Meatloaf- It’s What’s For Dinner!

Meatloaf is hearty fare and it’s a classic from my childhood that I have been enjoying lately with a local twist.  Using humanely raised, organic beef, lamb and bacon from farms in Dalton and Cummington, MA, eggs from Hinsdale and cream from High Lawn Farm this is as local as meatloaf gets!  I replaced the traditional bread crumbs with ground flax so this recipe is gluten and carbohydrate free.  Served with a side of greens, like slow cooked collards and perhaps a bowl of broth, this meal will be sure to warm you up and keep you going.  When I made this recipe we were having friends over for dinner and I wanted to be sure to have enough for left over meatloaf sandwiches.   I added an extra pound of ground beef to my basic meatloaf recipe and it just barely fit in my glass baking dish.  This will serve 6-8 people or 4 people for dinner, twice.  And if you have time, this recipe is great for meatballs too!

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground lamb (or pork)

1/2 pound bacon, half of it minced and half reserved in strips.

1/2 cup cream or milk

3 Tablespoons ground flax

1 extra-large farm egg

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1/2 small white onion, minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder or hot pepper flakes

1 tsp paprika, smokey, mild or hot, whatever you’ve got!

1/4 cup fresh minced parsley

Ready to bake in about 15 minutes.

Ready to bake after just 15 minutes of prep time!

Method:

Pre heat oven to 350

Beat the egg into the milk and flax, add all of the other ingredients and mix well in a large bowl.

Shape into a loaf in a glass baking dish, make sure there is some room on all four sides.

Lay the remaining strips of bacon on top.

Bake at 350 for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, until it’s firm and reads 160 degrees in the center!

Take it out, let it rest for about 15 minutes, transfer to a plate and serve.

Dinner four times two in about fifteen minutes plus baking time!

Dinner x 2 in about fifteen minutes plus baking time!

Camp Food and Travel Pictures: Cape Hatteras N.C.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, only 4 more hours to go!

Last week Dana drove us over 600 miles from the Berkshires to Frisco, NC on Cape Hatteras and back again, whew!   Our little ’84 Jetta was packed with camping equipment and of course, lots of food!  The state forest camp grounds were beautiful and totally worth the long drive to get there.  We camped for the first part of our trip and then moved a few miles down the road to a house on the beach that we shared with friends, what an awesome vacation!

The view of the Atlantic from our camp site in Frisco, NC

First I want to share my favorite way to enjoy avocados, with some tamari, wasabi and a spoon….

Chipolte, salt and lime on the left and my tamari and wasabi half on the right.

All you need is a spoon, and maybe someone to share the other half with : – )

Dana’s camp stove, which he took bike touring with him over a decade ago, decided it was time to retire when we tried to use it our first morning.  So we had to rely on the charcoal grill at our site.  Good thing we brought our cast iron pan!

Chopped cabbage, sauerkraut, bacon and eggs; everything you need for a hearty seaside breakfast.

I cooked the bacon first, then sauteed the cabbage, pushed everything to the side and fried the eggs in the rest of the bacon fat. Flax crackers and sun tea on the side. Eating directly out of the skillet means no dishes to do, we are on vacation after all!

One night for dinner we grilled asparagus and then cooked sausages and kale with mushrooms and onions in the skillet. Dinner is served.

Best beach house dinner: fresh fried mahi mahi fish tacos (‘slaw and corn tortillas not pictured) and sashimi tuna with bacon tacos. Gotta give Bill credit for the bacon and sashimi combo and the picture too!  I used romaine lettuce leaves to make my tacos, wicked good guys, you gotta try it!

Camping and Travel Food

It has been a non stop couple of weeks, whew!  We have been to the New Amsterdam Market in NYC the past two Sundays and in between Brian, Dana and I have been busy making more Fire Cider.

Thanks to the Greenfield CDC and Katalyst Kombucha, making Fire Cider has gotten a whole lot easier, so we are making a whole lot more!

Tomorrow at 6 am Dana and I are driving to Cape Hatteras, NC for a week at the beach with our neighbors!  I don’t like to be so busy but a weeks vacation seems worth the too-much-to-do-in-too-little-time crunch.  Yesterday and today I have been making food for our trip: 3 nights of camping ocean side in the state forest and the rest of the week sharing a beach house with our friends.  I know that we need to eat plenty of lively greens to keep us alert and awake for the drive so I made a cabbage coleslaw type salad and then my version of a raw chard salad.   I bought the chard salad at the Berkshire Co-op on Saturday as we headed out of town for 30 hours to NYC and back and based my recipe on their ingredient list.

Here’s my version of RAWH Chard Salad:

Chopped chard and/or spinach (I just used chard because that’s what we’ve got!)

and one grated carrot…

Tossed with a mixture of:

Lemon juice, olive oil, one mashed garlic clove, sea salt, hot pepper or chopped fresh jalapeno and dried oregano

Top with walnut pieces and toasted sunflower seeds

Mix and eat!  Great road food as it gets better with time.

RAWH Chard Salad, thanks to Berkshire Co-op for the inspiration and that awesome green juice you made for me!

Now here’s the rest of what I made up in advance:

My weekly yogurt, I love it too much not to take it with me!

Some flax bread to go with all the yummy cheese we traded Fire Cider for at the market on Sunday.

Lots of avocados and garlic!

A frozen 2 liter bottle of: Aloe juice, fresh ginger juice, lemon and the juice from 1/2 a grapefruit with stevia to sweeten.  The frozen juice will help keep our cooler cool during the drive and my tummy happy during the week.

I also made these bars and packed a bunch of different kinds of nuts and sunflower seeds.

And I made two salad dressings: Green Goddess and Cilantro Pepita, they both go well with fresh veggies or those boxes of spring mix you can find at pretty much every grocery store.

Oh yeah and Leahey Farm chorizo and hot Italian sausage which will be awesome on the grill.  Plus smokey bacon, farm fresh eggs and chopped cabbage because camping is no time to skimp on breakfast!

Well, aside from making enough food for the cats while we are away I think I’m done in the kitchen.  Time to round up the sunscreen!  I’ll post some pictures from our adventures in outdoor, seaside cooking soon!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara was a staple meal when I first moved to New York City and was living on 13th street.  Back then I made this dish with pasta, less than farm fresh eggs and tempeh bacon.  My diet has certainly changed a lot since then!  Spaghetti squash is a really versatile winter vegetable that I now use in place of noodles in soups and in place of wheat pasta.  Wheat, according to the new book Wheat Belly by William Davis, is an ingredient most Americans would be better off with out.  According to his book, wheat, even the organic kind, as grown in the US since the 1980’s is has been so genetically modified from it’s original form that it can not grow in the wild on it’s own and contains a protein entirely unfamiliar to our digestive systems. This so called ‘wheat’ that is used in almost every imaginable food product is nothing like it’s healthy, civilization sustaining ancestor. No wonder so many Americans are being diagnosed with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease!  Wheat also acts as an opiate, the more you eat the more of a high you experience and so, the more wheat you crave, creating a viscous cycle of addictive over eating.  Try skipping all wheat for a week or two and see if you notice a difference in how much you eat and how you feel energy and mood wise.  Here’s a great recipe to get you started: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara!

Ingredients:

One medium spaghetti squash, baked at 350 til it’s done.  Here is a post I wrote with further instructions on baking this type of squash.

2-4 slices of happy bacon

small bunch of Parsley, chopped

1-2 large farm eggs, whipped with an equal amount of….

grated Romano or Parmesean cheese

The number of eggs and the amount of cheese you use should be determined by the amount of cooked squash you have.

Warming the cooked squash in the bacon fat with cooked bacon pieces.

For the squash: I like to chop it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and fibers, oil the inside and bake the halves skin side up at 350 for about 30-45 minutes.  I know they are done when given a push, the skin gives a little.  Also, when I try to fork out the spaghetti like strands, they should come out without much effort. Be careful not to over cook this squash, the strands will lose their slightly crunchy, mildly sweet individuality and turn into a mushy mass.

Once your squash is baked and cooled enough for you to remove the strands you can start cooking the bacon.  You will be using one pan for this meal so once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan and add your squash to re-heat it.

Add your greated cheese to the whipped eggs and then add this mixture to the pan, stirring quickly off the heat.  If there isn’t enough heat in the squash to cook the sauce you can put it back on a low flame and keep stirring til the sauce thickens.

Add lots of chopped parsley, the bacon pieces and eat immediately!

Green Beans with Bacon and Cider Vinegar

For the past few days I have been wondering if I would ever be able to access this blog again!  Wordpress is great but they seem to have very strange policy’s when it comes to account access.  Anyway, my friend Lizzy helped me out and, we’re back!  I found this recipe in ‘Hobby Farmer’ magazine which started showing up at my house for some reason.  A well intentioned but forgotten Christmas gift perhaps?

A word about bacon, and meat in general:  When I was 16 I stopped eating meat and was a vegetarian for 12 years.  I was horrified by the animal cruelty I knew was going on behind the highly guarded doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses across our country.  I knew the one thing I could do was to not participate in this disgusting, immoral, environmentally devastating and completely unhealthy system.  Today I am lucky to live in what the New York Times calls the epicenter of the local food movement.  I’m far from wealthy, in fact just two years ago I was relying on food stamps to buy my organic, local foods.  Meat in the grocery store, really any animal product that is not from a sustainable, certified organic, free range, healthy farm, is, I guarantee you, from a sick and abused animal.  It’s full of antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides: chemicals that will only make you and our planet more and more unhealthy.  If you have 10 bucks to buy meat, consider eating it only once or twice a week instead of buying the cheap stuff.  There is nothing more costly than cheap food.  And animal products from eggs to bacon to cheese from healthy, happy animals are really good for you and taste much better, you know, like actual food!  So enjoy your bacon, knowing you are doing the right thing by supporting organic, ethical farmers and their healthy animals.  Stop buying into the myth that cheaper is better and that the meat on sale is anything but poison for your body, mind, spirit and OUR environment.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans

1 cup water

4-6 slices of thick cut bacon, diced – The Meat Market, Berkshire Organics, Holiday Farm are a few of many places in the Berkshires to get high quality, healthy animal foods.

2/3 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

salt, pepper and a dash of stevia or honey, to taste

Procedure:

In a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, cook the beans in water until they are tender.  Drain the beans and reserve about 3/4 cup on the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat, saute bacon and onion until the onion is lightly browned.  Add reserved bean liquid and cook until it has reduced to 1/4 cup.  Add vinegar and sweetner and stir well to combine.

Add the cooked beans and heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Original recipe from page 77 of the January/February issue of “Hobby Farmer”

Zucchini and Spinach Gratin

It’s been cool out recently, and this combination of garden fresh veggies in a hot cheesy one-dish meal seems perfectly suited for our current Berkshire weather.

My sister and I made this without a recipe, if you've got the basic ingredients: greens, cheese and eggs, you can make a hot, healthy meal!

The recipe I found on Simply Recipes is pretty similar to what Elise and I came up with.  It calls for bacon and I think it adds a lot of flavor. For those of you who don’t eat pork, or meat, you can substitute butter and or olive oil (a couple tablespoons) to sauté the onions.  Tempeh bacon could also work nicely.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs zucchini, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 packed cups of fresh chopped spinach leaves, blanched and drained or 1 lb frozen spinach
  • 3 slices of thick cut bacon (about 3 ounces), cut crosswise 1/4-inch pieces.  Did you know you can get local bacon from your local Meat Market in Great Barrington?!
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 handful of parsley (about 1/2 cup of leaves, lightly packed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (we used half goat chevre and half sheep feta)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs, whipped
  • Olive oil


METHOD

1 Grate the zucchini. Toss the grated zucchini with about a teaspoon of Kosher salt. Place the grated zucchini in a large sieve (or colander) placed over a bowl to catch the water as the salt helps the zucchini release its moisture. Let sit for 30 minutes or so, then squeeze out the remaining excess moisture with your hands or a clean tea towel.

2 Blanch the spinach, drain it in a colander and squeeze out the excess moisture with you hands.  Or, if using frozen spinach: thaw the spinach, let drain while the zucchini is draining. Then squeeze out the excess moisture with your hands or a tea towel.

3 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the bacon and gently cook until lightly browned and most of the fat rendered out, about 10 minutes.

4 While the bacon is cooking, peel and finely chop the onion. Add the onions to the bacon and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the onions have softened.

5 While the bacon and onions are cooking, prepare the parsley and garlic. Chop the parsley and garlic (I used a garlic press) and put it into a large bowl.

6 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

7 Place the zucchini and spinach into the large bowl with the parsley and garlic. With a wooden spoon, mix in the cooked onions and bacon. Mix in half of the Parmesan. Taste, and add black pepper and more salt to taste. Mix in the whipped eggs.

8 Coat the bottom and sides of a 2 quart casserole or gratin dish with a tablespoon of olive oil. Put the zucchini spinach mixture into the dish and pack it down. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and drizzle with a little olive oil.

9 Bake in a 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Serve immediately. Reheats well.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Hard-Cooked Egg and Basil-Butter Sandwich

Here is another yummy serving suggestion for my flax bread recipe which I have just updated.  I have been making flax bread about twice a month and have worked some of the kinks out of the process.  Happy sandwiching!  This recipe takes about 20 minutes and makes 4 sandwiches.  I think they would store, well wrapped, over night, but I haven’t tried it so let me know!

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Fine sea salt, to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped basil (or chives or parsley or pesto!)

1 small garlic clove, minced/pressed

8 slices flax bread

Pepper, to taste

Lettuce leaves, for serving.

If you are feeling like making more of a meal out of this sandwich, now is the time for a couple of slices of thick cut bacon and a ripe tomato from the garden!

1. Place the eggs in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Have a bowl of ice water ready. After 9 minutes, transfer the eggs to the ice water to cool completely. Peel and slice.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, lemon juice and a pinch salt. Stir in the basil and the garlic.

3. Spread the bread thickly with seasoned butter and/or pesto, all the way to the edges. Lay the egg slices on four of the bread slices and season with salt and pepper. Top with lettuce leaves and the remaining bread.

Variations:  Top the eggs with several anchovy fillets.  Substitute arugula or radicchio for lettuce.  Add bacon and tomato slices….!

Original recipe can be found HERE

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