TND – This is not the end, this is not the beginning of the end . . .September 1, 2011
Where did August go? I have a fairly clear idea about what happened to June (wedding in late May + NOLA trip), I’m reasonably sure I remember July . . . but, it’s the first of September today? How did that even happen? Where did August go? Was it kidnapped? Can we ransom it back?
Rather than focusing on the fact that the weather has embraced Fall, and it’s getting duskier and duskier as I walk home at night, and that come Monday I won’t be able to wear white shoes anymore, I’m going to look at the bright side of the start of the close of the year.
For one thing, there are butternut squash and acorn squash starting to pop up along side the corn and tomatoes and eggplant at the farmer’s markets. Quite apart from the fact that I love me some squash, it also means that the Cranberry Rosemary bread from When Pigs Fly will be making its seasonal debut soon. Also, this year I’ve found an excuse to make the insanely decadently extravagant pumpkin ‘fondu’ so that’s something to look forward to (diet for) in October.
Also, I have two awesome new pieces of clothing that require cool weather to wear. I bought a ¾ length sleeve black Grace Kelly-esque coat dress (the website does not do justice to it) when I was in New Orleans and it’s been hanging in my closet taunting me since late June. I even bought red silk heels to go with it (because what else are you going to wear with a dress like that) and I haven’t even worn them yet because I refuse to wear anything that isn’t sandals during the summer.
Then when I was up in Vermont a few weekends ago I bought a purple jersey knit full skirted coat (this coat but in purple, or blue if you’re looking at it with my roommate’s eyes) with a sash tie and a truly ridiculous(ly awesome) hood. It’s not something I strictly speaking needed, but it was too fabulous not to buy.
The fact that the weather is starting to turn, getting downright cold at night (seriously, blanket on the bed weather), also means that turning the oven on for any length of time is no longer act of masochism. And in honor of that silver lining I made something for Dinner that requires a solid hour to bake.
Indian Spiced Meatloaf
Spiced Rhubarb Compote
Indian Spiced Meatloaf
(adapted from The Bitten Word)
The original recipe calls for a full pound of carrots which is too many carrots for me. Apples seemed like an obvious substitute for some of the carrots, and I like the sweetness they bring to the mix. I think it might be interesting to throw some chopped dried apple or apricot into the mix next time. I also added garlic and ginger, because I had it out anyway and why not?
Also, as a note, when I say very finely diced for the carrots, I mean really really finely diced, finely diced enough that I really should have used my food processor to do it. The point of this is that you want them to be homogenous with the meatloaf and not identifiable chunks of carrot in the slices.
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ lb carrots, peeled and very finely diced
½ lb apple, peeled and finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1” piece ginger, peeled & grated/minced
2 large onions, finely diced
1 Tbsp coriander
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp turmeric
15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 lb ground turkey
1 ½ cups bread crumbs
Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions, apples, garlic and ginger and sauté until vegetables are soft and mixture has dried out a little (about 8-10 minutes). Add coriander, cumin and turmeric, and cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant (about 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring, allowing the mixture to thicken slightly (about 5-8 minutes). You may need to add a little extra water (maybe a ¼ cup) depending on how juicy your diced tomatoes are. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. (This can be made the night before and refrigerated).
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
If you want to be able to lift the finished meatloaves out of the pans to slice them for service, line the pans with parchment slings. Although, I will warn you, the meatloaf does not slice particularly elegantly until it’s very cold, which is great for leftovers and/or sandwiches, and less great for initial presentation.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add turkey, bread crumbs, and the tomato-vegetable mixture, Mix gently, but until everything is well combined (I find it is easiest to use my hands to do this). Divide the mix between the two loaf pans. Divide and spread the Spicy Indian Ketchup over the top (recipe below).
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until internal temperature is 165 degrees (the first time I did this it took about 40 minutes, this week it took the full hour).
Spicy Indian Ketchup
1 cup ketchup
1 ½ Tbsp curry powder
1 ½ Tbsp turmeric
Whisk together. Season to taste.
(adapted from Rachel Ray)
These are basically like making potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes, only with cauliflower and with the sole intent of turning them into crispy fried things.
1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 ¼ lb)
1/8 cup parmesan
1 egg, beaten
½ cup flour
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
Cut the cauliflower into florets and then steam or boil until very soft. Drain and then mash until smooth. Depending on how wet your mixture seems at this point you may want to cook off some of the excess water. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Add the egg, parmesan and flour. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat and grease lightly with butter or oil. Drop ¼ cupfuls of mixture into the pan and flatten slightly to pancake shape/size. Fry for 1-3 minutes/side or until browned and crispy.
Note: I cooked and mashed my cauliflower the night before and then added the egg and flour just before I planned to fry the fritters.
Spiced Rhubarb Chutney
Tender young Spring rhubarb does not require peeling. Tougher, older, imported end of Summer rhubarb needs peeling – just use your knife to peel the outer skin of the rhubarb off, it’ll come off in long strips. The upside to peeling your rhubarb is that you lose the tough strings, the downside is that you lose the ruby red color that it lends dishes. What that means for this late Summer chutney is that it’s tasty, but isn’t quite as pretty as it perhaps could be.
Rhubarb has an approximately 15 second window between tender and mush. I missed that window and this ended up with more of an apple sauce consistency than something I would describe as a chutney. That being said, I would make it again the same way, because the flavors all melded together really nicely and I liked the slightly sour rhubarb sauce texture studded with plump dried cherries.
¾ cup sugar (I used a very scant ¾ cup because I like my rhubarb dishes on the tart side)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1” piece ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled & grated
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 ½ lb rhubarb, cut in a ½” dice
½ cup (generous) red onion, chopped
1/3 cup dried tart cherries (or raisins)
Bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and then add the rhubarb, onion and dried cherries. Cook until rhubarb starts to soften and mixture thickens (between 5-10 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
Just because they’re so gosh durn pretty.