Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Eating

Sorry I've been so quiet darlings, it's been spring cleaning here at Chez Gourmet.  Combined with a weekend full of lovely friends, Eatie decided to put cooking on the back burner.  But I do have some recipes to share with you.  I like to experiment with different recipes, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.  I will share both the triumphs and the failures.

I slacked off this past week writing the blog.  Work was busy, so I was tired when I got home, and didn't want to write much.  I like quick and easy things a lot of the time, so the two recipes I'll share with you are pretty fast and flavorful, but not particularly complex.

Often I have my own ideas for dinner, but one night the hubby asked for meatlof.  He's a meatloaf guy for sure, so dinner was a pretty standard meat and potatoes. I made a cowboy meatloaf, stuffed with cheese:

Cowboy Meatloaf

2 beaten eggs
3/4 c. milk
2/3 c. dry bread crumbs
1/4 finely chopped onion
1 t. salt
pinch pepper
1/2 t. dried sage
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 c. diced Velveeta cheese
1/3 c. barbecue sauce

1. Combine eggs and milk in a bowl; add bread crumbs, onion, sage, salt, and pepper if you desire.  Add meat, mix well.
2. Layer half the meat in a loaf pan, make a well down the center of the meat, and add the diced cheese.  Layer the other half on top of the cheese.  
2. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.  Take loaf out of the oven, spread the BBQ sauce on, and then put it back in for 10 minutes.  When done, let loaf cool for 10 minutes before serving.

A note about meatloaf.  If you use lean ground beef you won't have a lot of grease to drain off your meatloaf.  And it's best cooked in a glass loaf pan.  A Pyrex loaf pan will run you a whopping $5. Trust me, it's an awesome investment for numerous reasons.  The next recipe will involve the loaf pan too, and it's suddenly paid for itself.  :)  I serve the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and sometimes that South African Brai salad that I shared with you.  It makes a filling and yummy plate. 

The other recipe I tried this past week was a Savory Garlic and Chive Bread adapted from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around My French Table (I have this book right now, review to follow shortly).  Dorie runs a French Fridays blog, which I would love to try, but it scares the crap out of me.  However, another cook online, Soup Addict made some minor changes to the recipe, and posted it. So I gave her recipe a try and I'm sharing it here.

Savory Cheese and Chive Quick Bread

Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
1 3/4 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt (full teaspoon if you are using a mild cheese)
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
3 lg. eggs, room temperature
1/3 c. whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 T. prepared brown mustard
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 generous cup coarsely grated Gruyere, Comte Emmental or cheddar cheese
2 oz. Gruyere, Comte Emmental, or cheddar cut into very small cubes (1/2 to 3/4 c)
1 bunch chives, minced (can also use scallions)
1 t. dried basil
1/3 c. walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease Pyrex loaf pan with butter.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
3. Whisk eggs in bowl for 1 minute, until foamy, then whisk in milk, mustard, and oil.
4. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture, and use a rubber spatula to gently mix until moistened. Stir in grated and cubed cheese, the herbs and walnuts to form a thick dough.  Transfer to loaf pan and make it even on the top.

4. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until bread is golden and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and turn it out, putting it right side up to cool before cutting and serving. 

Okay, here are some tips for this bread.  It was pretty dry, so I would put a little bit more liquid in it, most likely a bit more milk rather than oil.  I think that I overdid it on the cheese, and that actually helped dry it out.  I want to try it again with the walnuts, to see if the oils from the nuts infused the bread with a bit more moisture and flavor.  The flavor was great.  I may have also overcooked it.  I'm notorious for doing that sometimes.  It's certainly a quick bread that I would like to play with, and it came together quickly (hence quick bread, heh).  It's probably something that I would take to Easter dinner, or toast on a griddle and spread an onion and chive cream cheese on for breakfast. 

That's about it for tonight.  Stay tuned later this week when I share a dinner fail I just had.  Bake well darlings! 

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