Monthly Archives: January 2010

One Cook Book a Week

There were a series of years, (more than I care to admit), where my love of things equine resulted in all Christmas, birthday, and “just because” presents being oriented around the horse theme. There were horse books, horse figurines, horse journals, Waterford Crystal horse head wine bottle stoppers, horse belts, horse sticker books, and of course, the horse calendar.

An equestrian to this day, I somehow seemed to evolve past what we will only refer to as “the horsey years”.

However, as my interest in cooking has grown, cook books seem to have become the replacement. Let me be clear.  I adore cook books. But I have now ended up with a bookshelf of them, and therefore thousands of recipes I’ve never even tried. The other day a wave of panic crossed my mind as I thought about all the recipes out there in the world and how I would never be able to make them all.

While I certainly won’t be able to make them all, I am determined to at least start cooking a representative cross-section of them.

So, here’s the challenge:

The Meal Plan will be back in full force. But each week will be based off solely ONE cookbook. My goal is to get through all of them (although we’ll see how it goes when I get to the really boutique and/or outlandish ones.)

Wish me luck…I’m going in!


Filed under Kitchen Trials and Tribulations

Comfort Food Goes Chic (again): Gourmet Meatloaf

I have recently started a new job, and as is typical for most people I think, I am finding myself in these first days and weeks coming home excited and positive but also admittedly tired and a bit drained. Keeping track of who’s who, what’s what, attempting to get out the door in the morning without getting slobbered by the mastiff, and remembering not to put hot tea in the fancy compostable cups (they definitely melt), can take it out of you.

As such, the foods that are appealing are the old standards. Traditionally satisfying but undeniably unglamorous, comfort foods have gotten a bit of a bad rep in my book. I’m not going to claim to be able to remake them so that they’re low-cal and low-carb (because come on people, these are COMFORT foods), but I do think they deserve a facelift now and then.

This meatloaf is a fantastically successful remake on the old school version. Adding lamb makes the flavors more interesting and the panko bread crumbs give it a lighter feel.  The sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella lend to a beautiful presentation.

Pair with sour cream mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables for a complete, chic, and new job worthy meal.

Serves 6.

Gourmet Meatloaf


1 lb organic ground beef

1 lb organic ground lamb

1 small yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2/3 cup Italian parsley

1 TB Italian seasonings

Salt and Pepper, to taste

2 eggs

1/4 tomato juice (or ketchup)

1/2 cup dry red wine

4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)

1/2 lb smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine the ground beef, lamb, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, Italian seasonings, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggs, tomato juice and wine and mix thoroughly.
  3. Lay out 1 large sheet of waxed paper and spread the meat loaf mixture out in a 9×13 rectangle. Sprinkle 2/3 of the sun-dried tomatoes and arrange 2/3 of the mozzarella on top.
  4. Using the wax paper as an aid start rolling it up from the short side, like a jelly roll. Peel back the paper as you roll. Place seams side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle the remaining sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella over the top and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes more.

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Filed under Comfort Foods

Comfort food goes Chic: Creamy cauliflower & gruyere soup

Cauliflower Soup

Creamy cauliflower soup served with a touch of paprika and parsley

We all have that sweater…it’s a bit too big, definitely too wide, has holes in the sleeves, and a stain on the side, but to us it is perfect. Representing comfort and familiarity we pop it on feeling perfectly content, weekend after weekend, much to the groans and chagrin of our more fashion savvy friends.

The food equivalent is of course all the classic comfort foods. Decidedly homey and sometimes a tad homely they are synonymous with a simpler time where meatloaf and dinner at 5p were standard fare.

There are times, however, when we crave something rich and comforting without the heaviness or frumpiness of our favorite foods. This soup is just that.

Exquisitely satisfying and utterly delicious, it says, all at once, just like that favorite sweater, but with a touch more style, ‘welcome home’.

Creamy cauliflower & Gruyère soup

Pair with a crusty wheat bread and a sparkling wine such as Prosecco.

Serves 4.

2 TB butter

3/4 white onion, roughly chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 small cauliflower, about 2 lbs, cut into small pieces

5 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (fontina also works well)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

freshly chopped parsley

Heat the butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion has softened but not browned.

Add the cauliflower pieces and stock and bring to a boil. Let boil for 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is really soft and breaking up in the stock.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process in batches until smooth. Return the puree to a clean saucepan. Add the cream and cheese and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese has all smoothly melted into the soup.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed served bowls and top with chopped parsley.

Adapted from Long Nights and Log Fires.


Filed under Comfort Foods, Soups