Monday, April 7, 2008

One Year Old: Dinner in a Bucket!

I cannot believe that I've had my little blog for a whole year. A whole year! I want to say that time sure flies, and it does, but I also know that a lot of meals have been made in the last year and I know I've learned a lot and met a ton of really great people! Thank you for tuning in and thank you for your kind support! To celebrate, I made dinner in a bucket, and I wish I could have had you all over for this funny little dinner this weekend!

Being a year-old blogger seemed the perfect reason to break out my nifty new Polyscience thermal circulator. I was lucky enough to win it through Menu for Hope 4, hosted by the lovely Pim. I seriously ran around the office squealing when I saw my name listed as the winner. I went rambling to my coworkers (who had NO IDEA what a thermal circulator was (and probably still don't, even though they've seen it)). I called my husband, I called my mom, I called the mailman. I felt like I was homecoming queen - or as best I can imagine that must feel, anyway. This is one clever kitchen accessory, and it goes so well with the snazzy vacuum sealer my darling husband/Santa brought me for Christmas!

The thermal circulator will allow me to more easily and safely sous-vide at home. Not that you couldn't wrap your product up in plastic wrap and monitor the temperature in a pot of water, but the fancy machines take the fussiness out of it. And the fear of botulism - which is a plus!

I pulled this recipe from the May 2007 issue of Food & Wine magazine. The recipe itself calls for roasting the loaf in the oven, but includes a blurb at the top mentioning that the chef prepares it sous-vide in his restaurant. I jumped on the opportunity!

I don't yet have a stock pot and my other pots weren't quite the right size, so I ordered a heat-safe hotel pan... that of course didn't arrive in time... We also ordered the little polyscience cage to protect the heat coils of the circulator (so the plastic wouldn't melt), but that also didn't arrive in time... so we used our multipurpose bucket from Home Depot and duct tape! Yay MacGuyvered dinner in a bucket!

While my husband fiddled with the bucket/tape set-up, I got to loafing! The meatloaf comes together the same way any other meatloaf would, but for one surprise - cottage cheese! I had never put cottage cheese in my meatloaf before, and now that I've done it, I don't know if I could go back (at least for turkey meatloaf, it might look weird in beef or pork.) Once ready, they got the spa treatment for about 90 minutes, until the meatloaf reached an internal temperature of 160
°F. At that point, it was still pale pale meat, so I broiled the loaves for about 5 minutes for some color. (And as you can see in the photo above, the loaves got a little squished during the vacuum sealing, and they have sexy little squish-edges! Def. will freeze the loaves before I seal them, so they maintain their loaf-shape.)

I really really liked the red pepper sauce as it was, but Dave thought it needed a little pizazz, so I tossed in a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes. The little kick the flakes provided really did the trick, I think. I served the meatloaf, sauce, and peppers with quinoa instead of wild rice, because I wanted something closer to mashed potatoes - because who doesn't like potatoes and meatloaf?

Altogether, a lovely meal. Interesting gadgetry, moist and lovely meatloaf, fresh and vibrant red pepper sauce, joined with fluffy quinoa. A very satisfying way to mark a great year!

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves with Red Pepper Sauce
c/o Food & Wine Magazine, May 2007

Cottage cheese is a low-fat way to keep lean turkey meat loaf moist. At Gamba’s restaurants, he cuts even more fat by cooking the meat loaves sous-vide.

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground lean turkey, white meat only
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
3 red bell peppers, sliced
1 thyme sprig
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
Cooked wild rice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil two 6-by-3 1/2-inch metal loaf pans. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and two-thirds of the onion; season with salt and white pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Add the turkey and cooked vegetables to a large bowl. Add the egg whites, panko, cottage cheese, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper. Knead until blended and divide between the pans. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake in the upper third of the oven for 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add two-thirds of the red peppers, the remaining onion and the thyme. Cover and cook over moderate heat until softened, 10 minutes. Add the water, cover and simmer until the peppers are very tender, 7 minutes. Discard the thyme. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender, add the half-and-half and puree. Season with salt and pepper.

In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the remaining peppers and cook over moderate heat until softened, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Broil the meat loaves 4 inches from the heat until browned, 2 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto a plate and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Spoon the pepper sauce onto plates. Top with the meat loaf and peppers. Serve with wild rice and the remaining sauce.

Per serving: 505 cal, 21 gm fat, 2.9 gm sat fat, 20 gm carb, 3.3 gm fiber.


Brilynn said...

What a great toy to play with for your first blog birthday! And congrats!

Ellieut said...

Happy Blog Birthday! And I learned something new today, never having heard of sous vide before! (did I spell that right???) Congrats. Great photos on your site!

Deborah said...

Happy, happy blog birthday!! I didn't even know what sous-vide was before I started watching Top Chef. What a great meal!!

farida said...

Happy Blogth-Day:))! Wish you many more years blogging:)

Cindy. Lo. said...

Happy belated birthday for your blog!
Keep up the good work!

Katie B. said...

Thank you! Thank you!

Kristen said...

Happy belated birthday to your blog :)

The In-Laws said...

We were lucky to be there for this event. The machinery was fascinating, and the meal was very, very good. Not to mention the dessert! Signed: The Other KB