Wish Upon A Dish

October 23, 2014

Cuban Turkey Meatloaf

This day started in the wrong direction and just kept going. The Nudge drove three miles out of town and just as he hit the entrance ramp to Interstate Route 80, he got a flat.
He called to tell me he was going to change the tire and would I meet him back in town at the tire place. Now, mind you, he drives a mid-sized SUV and on a highway that if you go slower than 80, they will run you over, I was sure I would not allow him to attempt at doing something he hasn't done in twenty years.

So, there I am screaming at him to call AAA because that is why we pay them money to do road assistance. Trust me, I would have strangled him if I was in that car.

Finally, common sense prevailed and he pulled in or driveway thirty minutes later. I am sure my husband would never admit he was happy to see the the young stud that showed up, but to me he confided in the fact that he feared for his life as huge 18 wheelers blew by him. Great way to start the day, huh?

Luckily the piece of metal that speared his tire wasn't so big that a plug wouldn't work, and a mere $25 later, he was back on the road again.That sucker was in there!!

I thought that I would make a favorite for dinner tonight but I refused to go full blown winter meatloaf when the thermometer was still cracking 70, here in the NE.
That didn't mean I couldn't create a lighter version using lean turkey.
What could be better than a turkey meatloaf and a side salad of late harvested deck tomatoes, cucumbers and blue cheese? I think he'll like it.

I don't make much meatloaf with turkey and was trying to think of a way to put a spin on this one.
I ran the contents of my pantry through my mind and I remembered a can of Deviled Ham I bought for a cheese ball I wanted to try and as soon I thought about mixing that in with the turkey mixture, my went to a famous sandwich we both were f
When I travel to South Jersey I make sure I have deli meats in the fridge. I know The Nudge won't mind a sandwich for dinner. With enough ham & Swiss to make a Cordon Bleu meatloaf, I had dinner planned.

I made my usual meatloaf mix, but with lean ground white turkey and on a large moistened wooden board I covered the surface with plastic wrap (the water acts like glue). Evenly press the meat mixture with your fingers until it is the width of a standard loaf, then lay the ham then the Swiss evenly over the meat, to a 1/2" of the edge.

Using the wrap as you would for a Sushi roll, tucking in the deli as you go, roll the meat to the end and place the roll in a baking pan. Remove the plastic and allow the meat to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 ° and set a pot of salted water to a boil.

While the water was boiling, I started the mustard sauce.

You will need:
Belgium Ale
Dijon and Spicy Brown Mustard
Salt & Pepper

1 cup ale, minced shallots added; reduce to 2 tablespoons.
Add 1 tablespoon of each mustard, whisk in 1 tablespoon honey and 1 cup cream.
Reduce by half and season with salt & pepper to taste.
I add a drop of cognac to up the background taste but that is optional.

With my meatloaf I cooked a pot of yolk less noodles and some peas.
Hint: Peas float so cook them in the noodle water first, fish them out and then cook your noodles. Any nutrients that leach from the peas will be absorbed into the noodles.

I roasted the loaf for 45 minutes because it was skinny and longer than usual. On a thermometer it should read an internal temp of 165°. Tent the meat for 10 minutes, while you chop the herbs for the noodles.
Dinner is served. 

This was full of flavor and better than I thought it would be.You may be tempted to add more ham and cheese but trust me, one layer was more than enough. You should make the sauce,  it took this loaf over the top.

I can't wait to make a meatloaf sandwich with my new favorite.

October 22, 2014

Black CatSpooky Spices ♥ Curry Sauce - Recipe Redux Challenge October 2014

This month's Recipe Redux challenge was created just for me. Well, not just for me but maybe with me in mind?

This is the challenge for October: Spooky Spices: You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)

Now, please, don't judge me too harshly but they wrote that knowing my secret. I hate curry. Just the smell will chase me away.
I know we are in a small minority here, because curry dishes are loved worldwide and I often wonder what it is about that spice, that makes my face scrunch like a little kids, who has just smelt liver and onions for the first time. Yes, quite the nightmare.

Or is it?
I do know that curry is from India and is actually a blend of many spices, each cook creates their own. Maybe I could experiment and come up with a version that isn't an aversion to my senses.

When it comes to curry, I think a British one is a good place to start so I need to find a proper right Englishman who can cook. So who did I choose? Jamie Oliver.

I have been watching him when he was a single bloke that called himself the Naked Chef and have recreated many of his dishes over the years. Except, that is, his curry. With the recent release and excitement for his new cookbook, I thought it was the perfect place to start. It seems his favourite curry sauce is everyone else's also. He gives the basic mixture of spices, then the appropriate additions, depending on what protein you will be cooking.

Simple enough, even for me. I knew that jar of fenugreek seeds I bought would be good for something. The only thing I had to buy was Serrano peppers and I had to omit the curry leaves (no time to order and nowhere locally). I decided my use would be with chicken.

Wish me luck!!! Aren't I such a sorry arse? You would think I was about to pluck that chicken, geez.

Update: While I was measuring each ingredient into it's receptacle I realized it was the fenugreek that gave curry that unique smell, so what was any good little curry hating girl to do? I reduced the fenugreek from Jamie's teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. Yes, I am a wuss, but one that likes my customized version and The Nudge totally agreed with me.

While mine was made with chicken and coriander seeds, I added a few cubes of butternut squash to round out the meal. I served mine with brown basmati rice and we both ate our dinners. I am not sure he even realized that this was the curry, and psssst....I am not going to tell him.

If there are any other curry haters out there, make this sauce (with a smidgen of fenugreek). You will really like it and technically it is a curry sauce and a wonderful Asian sauce, that I might just use with everything, from now on.

Once again, I have to thank The Recipe Redux for showing me that where there is a will,, there was a way.

Jamie Oliver's Favourite Curry Sauce
Adapted from  Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef

* 5 tbsp vegetable oil
* 2 tsp mustard seeds
* 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
* 3 green chillies, seeds removed, thinly sliced
* A handful of curry leaves, ripped into small pieces
* 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
* 3 onions, chopped
* 6 tomatoes, chopped
* 1 tsp turmeric
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1 or 2 wineglass water (about 10 oz)
* 14 fluid oz can coconut milk
* Salt

Fish version
* 4 (225 g) haddock fillets, skinned and pin-boned
* 1 knob (1 tbsp) tamarind paste or 1 tsp tamarind syrup
* A very large handful baby spinach (optional)

Chicken version:
* 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch (1 cm) strips
* 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

Vegetarian version:
* 800 g mixed veg, chopped (potatoes, zucchini, onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, chard, cauliflower, lentil beans)

1. Heat the oil.  When hot add mustard seeds & wait for it to pop.  Then add fenugreek, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger. Stir fry for a few mins.
2. Using food processor, chop the onion and add to the pan.
3. When brown & soft, add the chili powder and turmeric.
4. Using same food processor, pulse the tomatoes & add to the pan.  Cook a couple of mins.
5. Add 1 or 2 wineglasses of water & the coconut milk.  Simmer about 5 mins until it has the consistency of thick heavy cream.
6. Season carefully with salt & take this sauce as the base.

7. To make fish curry:
- 1.  Add the fish & tamarind to the sauce and simmer 6 mins.
- 2.  Add baby spinach at the end of cooking time.

8. To make chicken version:
- 1.  Stir fry chicken strips & coriander seeds until light colored.
- 2.  Add to sauce & simmer for 10 mins.

9. Vegetable version:
- 1.  Simply add all vegetables to the sauce at the beginning when you add the onions.
- 2.  Continue to cook as normal and simmer until tender.

October 20, 2014

Mediterranean Olive Oil Poached Swordfish

I have this weird thing I do in the supermarket. I can't stop myself from checking out the seafood, even when I have trout, flounder and cod in my freezer.

So that could only mean two things, The Nudge is traveling and I am hopping they have swordfish.

I love when a plan comes together. I'm OK that it's frozen, I actually prefer the ones shrink wrapped and frozen. I got lucky with a piece with no bloodline that was pink and perfect. And on sale!!!!

Starting the day he left for Chicago a huge storm stretching from Canada to the Panhandle finally made it's way east. While it's only raining on and off today, there is too much 'on' to grill so that left me two options. Sear or roast. But wait, there was another way. I remember a method not used much here in the US but all over the Mediterranean. Olive oil poached fish. It is best used on firm fish, such as tuna, salmon, halibut and swordfish. No, I have never poached anything in olive oil, but I have slow roasted white beans the French way and tomatoes in the Italian way.

Yes, I am having herb infused olive oil poached white beans with my swordfish. Why use two pans when one will do? Why dirty two pans when you are doing the dishes?  Get it? Good.
First you need to season your fish and bring it to room temperature. I used my herb sea salt.
Next, preheat the oven to 250° and pour at least 1" of olive oil in a straight sided oven ready pan (I used my small cast iron, it was perfect).

Poached the beans before cooking the fish. Yes, they were canned beans, but rinsed and drained well. Next I add two smashed cloves of garlic, a spring of rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage to the oil and a half a small shallot. When the oil reaches 120° add the beans and return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes. Move the beans over and carefully slide the fish into the oil. Remember, it's very hot.

I covered mine for the last 10 minutes but it only took 30 minutes to cook. While the fish poached, I made a sauce of tomatoes, oil-cured olives, capers and a minced clove of garlic, salt & pepper along with a pinch of red pepper flakes for character. I will add the beans to the sauce and spoon it over my fish.

One of my best swordfish meals and I am not just saying that because I like my cooking.
Healthy, low fat, low carb (if any) and diapropriate.

Mediterranean Swordfish

* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup white beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 small shallot, finely chopped
* 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
* 5 canned San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
* 6 black oil cured olives, pitted and finely chopped
* 1 tablespoons capers
* 1 swordfish steak, about 4 ounces
* salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 250°. Fill a cast iron pan with olive oil and herbs.
2. When oil registers 120° remove the herbs and add the beans. Braise for 15 minutes.
3. Carefully slide the fish into the oil and return to the oven. Poach for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the fish to a plate and in a bowl, add the beans, the shallot, garlic, olives, capers and tomatoes. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning.
5. Spoon the beans over the fish and serve.