Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting Started

It's that time of the year again :-) Turkey Day approacheth. I have company arriving on Tuesday this year, so my cleaning can't be as casual as it has been in years past.  

Let me just say how sometimes OCD is a great thing. Check out the freezer. Yeah, that's a lot of Community Coffee on the top shelf.

And the fridge

Left side of the pantry. Since I am a firm believer in the concept of extra, all of my flour and sugar won't fit in my countertop containers. Therefore, I have to employ Mr. Ziplock.

Right side of the pantry.  Oops! I forgot to do the teas!

Some lightweight cooking did occur. I made Crock-Pot smoked turkey wing stock for my greens. Three cartons of chicken stock, smoked turkey wings and nine hours overnight on low. I've been on a quest to amp up the smokey flavor in my dishes because turkey just ain't the same as pork. I'm hoping this slow-cooked stock is the answer.

I skimmed some of the fat off. I think I'm just going to refrigerate it and let the fat turn solid for easier removal.

Today's to do list? Pound cake, biscuits, spotless kitchen and sitting area (I need to give that space a name) and find the decorations.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dinner is Blogged: Meatloaf & Whipped Potato Cupcakes. Sort Of.

Let me start by saying from a taste perspective, this was not a fail.  The meatloaf was moist and didn't crumble. So glad I added just 1/4 C of panko bread crumbs. Now, the presentation left a little to be desired. Here's what I was going for

Meatloaf is not cool. Never has been, and, hopefully, never will be. Satisfying and filling? Sure. But cupcakes... The two are combined at The Meatloaf Bakery, a tiny shop in Lincoln Park.

Here's what I got.

Presentation aside, the elements tasted great! Would you belive I've taken the Wilton Cake Decorating series three times?! Now that I compare the two pic, I was clearly delivering the ice cream cone look when I should have been opting for a different type of spiral.

Anyhoo. You saw the prep work here. When it came down to choosing a pan, I opted for a popover pan. I figured I'd get a larger portion size and I wouldn't have to use my muffin cups. I used parchment paper for nonstick insurance. Now that I think about it, I really didn't need it because of shrinkage.

I put the remainder in a mini loaf pan. I have got to cook earlier in the day. At night, there's just not enough light for good pictures.

Now for the glaze. It starts with dark brown sugar. I keep adding ketchup and yellow mustard until it tastes right. I add tomato paste for depth. I also drizzle in a little honey for complexity.

All ready for the oven.

Had I not used the parchment, I would have been able to get the glaze down the sides during the second slathering. Live and learn.

Let's move on to the potatoes. These have to be steamed. Cut your baking potatoes into 1" dice and add them to a steamer. Do not let the boiling water touch the potatoes.  Cook for 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, get your dairy together. I was out of milk, so I used half and half. I also differed from Cook's Illustrated in that I steeped four huge cloves of garlic in the dairy.

Once the potatoes are done, you have to return them to the hot dry pot and cook any remaining moisture away. Then, get thee to a standing mixer. Work fast.

You should end up with a creamy taste of heaven.

Add the potatoes to a piping bag with a large tip. (I used a freezer bag.)

Now let's eat. Look ma! No crumbly meatloaf.

Tools of the Trade
  • Chicago Metallic Popover Pan
  • Chicago Metallic Mini Loaf Pan
  • All-Clad 3-qt Saucepan
  • All-Clad Steamer Insert
  • All-Clad 2-qt Saucepan
  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Wilton Tip #8B

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Making(s) of Meatloaf

And so it begins! My meatloaf is mixed and getting to know itself better in the refrigerator. I glanced at recipes from Alton Brown and Cook's Illustrated, but I didn't really follow either of them.

Here's the prep work.  My aromatics:

Post food processor mini bowl

That's ground turkey and spicy chicken sausage with wine and *gulp* cheese. I would have preferred either sweet or hot turkey sausage, but neither Target nor Trader Joe's were working with me. I refused to stop at the traditional grocery store; I felt two stores should be enough.

Here is where I started to doubt myself:  a little over two pounds of meat and just 1/4 C panko bread crumbs?? We'll see. The bread crumbs are soaking in a beaten egg with a few dashes of soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Isn't that colorful? Fresh parsley, dried thyme, seasoned pepper, kosher salt, tomato paste, more soy and Worcestershire.

Gently mixed and chillin' in the fridge. I couldn't resist adding more Worcestershire after I took the pic.

Lord, save me from crumbly meatloaf!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Kitchen Omens

In preparation for Hurricane Issac, my aunt made meatloaf. (It makes great sandwiches when the power is out.) I was scrolling through my Pinterest boards a couple of days ago and saw this wonder:

Meatloaf is not cool. Never has been, and, hopefully, never will be. Satisfying and filling? Sure. But cupcakes... The two are combined at The Meatloaf Bakery, a tiny shop in Lincoln Park.

So while the majority of the country has been thinking about the last barbecue of the season, my mind has been on meatloaf. Further confirmation -- today's episode of Cook's Country featured whipped potatoes.

It's so on!! Got my supplies at Trader Joe's today. Tomorrow may just be the day (or maybe Monday).