gravy-smothered summertime

meatloaf

Meatloaf and green beans would have been a favorite meal of mine as a child. Let’s be honest it still is.  This recipe does not quite measure up to my childhood comfort food, “Perfect Meatloaf” recipe from the Calumet County (WI) Cookbook, but it was a nice change of pace and I enjoyed this novel idea (to me) of gravy on meatloaf.

Now….I don’t usually eat gravy in August but it was paired with the bean recipe in the cookbook and I had fresh beans from the farmer’s market and pecans left over from making zucchini bread. I had seconds of the lovely beans and they are mostly gone but I’m hoping Rob will help me finish off the meatloaf patties and gravy cause right now I feel like there is a whole lot of leftovers of that.

I found what seems to be an actual rewrite of Ms. Ray’s meatloaf patties recipe. This recipe I found for maple pecan-glazed beans is definitely different but the flavors are exactly the same.

Moroccan Carrots

This meal was weeks ago, when I was obsessing about carrots, but I just found the picture and I love meals with two vegetables!

And… I am reading the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence And… then on public radio they are interviewing Omar Sharif about the movie version “Lawrence of Arabia”! …Of course Morocco and the Arabian peninsula are quite far away from each other and have quite different culinary traditions but…Mr. Sharif is originally from Egypt which is geographically between the two.. Regardless it all felt serendipitous to me this morning. And even if, obviously, this “train of thought” paragraph is total crap, I remember that the food was delicious.

Notes on the recipe: I have to say that the carrots have a little too much garlic and I suggest cooking them less than the suggested 10 minutes as mine got a little too mushy.  I had homemade harrisa but I didn’t have any preserved lemons so I had to buy them this time.

artichoke toute seule

That plate is so pretty and it was so easy and so delicious.

It is a little labor intensive to eat a whole artichoke and once you start breaking into it, there were leaves and all the little hairs of the choke everywhere. It isn’t particularly healthy either considering that I dipped every piece in lemon butter….now that I think about it..it really is like a vegetarian version of  a crab feast.

The steak is London broil with a horseradish chimichurri sauce. It was good, not fabulous. I liked the couscous with peas and onions…sage-y. An enjoyable meal.

And just so dang pretty.

bangers and mash

plate of sausage and mashed potatos…okay it is actually knackwurst and mashed potatoes.

Rachael’s ‘fancypants’ onion sauce was supposed to be deglazed with white wine but I wasn’t drinking white wine, I was drinking dark beer. So it was kind of Germanized bangers and mash…of course maybe it is the other way around, maybe bangers and mash is really anglicized German food…anyway.

I couldn’t find a great reference for this specific recipe but google it and pick one with good onion sauce/gravy (i.e. it calls for a fresh herb, some wine and broth…not a gravy packet!) Also mashed potatoes are always just a little more delicious with a couple tablespoons of cream cheese (or a wedge of laughing cow!) and chives.

Sausages and mashed potatoes were both staples of our dinner table while I was growing up.  So this is good winter comfort food for me on a busy weeknight; it didn’t require any pricey or hard to find ingredients or 2 days of prep.

ethnic inspired…

lamb patties, greek chop saladI’m not always big on Rachael Ray’s ethnically inspired stuff generally her American and Italian inspired recipes are her best.  Her noodle bowls are far too bland and boring for example (needs fish sauce), but these 2 recipes were fast, easy and yummy.  In both cases it is the salad that I loved. The Greek one with feta, cucumber, tomato and Kalamata olives and just some fresh lemon juice, olive oil and parsley. perfect. And the quick saute of napa cabbage and carrots with some gari (Japanese pickled ginger). wonderful. The grilled lamb patties and grilled teriyaki chicken were really the sidekicks in both meals.

pasta w/mushrooms and hot peppers

pasta, salad, wineThis is another Rachael Ray recipe called Bel Aria Chicken and Pasta. They are all pretty similar so not exciting but good for a weeknight meal.

1. Cook some pasta

2. Cook some chicken

3. Cook some mushrooms with garlic, In this case add some chopped hot peppers. She calls for hot cherry peppers but I had a jar of peppadew so I used some of them.

4. Deglaze the pan with a little dry white wine. The stuff you are drinking while you cook but from the bottle please not your glass.

5. Add some of the starchy water from the pasta to make it saucy then mix in the drained pasta, and cooked chicken; garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and flat leaf parsley. Done.

The thing about this recipe is that it has 4 parts: pasta, meat, vegetable, pan sauce.   You almost cook them separately so if you don’t like or don’t have mushrooms/hot peppers then you could cook up any vegetables you want/have, right?

  • spinach and onions
  • squash and rosemary
  • broccoli and red pepper flakes
  • asparagus and basil
  • cauliflower and bacon
  • tomatoes and olives
  • artichoke hearts and walnuts

Many of these combos I have never tried, at least not specifically in a chicken/pasta dish like this. I guess I will have to try them now that I put it out there and not expect others to do if for me :)

For the salad I made a cherry balsamic dressing. I saw some at the store but I refuse to buy salad dressing in a bottle so I just bought some 100% tart cherry juice to add to a balsamic vinaigrette. I can find grocery store balsamic vinegar a little harsh and overpowering usually, so I liked the addition of cherry which made it a little sweeter and mellower.