Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Eats Challenge Week 17: Meatloaf

Ok, so this may come as a shock to most Americans (at least it was a shock to all of my co-workers) but I have never had meatloaf before in my life. My mother never cooked it. Probably because she rightfully believed none of us would eat it. We were a picky bunch. To this day I still have problems with lots of foods. I wont eat stew or anything I can't figure out what each ingredient is. That being said, I'm very adventurous when it comes to cooking at home. And, as Daniel pointed out, isn't trying new things what this challenge is all about? So I sucked up my squeamishness at weird looking food and gave it a shot (though truth be told I don't ever plan to make the applesauce we skipped. Gross!). Honestly, I'd eat this meatloaf again and again and again. It was delicious. Easy to make and it lasted all week since it called for over 2lbs of meat.  We actually cooked this two weeks ago but I didn't want to leave it out.

Here is the recipe courtesy of Food Network


  • 6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and broken
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 18 ounces ground chuck
  • 18 ounces ground sirloin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture. 

Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.
Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray. (I just free formed it since that was how he did it on the show) Insert a temperature probe at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.

Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.

Cook for another 20-25 min or until it reaches 155 degrees. Enjoy!

Obviously my loaf didn't stay too loafy but I didn't care. We both went back for seconds of this dish. The glaze was great too. Nicely spicy with a hint of sweetness. Add this one to your recipe files because this is a keeper! The Chocolatier at work said her favorite meat combo is equal parts lamb, pork, and chuck so I may have to try that sometime soon. I'll let you know how it turns out.

30 Photo Challenge Week 3

We are on to week 3 of the photography challenge over at Ten June. Here are my pictures 15-19. If you want to catch up here are week 1 and week 2.

Day 15: Silhouette

Day 16: Long Exposure (proof you can't make a pug sit still)

Day 17: Technology

Day 18: Shoes

Day 19: Something Orange

I had a lot of fun this week learning how to play with my long exposure settings on the camera. This will come in handy next 4th of July. Can't wait to see what you all did!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

It Isn't Fall Without...

A trip to the pumpkin patch! We've been to pumpkin patches before but this was the cutest. It was up in Snohomish just 45 min out of Seattle. Gorgeous day and great pumpkining.

Daniel carted everyone's pumpkins around while we searched for bigger and better ones.

We picked these two because they looooooooove each other.

There were hay rides and cider and a little barn yard for the kids.

We went our friends Cj and Erin and their little girl Bobbie and met up with Daniel's aunt Pam.

Bobbie had more fun on the grass than with the pumpkins but I think that is usual for a 17 month old.

It rained a little but it was still perfect. In true Seattleite form we carried our coffee with us everywhere.

Then of course we had to carve our perfect pumpkins.

With a little help from the kitty (she was looking for brains).

I love how they turned out.


They looooooooove each other.

Anyone else have a good pumpkin carving? I think we were the only ones there without kids but it is my favorite part of Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good Eats Challenge Week 16: Fish and Chips

This weeks challenge was officially the best ever (so far). I love fish and chips but hardly ever get it because it isn't usually what I want if we end up out to eat. As usual, Alton Brown makes it easy and fun to recreate.

Here is the recipe from Food Network


For the fries:

  • 1 gallon safflower oil
  • 4 large Russet potatoes
  • Kosher salt

For the batter:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dash Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 bottle brown beer, cold
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed whitefish (tilapia, pollock, cod), cut into 1-ounce strips
  • Cornstarch, for dredging


Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Heat the safflower oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 320 degrees.
Using a V-slicer with a wide blade, slice the potatoes with the skin on. Place in a large bowl with cold water.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Note: The batter can be made up to 1 hour ahead of time.
Drain potatoes thoroughly, removing any excess water. When oil reaches 320 degrees, submerge the potatoes in the oil. Working in small batches, fry for 2 to 3 minutes until they are pale and floppy. Remove from oil, drain, and cool to room temperature.

Increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees. Re-immerse fries and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and drain on roasting rack. 

Season with kosher salt while hot and hold in the oven.

Allow oil to return to 350 degrees. Lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch. Working in small batches, dip the fish into batter and immerse into hot oil. When the batter is set, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

 Drain the fish on the roasting rack. Serve with malt vinegar.

Delicious! If you have any left overs you can reheat them by baking them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. That crisps them back up and keeps the fish moist. We snacked on them while carving pumpkins from our pumpkin patch adventure. Yay for fried food and cocktails. The best Saturday night.


Kitty Ghost Hunter

Since neither Michelle @ Ten June nor I got our next 30 day photo challenge done I thought I'd post this little fun tidbit.  This weekend I found this little tutorial on 320* Sycamore for making these cool cheese cloth ghosts.

october 2011 072 1

So I gathered my supplies and got going. I used paint cans to make the form and height and added a bowl and a ball of foil for the heads. 

Then I draped them in the cheese cloth and sprayed with my spray starch.

Two coats and a day later I had these neat ghosts

I arranged them by the fire place and went downstairs to get some felt for the eyes. When I came back upstairs I was greeted with this amusing sight

She ain't afraid of no ghosts. And while my cute ghosts were ruined I can sleep safely at night knowing I have a kitty ghost hunter to keep me safe. It's a good thing we love our pets right?

Linking up to:

The Shabby Nest and

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was full of family, fall and work. But hey, when work involves going to the NW Chocolate Festival who can really complain?

It was a blast. There were four different rooms that focused on different aspects of chocolate. One was about learning about how chocolate is made.

This guy is actually hand grinding cacao nibs into chocolate. I would imagine you wouldn't eat as much if you had to do this every time you wanted a treat.

The room focused on the different parts of what makes up chocolate and the different types (dark, milk and white).

These are some of the components of chocolate. All chocolate comes from beans (bottom left) and cacao trees only grow 20 degrees north and south of the equator which adds to its rarity.

Then there was the cooking with chocolate room, the aphrodisiac room (which was odd) and the tasting room. You can guess which was the most popular.

The festival lasted all weekend with our chocolatiers and owner doing demonstrations and talks. Our Anise ganache stuffed fig won best confections which we were totally stoked on! To top it all off it was a beautiful fall day. Look at those colors!

I love fall don't you? I did manage to get some things done this weekend but not as much as I'd like but that's life right? We did make great fish and chips Friday for our Good Eats Challenge (I'll share later).

 Are you all ready for Halloween? For those of you who have trick-or-treaters, what time do they usually start? This is my first year with a house that might get kids so I'm trying to be prepared.