March 30, 2017

Somewhat Classic Meatloaf


2 lbs 90-93% lean ground beef
2 hot dog rolls, torn into tiny pieces
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chili sauce (like Heinz)


Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, egg, rolls, onion, carrot, celery, and spices. Form into a loaf. Place in a loaf pan (or, preferably, a meatloaf pan). Brush the top with the chili sauce to coat. Bake for 40 minutes or until fully cooked. Wait a few minutes before slicing for best results.

My thoughts:
To be honest, I didn't want to make dinner today. In fact, I was sort of hoping the ground beef was spoiled so I'd have an excuse to not make dinner. I didn't have a plan on how to use it but since I had 2 lbs of it (normally I buy the 1 lb packages but the store was out) I thought I might as well make meatloaf and use it all up at once. I read a post about meatloaf in some e-newsletter that mentioned celery as being a "typical" meatloaf ingredient. That didn't sound right to me but whatever, I had some so I tossed some in my new chopper along with some carrot chunks and tossed it in the mix. I had some squished hot dog rolls so I used them instead of slices sandwich bread as the binder. They were soft and melted right into the meat mixture.  I loathe tomato ketchup (I only like ketchup made from fruit or other vegetables lol) so I always use chili sauce on mine which is like ketchup's less sweet, less coying, zestier cousin. I really slather it on so it seals the meatloaf so doesn't dry out while the pan takes care of any extra grease. Anyway! I am glad I went ahead and made the meatloaf, it came out really good! Tender, juicy and full of flavor. I'm glad I added the celery, I think it added some moisture and flavor without being overpowering or watery. It made a good meatloaf sandwich too. So, if you are in the mood for a classic meatloaf with a little extra veggies, try this one. You won't be disappointed.

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March 28, 2017

Collards with Smoked Turkey

2 lb collard greens, shredded*
2 quarts chicken or turkey stock
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 smoked turkey legs
2 onions, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb bite-sized baby potatoes


In a large (at least 8 quart) pot, heat the oil. Saute the onions, garlic, and bay leaves until the onions are soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, vinegar, turkey legs, salt, pepper, pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, skimming off anything that rises to the surface. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Remove the turkey legs and pick off all of the meat. Reserve the meat, discard the bones.

Add the greens, return to a boil. Stir so all of the greens are coated in broth and starting to wilt. Reduce heat, add the turkey meat back in and the potatoes. Cook for 1 hour or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

*I buy mine pre-shedded. If this is unavailable to you, cut them into 1/4 inch wide strips, spine (ribs) and all.

Yield: approximately 10 servings. Extras freeze well. (Honestly! I made this and wrote up the post a couple of weeks ago and just had some for dinner yesterday--I just put the frozen greens in a pan and simmered until warmed through. Tasted the same as the day I made them.)

My thoughts:
We made these greens the other day and when I Instagramed it, someone asked for a recipe. I directed her to an earlier recipe I had made and then realized that I had made so many changes to it (different greens, different seasonings etc) that it really only made sense to post a new recipe showing what we did. Plus that recipe was from July 2008, if you can believe it, so it seemed way overdue for a makeover. We still use smoked turkey legs instead of the more traditional ham hock because they are meatier and I think easier to deal with than hocks. I always would get some bit of bone in my greens (somehow! I am the princess and the pea but with bones and rocks when it comes to food) when I use ham hocks but never with turkey legs. Plus turkey legs (perhaps oddly?) seem easier to find here in Baltimore than ham hocks. We just pick out the meatiest ones we can find. Sometimes they are so meaty, you can serve these greens and have a complete meal. I also love using turnip greens but since I found pre-shredded collards, I've made the switch. It is just so much easier, especially if you are making a bunch of other foods to serve with the greens. No more removing the spine (ribs), chopping and washing repeatedly in the salad spinner to remove the grit. We just boil the meat, remove it, dump in the greens then the meat and potatoes and we are done. Only about 5-10 minutes hands-on time to pick the meat off the bone and chop the onion. Super satisfying. I love to serve it with my favorite catfish or Maryland Style Fried Chicken but it really goes with anything.

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March 25, 2017

Chocolate Belgian-Style Waffles

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil

Prepare and heat your waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.

In a large bowl or bowl of a standmixer, beat eggs until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour the manufacturer's recommended amount of batter onto center of the hot waffle iron. Close lid of waffle iron. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops or the iron beeps. Carefully remove waffle. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200° oven. Repeat with remaining batter.

Yield: about 8 Belgian-style waffles (two batches on a 4-square waffle iron)

My thoughts:
Today is waffle day in Sweden and while these aren't Swedish style waffles, it seemed fitting to share a new waffle recipe with you. (If you are interested in making traditional Swedish waffles, check out my recipe for Våffel here.) We have recently gotten back on the waffle train after our last waffle iron (not the cute heart one but another Belgian-style waffle iron.) broke and we couldn't find a new one that we liked. I hate cleaning waffle irons (I know, use a toothbrush. Whatever.) so when I found this one with detachable plates, I knew I had to have it. It is huge, making 4 squares at once (I freeze the extras and the squares can fit in a wide-opening toaster to reheat) and makes the best waffles. They are moist inside and crisp outside like a good waffle should be. And the clean up is so easy, I don't regret making waffles like I used to when I had a traditional waffle iron.

As for this recipe, if you are looking for a dose of not-too-sweet chocolate in the morning or a dessert waffle, this is the waffle for you! Chocolatey, moist and crispy, they hold up to butter, syrup and ice cream.

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March 22, 2017

Orange Crush Bundt Cake


for the cake:
1 1/2 cups 7UP
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest from 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

to decorate: confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 325. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one Bundt pan. Set aside. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the 7UP, juice, oil, zest and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly beat in eggs. While the mixer is running, stream in the dry ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a thin knife inserted into the cake comes out with clean or with just a few dry crumbs.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Carefully loosen the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with a fine dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

My thoughts:
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Who doesn't love a Bundt cake? It is hard to believe that Bundt cakes only became popular in the 1950s and '60s when Nordic Ware trademarked the Bundt pan and when the "Tunnel of Fudge Cake" won the Bake-Off. They are so simple to make and don't really need frosting beyond a sprinkle of sugar or a light glaze. This cake is an homage to 1950s and '60s baking by incorporating an unusual ingredient in the cake: soda! That era was full of recipes that had a "secret ingredient" and in this case, 7UP is what makes the cake light and fluffy and provides a touch of lemon-lime. The flavor of this cake was inspired by the popular Mid-Atlantic cocktail, the Orange Crush, which supposedly originated on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It is named after the orange "crusher" that extracts fresh orange juice from the oranges for each drink. To make the drink, you pour the pulpy freshly squeezed juice into a glass full of ice, stir in vodka and then top it off with 7UP. Perfect for sipping on a hot day on the beach or when having some steamed crabs. To turn it into a cake, I eliminated the vodka, kept the freshly squeezed orange juice and increased the ratio of 7UP. The result: a light, fluffy cake bursting with citrus flavor. Oranges are in season now, so the orange flavor is extra bold. If it isn’t citrus season when you go to make this, add 1/4 teaspoon of pure orange extract to up the orange flavor. Everyone will love this light, freshly flavored, citrusy cake! #7Waysto7UP

I bought my 7UP at our local Giant Landover using a coupon to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP 2-Liter bottles located in their Savory Magazine “New Flavors” edition (available until 3/30). 7UP is also available in Stop & Shop and Giant Carlisle
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March 18, 2017

The Cloak and Dagger Sandwich

1 lb sliced corned beef (preferably hot/warm)
8 slices seeded rye or pumpernickel bread (or rye and pumpernickel swirl)


1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 small onion, shredded
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
white pepper

Russian dressing:

3 tablespoons minced dill pickle
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
white pepper


Stir together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. To make the coleslaw: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, and spices. In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, onion, and carrot. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, toss to evenly distribute.

Spread the dressing on all 8 slices of bread.

Top 4 slices with a layer of corned beef then coleslaw. Top with the remaining slices of bread. Slice and serve.

My thoughts:
The Cloak and Dagger is a lesser known Baltimore dish. Attman's, the last remaining original deli on Corned Beef Row, claims to have invented it and it still is available on their menu as 'The "Original" Cloak & Dagger'. It now shows up on a number of local delis and restaurant menus around the area. Not to be confused with the vaguely similar (and attractively named) "Rachel" sandwich, it is simply a corned beef sandwich topped not with mustard but with Russian dressing and coleslaw. I take it to the next level by making everything (but the bread!) from scratch. This time of year you might have some corned beef leftover from St Patrick's Day to use and if you, it should be on sale cheaply to pick some up. Of course, you can make your own if you are feeling ambitious and have time to wait. It a messy sandwich but so worth it! The contrast between the warm, salty corned beef and the cool, creamy coleslaw is sublime.

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March 16, 2017

Bangers and (Turnip-Potato) Mash


for the mash:
2 large turnips, cubed
1 1/2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup milk
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

for the onion gravy:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup beef stock
minced thyme (optional)
freshly ground black pepper

6-8 Irish bangers


for the turnips:
Bring the turnips and potatoes to a rolling boil. Continue to boil until both are fork-tender. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and mash until desired smoothness is obtained. Cover and keep warm as needed.

for the gravy:
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onion until well caramelized but not burnt, about 10 minutes. Add the flour. Stir. Cook 1 minute. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

for the sausage:
Prepare according to package instructions.

to serve:
Place 2 bangers on top of a mound of turnip-potato mash. Spoon gravy on top. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
We went to England last May and spent a few days in London and Bath with Matt's family. Due to various reasons, we did not get to do a lot what we wanted and saw none of the major tourist attractions! No Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London etc. We did go to Windsor on a dreadfully cold, rainy day so we did see one castle but we missed out on quite a bit of the stereotypical British experience. We made it to the Jewish Museum, the V & A Museum of Childhood, the British Library and the Foundling Museum which were all excellent and when in Bath and Windsor we did (finally!) make it to a few pubs. In Bath, I had some Cumberland sausages and mash in a hipster-y pub that were very good. I also had a tuna and sweetcorn stuffed baked potato (they were everywhere!) which was oddly good, a Sally Lunn bun and a full English breakfast at our hotel. So Bath was pretty good for British-y foods. We did not make it over to Ireland (which was my suggestion for the family trip!) which is a shame. The trip did, however, cement my love of sausages, mashed potatoes and gave me a new found appreciation for onion gravy.

Irish sausages are not something we often see here but near St Patrick's Day bangers are often available at Costco and Aldi so I picked some up. Straight bangers and mash is a wonderful thing,  but if I am making gravy from scratch (for the second time this week!) I didn't want to make a second side dish. So into to the mash went the turnips. You really can't tell they are there but they are providing some nice Vitamin C and fiber for you. Since St Patrick's Day is tomorrow, this is a more authentic (and easy!) dish to make than corned beef and cabbage, which I love but that they do not actually eat in Ireland.

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March 14, 2017

Chorizo Sausage Gravy with Cheddar Biscuits


for the biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cubed butter, at room temperature
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

for the sausage gravy:

1 pound bulk Mexican chorizo
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

chives or garlic chives for garnish


for the biscuits:
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Flour a clean, flat surface.

In a bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the cheese and butter and slowly mix until the butter is in small, pea-sized pieces. Slowly pour in the milk and mix just until a dough forms. Place on the floured surface and roll the dough until it is 1/2 thick. Cut 3-inch rounds out with a biscuit, cookie or doughnut cutter. Place on lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg (optional). Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

for the sausage gravy:

Melt about a tablespoon of butter to a skillet. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up large chunks with the back of a spoon, until browned. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup flour and spices and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk. Cook, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. Pour over biscuits. Garnish with chives or garlic chives if desired.

Yield: about 8 biscuits

My thoughts:

Let's be honest, sausage gravy doesn't look appetizing on a good day, no matter how tasty it is, and throw in chorizo which turns the whole mess an "interesting" shade of orange, well it isn't going to win any beauty contests. I garnished it with some garlic chives but really, nothing is saving this. Luckily, food does not have to look pretty to be delicious!

I've had the idea of making it with chorizo for ages now but never got around to actually making it. I saw a perfect square of bulk chorizo in the supermarket last week so I popped it in the cart thinking I'd freeze it for later use. Then this freak March storm came and we are stuck here so I thought now is my chance to make the sausage gravy of my dreams. I will say, this is a special treat sort of breakfast (or lunch, in our case) what with the sausage, the gravy, and the cheddar-spiked biscuits but it is worth it! It is also surprisingly easy to make, while the biscuits are cooling, make the gravy and the whole thing from starting the biscuits to making the gravy only takes about 40 minutes. Depending on how spicy you like it and how spicy your sausage is, feel free to add some cayenne to the sausage as it is cooking. The end result is great: spicy sausage gravy tempered by the sharp cheddar-spiked biscuits. A feisty, fiery twist on a Southern classic.

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March 11, 2017

Double Orange Hamantaschen


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

orange jam/marmalade (I used Seville Orange Fiordifrutta)


Preheat oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, extract and egg. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Roll the dough out onto a clean, floured surface. When the dough is about a 1/4 inch thick, cut 2 1/2-3 inch circles out of the dough using a cookie, biscuit or doughnut cutter. Place them on the prepared pans.

Spoon some jam into the middle of each circle. Fold three sides towards the center and press down to form a triangle.

Bake 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
My thoughts:
Happy Purim! Any holiday where you have an excuse to make cookies is a good one to me!

I love hamantaschen and the story behind why we make these cookies this time of year.  I wrote an article about Purim and hamantaschen for NPR a while back and since then, I've created recipes for a rugelach-inspired cream cheese based hamantaschen, chocolate hamantaschen, pareve/vegan hamantaschen filled with kiwi jam,  orange ginger hamantaschen, and pareve/vegan fig-orange hamantaschen spiked with butternut squash. As you can tell, I really like the favor of orange in my hamantaschen! It is one of the few fruits that are in season this year and although this recipe uses extract and jam, it is a flavor that really fits into this time of year. Plus orange juice is a common addition to hamantaschen that do not use butter (some people who keep kosher prefer a butter-less pareve/vegan version) so this gives you that flavor but also the richness of butter. Since we do not keep kosher, using butter isn't a concern.

While we have made hamantaschen several times, I really this might be our best batch yet! The dough was easy to work with (no refrigeration needed) and every cookie held its shape--no jam escaping or unfolding! Plus the cookie was super tender and flavorful. Hamantaschen win!

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March 01, 2017

"Caesar" Chicken Thighs


8 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb)
zest of one lemon
1-2 tablespoons granulated garlic
superfine flour (like Wondra)
freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, cut into large wedges
3-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with lemon zest, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Flour the top (skin-side) of the chicken. Place the chicken skin-side down in the pan.

Cook about 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp, lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered into the pan. DO NOT FLIP THE CHICKEN!

Meanwhile, arrange the onions in single layer in an 8x13 inch baking pan. Drizzle with Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.  Top with the chicken, skin-side up.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Sprinkle with Parmesan and return to the oven until melted. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
For this version of chicken thighs, I was inspired by the Caesar salad. The salad is made with lots of garlic,  lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce (or anchovies), all things that go great with chicken. For the chicken I used good quality granulated garlic (not garlic powder--I like Costco brand), lemon zest and lots of freshly grated pepper and throughly caramelized the skin so it would be nice and crispy even after baking. Then I placed the chicken on a bed of onions liberally dressed with lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. The lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce infused the chicken from beneath with the flavors I hoped for making the chicken really taste like the chicken version of Caesar salad! I then topped it with a bit of Parmesan for a bit of flair and to further tie in with the flavors of the original salad. Feel free to leave it off if you would rather, it is really more of a nod to the salad then a neccesity.

I served these thighs with a  Dole Organic Caesar Salad kit featuring baby Romaine, Parmesan pita chips, shaved Parmesan  and Caesar dressing. This kit is a lifesaver when I am making our main meal of the day to be served at 10:30 AM in order to accommodate my husband's school schedule and is tasty. I love the baby Romaine!

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