Emeril’s Meatloaf

August 31, 2010

Emeril has a recipe for turkey meatloaf in Sept Everyday Food. I haven’t had a lot of success with other people’s meatloaf recipes. I tend to like it the way I make it, but I have to say, Emeril won me over with this one!

1 tsp veg oil
4 oz turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 yellow onion
1 small green pepper,chopped
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced,
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 lb ground turkey
1 1/4 cups chili sauce (sweet) or ketchup

As usual, I cheated a little since I didn’t have evaporated milk, so I just used milk. I also don’t like chili sauce so I used sweet and sour sauce.
You cook the onion and pepper then add garlic. Mix with all other ingredients, using only 2 tbsp of the chili sauce in the mix, placing the rest on top. Bake at 350 for an hour and 10 minutes.

I really liked the oats in it and the sweet and sour sauce was fantastic. The meatloaf was dense and moist and very flavorful. This is definitely a winner. It is falling apart in the photo, but it tastes terrific. It’s even better the next day.

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Martha Mondays 9/6

August 30, 2010

The project for next Monday is panna cotta chosen by Megan at Megan’s Cookin’.  Thanks, Megan.


Martha Mondays: Whole Wheat Brownies

August 30, 2010

What could be better than brownies that are almost, sort of, kind of healthy? I chose this week’s project, from Sept Everyday Food.

I cheated in two ways on this recipe, ok I actually cheated many ways. I used sweetened applesauce, since that was what I had. I also forgot to add the baking powder! Eek. I never mix my dry ingredients separately, I melted the chocolate in the microwave, and I forgot to reserve 2 oz of chocolate to put on top, so it all ended up in the brownies.

Despite that, I think I liked these. Actually, the more of them I ate, the more I liked it. The first one tasted a little weird. Dude Martha said he didn’t like it because it tasted like dark chocolate. Teen Martha said it tasted like wine. Mr. MarthaAndMe doesn’t like chocolate (I know, but I married him anyhow). Which left me alone with a pan of brownies. A dangerous situation. Thank goodness they were almost, sort of healthy. The texture is weird and they were very moist – not really cakey and didn’t really get that crunchy, crumbly thing happening that you get on top of brownies or at the edges. It didn’t stop me. Let’s just say I took care of the brownie situation so no one but me could get hurt (I actually froze some for a later chocolate fit).

I think I would probably not make this again though – I would rather have regular brownies given the choice. But it was fun to try.

6 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup flour

1/2 whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 egg

8 oz semisweet chocolate

Use an 8 inch square pan. Mix dry ingredients. Mix sugar, applesauce and egg. Melt butter and 6 oz choc in a double boiler. Stir into sugar mixture. Add flour mixture. Sprinkle remaining 2 oz chocolate on top. Bake at 350 for 40 min.

If I can add a note here about Martha Mondays. Several people have asked how to join. I’ve responded to all of you directly, but never heard back that yes, you’d like your name added to the blog roll and list of days to choose. If you want me to add you, I need to know. Anyone can join, but I just need to know so I can add you to the list.

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Roast Cauliflower with Cheddar

August 27, 2010

Sorry about the photo for this! I didn’t realize it was bad and only took one. Despite my horrible photography skills, this was a great dish and simple too. Arrange your cauliflower on a greased baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Salt and pepper it. Roast at 450 for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Once it reaches the level of doneness you like, push it together in the middle of the sheet and put some cheddar cheese over it. Stick it back in until the cheese melts. Voila.

I am a big fan of roasting veggies. It gives them SO much more flavor. I get really tired of your typical boiled veggies, so I’ve been doing this more and more with different things. This recipe is from Sept Everyday Food, by the way. The cauliflower gets a nice nutty flavor and it didn’t burn (something I always worry about when roasting at such a high temp). And cheese, well, everything is better with cheese, isn’t it?

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Oatmeal Cream Pies

August 26, 2010

So here I am back from vacation, trying to lose a few pounds and I decide to make cookies. What a fool am I. I was totally craving these Oatmeal cream pies from Sept Everyday Food though. I love oatmeal cookies. And the thought of them as a sandwich cookie with cream in between – well, there was no stopping me.

The cookies were easy to make. I omitted the raisins. You bake until they are set at the edge and soft in the center. Mine all ran together on the baking sheet so I ended up with cookies with somewhat square edges since I had to cut them. I was happy with the cookies (although I would not make them as big as Martha says – they were too big – I would cut the size in half).

On to the cream filling. It’s made with cream cheese and powdered sugar. Not exactly what I had in mind. And I didn’t really care for it unfortunately. I was imagining fluffy creamy filling – more sugary than cheesy. Oh well. The cookies ended up ok, but I sent them off to Mr. MarthaAndMe’s office. I would not make this again unless I came up with a different filling. And then I think I might think of a way to make the cookies thicker and smaller. I’m not going to include the recipe here because honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. Sorry, Martha.


Martha Mondays 8/30

August 25, 2010

Well guys, the person who was supposed to make the selection for Monday is not responding to my emails, so I guess I’ll step in and make a pick. I’m choosing the whole wheat brownies from the back page of Sept Everyday Food. And if you need the recipe, just let me know. I’ll send it out to all who need it. And yes, I’m taking this person off the list because I’m tired of this happening!


Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

August 25, 2010

After all of our travels, and then a weekend at the lake with my parents, I was ready to settle back in at home and cook some comforting food. Pizza is always a winner here, so I was excited about the mini deep dish pizzas in the muffin tin cooking section of Sept Everyday Food. There’s something about muffin tin cooking that just excites the kid in me. When I got my first kids’ Betty Crocker cookbook, I remember I made muffin tin meatloaf and I thought it was the best thing ever!

This recipe was simple and flexible. Martha says to start with 1/2 lb of pizza dough. The bag I bought at the store was 1 lb 12 oz and I bought wheat. She says to break it into 6 pieces – mine ended up in 18 pieces. Roll each piece out to about 6 inches and then fill the tin with it. Mine were all crazy shaped but it didn’t matter once you put them in the tins. Then you fill them. In some I put about 1 1/2 tbsp of sauce then cheese to top it. In others I put 2 sliced cherry tomatoes, a dollop of goat cheese and some little pieces of mushroom, broccoli and herbs. Another one was pizza sauce and feta cheese and mushrooms. Teen Martha put some shredded chicken in hers. Dude Martha used pepperoni and anchovy paste.

Bake in the oven at 450 for about 11 minutes. One tray of mine took a little longer. Everyone loved making this and eating it. Without me even telling him the name of the recipe, Mr. MarthaAndMe said, “this is like deep-dish pizza.” They weren’t even messy to eat, and Dude Martha and his buddy who was over ate them with their hands.

Major thumbs up on this one – terrific for kids to help with and eat. It was more work than pizza though because you have to roll out each individual piece of dough, but it is nicely customizable for each person, which can be a big bonus when you’re faced with people who have pizza preferences!

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Vacation Shopping Report

August 24, 2010

This is part three of my three part series about our trip to Seattle, Alaska, and Vancouver.  As you all know, shopping is a key component of travel for me. I’m not interested in outlet malls, Caribbean jewelry prices (there were tons of these shops in Alaska), tacky souvenirs (except a select few!), or clothes. Nope. I’m looking for “authentic” types of items that I can bring home, which will keep the trip alive for me, and I think Martha does this also. I also have several collections that I try to add to on each trip – bookmarks, sheep, teacups, baskets, and cheap little magnets.

The shopping on this trip was not fantastic, but it wasn’t horrible. Sitka was a good town for shopping. Seattle wasn’t great. Vancouver was good to me – the Granville Market and Gastown were good spots.

Baskets

I did well on the basket front. The one on the left is from Alaska and is made of smoked grass (and it smells smoky too). The white thing in the middle is carved bone with glass. It has glass beads on the sides. The one on the right is from Vancouver and is made of kelp. It has a barnacle attached to it.  I’m wild about both of these finds! These are exactly the kind of things I hope to find on our trips.

Sheep!

I did not expect to find a sheep on this trip – they aren’t exactly your typical Pacific NW or Alaskan animal! This sheepie is from Vancouver and what makes it incredibly special is that its face is made from a crossword puzzle (and I love doing crosswords), so it combines two things I love. It’s totally unique and fits well into my “flock.”

Food

Another thing I love to bring home from trips is food that I can experiment with at a later date, which will remind me of the trip. On the right is a barley bannock mix, something settlers used to make in British Columbia. On the right is birch syrup, which is supposed to be similar to maple, but is more savory. It came with a few recipes, so I’ll be trying that out.  I’ll also have a freezer full of salmon, from Mr. MarthaAndMe’s and Dude Martha’s fishing trip.

the vase

I have too many vases, but that doesn’t stop me from hauling more home. I found this one in the museum store for the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner Washington. There are little gold dots on it which you can’t see very well here.  I love the design on this and it’s very different from other glass pieces I own, so it will be an interesting addition to my collection. It’s also purple which is a departure for me, but a fun one, so I know I will enjoy owning this.

Globe

This item is from Made in Washington, the very first shop I went into on our trip, at Pike Place Market. This is made from local, reclaimed glass and shells discarded by the fishing industry. The glass also has some ash from Mt. St. Helens in it (which erupted when I was a kid). The inside of the globe contains sand and the aforementioned shells. I love, love, love this piece. And this proves one my cardinal rules of shopping – when you see something you like, buy it. Don’t dink around thinking you will see it elsewhere for less or something similar that is better. I never saw anything like this anywhere else. Teen Martha almost got burned by ignoring this rule – she did not buy a jade bracelet she saw in Alaska and then we hunted all over Vancouver looking for it – and finally found one!

Birch box

This birch box is from a Russian store in Sitka, Alaska, which used to be the Russian settlement capital. It’s made of Siberian birch. Not exactly Alaskan, but I liked it so I bought it.

The bear

Drumroll, please. This is my most expensive and most exciting purchase. Jade is the state gemstone of Alaska. On our ship, they had these jade bears and I loved them. But I didn’t buy them, thinking I would find something more authentic or cheaper on shore (this again proves my shopping rule mentioned above!). I looked everywhere and never saw one with the pink salmon in its mouth AND all the ones I saw on shore were twice as much. So I ended up buying this onboard the ship and it is a special memento of the trip for me.

Paintings

Something else I’ve been buying on trips are watercolor prints of the area. The top one is from Seattle and has a cruise ship in it. The bottom one is from Sitka and shows a glacier in the distance. I have a stack of these now from different places and need to get serious about framing them and hanging them somewhere.

Leaves and Pen

Next up is a tacky penwith gold flakes in it I bought to remember our gold panning trip. The leaves are made from real leaves and will join the rest of my leaf collection on my fall tree that stands on my mantel.  They aren’t quite as bright as they appear in this photo!

soaps

Lately, I’ve been buying local soaps on our trips that have a scent that reminds me of the area. I like to use bars of soap in the shower and it’s like taking a little vacation when I use one reminiscent of a trip. The tube is devil’s claw lip balm which I haven’t tried yet.

In a Jam

I have a problem. Wherever we go, I end up hauling home jams and jellies. I can’t help myself. I bought these from two little Mennonite girls who were selling them on the sidewalk in Sitka. They had on their dresses, braids and bare feet and talked to me about picking the berries and helping make the jams. How could I not buy them? They have 10 children in their family. The flavors include fireweed and salmonberry, which I can’t wait to try.

Bookmarks

I have a huge collection of bookmarks. They are an inexpensive and light weight item to bring home, so I tend to buy too many. The top one has a polar bear on it. The long one is leather and the bottom one is copper. I make groupings of my bookmarks and frame them and hang them on the walls of my office.  I’ll be combining these with the ones from last summer’s trip and hanging them soon hopefully.

This photo shows the Alaskan sourdough starter I bought, as well as my tacky magnets. I try to buy one in each city or region we visit and they go on the front of my file cabinet and make me happy when I see them. The ship ornament is our ship and is for Dude Martha’s vehicle Christmas ornament collection.

I also bought this cookbook, Fishes and Dishes, in Sitka and have not read it yet.

The final purchase has not arrived yet and it a metal sculpture that hangs on a wall and has pine trees, mountains and glaciers. It’s being shipped home and hasn’t arrived yet. I got that in La Conner Washington also.

The kids bought a few things. They each got sweatshirts. Dude Martha got a walrus tooth and a card with the different minerals from Alaska. He also bought an inukshuk and a wallet make from recycled tires.


Martha Mondays: Apricot Chicken

August 23, 2010

Sorry this post is late going up – WordPress was acting weird and I couldn’t get any photos to load. Tonight I made Apricot Chicken chosen by At Least Twice a Week. This is super simple and perfect for one of those “not chicken AGAIN” dinners. You just mix up the ingredients and baste the chicken pieces with it. I used boneless breasts, but this would be really good on a quartered chicken with skin, as the recipe says to make it! Note that I left one breast plain for Dude Martha.


Food on the Trip

August 22, 2010

This is part two of a three part series about our trip to Seattle, Alaska, and Vancouver.

The Chowder House

Things started off in Seattle at Pike Place Market where we had four different types of chowder at Pike Place Chowder. All were excellent. We were also going to order a king crab roll (like a lobster roll), but I noticed people were throwing them away practically uneaten, then a woman walked past us on her way out and said not to order it. We also had crumpets at The Crumpet Shop. I was a bit disappointed there since their jam/jelly selection seemed limited to raspberry, and though  the line was not very long, the service was interminable. The crumpets were ok but not better than the ones I’ve bought frozen and heated up in the toaster oven.

We had dinner at Alki Crab and Fish Co, across the Sound. They were out of Dungeness crab, so we ended up with fish and chips, which were ok, but really greasy. We had shrimp, oysters, cod, and scallops.

On our second day in Seattle we had lunch at Ivar’s Fish House on the

Dungeness crab

waterfront. That was a great meal. Mr. MarthaAndMe had Dungeness crab. I had some wonderful coho salmon. That night we had dinner at the Icon Grill. Several people recommended this to me and it was a big bust. The decor was amazing. The waiter was annoying. The place was empty and the exterior was under construction. Mr. MarthaAndMe had the meatloaf which is wrapped in bacon and served with a molasses sauce. It is a house special. It was overpoweringly molasses-y and the bacon was practically raw. I had the parmesan lemon sole which sounded light and wonderful, but was deep fried (and the menu did not indicate that!). After the fried food at Alki beach the night before, I could not stomach anything deep fried. We sampled the “ultimate” mac and cheese which was supposed to be wonderful but was just too heavy and rich to eat. Dude Martha had “psghetti and meatballs” which he did not care for. Mr. MarthaAndMe got the hot fudge sundae which was huge enough to feed the entire table. I got the funeral cake which was inedible since it was loaded with rum (and the menu made no mention of rum). I do not recommend them at all!

Desserts at tea

The next 7 days our meals were almost exclusively on the cruise ship (MS Oosterdam). We quickly learned the buffet did not suit us. One person would have to hold down the table. The other three would wander, gathering food. Then the table holder would get up. We never actually sat with all four of us eating. We were often getting up for seconds or to try something new because we didn’t care for our food. They had Chinese, Italian, pizza, salads, ice cream (which was freezer burned), some desserts, and some classic entrees. There was also a huge hunk of beef being hacked I wanted no part in.

Once we were finally able to get reservations in the dining room, we ate there

Halibut on the ship

and the food was better, but it was not great. In fact, there was only one really fantastic thing there all week – a cold pear and apple soup with ginger ale in it. I loved it.

We went to three different teas on board- Dutch, Indonesian and cupcake. They served the same sandwiches at each. They had Indonesian tea types available at the Indonesian one. Other than that there wasn’t much difference.

Teen Martha and I went to a cooking class led by the captain, Arjen van der Loo. He made Dutch pancakes, which are like crepes. It was a little funny because they passed out the recipe which is included in the Holland America cookbook and then he told us to cross half of it out because that’s not how he makes it. He showed how he makes them plain and serves them just with sugar or puts bacon in them. He also serves with fruit. Apparently he likes to make this while at home. We enjoyed the session, which was also a Q and A with the captain, and got to sample a bite of the pancake at the end. It was ok – not sweet enough.

Dude Martha at Chef's Night

We went to a special night in the dining room where the menu was designed by the head chef for the cruise line. There were fewer choices, but more courses that night and the dining room staff ran around and acted silly to some music before serving. There were also paper chef hats on the table. Again, the food wasn’t amazing at all. The baked Alaska was barely baked at all- the Martha recipe I made was much better!

Dessert buffet

Dessert Buffet

On one of the last nights on the ship they had a dessert extravaganza buffet set up around the pool at 10:30 at night. It was beautiful with ice carvings and intricate desserts, but none of it tasted good at all. It was all whipped cream and dry cake. Even the chocolate fondues were watery.

While in Juneau, we went to a “salmon bake” which to me meant it would be like a clam bake – maybe a hole or pit dug or at least a whole salmon cooked all together over a pit. Something authentic, I was hoping. Wrong! It was just a bad buffet set up in a pavilion by a creek. They grilled some salmon fillets there and admittedly that was some of the best salmon I’ve had with a very sweet barbecue sauce. The night was slightly ruined when a sharp nail on the picnic table tore a gigantic hole in

Salmon "bake"

Teen Martha’s Guess jeans, ruining them. The management promised to compensate us and took our information but never followed up (we will be contacting them!).

Teen Martha and I had lunch in Sitka at a little spot called Two Gals. I had a nice halibut sandwich and she had fish and chips. It was all excellent – not just a fast food thing. On the streets in Sitka they were selling reindeer hot dogs and elkburgers. I would have liked to taste them, but didn’t want to shell out just for a bite!

We also ate dinner ashore in Victoria where we found a French bistro. The food was pretty good. Mr. MarthaAndMe had a burger made with chorizo and I had fettucine with smoked chicken, peas, and prosciutto. Teen Martha ordered Chicken Provence, however, the waitress, who did not write down our orders, brought her something else. By the time her meal finally came, we were done and everyone was tired and ready to get back to the ship.

We were forced to eat lunch at Arby’s en route to Vancouver. ‘Nuff said. For dinner in

Dinner at Sanafir on the leather bed

Vancouver the first night, we had an amazing time at Sanafir. We loved it! They serve “Silk Road Trios”. You order chicken or beef or lamb or seafood and you get a set of three dishes – one Mediterranean, one Indian, and one Asian. We adored everything we had (and I usually do not like Indian food, but this wasn’t too hot for me). Upstairs, they have some tables with cushions on the floor, but they also have leather beds surrounded by drapes. We were there early Food at Sanafirand they were empty, so our little family ate on one of the beds. They’re clearly meant for romantic encounters, or parties of hip 20 somethings, but we enjoyed it. The kids thought it was really fun. Mr. MarthaAndMe thought it was incredibly uncomfortable!

Our next day in Vancouver we wolfed down bad sandwiches for lunch while at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Dinner was at Coast, owned by the same group as Sanafir. That was also fantastic. Mr. MarthaAndMe and Teen Martha shared a sushi “tile” they loved. Mr. MarthaAndMe had a smoked

Sushi Tile at Coast

fish chowder. Dude Martha had clam chowder and fried calamari. I had king crab to start (served cold with 3 sauces – it was great!) and then a main dish of grilled sablefish with beurre blanc which was a bit disappointing. The waiter raved about it and said it is as good as butterfish. I didn’t think it was that good – more like halibut. But overall, the food was excellent. For dessert we shared a sampler and a plate of dessert lollipops that were little bites of dessert.

Dessert Lollipops

Crepes

Another interesting item we had in Vancouver were these weird dessert crepes at an Asian mall. There was some confusion because the signs were a little unclear about “custard” – whether they meant soft ice cream or a pudding, but we all had different flavors. They make the crepes in front of you and roll them to be like an ice cream cone (in the display case in the photo they show them partially unrolled so you can see what is in them). They were delicious.

We had a rather sad lunch the next day while at Burnaby Village, then had dinner in a cute town called La Conner, Washington (which our GPS refused to acknowledge existed), at La Conner Prime Rib and Seafood. A saleswoman in a shop recommended it so we tried it. It was gorgeous – right on the water and the food was fantastic. I had fettucine with prawns, scallops, crab and bay shrimp in a garlic cream sauce. It was fantastic. Teen Martha had an artichoke spinach dip. Dude Martha had fish and chips. Mr. MarthaAndMe had clams (which he had been craving all trip) and a nice salad. I loved this town – it had fantastic shops and was so cute. I have to thank the saleswoman who recommended this restaurant – I never would have gone in it.

So, the food on the ship was not great in any way, but at the restaurant (not the buffet line) it wasn’t by any means bad, it just wasn’t great. Their breakfasts were pretty good – we had omelets, pancakes, French toast, etc and it was all good. We had room service breakfast twice and it was served hot but they forgot some items both times. We were also not happy to learn that although the buffet is open until midnight, they only have pizza and ice cream available after 7 pm. We had to order room service one night after getting back from our excursions since the buffet had nothing, but room service took an hour and a half!

I was tired of salmon by the time the trip was over. I also had a lot of halibut. Alaska has a lot of berries, so that is one “cuisine” of the area, but there didn’t seem to be much more, other than crab. I am sure if we had spent more time on the ground we would have discovered more food and some local gems. One local food I found I did not care for is cole slaw – they put raisins in it!

We had little bits and bites throughout the trip – we bought some wild blueberries at Pike Place Market that were the best I’ve ever had. We had ice cream in several different places and you generally can’t go wrong with ice cream. We bought fruit in Vancouver because we were fruit deprived (onboard they apparently only had melon available).

They say you gain one pound per day on a cruise, but I don’t think we did just because the food was not as good as we had hoped. It was wonderful not to cook for 12 days though! I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen. My Everyday Food and Living issues are here and I can’t wait to dive in!


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