Monday, September 10, 2007

Why is there nothing to eat?

If you have teenagers, you know that no matter how often you shop or how much you cook and bake, you never have enough food or the right food. When you do hit upon something great you will need to take care to not over do it.

Although, for the most part, my kids have enjoyed the bounty of fresh vegetables from the garden this summer, they are now getting a tad tired of tomatoes. I know that the current tension will fade into a cherished childhood memory of vine ripened tomatoes, but for the present moment a dose of chocolate is needed. So, to reward us all for surviving the first week of school I relied on the tried and true...banana bread and chocolate chip cookies.

While school supply shopping I located a great deal in the bargain bin...a cookbook by two of my favorite cooking columnists, Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven. The book, published back in 2003, is a collection of recipes which had previously appeared, in various forms in the Boston Globe. It includes intriguing chapters like, Dishes We Make All The Time, Simmering Pots, and If You Love to Bake. From that chapter I decided to make their banana bread recipe (since I had a few overripe bananas ignored by the kids) and their chocolate chip cookie recipe (I always have a package of chocolate chips on hand). The book, The Way We Cook, is exactly that. A book of straightforward recipes that every home cook has tried once or twice. But, some recipes come with a little twist to add new interest. What I like best about the book is that it encourages experimentation. I generally have most of the ingredients on hand and often am missing an element or two. So, being able to substitute without distracting too much from the result is a big plus.

From the chapter, Dishes We Make All The Time, a new twist to meatloaf and potatoes. The recipe combines the two and makes an easy one dish main course. Recipe, adjusted to use what I had on hand...

Meat Loaf with Roast Potato Topping

2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 c. fresh tomato sauce - I used some of my own left over in the refrigerator
(originally called for 1 c. canned tomato or pasta sauce)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, grated
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 c. fresh white bread crumbs
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste

Set oven to 375 degrees. Oil the bottom and sides of 9-by-5 inch loaf pan.
Steam potato slices in a steamer for about 12 - 15 minutes until tender, but not falling apart. Remove from pan and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar and mustard.
In another bowl, combine the beef, onion, egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Add half the tomato mixture to the beef mixture and stir well.
Place the meat loaf in the prepared pan, patting down to flatten the surface.
Arrange potatoes so that they overlap on the meat loaf. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Set the meat loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills.
Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until the juices are bubbling and the potatoes are crusty on the edges. Remove the meat loaf from the oven, let it settle for a few minutes, then cut it into thick slices and serve.

Of course, all my photos have tomatoes in them...holding on to the summer memories. I've also been experimenting with background colors. I was hoping to re-create the green of my kitchen, but with no luck. Hope you like the new color scheme.

1 comment:

T.W. Barritt said...

I think this is ingenious. Everybody loves meat and potatoes, and makes a fine marriage of the two!