Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Italian Meatloaf

I make a meatloaf at least twice every month--sometimes three or four times. It is one of my favorite meals and then those meatloaf sandwiches the next day are always such a great delight!

Each meatloaf is often a unique recipe, depending upon what I have in the kitchen. Sometimes I add celery, sometimes I do not. Sometimes oats instead of bread crumbs, sometimes not. Sometimes Parmesan cheese, sometimes not. Sometimes I use a ground beef, pork and lamb; sometimes ground turkey. I am simply not too fussy when it comes to making a meatloaf.

A few weeks ago, however, I heard the host of a PBS cooking show proclaim to his kitchen assistant as if he had just come down from Mt. Sinai with the 11th commandment: "Remember how to make the meatloaf as There is only one way to make the meatloaf!"

I was, as I am sure you can imagine, quite taken aback. Only one way? As far as I am concerned that is like saying there is only one way to roast a chicken or turkey; one way to make a tomato pasta sauce; one way to make a tuna fish salad sandwich; one way to kiss your loved one--ok, here I will say there is only one way and that is to kiss passionately.

Without any further comments about commandments, or kissing, here is my Italian Meatloaf recipe:

Italian Meatloaf from Bruce's Kitchen. Photo by Bruce Barone.


1 pound meatloaf mix
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 cup bread crumbs
2 carrots, grated
2-3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 eggs
2 tablespoons stock
1 medium onion, finely diced


1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Mix all the above ingredients. Put into a greased baking dish. Shape into loaf. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

I served this with wild rice and spinach cooked with sliced garlic. And the next day, voila, a meatloaf sandwich:

Meatloaf Sandwich from Bruce's Kitchen. Photo by Bruce Barone.
Of course, there is only way to make the meatloaf
as there is to kiss; always with passion, with love.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I like corned beef but I have not made it in a long time.

Expect, I did, a few weeks ago.

Susan's mother asked me, "Bruce, would you make corned beef?"

And I did and Susan's mom asked a few days before the corned beef dinner, "Can I bring a friend with me?"

And we will call this friend Theresa and Theresa who had eaten a corned beef dinner at a fine dining establishment a few days before coming to our home for my corned beef dinner said, "Bruce. This is the best corned beef I have ever eaten. It is better than what I had at the restaurant. It is even better than my mom's."

Wow! Better than her mom's!

Corned Beef and Cabbage from Bruce's Kitchen.
I now quote Mark Bittman, whose recipe I followed:

"Corned beef is the beef equivalent of wet-cured ham, beef that has been steeped in a spic brine for days or longer (or shorter, now that there are fast, chemically enhanced cures). Most corned beef is from the brisket, and that's the only kind you should buy. If you have a choice, buy the flat cut rather than the point cut; it's the better end.

"Cooking corned beef is as close to a no-brainer as there is. It's difficult to overcook it, although it can be done, of course, so this is a good candidate for the crock-pot, if you have one. I think corned beef cooked without garlic lacks character but you can omit the garlic if you prefer......."


1 corned beef, 3 to 5 pounds
1 bay leaf
1 head garlic
3 cloves
10 peppercorns
5 allspice berries or pinch or two of ground allspice
1 onion, whole


1. Put the corned beef in a large, heavy pot and cover with water. Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and skim all the foam that rises to the surface.
2. Lower the heat so that water bubbles occasionally rather than constantly. Cover pot (Bitty didn't say anything about covering the pot, but other recipes said to do so and I did.). Cook turning every 30 minutes or so for about 2 hours.
3. After 2 hours of cooking, add the following per person: 1 medium waxy red or white potato; 1 or 2 medium carrots (I used baby carrots); 1 wedge of cabbage.......(I cut the potato in quarters.)
4.Cook for another 20-30 minutes. When the corned beef allows a thin-bladed knife to pass into the middle without much resistance, it is ready.
5. Drain; if you like, put the meat into a 300 degree over for about 10 minutes to dry out the exterior a little (I did.).

It really was delicious. And for the next few days, Susan and I enjoyed corned beef sandwiches. YUM!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Moosewood Chick Pea & Artichoke Stew and Fennel-Orange Salad

A perfect pairing!

Chick Pea & Artichoke Soup. Photo by Bruce Barone.

4 cups water or vegetable stock
2 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sweet paprika
4 medium red or white potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (I used 2 sprigs)
5 leaves fresh sage, minced
1/2 cup pureed winter squash or 1 jar of squash baby food, which I what I used
3 cups drained cooked chick peas (two 15-oz. cans) (I would use a bit less the next time.)
1 1/2 cups drained artichoke hearts (one 14 oz. can) (I would used a bit more the next time.)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
lemon wedges (optional)
grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (optional)


In a saucepan, bring the water or vegetable stock to a simmer. While the water heats, saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 8 minutes, until soft. Stir the turmeric and paprika into hte onions and saute for a minute. Add the potatoes, rosemary, sage, and the simmering water or stock. Cook about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir the pureed squash or sweet potatoes, and add the drained chick peas and artichoke hearts. Remove the rosemary sprig, add salt and pepper to taste, and return to a simmer.

Serve with lemon wedges, which I put in the bottom of the soup bowl.

Fennel & Orange Salad. Photo by Bruce Barone.


2 fennel bulbs
4 navel oranges
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste.


Slice the fronds end and the very bottom off the fennel bulbs and cut them in very thin slices. Section the oranges and cut the sections in half. Put all this into a bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all together. Let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.

Both of these were a big hit at a late afternoon dinner party. I served them with my No-Knead Fig & Fennel Bread!


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Very Easy Shepherd's Pie

I quote from the Bentley Farm Cookbook:

"So you have some left-over roast lamb in your refrigerator. Lucky you. The most obvious thing to do it with it is to make cold lamb sandwiches with just plain bread and butter and salt and freshly ground pepper--the whole moistened with some of that good, cold gravy--just enough so sandwich isn't too dry.

"Another thing that has been done since time immemorial is to make a Shepherd's Pie. This is simply cut-up pieces of lamb mixed into the left-over gravy, placed in a buttered casserole, topped with mashed potatoes and baked......Children love it.......If you fancy it up (as I sometimes do) with slightly cooked peas, onions, celery, green peppers, or whatever, the children carefully pick it all out, I've been told......"

Don't you just love her writing, her style! If you do not own a copy of this cookbook, I highly recommend to you now that you go get a copy asap; there are many available online--and for a very fair price for a wonderful cookbook for the cook or simply the person who likes to read cookbooks!!!

Bruce's Shepherd's Pie.
My recipe is inspired by the Bentley Farm Cookbook--and, as it turns out, I had left-over mashed potatoes from the night before.


1 pound ground bison
1 large onion chopped
1-2 cups vegetables each (I used carrots, corn, peas)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup beef broth (or gravy)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


1. Saute onions and carrots in butter. Add corn and peas at end of cooking time. Set aside.
2. Cook ground bison. Add vegetables to bison. Add salt and pepper. Add Worcestershire sauce and broth. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.
3. Place this mixture into baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown, about 30 minutes. Broil for a few more minutes.

Bruce's serving of Bruce's Shepherd's Pie.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Five Spice Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Spicy Asparagus

I haven't made duck in a long time and I seem to recall the last time was when I lived in Hoboken, New Jersey--that was a long time ago! I remember dropping the duck too quickly into the oil-filled wok and SPLASH; oil all over the stove and walls. This was the time I made a 14 course Chinese dinner on my birthday for friends; it all turned out fine in the end.

Here I am in my kitchen cooking the duck breasts:


2 duck breasts
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
olive oil for frying
1 tsp fennel seed
2 carrots, halved and cut thinly lengthwise
2 leeks, halved and cut thinly lengthwise
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp honey


1. Cut crisscross slashes through the duck skin, making sure you don't cut into the meat. Rub the duck with the five-spice and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a frying pan and add a little oil. When it is hot, add the duck breasts skin-side down. Turn the heat down a little and fry for 8--10 minutes or until the skin is crisp and brown and the fat has started to appear from under the skin. Wipe out the excess fat with paper towels.
3. Turn the breasts over and add the fennel to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the duck breasts feel firm to the touch but not too firm; you want them pink in the middle. Take the duck breasts out, keep warm, and let them rest for 5 minutes.
4. Now add the leek and carrots to the pan and cook briefly. Add the soy sauce and honey and cook a few more minutes. Return duck to pan to warm. Cut duck into slices and Serve.

The asparagus recipe is from The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook (from which I got all the recipes for that party I mentioned). Simply: cut the asparagus into 1 inch section; discard tough white ends; parboil 2 minutes; drain and transfer to serving dish; mix 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, and a 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used Heartbreaking Dawns "1498 Trinidad Scorpion Sauce!") and pour over asparagus.


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Baked Salmon-Corn-Coconut-Quinoa Cake

I have made Salmon Cakes so many times. I don't really follow any specific recipe. I make them with what I have in my kitchen. This one is based somewhat on a recipe from Padma Lakshmi's book Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet.

Here I am making the cakes:

I combined about 3 cups leftover Sockeye Salmon, 1/2 cup frozen corn, 1/2 cup coconut, 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1 seeded and finely minced red chili, 1 small celery stalk finely minced, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons mayo, 1 tablespoon Dijon, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. And baked in 400 degree oven from 30 minutes, turning cakes once.

I served these with a Yogurt, Honey, Lemon, Heartbreaking Dawn's Mango Habanero Sauce.



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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs

This was my first time cooking short ribs and I must say I can't wait to cook them again!

I made this on Sunday, the day before my birthday; a prebirthday celebration. Here I am stirring the vegetables!


2 pounds boneless short ribs
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4 inch piece
2 carrots, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1+ cup wine
2 cups stock
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Dredge beef in flour seasoned with salt in pepper. Shake off excess flour.
3. Heat dutch oven over high heat. Add oil.
4. Brown beef till all sides are dark golden brown. Remove beef and set aside.
5. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Reduce heat and saute till vegetables start to turn brown.
6. Add wine and reduce by half (I used 2 cups of wine.).
7. Add stock, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary.
8. Return beef to dutch oven. Cover tightly and put in oven.
9. Cook for about two hours or more or until beef is tender but not completely falling apart.
10. Serve over noodles.


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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bruce's Spicy Braciole

Indulge me, please. I made this on a Wednesday. But it starts with what I made on Sunday.

Let me explain.

On Sunday I made a Spoon Roast with Pan Gravy (red wine reduction) which I served with Twice-Baked Potatoes (My Mom made these often when I was a child!!!) and Roasted Asparagus.

Here I am making the Twice-Baked Potatoes (OMG I love these!):

And here is my plate:

On Monday, I used some of the Spoon Roast to made a rather delicious Chili (I use celery, onion, carrots, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, tarragon, brown sugar, red chili peppers, stock, chopped tomatoes, two kinds of beans):

Next time, I might add some of this, which my oldest childhood friend, Andy, sent to me. His daughter makes it. Her website is at Heart Breaking Dawns (Click on photo to better see the graphic!):

Or maybe I will add some of this:

Kind of scary!

So, you might by now be asking yourself, "Bruce! What about the Braciole?"

I bought 1/2 pound of thinly shaved beef. I spread it out on the kitchen counter, on top of wax paper. There were nine pieces of beef.

I combined 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 3 garlic gloves (smashed and minced), 3 anchovies (smashed and minced). I also halved and quartered two carrots.

On top of each piece of beef, I added some of the above mixture and a slice of carrot (My Mom made this often when I was a child and always added a carrot!). I rolled it fairly tightly and held each together with one toothpick.

I browned them in hot oil in a large pan. Then, I added 2 cups of liquid from the chili (Thus, the "Spicey."). I also added one very large tomato (seeded and diced). And I simmered this for about one hour.

I served it with pasta which I cooked and then added to the simmering Braciole--and roasted asparagus and pine nuts.

It was very tasty and tender!

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