CREMINI MUSHROOM MEATLOAF

As Anne Burrell often puts it: brown food tastes good. I fully agree, but it is a nightmare for food bloggers. Why? Taking a good picture is quite tricky. Granted, photography is not one of my fortes, but I am aware that even those who know their way around a camera need to work a little harder when faced with beef stews, chocolate brownies, and – case in point – meatloaf.  This one maybe even trickier as the beef is mixed with cremini mushrooms. Double decker brown for you!  Still, no matter the quality of the photos, I had to share this recipe because it is totally worth it. The mushrooms not only provide extra moisture to the meat loaf, but they add that enticing umami-ness.  The recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine which is one of my favorite sources for weeknight recipes. Never too rich, always packing great flavor.

Cremini Meat Loaf

CREMINI MUSHROOM MEAT LOAF
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 pound cremini mushrooms
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces ground sirloin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/4 cup ketchup, divided
.
Heat oven to 375°.
.
Place the mushrooms in a food processor; process until minced. Do it in two batches if necessary.
.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add minced shallot; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add mushrooms; cook 7 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown. Add sherry; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in thyme. Cool slightly.
.
Combine mushroom mixture, almond flour, and next 4 ingredients (through egg), mixing until well combined. Shape mixture into a free-form loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Remove from oven; brush with half of ketchup. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Remove from oven; brush with remaining ketchup, if desired. Cut into 8 slices.
.
ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served

One of the changes I made in the recipe from Cooking Light was using almond flour instead of Panko. If you prefer a more traditional take, go for breadcrumbs, same amount.  I served the meatloaf with mashed cauliflower and spinach, a recipe that I blogged about not too long ago. This was a simple, but delicious meal. You can prepare the mushroom mixture in advance, even a couple of days earlier to speed up dinner preparation. One of the best things of this meal: leftovers. My lunch next day was a couple of slices of meat loaf with a hard-boiled egg, and an avocado. The type of lunch that doesn’t make me sluggish during the afternoon. Love it!

ONE YEAR AGO: Roast Chicken with Clementines

TWO YEARS AGO: Eight-Ball Zucchini: The Missing Files

THREE YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons

FOUR YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

FIVE YEARS AGO: Ossobuco Milanese: an Italian Classic

CREAMY BROCCOLI SOUP WITH TOASTED ALMONDS

This soup was quite a revelation for me, because it tasted amazing even though it called for very few, humble ingredients. No need to search for black truffles in a jar to make it, although I must say the flavor was so complex that I wondered if truffles had been hanging out around that broccoli at harvest time. Nah…. Just my overly vivid imagination.  The inspiration came once more from Mike, the man behind The Iron You. I’ve been a reader of his blog for only a few months, but that is long enough to realize his taste in food matches ours quite well. On a side note, for those into special nutrition, this concoction is paleo-friendly and low-carb.

unnamed-3

CREAMY BROCCOLI SOUP WITH TOASTED ALMONDS
(modified from The Iron You)

1 ½ lbs broccoli cut into florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 leek stalk, thinly sliced
3 small celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk
dash of ground nutmeg
slivered almonds slightly browned in olive oil
.
Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leeks, celery, garlic, a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring every now and then, until softened, about 7 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the broccoli florets are tender, about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, give a good stir and cook for further 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg and mix well.
.
Transfer the soup to a blender and puree in batches, or use an immersion blender if you prefer. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, maybe a little more nutmeg. If the soup is too thick add a bit of water; if instead it’s too thin cook until it reaches the desired consistency.
.
Serve warm with sautéed almonds on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For some reason I don’t make soups that often, but whenever I do, I feel quite virtuous…  I prepared this particular recipe early in the morning and had it for lunch after running. It was a bright sunny day, but quite cold, maybe 40 F with a little wind.  The soup was like a warm hug, soothing and energizing at the same time. I highly recommend it after a workout. There’s something about the creaminess offered by the coconut milk that will make you feel on top of the world.  Vivid imagination, you say? 😉

Mike, thanks for the constant culinary inspiration!

ONE YEAR AGO: Cheddar and Fennel Seed Crackers 

TWO YEARS AGO: A Festive Pomegranate Dessert

THREE YEARS AGO: My First Award!

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Message from WordPress

FIVE YEARS AGO: Turkish Chicken Kebabs

 

AND ANOTHER YEAR STARTS…

To begin, begin…
(William Wordsworth)

Many food bloggers will list their most popular posts for the year that just ended. Many will talk about resolutions for the New Year that starts, or blog about healthy recipes. Nothing wrong with that. I actually look forward to reading these types of posts, even if I don’t always follow the trend.

So, what’s my take on a new year that starts?  I am not too big on resolutions or setting a particular starting point to change behaviors and attitudes,  but it is almost impossible not to get into a self-analyzing mode when a new year is about to say hello. I think if I had to offer a motto to go by, it would be: strive to become the best person you can be, in all aspects of your life. Leave a space in better shape than it was when  you arrived. Maybe all it takes is a smile, a compliment to someone, or doing some extra task you are not required to do. Pursue a personal goal you’ve been neglecting for too long. Volunteer for a cause you believe to be important, such as gun control. There will be a ton of stuff to be sad, upset, frustrated about, and you won’t be able to do anything about 90% of it.

Truth is, we are all impotent to deal with the horrors, the incredible level of cruelty that human beings can do to each other in the name of things often defined as sacred. We also feel helpless to deal with tragedy or serious illnesses hitting people we care deeply about. Obviously as we get older, we witness more and more of it. A feeling of impotence and despair can hit pretty hard sometimes. But that little space surrounding your body and your mind, you can have an impact on. Make it a positive one.

Anyway, another year starts. Quoting Tony Horton:

“Do your best, and forget the rest.”

and of course, no more cookbooks for me in 2015!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

future(image from Wikimedia Commons)

(comments are shutdown for this post)