Can’t Beat Meat Loaf

Memorial Day might be around the corner, but instead of reaching for those white pants, we have been wearing our puffies to stay warm. The unseasonably cold weather front coming through Northern California has us been wishing for comfort food. What better way to warm our stomach, body and soul than meat loaf. Come and cook with us!

Granted, meat loafs are neither new nor trendy. To the contrary, in one form or another, they have been a staple in Western cuisines for a long time. My mother never made a meat loaf but i still remember the grayish meat mixture slices served at my boarding house. I’m sure they are partly to blame for the anti-meat loaf propaganda. That is not the meat loaf I’m writing about!

My recipe uses grass-fed hamburger meat with a focus on quantity, not quality. To bulk up the dish, I add cremini mushrooms that add a perfect umami flavor, along with bread crumbs, milk, spices and herbs. A little baking soda and vinegar helps the loaf to stay light and airy. Using the same approach as with my meatballs, all vegetables get minced so finely, that they are not recognizable to the eye, but bring a wide spectrum of colors, nutrition and flavors to the final dish. Baking the loaf in the oven, prevents the meat from drying out, keeping the final dish juicy and tender.

Serve the meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes and a nice green leaf lettuce and voila, a hearty and warming dinner is on the table. Let us know what you think. Come and cook with us!

Meat Loaf

PS: The meat loaf looked and tasted so much better than I could capture on camera. Please use your imagination and let the meat loaf do the talking…

Make Way for Preserved Lemons in Your Life

IMG_0986If you are like me and have a sweet spot for Middle Eastern foods, then you have probably tried a few recipes that feature preserved lemon. Or at least you have seen them on the ingredient list and maybe wondered what they are. Don’t be discouraged and give preserved lemons a try. They are easy to make, add an amazing flavor intensity to any dish and absolutely belong into your range of condiments. Come and cook with us!

One reason that preserved lemons are so popular is that the preserving process removes the bitter taste while enforcing the tartness and zestiness of the lemons. As I have learned, while the whole lemon is used for preservation, it is only the skins that actually make it into the final recipe while the flesh is and any pith are being discarded. The result is an absolutely delicious lemony flavor that is unique and hard to recreate with anything but preserved lemons.

Preserved lemons can be used to add intensity to many dishes that are vegetable, fish and meat based. In fact, preserved lemons embolden your salad dressings, you marinate your fish in them, use them over pasta, in dips and salsas. The options are endless. And, to add to their usefulness, preserved lemons look “oh-so-pretty”. Make some preserved lemons today, sit back and let them work their magic and be ready for some more lemony flavor in your lives! Come and cook with us!

Preserved Lemons

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Wellness: From the Inside Out

IMG_0335When it comes to the blog, we most often focus on the How to cook. Sometimes, we also want to talk about the Why. Last week, I attended a wellness workshop held at The Hivery in Sausalito and conceived by Mill Valley’s very own Juice Girl, Melora Johnson. The panel included Dr. Josefa Rangel, an Integrative doctor with a practice in Marin, Jason Way, a Naturopathic Doctor in Mill Valley, and Clean Eat Nutrition, run by Eris Cushner and Sandrine Ghosh, two nutritionists. The interactive panel discussion offered ideas, recipes and information on promoting wellness from the inside out. Here are my key take-aways. Come and cook with us! Continue reading

My Cabbage is Alive: How to Make Sauerkraut

IMG_7709There are certain foods that come and go, others have been around for a long time and are here to stay. Or at least, they should be. Be honest, how often have we heard that including fermented foods like yogurt, miso, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut are nutritious and have healing powers benefiting our overall health? Well, it’s time to step up the game by learning how to make simple sauerkraut. While some readers might be well versed in the art of fermentation – such as my parents – we invite others to dip their tow into fermented foods by following this simple recipe of sauerkraut. Come and cook with us! Continue reading

Going Ga-Ga over Pickled Ginger

_DSC0494There are certain foods that one discovers later in life. For me, ginger is one of them. Growing up with a heavily Austrian/Italian cuisine, I found out about ginger’s zingy flavor, medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory capabilities when I was exposed to it through Asian foods. Back in Italy, we didn’t really use it. In fact, we didn’t even have ginger-snaps, as our equivalent holiday cookies – Lebkuchen – doesn’t feature that spice at all. The multitude of favorable healthy benefits of this spice is only matched by it’s many uses. Ginger’s tangy flavor, spiciness, freshness and mellow sweetness complements many a dish, both sweet and savory: think stir-fries and ice creams. My son loves ginger and would eat it every day: cooked, steamed, and, if he could have it his way, candied. This week, come and pickle some fresh ginger with us! Continue reading

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