This is one of my husband's favorite entrees - which is great because it is actually healthy! Ground turkey is mixed with sauteed onions and spinach to make meatloaves that are super moist and flavorful.
There are infinite sides that will go well with this dish. This week I decided to use some of the green beans from the CSA.
I served the meatloaves with the green beans and some potatoes (also from the CSA) that I roasted with olive oil, salt, and rosemary.
Turkey Mini Meatloaves
adapted from Cook Yourself Thin
Serves 4, 230 calories per meatloaf
For the meatloaves:
1 slice whole-wheat bread
1/2 cup skim milk
1 onion, diced
5-oz bag baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
For the glaze:
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grind the bread in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl, and pour milk over crumbs.
Heat oil to a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add spinach, and stir until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with soaked crumbs. Add the turkey, cheese, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Combine the mixture with your hands or a wooden spoon until well mixed; it will be quite wet.
Pack 1 cup of the mixture into a 1-cup dry measuring cup. Invert the cup onto a rimmed baking sheet, gently shaking the cup to release the mixture. Gently pat the mound to smooth its shape. Repeat three times with remaining mixture. Bake mini meatloaves until cooked through and golden, about 40 minutes. While the meatloaves are cooking, make the glaze: In a small bowl combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Brush over meatloaves.
Green Beans with Shallots
adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/05/haricot-vert-with-shallots/
1/2 lb of haricot vert (thin green beans), trimmed
2 tsp butter
1 small shallot, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp diced tomato
Wedge of lemon
Bring a pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil haricot vert for 3 1/2 minutes. Plunge them into an ice bath and drain the beans.
In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent, not browned – about one to two minutes. Add the drained and cooled haricot vert back into the pot and reheat them in the butter and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Spread haricot vert and shallot onto a plate, throw the diced tomato over them and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the dish. Serve immediately.
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
1 lb baby potatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried or fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary until well coated. Dump the potatoes onto a baking sheet or into a shallow baking dish and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Toss occasionally to ensure even browning.
While picking up my CSA crate at Whole Foods - I noticed that they had a new product at the cheese counter - Burrata cheese. Burrata is a fantastic variation of fresh mozzarella that is stuffed with cream, making it much softer. I knew that I must have some so I snatched it up.
I topped the cheese and bread with the tomato salad, and drizzled everything with balsamic vinegar. Spreading the soft cheese onto the bread was sort of luxurious; and the tart pop of the tomatoes, sweet tang of the vinegar, and freshness of the basil were the perfect accompaniments.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit my hometown - San Antonio, TX! I was able to see my family for the first time since January, and to have my Dad's epic BBQ for the 4th of July.
Anyway, I also got to hit up all the restaurants I have been missing/craving since I moved away.
First off - a San Antonio staple - Taco Taco. I know, I know - stupid name, right? And you may be daunted by the way this tiny, one room taqueria looks like it's about to fall apart. But Taco, Taco was named "The Best Tacos in America" by Bon Apetit magazine, and they were not kidding - the constant line out the door does not lie. My favorite thing to get is the breakfast tacos - served from open to close because the hours are 7-2, every day. They make their own tortillas fresh and they are huge and soft and pillowy and just perfect. Then they fill them with buttery eggs and potatoes (my favorite), bacon, or chorizo. For a full on breakfast extravaganza, make sure to get a side of their fantastic refried beans. Another favorite is the beef norteño - a flour tortilla filled to the max with refried beans, cheese, avocado, bell pepper, and tender fajita meat. You only need one to fill you up and oh my goodness, SO GOOD!
Another favorite - a Texas chain vs a San Antonio original - is Freebirds World Burrito. Don't even talk to me about Chipotle or I will get really mad. Seriously, I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. No, the only burritos for me are those rolled by my very own "roller" in the aluminum foil decorated haven that is Freebirds. What makes this chain so special? Four flavors of tortilla to start - including cayenne and, my favorite, spinach. How about choice of cheese, including queso fresco? Or an option for rice (Spanish) that doesn't have cilantro but still has flavor? Or, most importantly, refried beans! How do you have a burrito without refried beans?! I'm talking to you, Chipotle. Then you have those special ingredient options, like roasted garlic or roasted limes, and a ton of salsas and sauces to choose from. Customers also get to participate in decorating the shop - by using the foil that wrapped their burrito to make figurines and daisy chains and whatever they can think of, then placing them wherever they want. A tear comes to my eye when I think that it might be months before I get to taste my beloved Freebirds again.
Moving away from the Mexican food (which is hard to do in San Antonio - I mean, La Fonda on Main, La Fonda Sunset Ridge (not related), Tomatillos, Taco Cabana... where was I?), let's hit up some other San Antonio favorites.
Paesanos is a San Antonio institution. This Italian restaurant has been around for 40 years, and was made famous by the signature dish - Shrimp Paesano.
(image taken from restaurant website) Floured shrimp is sauteed in oil and served with a lemon, butter, and egg yolk sauce that is TO DIE FOR. Twirling long strands of spaghetti through that decadent sauce is something akin to heaven. You can actually make this at home (recipe here), but it's just oh-so-much better to get the real thing. While there is certainly lots of good food to be had at Paesanos, I can never pass this up. Neither can my family, apparently - we had a table of 6 people and everyone ordered it in some form or another - appetizer, main, add-on to steak. This San Antonio favorite is simply not to be missed.
A family favorite, though not necessarily a local institution, is Tre Trattoria - an Italian restaurant located in the boardwalk area near the Zoo and overlooking the San Antonio River. The menu is small, but all of the dishes are very good.
Here, we have a selection of small plates: house pulled mozzarella with sea salt and olive oil on charred bread; white cannellini beans with gremolota; bruschetta with house made ricotta and cherry tomatoes; and farro salad. The goat cheese, pistachio, and balsamic cipollini onion pizza is quite good; and the pappardelle with bolognese is outstanding. Favorite desserts include the ricotta cake and the seasonal crostada (raspberry and mint this trip).
Finally, on to the cream of the crop - Bohanan's Steakhouse. You can't visit Texas without getting some steak, and Bohanan's is the place to get it in San Antonio. First of all, let's talk about the FANTASTIC bar with a long list of incredibly creative cocktails with a classic flair. On this visit, I opted for the Rome with a View - an aperitif made with campari, sweet vermouth, lime juice, sugar, soda. When you are done sipping your excellently crafted cocktail, head up the elevator to the second floor for dinner. The service is impeccable and the food is even better.
Obviously the steaks here are wonderful - they use USDA Prime aged center cuts of Midwestern corn-fed beef. Off the menu they also have Akaushi beef from Japan, which is exclusive to Bohanan's in the United States. It is much more expensive ($100 for a filet), but so worth it. The heavily marbled meat just melts in your mouth, and has so much more flavor than regular beef. The chef will not cook these steaks above Medium, so don't even bother trying. Don't get a sauce to accompany it either (even though we all love bearnaise), it doesn't need it.
The sides are swoon-worthy as well: white truffle steak frites, goat cheese mashed potatoes, creamed spinach.
The seafood is also excellent, if that's your thing.
Lastly, the deserts. Along with the other selections - creme brulee, cheesecake, chocolate tart, etc... - are the "flaming specialties". A cart is brought along, and the waiter prepares one of a number of flambeed desserts tableside - choose from Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee, Strawberries Imperial, or Crêpes Suzette - all served with ice cream.
So there you have it - San Antonio favorites from me to you. If you ever get a chance to stop by my hometown, check out these places and raise a glass for me.
It's gonna be a short post this week because right after I picked up my basket I left town for a week! But I am doing a post anyway to show you what I got from the CSA and give you tips on storing produce.
- Cucumbers will not last as long as the squash, nor will they freeze well - UNLESS you make freezer pickles. Mix white vinegar and sugar together (adding flavorings like celery seed and dill if you like); pour over sliced cucumbers and onions; chill in the refrigerator for a couple of days, stirring occasionally; freeze in containers and enjoy whenever - best when not completely thawed.
- Beets will keep for several weeks, but the greens wont - so cut those off and use them or get rid of them.
- Store potatoes in a dark, cool place - like your pantry.
- Chard and kale are pretty sturdy, they might last as long as a week depending on the freshness.
- Berries do not last long at all - freeze them if you are not going to use them quickly (pit cherries first, hull strawberries)
- Finely dice extra onion and carrot and freeze. Use for the base of stews, soups, and braises. The green tops of onions, spring onions, scallions, can also be cut up and frozen (to be used in cooked, not raw preparations).
- Unfortunately celery does not freeze well or I would add it to the above for mirepoix. The ice crystals destroy the cellular structure and turn it to mush. The same goes for lettuce and cabbage. You can however attempt to rescue these vegetables (and others) by soaking them in cold water if they are wilted. Usually, they will absorb the water and become refreshed.
I hope that was helpful!
You may be wondering what happened to week 5 - unfortunately I was unable to pick up my share that weekend. Not to worry - when this happens the food is donated, not thrown out.
I LOVE banana bread. I always buy too many bananas so that I will have extra to make banana bread. My husband really loves it in muffin form (as opposed to loaf form) and especially with chocolate chips. This recipe makes moist muffins, loaded with lots of banana, and with a wonderful chewy top. I think they are best hot out of the oven, Jasper likes them at room temperature.
The Best Banana Bread Muffins
Adapted from Food Network
makes 24 muffins or 2 loaves
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 lg eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (or 350 for loaves).
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
Divide the batter among 2 muffin tins lined with paper cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly.
(If making loaves, divide batter between 2 loaf pans. Bake until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about an hour and 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.)
This is one of my absolute favorite things to make. It's tasty and filling and good for you! Muesli is a breakfast cereal invented by a Swiss doctor to feed to his patients; it is made from rolled oats, nuts, and fruits. It is full of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and the oats help lower cholesterol! While it is possible to buy dry mixes, I HIGHLY recommend making it fresh - it is worth the effort. I have compiled my recipe from a number of sources and I guarantee that you will love it.
The first step involves soaking several ingredients overnight- raisins and orange juice together; oats, cream, and vanilla; and the base mix (involving nuts, coconut, wheat germ, wheat bran, and flax seeds) with yogurt.
Base Mix (will make enough for at least 16 servings)
1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts or combination
1 cup toasted coconut (sweet or unsweet)
6 tbsp wheat germ
6 tbsp wheat bran
4 tbsp flax seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup base mix
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek style is best)
1/2 cup traditional oats
1/2 cup cream or half and half
seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries or cherries
4 prunes, chopped
1/2 apple, grated (you can use the whole apple if you'd like)
1 banana, chopped
any other fruit - such as berries, kiwi, mango
To make the base mix: In a food processor, pulse the almonds and pecans/walnuts until fine, being careful not to over process and make nut butter. Mix in the coconut, wheat germ, wheat bran, and flax seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
To make the Muesli: Combine the base mix and yogurt in a container or bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow to soak in the refrigerator overnight. Do the same for the oats, cream, and vanilla; and the raisins and orange juice. After they have soaked overnight, combine the three mixtures together. Add the prunes, apple, banana, and other fruit. Drizzle with honey to taste. Enjoy a healthy and delicious breakfast!
We were invited to preview a new restaurant in Tyson's at a soft opening. Seasons 52 is an Orlando based chain dedicated to fresh, healthy, seasonal food. Their menu changes four times a year, and all of their dishes are under 475 calories. In addition to the regular menu lactose free, low sodium, gluten free, garlic free, vegetarian, and vegan menus are available. It is also a wine bar, run by a Master Sommelier George Miliotes (one of only 152 in the world). The bar section of the restaurant is huge, taking up half of the space, and featured live music the night that we were there. The decor is dark and modern, like an upscale steakhouse. The noise from the mall makes it a bit loud, but it still manages to be a cozy spot for a date. The servers were enthusiastic about the concept and knowledgeable about the dishes - they are tested on all menu items. The hostess replaced my white napkin with a black one when she saw that I was wearing dark clothes - that is one of the gestures that I really appreciate from a restaurant.
The cocktails are made with agave nectar (which is sweeter than sugar, with a lower glycemic index, and vegan friendly). I tried the strawberry basil martini, which was jammy and fresh - not watered down - and infused with basil. The server filled my martini glass, then left the extra in the shaker at the table with me.
One of the conditions of the free preview was that we each order a different appetizer, entree, and dessert - fine by me! The flatbreads are one of their specialties, so I ordered one from the daily specials. It was thin and crispy and the toppings of spinach, goat cheese, artichoke, balsamic onions, and red pepper were nicely balanced. Jasper ordered the chile rellano, which smelled fantastic but was too spicy for me to eat. Our guest had the sesame chicken skewers which were tangy and moist. For my entree, I ordered the BBQ chicken - which was juicy and flavorful, and served with green beans, mashed potatoes, and a delicious corn salad. Jasper said he was jealous of my dish, even though he ordered one of the specials - a t-bone lamb chop with demi glace, truffled mashed potatoes, and asparagus. The lamb was tender, and the potatoes had a good amount of truffle flavor. Our guest ordered the filet, served with mashed potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and asparagus.
The desserts are called "mini indulgences" and are served in shotglasses (in keeping with the low calorie mission). The website claims that Seasons 52 originated this trend. I have tried this kind of mini dessert at other restaurants and not been impressed - in some cases I thought they were actually pretty gross. I was surprised by how good the ones at Seasons 52 were. We tried the blueberry cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter, and the cookies and cream. The after dinner coffee was of good quality, and the espresso had a nice crema on top.
All in all, I like the concept and the food was pretty good - not as good as Morton's, but better than Chile's or Olive Garden (for reference). The location would be really convenient for a dinner and movie date, and I would like to explore the wine bar more.