Tag Archives: roku

not so healthy turkey spinach meatloaf (hint: bacon)

8 Sep

I had all the best intentions. I was going to make a healthy version of meatloaf. J and I had watched this Chow video on Roku with the recipe for what promised to be the most delicious meatloaf, ever. A meatloaf infused with spinach and swathed in bacon for the moistest log of meat you’d ever seen.

I took a risk. Instead of using the prescribed combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, I selected turkey (*gasp*). Meatloaf, no. Foulloaf, maybe? J was bugging me to cook more healthy meat, so this was our compromise: turkey wrapped in bacon.

Though a bit tedious (you gotta get out a blender), this recipe produced a luscious loaf even with my substitution of turkey. I also like that you pat the mixture into a loaf pan instead free forming it.

The turkey oozed a layer of fatty scum that enveloped the beautiful slices of bacon preventing them from becoming golden brown–that was pretty much the only downside. The bacon flavor still penetrated as I hoped it would. I also opted for a pre-made Trader Joe’s organic pomodoro sauce and it blended right in as if I had made it be scratch, too. Definitely delicious, but it’ll be real meat next time.

spinach meatloaf
from the new new york times cookbook, via chow + foul

* 1 (10-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
* 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (or a combination of veal, beef, and pork if you prefer)
* 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
* 1 medium garlic clove, minced
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
* 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/2 cup small-dice celery
* 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup whole milk
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 3 bacon slices
* Tomato sauce, warmed, for serving

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Rinse the spinach well in cold water and drain. Place in a large frying pan, cover, and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. (It is not necessary to add liquid; the spinach will cook in the water clinging to the leaves.)

Transfer the spinach to a colander and douse with cold water to chill. Drain and press with your hands to extract most of the moisture. Coarsely chop the spinach.

Place the meat in a large bowl, followed by the chopped spinach, breadcrumbs, garlic, measured salt and pepper, and nutmeg (no need to mix yet); set aside.

Place the celery, parsley, and milk in a blender and blend until puréed. Add to the meat mixture.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add to the meat mixture.

Add the eggs to the meat mixture and, using clean hands, mix everything until evenly combined (don’t squeeze or overwork the mixture). If desired, test for seasoning by forming a small patty and cooking it in the small skillet over medium heat until no longer pink inside. Taste the patty and add more salt and pepper to the meat mixture as needed. Repeat the seasoning test as needed.

Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, spread to the edges, and smooth out the top. Cover the meatloaf with the bacon slices, laying them lengthwise and side by side.

Bake in the oven until just cooked through, turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Pour off the excess fat and let the meatloaf stand for 20 minutes before slicing. If you choose, serve with tomato sauce.

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roku. chow. pork.

15 Nov

In an effort to quit evil Comcast cable, I recently acquired Roku. For $80 (less than I would pay for a month of cable), I snapped up a lower-end HD hardware box about the size of 3 stacked CD jewel cases. What sold me on Roku? Well, it’s cheaper than Apple TV, Boxee, Google TV or a dedicated PC, plus they seem to have solid content partnerships.

Honestly, I had higher hopes for the level of free content available, which currently consists of old b&w movies, bad internet programming, a zillion Pandora-esque stations, and porn (if you are so inclined). I’ve resigned to using it purely as a Netflix-streaming watching box (and Hulu Plus, whenever that gets released). The Vimeo and YouTube channels could be good diversions, but are inconvenient to search and navigate.

I do appreciate that Chow has a free channel on Roku. Sure, it’s no replacement for the Food Network, but it does have fun videos including a Celebrity Go-To Dish section with a Steamed Ground Pork with Salted Fish recipe by Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame.

In the video segment, Phan improvises his favorite family comfort meal — a rustic pork patty studded with dried Chinese salted fish (haam yee) and steamed to juicy perfection. Most Chinese folks (myself included) grew up eating this simple to prepare home-style dish served over rice. Unlike Phan, we never “ground” our own pork with dual cleavers, nor spiked the pork with Vietnamese fish sauce.

Inspired by Phan’s fancification, I set out to recreate the dish one Sunday evening. Instead of fresh mushrooms, I rehydrated a fistful of dried shiitakes and opted for a 50/50 mix of fatty and lean ground pork from the local butcher. At the Chinese market, I grabbed a nice and stinky dried mackerel sold in hanging plastic bags with the tail exposed.

I’m not old school Chinese, so I don’t own a wok or bamboo basket steamers. Phan describes how to fashion a steamer from foil and a skillet, but I prefer to use a heatproof footed ceramic bowl carefully set it into a large lidded pot with half-inch of simmering water. My grandparents always used this bowl-steaming trick to maximize surface area — simply push the ground pork up the sides of the bowl with uniform thickness to form a cup-like patty.

steamed ground pork with salted fish
umami in a bowl

* 1 pound ground pork
* handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely chopped
* 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus more as needed
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 2 (2-by-1-inch-long and 1/2-inch-thick) pieces salted mackerel
* 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced, then cut into very thin matchsticks

Fill a large wok with 1 inch of water and place a large bamboo steamer inside. (The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer.) If you don’t have a wok and a bamboo steamer, try my bowl-steaming method. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.

Place pork in a medium bowl. Add mushrooms, shallot, fish sauce, cornstarch, oil, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Check mixture for proper seasoning by forming a small, thin patty. Pan-fry it until the center is no longer pink. Taste, adding additional fish sauce, salt, or pepper as needed, keeping in mind that there will be additional salt in the dish from the salted fish.

Place pork mixture in a slightly rimmed (to contain the juices) heatproof dish about 8 inches in diameter. Press the pork across the dish to form a large 1/2-inch-thick patty. If using salted mackerel, place it in the center of the pork patty. If using anchovies, scatter them in a single layer on top of the pork patty. Evenly sprinkle with ginger. Carefully place the dish in the bamboo steamer or into pot. Cover the wok or pot with a tightfitting lid or a sheet of aluminum foil and steam until the mixture is just cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with rice and vegetables.

Serves 4. Adapted from Charles Phan recipe.