Turkey Meatloaf with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil

When I’m not busy making my kids’ lives miserable at dinner time dreaming up new ways to torture them with greens and vegetables,  I come through for them with a little comfort food.

While I would love it very much if people would pay attention to their food and start eating lower on the food chain, I never, ever want to become a member of the Food Cop club. Not because I don’t care about you – I do! It’s just that I would  lose all my friends and my own family would probably drop me off at some Home Depot parking lot, change the locks on the front door, and never come back to get me.

This meatloaf recipe is the classic one in my house, and it never fails to make everyone happy. I use freshly ground dark turkey rather than the shrink wrapped mystery meat found in most grocery stores – who knows how long that stuff has been sitting around and what’s actually in there?

It’s always worth asking your butcher if they will grind a turkey thigh or two just for you; however it’s best to call ahead. Some stores don’t have separate grinders and can’t mix poultry with other meats they process without advance notice.

Turkey Meatloaf with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

2 pounds ground dark turkey

1 small onion, peeled

1 cup sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water (oil-packed is ok - drain well); chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko

1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup ketchup

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Put the turkey in a large mixing bowl; grate the onion on the side of a box grater into the bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, garlic, bread crumbs, chile, salt, pepper and eggs to the bowl. Use a large fork or your hands to combine well.
  3. Form the mixture into a football-shaped loaf on a large baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes.
  4. Brush ketchup over the top of the meatloaf Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/02/turkey-meatloaf-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-and-basil/

Sicilian-Spiced Roasted Cashews

I don’t know about you, but I’m about done with winter – for some reason this one seems endlessly gray, cold and dreary. But change is in sight, I think; this week I noticed that the days are a bit longer, with the daylight fading into darkness just a few minutes later than last week.

I found myself looking through my stack of cookbooks looking for some inspiration, and lingered over one with a beautiful image of a sun-soaked bowl of golden cherries on the cover: a collection of recipes from Gangivecchio, a restaurant in Sicily that dates back to Roman times. I’m not sure what the weather is like in Sicily at this time of year, but somehow I feel warm imagining myself walking around the winding streets of Palermo, shopping the outdoor markets.

Lidia Bastianach, the Italian chef and cooking teacher, describes in her book Lidia’s Italy how the North African summer sun gives food produced there here an intensity not found anywhere else in Italy

“…the tomatoes are sweeter, the oil is more deeply flavored, the fennel has more licorice, capers are nuttier, and the anchovies and sea urchins taste more of the sea”.

Sounds good to me. In the spirit of hot summers to come, I roasted a batch of cashews and seasoned them with some of the intense tastes of Sicily: fennel, cumin, anise, hot pepper and orange.


Sicilian-Spiced Roasted Cashews

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste

1/4 teaspoon each: ground cumin, fennel, cayenne, paprika, anise seed

3 cups raw whole cashews

Grated fresh orange or tangerine zest

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients except the cashews and zest until combined. Toss in the cashews and stir them around until they're evenly coated.
  3. Spread the cashews on a baking sheet in one layer. Bake 20 -25 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Cool on a rack - they will crisp up after about 10 minutes. Grate orange zest over the cashews while still warm.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/02/sicilian-spiced-roasted-cashews/

Chocolate Soufflé Cake

Everyone needs at least one go-to chocolate recipe, like stashing a little black dress in the recipe file.

This chocolate soufflè cake is like that perfect dress – deceptively basic but oh-so delicious in action. I pull this recipe out of my hat for last minute desserts as well as a last course for my clients requesting a chocolate ending for dinner parties.

I very slightly adapted this recipe from Alice Medrich’s book Chocolate and The Art of Low Fat Desserts. Yes, the cake is not only simple to make but not full of calories – that isn’t the reason I like it so much, but still good to know. Despite having little fat, the cake turns out with a soft, pudding-like texture and rich choocolate flavor.

Chocolate Soufflé Cake

Yield: 6 cakes

You can make this into one single cake instead of separate ones by using an 8-inch springform pan.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon softened butter

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup blanched almonds, finely ground

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup boiling water

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Brush softened butter all over the inside of 6 1-cup souffle cups or ramekins and coat with granulated sugar. Place the cups on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the chopped chocolate, cocoa and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry.
  4. Whisk the flour and almonds together and stir into the chocolate. Fold about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon the batter evenly into the cups.
  5. Bake for 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool on a rack 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully run a knife around the edges of the cups and invert to release each cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a sprinkle of cocoa, powdered sugar or warm chocolate sauce.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/02/chocolate-souffle-cake/