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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf

I have always shied away from ground turkey because I love beef so much.  However after a recent expedition to Sam's Club on an empty stomach and with money burning a hole in my pocket, all of a sudden I had 5 lbs of ground turkey on my hands that I needed to use.  What do you do with a lot of ground meat you need to get rid of?   Make meatloaf.  I found an Ina Garten recipe for turkey meatloaf that to my surprise ended up being just as tasty as the beef meatloaf that I'm accustomed to with the added bonus of having less saturated fat!  After a bit of tweaking things that didn't work for me I ended up with this.

Recipe below.

You will need:  ground turkey, onion, eggs, fresh breadcrumbs, hot sauce (optional), worcestershire sauce, ketchup, tomato paste (missing in this pic) olive oil, salt, thyme, and black pepper, water or chicken broth (also missing)

Chop onion.

Saute onion in olive oil until it starts to become translucent.
Add thyme, black pepper, salt, water or chicken broth, and worcestershire sauce
Cook mixture down until it looks like this.  Cool to room temperature (If you're in a hurry toss the pan outdoors for a few minutes if it's freezing outside like it is here right now)

Throw everything together in a mixing bowl.
Mix.  (I used an electric mixer because I'm lazy.  Feel free to use your hands...or whatever)
Form meat mixture into a ball and divide in half
Shape mixture into loaves.  (It helps to wet your hands first so that the meat doesn't stick to them).
Mix ketchup and 1 T worcestershire sauce (and hot sauce, if it suits you.  It suits me.)
Spread sauce evenly on meatloaves.  Bake at 325 degrees at normal altitude for 90 minutes or 325 degrees for 45 minutes then 350 degrees for the remaining 45 minutes if you live at high altitude like I do.
Internal temperature should hit 160 degrees.   I made a mistake and set the oven to 375 degrees, resulting in 180 degree, dry meatloaf after 90 minutes.  Oops!
Meatloaf:  the ultimate comfort food.  (It was still good, despite coming out drier than I would like.  In fact the higher heat added some nice caramelization to the sauce.  Still, next time I'll pay closer attention to the temperature and do it right).

Turkey Meatloaf

1 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 1 onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/4 teaspoon dried)
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup water or chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (for the love of God, make your own...canned breadcrumbs are horrid)
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

3/4 cup ketchup mixed with 1 T Worcestershire sauce (and a generous squirt of hot sauce, if you like spicy)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (raise temperature to 350 halfway through cooking if you are at high altitude).

In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and chicken stock or water, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into loaves on an ungreased pan. Spread the ketchup mixture evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through.

NOTE:  I live at 7,000 feet. Cooking times are approximate.  If you live at lower altitude, adjust accordingly.

Adapted from Ina Garten's Turkey Meatloaf recipe

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Is this not the most beautiful pepper you have ever seen?  

Bread Day Again


We were down to our last baguette...time to bake! I picked up some Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye flour this time to supplement our Wheat Montana flour.  Most grocery stores carry a selection of the Bob's Red Mill products.
The lovely thing about bread baking is that, while the entire process can take a whole afternoon, the actual time spent laboring is not that extensive, so there is plenty of time while things rise and bake to do things like laundry, cleaning, painting, book editing, letter writing, or yes, blogging!

I also picked up a couple of new bread pans, cheapies, but they'll do -- not the ones I wanted, but I have to go someplace with actual shopping to find those (NorPro 12" steel pans).

                                                  The lovely dough -- ready for its first rise.

                               All tucked in -- I keep a tea kettle simmering on low for warmth and humidity.
                                               Also handy for a cup o' tea to enjoy while the bread rises.

                                                        Ready to punch down and shape.

                                                          Nestled all snug in their beds....

                                                        Three fragrant golden loaves of Rye.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apple Pie Goodness

I have the "word" from Christine.  This pie is good.
Preheat oven to 425.

Filling (you should make this first and let it cool a bit):
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. packed brown sugar (a little variation on our applesauce recipe)
2 T. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Bring water, sugar and butter to simmer.  Add apples and spices and cook just until tender. 

1/2 C. cold butter
1 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. lemon juice
water as needed
This is a modification of my mother's perfect pie crust recipe.  I am out of shortening so I used butter instead. And let's face it...butter just tastes better, but it does affect the softness of the dough. This is also a sweet dough -- sugar added.
Cut butter into flour, sugar and salt until pea-sized crumbles. Add beaten egg, lemon juice and a bit of water (I only used a couple teapoons) and lightly mix until dough forms soft ball (I always use my hands, but my modern daughter has a mixer that does this very efficiently) -- this is a soft pie dough, you will need substantial flour on your cutting board.  Roll very thinly into 2 round crusts.  Line bottom of 9" pie pan w/ one crust.
Pour filling into bottom crust (once you do this, don't mess around, you don't want your bottom crust to get soggy).
Top with other crust. Make slits in crust to vent (Christine always makes happy faces and other funny designs, I am an old-fashioned leaf woman myself). Moisten top crust with wet fingers, then sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake about 20 minutes until crust is lightly browned and crispy looking.
My dad loved his apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese.  Try it -- you will love it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Moon Cookies

                                       These are Diamond Shapes -- Only photo I had of this cookie.

We decided to bribe The Moon with cookies, since we were having trouble sleeping during this Full Moon.  I had the ingredients on hand for Jam Diamonds from the 1999 BH&G Christmas Cookie magazine (this is the finest collection of Christmas cookies ever!).  Instead of diamonds, however, we shaped them into moons and jazzed up the glaze a little.  Here it is:
2 C. all purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 C. butter (no substitutes)
1 C. small-curd cottage cheese
1/4 C. fruit jam (we used triple berry)
1 C. powdered sugar
2 T. Hazelnut coffee creamer (liquid)

Combine flour and sugar in mixing bowl. Cut-in butter and cottage cheese until it clings together and forms large-ish crumbles.  Knead dough 8 strokes, then form into about a 2" log and wrap in waxed paper.  Chill in freezer 20 min. until firm but not stiff.
Cut slices from the log and tidy-up the shape into little rounds (about 1/4" slices).  Place on lightly greased baking sheet.  Spread about 1/2 tsp. jam across the top of each round.  Bake in 400 degree oven 10-12 min. until edges are golden. Transfer to board to cool.  Mix powdered sugar and coffee creamer to make thin glaze.  After cookies have cooled, drizzle glaze generously across the tops.  Makes about 2 dozen. Photo will follow as soon as I get one uploaded (I actually only have a photo of diamond shaped ones I made a while ago because we ate the moon-shaped ones so quickly).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Manna from Montana

Perhaps I should have a blog called "The Sloppy Baker"... haha.  Aiden and I baked bread today.  I am down to only one bread pan that I like, so we made free-form loaves.  It must have been the perfect weather and the perfect ingredients, because my bread grew like little monsters.  Aiden loved punching it down the extra two times.  The final product is amazing.  If anyone is interested in my method, drop me an email at   Like I said, bread baking is a spiritual activity that, for me, is not very scientific (my nephew the pastry chef would probably roll his eyes).


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Local Wheat and a Love Affair with Bread

In an effort to keep our food as local as possible, Christine and I stopped at Wheat Montana in Three Forks yesterday  -- -- to pick up 50 pounds of Montana grown wheat flour for our baking.  Chances are good that we acquired some of the Old Farmer's wheat (which seems sort of silly, maybe we should get a mill).  We had a tough time deciding which type to buy, but settled on some nice fresh unbleached and unbromated natural white flour.  Next trip we will have to add some multi-grain, as well as whole red wheat.  I have never used a real recipe for bread making -- it is one of those spiritual activities that proceeds from an intuitive heart and is based on weather and the mood of the ingredients.  My mother always said that in order to be a good cook, you must love your food. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feast Day! aka The Superbowl

We are not football fans, generally speaking.  We loosely follow our college alma maters' teams (most of the Big Sky Conference), and we watch the superbowl half-heartedly.  This year the Hermity Farmer-Women decided to make a family party of it, since we were in need of a St. Brigid's feast anyway.  On the menu were cheese pastry puffs, cheddar-dog-pigs-in-blankets (dogs made by a Montana company from the kids' own elk-meat), garlic-bean dip and blue corn chips, two kinds of sour cream dip, assorted fresh veggies, spinach dip, potato chips, deviled eggs, and snickerdoodle cookies for dessert; also, pink lemonade for the kids, *special* pink lemonade for the grown-ups, and the OF's Apricot Brandy "Jerry's."  Yes, I know -- food enough for a small army.  Or us.  Recipes will follow when we are sufficiently revived...