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Monday, March 27, 2017

Comfort Food Classic - Turkey Mushroom Meatloaf

Every once in a while, I get a craving for Meatloaf. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I go out of my way to make it something special.  Most often, I'll go for our standard (but very awesome) Turkey Meatloaf recipe, complete its own yummy basting and serving sauce, but this particular night, I wanted something different - a slightly faster cooking Meatloaf packed with savory, tender Mushrooms. 

Because this Meatloaf is also relatively small-batch (double the recipe and cook in two pans if you'd like to make more), it stays extra juicy and cooks in just about hour.  You don't have to love Mushrooms to love this recipe, but you will find that they add extra richness, texture and meatiness.  You almost feel like you're eating Beef instead of healthier Turkey Meat. Try this for your next family dinner. You won't regret it. 

Most Delicious Turkey Mushroom Meatloaf (Pictured with extra Mushrooms on top). Photo: NK

Most Delicious Mushroom Meatloaf
Serves 4 
*(If you double the recipe, best to divide into two portions and bake it in two sheet or roasting pans, side by side)

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided
1 large Carrot, minced
1 Leek, white and light green parts, minced (you can sub in 3 minced Scallions as well)
1 Medium Yellow Onion, finely diced
Cup and a half minced mixed Mushrooms (we used Oyster and Cremini)
3 Tablespoons minced Chives

1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 LB Ground Organic Turkey
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmigiana Reggiano Cheese 


Turn oven to 350 with rack in the middle. 

Melt 2 Tablespoons of the Butter medium skillet over medium heat. Add minced Carrots and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add Leek, and saute for about 2 minutes. Add Onion and saute another two minutes. Add minced Mushrooms and continue to cook another 3-4 minutes until they have softened but are still springy. Stir in Chives and Parsley and turn off the heat.

Add Panko to a large bowl. Stir in Chicken Broth and blend to moisten the Panko. Add the Mushroom Veggie Mix to the bowl as well as the Turkey, and 1 Egg. Blend. Melt the last Tablespoon of Butter and pour it in. Season with Salt and Pepper. Add Ketchup and Parmigiana Cheese. Blend.

Grease a high sided Baking Pan and mound the Meatloaf down the middle of it. It will seem rather wet and that is ok. It should be about six inches wide to nine inches long and about an inch and a half high. Bake about 1 hour until cooked through (170 in the middle with an instant read thermometer). Rest for 5-10 minutes and serve warm. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cocktail Break - St. Pat's Guinness Bloody Mary

Erin go bragh and happy St. Pats! Today, I'm going to give you a recipe tip you won't soon forget. 

A recipe tip about cocktails...

A genius idea given to me by the barkeep at venerable Irish bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the scene of more than a few good times with my best friend before life forced us to become "responsible adults." 

Something tells me we'll be back. And you know why? Because they make a great Bloody Mary, and the best Bloody Marys...

Guinness Bloody Mary, Photo: NK

have Guinness in them! 

YES. Who knew you could improve on a Bloody Mary? The bartender are George Keeley did, that's who. 

They say Guinness is Good, but Guinness Bloody Mary's are definitely better. As a matter of fact, lots of things benefit from a good dose of stout - like this easy Beef Pot Pie

Even if you favor green drinks on St. Pat's be sure to give this recipe a try some time this year. 

Guinness Bloody Mary's Our Way

Yields 1 Cocktail


1 short rocks glass
Toothpick or Cocktail Skewers


1.5 Ounces of Vodka
4 Ounces of Low Sodium Tomato Juice
1 teaspoon Horseradish 
2 Splashes Worcestershire
1 Lime Wedge for garnish and one for the mix
1 Lemon Round for garnish and lemon for the mix
3 Green Olives stuffed with Pimento
1 Celery Stalk
Seasoned Salt (Celery Salt or other flavored Salt Blend) 
4 Dashes of Tabasco 
1 Ounce of Guinness 
Salt and Pepper to taste 


Rim your glass with some Lemon and dip it into Seasoned Salt. 
Fill a short glass 2/3 of the way with Tomato Juice, then add Vodka, Horseradish, Tabasco, Worcestershire and a good squeeze of lemon. Stir.

Thread three Olives onto a cocktail skewer and finish with a small Lime Wedge. Set aside. 

Add Ice and Stir. Pour on the Guinness. Taste and add additional Tabasco, Horseradish and Seasoned Salt or Pepper as you wish. 

Garnish with a Celery Stalk and the Olive skewer. Enjoy!! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pasta Party - Ziti Carbonara

Today concluded an especially fun (and food) filled three day weekend that was indisputably action packed. We started at a friend's birthday party and then the family got together Saturday evening for an easy and festive dinner. I was in the mood to cook, even though it was technically my birthday weekend and I was otherwise taking it easy (we officially celebrated on Sunday with a phenomenal dinner at Brooklyn's iconic, Peter Luger). 

Cooking almost never feels like work to me, and when you pick easy recipes and do just a little bit of light prep work, entertaining can be almost effortless. I decided that dinner would consist of a duo of Pasta Courses and a salad. The first dish was a Neurotic Kitchen classic, Aglio Olio e Peperoncino, which is perfect in its simplicity and also incredibly budget friendly. Next I whipped up a sinful batch of Ziti Carbonara

I have to thank my mom for walking me through the Carbonara prep, and without a recipe, no less. It's one of those dishes that you can make almost by instinct. It ended up being the perfect easy dish for our family gathering. Really flavorful, a little rich and indisputably comforting. It's definitely going in the dinner party rotation for years to come. For tips and the recipe, read below!

Special thanks to everyone who made my birthday weekend so special. 

Ziti Carbonara, Photo: NK 

Cook's Notes- Carbonara is a dish you need to make a la minute. That means that you'll benefit greatly from chopping and prepping in advance, which is especially crucial if you're cooking this for guests.

Do Ahead:

Grate the Parmigiana Cheese
Chop the Onions
Chop the Bacon
Chop the Italian Parsley


Ziti Carbonara
Serves 6 modestly or as an appetizer

1 Pound Ziti
4 Strips (approximately 4 Ounces) Thick Cut Bacon or Pancetta (we prefer Coleman Organic) cut into a medium dice
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Sweet Yellow Onion or White Onion, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Cup Grated Parmigiana Romano
3 Large Eggs* (each cracked and beaten in it's own individual mug or ramekin)
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
1 teaspoon Black Pepper 

1. Make sure all ingredients are chopped and prepped as above.

2. In a saute pan, cook Bacon in about a Tablespoon Olive Oil until golden brown and slightly crisped. Remove the Bacon from the pan and set aside. Wipe out some of the remaining oil and Bacon Fat, leaving about two Tablespoons. Add the Onions to the pan and saute over medium heat until tender and translucent. Add the Wine and scrape the pan. Allow to cook over medium flame until it is reduced, by about half or more leaving a Tablespoon or two remaining.  Turn off the flame.

3. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is ready, add the Ziti, stirring occasionally until cooked to a nice al dente.

4. Drain the Pasta in a colander. Return to the hot Pasta pot. Working quickly, add a handful of Parmigiana Cheese, toss well. Add the Bacon and Onion Mixture, toss. Add one beaten Egg, and toss vigorously and continuously. Add another handful of grated Parmigiana, toss. Add the Black Pepper, toss. Add another egg, and toss again. Add more Parmigiana and the final Egg. Toss until creamy and well incorporated. Sprinkle in all the Parsley and toss. Taste for seasoning and add Salt as needed. Add more Pepper as you wish. It should have a good amount. Serve right away in a communal bowl!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Game Day Gourmet - Superbowl LI

Hosting our friends for the Super Bowl is a tradition in our house, and even though we only invite a few people, we do like to go all out. This year's menu was at its best with Thomas Keller's absolutely delicious New England Clam Chowder (even though we were hoping the Falcons would win!). As a rule, I like to go beyond the chips and dip and serve recipes that are casual, fast to make, but also just a little elegant too. Who says football food can be gourmet? 

Here's a quick look at what we made with links to all the recipes. Until next year! 

Hogs In A Blanket, (Andouille Sausage in Puff Pastry with Chutney & Mustard). Click HERE 

Thomas Keller's Amazing New England Clam Chowder, Click HERE 

Ina Garten's Roasted Brussels Sprouts Tossed with Bacon, Click HERE 

Old Bay Buffalo Wings, Click HERE 
Looking for more ideas? Check out our Super Bowl Menus through the years: