SMOKIN’ HOT MEATLOAF AND HOMEMADE KETCHUP

Time flies like a Boeing-777. Cliche, I admit, but truth is we got our electric smoker in December, but only now, almost 6 months later I get to share a recipe with you. It’s not for lack of playing with it, we’ve made salmon countless times, we’ve made ribs, we’ve smoked chicken wings, chicken thighs, even a big piece of brisket. But the recipe I decided to share with you first is a bit unusual – meatloaf. Yes, smoked meatloaf. It was superb. If you have a smoker, do try it. If you don’t you can do the exact same recipe in a 250 F oven, and add a touch of liquid smoke to the mix and half a teaspoon of smoked paprika.

SMOKED MEATLOAF
(inspired by Alton Brown and other sources)

½ cup ketchup (store-bought or home-made, recipe follows)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped fine
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
2 pounds ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup almond flour
1 medium shallot, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2.5 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
black pepper to taste
2 large eggs, beaten

Combine the ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, chipotle, adobo sauce and cocoa powder in a small bowl.

Place the shallot, carrot and celery into the bowl of a food processor and process
until finely chopped.  Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan and add the processed veggies, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant and the veggies start to soften. Reserve, cool to almost room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the two types of meat with the ketchup mixture, reserving about 2 tablespoons to brush on the meat later.  Add the almond flour, eggs, all seasonings. Mix it all gently without overworking the meat. Shape as a loaf on top of a heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Close the foil around the meatloaf.

Heat the smoker (or use your oven) to 250F. Load it with the wood chips of your choice. We used applewood. Flip the package and poke holes at the bottom of the foil to allow fat to drip down.  Invert it again and place in the smoker, foil tightly closed for about 50 minutes.

Open the package and fold the foil back. Brush with the remaining ketchup mixture and continue smoking until the internal temperature reaches 130 ° F, about 40 minutes longer.

Remove the meat loaf from the smoker and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

LOW-SUGAR KETCHUP
(adapted from Bacon & Butter)

1 ½ cups tomato paste
¼ cup water
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

In a large bowl, combine the tomato paste, water, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, and cloves. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Transfer to an airtight container. Chill for 1 hour to allow the flavors to incorporate.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments:  I had never made ketchup from scratch, and this is obviously not the authentic way to do it, but I wanted something slightly less indulgent and simple to put together. It is not as sweet and thick as a normal ketchup but it delivers similar flavor. For a more authentic recipe, definitely try this one from my friend Karen.

Brown food is no eye-candy to a camera, but it tastes sooo good!

The texture and flavor of this smoked meatloaf were pretty spectacular. You’ll need to cut thick slices because it is so fragile it tends to crumble a little, but it’s not a serious drawback at all. Leftovers were good for three days in a row, twice for my lunch and one final appearance for our dinner. Yes, I did not get tired of it. At all.

The ketchup had a second chance to shine also. It was outstanding to make a bit of cocktail sauce for oysters on the half-shell.  I realize oyster season is over, but as I mentioned, this adventure happened a few months ago, when we were having oysters pretty much once-a-week.  One of the few things I love about cooler months.

ONE YEAR AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

TWO YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

THREE YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

FOUR YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

SIX YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: FRESH STRAWBERRY YOGURT BUNDT CAKE & A BONUS RECIPE

First Monday of August, summer going at full blast, many many days in the triple digits which means triple joy for yours truly. I know it will end too soon, but for the time being, allow me to celebrate the joys of this fantastic season…  Apart from the weather, I have even better reasons to celebrate: this month at The Secret Recipe Club I was paired with a food blogger who is very dear to my heart, Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious. Both Dorothy and I are “old timers”  with the group, we’ve been members for many years, together first in Group D, and now in Group A. A lot goes on behind the curtains in the club, did you know that? For instance, we have a closed Facebook page in which announcements are made, reminders are sent by the moderators so that no one forgets to sign up for next assignment, or to post on Reveal Day. And of course there is a bit of chit-chat that goes on.  Years ago I noticed that Dorothy is incredibly efficient. Assignments would go out, and within a day or two she would come back and say that her post was pretty much ready to go. Everyone else was perhaps only starting to stalk the assigned blog. To make a long story short, we  became fierce friendly competitors, every month trying to beat each other  in picking the recipe, cooking it and composing the post.  I always have a ton of fun with it, although she is pretty hard to beat. But seriously, now, she is a top-notch blogger, with 25 years of experience in food writing. Did you get that part? Twenty-five years. And she is quite active in recipe development, as you can tell by the many recipes listed here.  I urge you to read her About page, because it reflects so well the type of person she is: witty, positive, intelligent, upbeat. We almost met in person last month, but unfortunately she had family issues that prevented her from joining a fun lunch I had with two other fellow secreters, Karen, from Karen Kitchen’s Stories, and Lauren from Sew you Think you can Cook. We had a blast! Next time, I hope she can join us…   But, back to her blog, I’d like to quote one paragraph from her About page, one I could sign below with gusto (literally!):

Even if I trim the fat, or salt, or sugar, it has to taste fabulous. If it tastes like cardboard, I don’t care how healthy it is, no one will eat it. And where’s the joy in that?

I have a shockingly long list of stuff that I bookmarked as possibilities for this post. A few examples to water your mouth are: Farro Date Salad with Mango and ArugulaChicken Brie and Apple TurnoversSticky Lemon Oregano ChickenPopeye Pasta… World’s Best Smoky Burger (oh, yeah…), Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon, Kale, and PecansFlourless Oat Caramel Cookies (swoon!)…  Crunchy Granola Bars better than Nature Valley… or how about Slow-Cooker Paleo Ribs in Tablecloth Stainer Sauce? So, what did I pick? I had to go with two recipes, just because…. first, a Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake, because if you cannot face your cake baking demons in the name of a great food blog, there’s gotta be something wrong with you! And the following week I made the cutest meatloaves ever: Cherry Chipotle Meat Loaf Cupcakes.  Both were… how should I put it?  Shockingly Delicious!  

Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

FRESH STRAWBERRY YOGURT BUNDT CAKE
(from Shockingly Delicious)

for the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
8 ounces plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
for the glaze:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set it aside.
.
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in lemon juice and almond extract. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Gently stir strawberries into the batter.
.
Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool 25 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Makes 12-16 slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositecake

Comments: One of the things I loved about this cake is that the recipe calls for enough batter to actually fill the Bundt pan to the appropriate level. More often than not, I face the problem of the disappearing cake batter: no matter how closely I follow the instructions, it seems the amount is never adequate. Not this time. And the smell, while baking was intoxicating, in the best possible way…   Of course, un-molding a cake from a Bundt pan can be quite stressful, I could feel my heart pounding as I negotiated the big hot pan, the rack underneath it, the kitchen cloth, and the hot pad. Tap, tap, tap, hope, hope, hope, and voilà the thing of beauty, smooth and fragrant, out of the pan in a single piece!  There was a happy dance. With a shriek (a la Karen).  I glazed the cake next morning, very early, then sliced it and took the full batch to our department, because the best part of baking a cake is sharing it. The cake disappeared fast. It was exactly what Dorothy promised it to be, very moist, excellent lemony flavor, the sweetness of the strawberries a perfect addiction to the smooth crumb.

pieces

Of course, where there is cake, there is agony. Turning the Kitchen Aid on with the paddle still up, that was a mistake. Flour in the eyebrows, anyone? And the correct place for icing is definitely not the human thigh, although the pups could disagree. They were following me around for a while even after I washed it all off.

compositecake2

Strawberry Bundt Cake, from Bewitching Kitchen

Before I say goodbye, one more featured recipe from Dorothy’s great blog!


BONUS RECIPE


Meatloave Cupcakes221

CHERRY CHIPOTLE MEATLOAF CUPCAKES
(slightly modified from Shockingly Delicious)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled, trimmed, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed, finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped mini sweet bell peppers, stemmed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
A few grinds black pepper

1 pound organic ground grass-fed beef
1/4 cup almond flour (or almond crumbs, see notes)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
1/2 cup minced Italian parsley

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make vegetable mixture: Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add shallots, carrots, celery, mushrooms, peppers, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Turn heat off and remove pan from burner; set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Make meat loaf cupcakes: In a large mixing bowl, combine vegetable mixture, beef, almond flour, Dijon, egg, Not Ketchup, and parsley. Use hands to combine well. Lightly oil 8 muffin tins. Divide meat loaf mixture among 8 muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove pan from oven and cool for a couple of minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

quadruple

Comments: How could I resist meatloaves in cupcake format? User friendly, impossibly cute, and giving me the chance to try a new product, the “Not Ketchup”, praised by Dorothy in her blog. Not Ketchup comes in several flavors and is  produced by another food blogger I follow, Erika from Erika’s Kitchen.  It is very tasty, like a grownup ketchup with very complex flavor and not as sweet as your regular kind.  I loved it so much that I placed another order for her Tangerine Hatch Chile version, apparently even lower in carbs.  For the meatloaves I replaced regular breadcrumbs with Toasted Almond & Pecan Breading, a product that was a bit of an impulse buy on amazon. They often show a list of suggestions based on your previous searches, and I fell for this one. I do realize I could make my own almond-based crumbs, but every once in a while I like to splurge. I was very pleased by this product, actually. It smells amazing, and offered the right texture to the loaves, not dry at all.  If you’d like to try it, click here. (I am not affiliated with amazon, and will not make a single penny from your purchase).

We loved these little loaves!  The recipe made eight little servings, half of them were gone for our dinner, the others enjoyed for lunch two days in a row, they re-heat beautifully in the microwave. Between you and me, they taste fantastic straight from the fridge, but if you do that, be discreet and take tiny morsels from the bottom, so no one will notice.

Cherry Meatloaf Cupcakes, from Bewitching Kitchen

Dorothy, as you imagine, I could hardly contain  my excitement when the email arrived with your blog as my assigned site to stalk…  I hope you had a blast with yours too this month!  And be ready to jump on the next one, because I am revving my engines, baby…. 

As usual, my readers are invited to browse through the collection of recipes posted by other members of Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Just poke the frog and be ready for some virtual fun!

ONE YEAR AGO: Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes and Avocado

TWO YEARS AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

FOUR YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

SIX YEARS AGOCinnamon Turban Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

 

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF MEATLOAF

I’m a firm believer in “Everything in moderation,” so I often make the “real” (rather than light) versions of lasagna, potato dauphinoise, risotto milanese or other classics, instead of trying to cut calories. I’d rather eat less of the real thing, or run an extra mile or two later… 😉

But sometimes, a dish that was maybe conceived as a lighter variation of a classic  turns out so good that I wind up craving it.  For example: this turkey loaf is absolutely delicious, and compared to its original parent, quite a bit healthier.  The recipe comes from  “American Favorites“.

turkeyloaf1

THYME-SCENTED TURKEY LOAF WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
(adapted from American Favorites, by Betty Rosbottom)
receita em portugues ao final do texto, na proxima pagina

for turkey (or chicken)  loaf…
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1.2  pounds ground  turkey (or chicken)
1 ¼ cups fresh bread crumbs
1  teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium unpeeled tart apple, grated
3/4  tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 egg whites

Melt  the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the carrots, onions, and celery, season with a pinch of salt, and sautee’ until soft.  Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Place ground turkey in a large bowl and mix in all the other ingredients, adding the egg whites last. The mixture will be quite “wet”.  Shape it in two oval loaves as shown in the photo, pace them in a roasting pan (I like to use parchment paper or Silpat underneath).

Place in a 350F oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve with or without mushroom gravy.

for gravy…
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
8 ounces white mushrooms cut into thin slices
Salt  to taste
1 ½ cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Heat the  butter in a  heavy skillet, add in the chives and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook them until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and transfer to a bowl. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan and add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add broth and whisk until sauce is smooth and thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the soy sauce, and put  the reserved mushroom mixture back in the pan.  To serve meat loaves, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange on a serving platter. Ladle some mushroom gravy over the slices.

ENJOY!

This is a good opportunity to show you my Zyliss (an older version of this one),  a  little gadget I’ve had for a long time, but neglected to put to use until I saw Michael Chiarello on FoodTV using his.   He removed the plastic base that came with the cutter, instead placing it directly on the cutting board. Why didn’t I think of that? I tried his method and loved it!  The plastic base is a pain to use and  wash; by placing the cutter on a cutting board you get its full benefits without any hassles. Carrots, onions, celery, garlic and  peppers are prepared in seconds! Check it out in this photo (click to enlarge).

prep1

Meatloaves are often baked in pans, I prefer to shape them in free form, to get a nice crust all over, and make cleanup much easier…
loavesbefore

General comments

Fish sauce, that Vietnamese touch: The addition of fish sauce was my main modification to the basic recipe – I was inspired by an interesting twist on a hamburger recipe shown in the blog  “White on Rice Couple”.  Fish sauce was the secret ingredient, and I thought it could go well in this loaf too.   As in the hamburger, you won’t be able to taste it, but it will add that “umami” component to the loaf.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. If you want to play with fish sauce in your recipes, just keep in mind that it is salty, and adjust your seasoning accordingly.  And avoid sniffing the bottle!  Its smell has little to do with its taste, and for that I am  grateful… 😉

The mushroom gravy: Even though its taste was excellent, if you prefer a more contrasting color in the gravy then add a little tomato paste or sautee some tomatoes with the mushrooms.

A little rice, a little tomato salad, and…. dinner is served!

plated

para receita em portugues clique aqui