Sunday, July 29, 2007
Up And At 'Em! Don't Let The Moss Grow Under Your Feet!
I fell down a hole...well, actually, I was pushed, but I'm back, full of vim and vigour. I've fallen into holes much deeper, darker and more dangerous before and have always managed to climb back up again. This time was no different, probably just with more determination! You can't keep a good girl down for long! I am released! I've seen the light, in the words of the evangelists of the world! (Can you hear the gospel singers in the background?) Clap your hands and sing along!
Enough of that nonsense! Let's get serious about some good food instead. Now, that's much more fun.
When I was living up in North Queensland, regularly my brother visited me on his weekends, coming from Mackay to wherever it was I was living at the time. He loved my meatloaves, so it became a "thing". I would have to make two meatloaves for him to take back home when he left. He would freeze one and use the other for his lunches and meals for the ensuing week. After cooking, split shifts, six days a week, I have no need to elaborate, I really looked forward to having to prepare the meatloaves!!! Needless to say, I've not made a meatloaf since, but enough time has transpired and the thought of a tasty meatloaf meal is making inroads into my mind. Knock! Knock! Okay! Okay! I can hear you!
I have a feeling meatloaf is going to be on my menu in the not too distant future!
1kg or 2lbs ground beef (or half & half using beef and pork mince)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (up to 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Italian herbs or mixed herbs
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 onion, diced finely,
1 packet dried mushroom soup (or French onion)
1/2 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
8 slices cheddar
8 slices ham
8 slices bacon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs, garlic, onion, ketchup, Worcestershire. Mix well, gradually adding the milk (if it seems too moist, add bread crumbs until it is a consistency that will form a loaf without flattening. Spray a large baking or roasting pan with a non-stick spray and press the meatloaf out. Layer cheese slices and ham, covering the center line of the meatloaf, then close it together and tuck in the ends, forming a loaf which is oblong. Criss-cross the bacon strips to cover the loaf. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or so.
Let rest 15 minutes, then cut and serve hot with vegetables and gravy, or cold with salad.
(Using the base meatloaf recipe and not stuffing with ham and cheddar is just as good, of course. The above is just a fancy twist on the basic meatloaf...and there's nothing wrong with the "basic meatloaf")
6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pound to flatten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 Sage leaves
Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto, a sage leaf on top of each chicken cutlet. Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil and crushed garlic to coat. Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach on top of the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet. Secure with a toothpick.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.
Extra-virgin oil and some butter
500g/1lb clean squid with tentacles,
bodies cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rings
2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
A load of freshly crushed garlic
A couple of tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Pour some oil and about 1 tablespoon into wok. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Working in small batches, toss the squid into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully add the squid to the oil, pour in some lemon juice and saute' until the squid turns opaque...this only takes about a minute (about 1 minute per batch). Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the squid onto a platter or individual serving dishes. The serving platter or individual dishes can have either rocket or shredded lettuce as a base upon which to lay the cooked squid. Decorate with lemon wedges.
Hopefully those recipes should put a smile on our faces. Today is a new day. Yesterday has gone and only fading memories remain. The future looks bright and breezy. I might even go down to the coast for a couple of days. These sunny, clear blue sky days we're experiencing at the moment are tempting and teasing me. A couple of walks along a wide stretch of sandy, golden beach are perfect natural elixirs. But then, I have some magical areas up here on the mountain to explore as well. I've charged not only my batteries, but those of my digital camera also, so I might do a wander and see what I can discover. Oh! Decisions! Decisions!