raisins--an odd-sounding combo if you're not used to it, but totally transformative. The sweet and sour and salty seemed just right for punching up a turkey meatloaf, so I threw some raisins and olives in when I made this a few weeks ago. It was a good move, and one which I've continued to replicate when I've made it since. Take it or leave it (I know our Auntie will recoil in disgust when she reads this), or try something else that's more to your liking--sauteed mushrooms, chopped walnuts, apple pie, whatever.

The photo I received while at work, from the Husband who was very pleased
with his lunch.
Note : the meatloaf sandwich above is not to scale. It is very, very large. 
Whether you're nervously stress eating as we lead up to the most American of days on November 6th, you need some comfort food to get you through the last gasps of this neverending campaign season, or you're planning a results-watching party with a group of friends, I'm telling you, for the love of this country--Make this.
Or show me the long form of your birth certificate.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God Bless these United States of America.


The Mouse

Turkey Meatloaf ala Ina Garten, by way of the Mouse House

3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions) 
2 tablespoons good olive oil 
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried) 
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce 
3/4 cup chicken stock 
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste 
5 pounds ground turkey breast (this is a LOT, so i used a little less, and adjusted)
1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs 
3 extra-large eggs, beaten 
3/4 cup ketchup 
Optional: 1/2 cup or more green olives, 1/2 cup or more raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature. Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, onion mixture, olives and raisins in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Mouse,

Do you think I can post a recipe if I ate it before I could take a picture because I did not foresee it as being blogworthy in any way?

Well, here we are.

(I can't believe I'm even posting this, both because of the number of other things I should be doing right now (though that is also the exact reason to post it!) and because it's -- well, really not at all an actual "recipe". It involves no cooking.  It might not even be Food, if we're going by the Pollan definition.

But for this hungry, hopped up and (suddenly) busy bee, it'll do. And I thought maybe others with limited energy and time (like yourself, the busiest Bee   - er, Mouse - I know) might appreciate.)

The Boo's May I Suggest Incredibly Fast Post-Rehearsal, Pre-Audition, Pre-Other Rehearsal, and 
Weeknight-in-Cold-Season Chicken "Stew" For One

1 can Chicken-and-Rice Soup (I used Healthy Choice)
1 large handful torn raw kale leaves (or other dark green)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp? chopped parsley (and/or whatever other herbs you have lying around)
1 squirt of Sriracha hot sauce
1 squirt lemon

Bring soup to a simmer in pot on stove. 
Add everything else. 
Taste for seasonings. Stir a few times. 
When kale is wilted/cooked, it's done. Yummy.

If you have any fresh ginger that would be great in there too. You're welcome! Take your vitamins, get your beauty sleep, and buy tickets for this foot-stompin', roof-raising, beautiful show, running November 1 - 18 at the Beckett on Theatre Row. It's good for what ails ya.


The Boo