Sunday, January 24, 2016

Two Meatloaf Recipes

Meatloaf Recipes
(Vegetarian and Beef)

When my children were small, one thing I'd fix for supper was meatloaf. I grew up having this for dinner, and when drowned in ketchup, everyone would eat it. When I became a vegetarian, I still hankered for the taste of cold meatloaf sandwiches, but nothing came close until I came across a recipe and tampered with it. It fits the bill, is good hot from the oven, and makes a good cold sandwich, to boot! You may be hard-pressed to figure out which was veggie and which one was made with ground beef; thus it may prove to be a good recipe for Meatless Monday!
First the vegetarian recipe, which uses tempeh as it's base...
This makes a large batch, as I like to freeze these to have on hand for a quick supper. Therefore, I bake these in either mini loaf pans or in muffin pans, let cool and stick pan and all in the freezer. When completely frozen, I remove them from the pans and seal in plastic bags. When I want one or two, I remove them from the freezer, place in a pie tin, and heat in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or so.
You can easily cut this recipe in half, as it makes about 18 muffin-size servings.

Meatless Loaf

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, coarsely grind up a one pound slab of tempeh. (I cut it in chunks first, then grind). Dump the ground tempeh into a large bowl and set aside.
In the processor, add 
1 large cut-up onion
3 or 5 cloves of peeled garlic
1 sweet pepper cut into chunks
1 carrot cut into chunks
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Pulse all together a few times til everything is chopped and crumbly... not too much, or you'll end up with mush! Dump all this mixture into the bowl with the ground tempeh, and stir well to combine. Add 
1 small can of tomato paste
a few pinches of basil and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
1 cup of oatmeal
about a half-cup of either Ketchup or BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 can of Black Beans, pulsed in the food processor.

Mix well with either a sturdy wooden spoon or your hands. Press into oiled pans, and bake the smaller pans for about 15-20 minutes, a large loaf pan for 35 to 45 minutes til heated through. Very good served with gravy, cranberry sauce or ketchup!

Meat Loaf (my recipe from 30+ years ago)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine
1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef
1 medium chopped Onion
about 1/2 cup Oatmeal
2 cloves pressed Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 cup Tomato Sauce(or substitute 
either Apple or Cranberry Sauce)
About a tablespoon-sized squeeze of Mustard
a teaspoon or so of dried herbs such as
oregano, thyme and/or basil

Mix well with hands or wooden spoon, and dump into a loaf pan. Bake for an hour or so, and serve with gravy or ketchup.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Gluten-Free (or not) Single Serve English Muffin (or Bread)

I am always shocked by the cost of gluten free foods and mixes from a grocery store. At the co-op yesterday, I spotted a (small)loaf of bread for $8.00 and change. YIKES! I make my own gluten free flour blend, 20 pounds at a time, and store it in an old tin I purchased years ago from Lehman's ( The recipe is simple, I purchase 5# bulks of each ingredient from the buying club I've run for years, and just mix it all together very well. I use it cup for cup in most all non-gluten-free and gluten free recipes I've collected over the years, and add about a half-teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour blend in any given recipe. I simply combine equal measures of Brown Rice Flour, Mochi Sweet White Rice Flour, Potato Starch and Tapioca Flour, and store it in a cool cupboard.
Back to the bread... I do not eat bread as much as I used to, I will not pay crazy prices to have gluten free bread on hand, and I don't like freezing gf bread once I've made a loaf. I do like an occasional sandwich, piece of toast or an English Muffin... especially when there is just-made Raspberry Jam or Maple Cream available to slather on it. So I make a batch(or two as I did this time) to get a single serving of toast or muffin.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. (You can also cook this on a stovetop and flip it like a pancake... I just prefer baking it in the oven.) I made two this time... so I doubled the following recipe...
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup gluten free flour blend, 1 large egg, 1/4 cup milk with 1/2 teaspoon AC Vinegar in it to curdle it for a minute or two(any kind... I use Almond milk), 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey.

Mix well, and pour into a greased pan. (I used these perfectly sized cast iron pans from my collection, you can find them at Lehman's or on Amazon, if not at your local hardware store.) You can also add garlic and cheese, herbs, whatever your tastebuds like! Bake for 6 or 7 minutes on one side, flip over, and bake another 5 or 6 minutes til nice and brown. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing, or they may get gummy. These are great to slice and throw in a toaster too!

I've used these for egg and cheese sammies, english muffins, toast, and as the base for a single-serve pizza. I've made cheesy garlic bread too! Enjoy!
If you're not gluten intolerant, just omit the xanthan gum, and simply use regular flour.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Making Maple Cream

In another two months or so... weather dictating, of course... it will be time to tap trees and make maple syrup again. I have about three to four gallons left from last season, and I've been hankering for Maple cream, so I made a batch yesterday. Now, mind you, I've attempted this before; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. This time, it did! (And even when it doesn't, I still end up with lovely Maple Sugar; it's scrumptious in coffee!)
Here is the process... I started with half a gallon of maple syrup and poured it into a reliable stainless pot. It is important not to use too small of a pot, as the syrup needs room to come to a full rolling boil. Heat on high and boil away. You want the temperature to reach 235 degrees. (It is well worth investing in a digital candy thermometer.) This photograph shows the syrup as it's been boiling for 5 minutes...

As the syrup continues to boil, it will quickly shrink down in the pot and the foam swiftly condenses. Do not leave the pot at this time, as it can boil over. The syrup has now been boiling for 10 minutes. Keep inserting the thermometer and checking the temperature... remember, you want it to reach 235 degrees.

And I'll say it again... do not leave the boiling syrup... it may boil over. Then, what a mess you'll have to clean up.

When the temperature reaches 235 degrees, remove from heat and immediately place the mixture, pot and all, into a sinkfull of cold water. Let it sit, undisturbed (do not stir) until the temperature cools down to about 100 degrees. 

When it has cooled to 100 degrees, remove the pot from the sink and begin stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir, and stir, and stir and...

stir and stir. You will notice that the dark amber color of the syrup begins to lighten ever-so-slightly

It will continue to lighten, and you'll notice it getting a little more harder to stir as it begins to thicken up. Keep stirring... in all, I stirred this batch for about 20 minutes.

It is ready to put into containers when the Maple Cream has been stirred to the consistency of all-natural peanut butter. Do not keep stirring past this point.

Scoop out the Maple Cream and put it into your jars. Remember, I started with 1/2 gallon of maple syrup. I ended up with over a quart of Maple Cream.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Old Year’s gone away to nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place in either shade or sun:
The last year he’d a neighbour’s face, in this he’s known by none.
All nothing everywhere: mists we on mornings see
Have more of substance when they’re here
And more of form than he.
He was a friend by every fire, in every cot and hall-
A guest to every heart’s desire, and now he’s nought at all.
Old papers thrown away, old garments cast aside,
The talk of yesterday, are things identified;
But time once torn away no voices can recall
The eve of New Year’s Day left the Old Year lost to all.
~John Clare