Monday, January 26, 2015

Classic Meatloaf

     The classic American four square white picket fence happy family meal that defines comfort food in all its glory. Meatloaf is to kids what working over hours on a Friday is to adults. (Smirk, laugh, giggle). I mean, as a child, like most of us were, I am willing to admit that this was not a favorite of mine. What kid wanted to come home and here their mother say, "we're having meatloaf for dinner". Oh mom not "that" thing again? is the typical response to a dirty faced little kid.

     I mean think about the idea of taking ground beef and forming it into a loaf. A loaf like that of bread. Baking it and then slicing it onto your plate. The presentation isn't the prettiest either. But at last as an adult I must now admit this meal is one of my favorite comfort foods now. I think as we grow older we appreciate things more. Things even as weird as a loaf of meat. (I still will not eat Spam though). LOL. 

     I asked my mother to give me her specific recipe for her meatloaf. Mom's was always good. Well actually anything mom makes is always your favorite. Am I right people?

     I took her exact recipe and changed just one thing. The delicious ketchup glaze on top. She used strictly ketchup. My idea was to spruce it up a bit. Change it around and make it my own but with the heart of my mother's. So here it is. A fast, delicious, and mouthwatering Meatloaf.

  • 1lb ground sirloin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup diced bread (I used my mother's homemade bread)
  • 1 clove diced garlic
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • Salt/pepper
  • Ketchup
  • Molasses
  • Brown sugar

1. Combine ground beef, diced bread, garlic, tomato, onion, oregano, salt, pepper, and the egg in a large bowl with your hands.  

2. Form into a loaf and place in a greased baking dish and cover with tinfoil.

3. In a 350 degree oven bake for at least 1 hour or until the loaf is cooked thoroughly.

Now for the topping.

1. In a small bowl combine enough ketchup, molasses, and some brown sugar to the desired taste that you like. 

2. After the first 45 minutes of cooking the meatloaf, spread the topping mixture over the top evenly and remove the tinfoil.

3. After 15 more minutes of cooking you can spread more on top as at this point the topping has started to brown and shine. 

4. Once cooked, remove and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour- 1 1/2
Serves: 4 people


Friday, January 9, 2015

A Vintage Gnocchi

Vintage Gnocchi
     This dish is inspired by a wonderful restaurant I have the pleasure working for since earlier last year. A new restaurant had opened up in my small town. I had been working at my current career choice for almost 13 years and needed a change in my life. That change happened to come in the opportunity to work part-time on the weekends at this great new restaurant. I have worked in food and beverage in the past and have years of experience with it. I had missed the fun and excitement of being in that industry and wanted back in. So I took the step and applied. Since then I have had the pleasure of working there as a server on the weekends and have had a blast.

     Vintage is the name of the restaurant. A casual fine dining experience is what you get when you come and dine at Vintage. A modern atmosphere with just the right amount of upscale feeling that welcomes everyone. A mix between American style foods with Italian thrown in and wood fired pizzas at your fingertips. One of the pasta dishes that the restaurant makes is a wonderful gnocchi with a garlic cream sauce tossed with tomatoes, spinach, grilled shrimp, and country ham. The dish is one, if not, my favorite. So much so that even my mother fell in love with it. She is one hard cookie to please as an Italian she becomes very picky about her pasta dishes. She liked it so much that during our traditional Christmas meal she requested this dish to be made. We have always done the fish and pasta tradition when it comes to Christmas dining. So this year I tried my hands at recreating this wonderful dish. So here goes. My take on "Vintage" Gnocchi.

  • 1/2 - 1 lb shrimp
  • 1/2 lb pancetta diced
  • 2 large cloves diced garlic
  • 4 oz fresh spinach
  • 1-1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup pecorino
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • Small handful cherry tomatoes halved
  • Homemade gnocchi (recipe below)
  • Olive oil

1. In a large sauté pan drizzle a little bit of olive oil. Toss in diced pancetta and sauté until it begins to brown.

2. Mix in the diced garlic and sauté until fragrant.

3. Now mix in the spinach and sauté until all of it becomes wilted.

4. Drop in the shrimp and toss around until the shrimp just becomes pink on both sides.

5. Now toss in the cherry tomatoes and the cream and bring to a slow simmer over low heat.

6. Mix in the cheeses, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the gnocchi and serve.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

     This dish is fantastic and you will totally fall in love with it. Please give it a try. You will not be disappointed. Give the restaurant's website a look below.

Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar: