Meat Loaf

1 lb ground venison
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
or any variety of beef, venison, lamb, pork or goat you may have.

3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons mustard
1 large yellow onion (caramelized)
4-5 Garlic cloves, crushed or minced
3 eggs
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon mustard seed
1/4 Teaspoon Mexican chili powder

1/2 Cup ketchup
Sauerkraut – optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crush garlic and set aside at least 10 minutes.  Caramelize onions in olive oil and cool a little bit.
Mix all ingredients, except ketchup, together and put half of mixture into each bread pan pressing the mixture down into each pan.
Spread ketchup on top of each loaf.
Bake for about 1.5 hours. Serve with sauerkraut.

You can cut ingredients in half to make one loaf but I like to make 2 loaves at a time to put one in the freezer for another day.

Pork Chops

I have been trying flavor combinations from the book “The Flavor Bible” and they recommend tarragon and garlic to be paired with pork.

Pasture raised pork rubbed in olive oil with tarragon, dash of salt and pepper, and fresh garlic clove. Then bake. Yum!

Turkey for Thanksgiving

The night before baking: 
Season the turkey and store in refrigerator until ready to bake.
Prepare the stuffing and store in bowl overnight.

Bake turkey at 325 degrees for about 6-8 hours or until internal temperature reaches 185 degrees. This is always the difficult part to get right so please make sure the stuffing is well cooked to prevent salmonella.

20 lb turkey – we got a fresh turkey from Farmer Mark at Emma Acres in Ann Arbor. It was the best ever.

Whole head of garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Mince garlic and set aside for 10 minutes. Mix together salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary. Blend in garlic until smooth with mortal and pestle. Coat turkey with the blend. Refrigerate covered overnight.

5 small stalks celery
2 large cloves garlic minced finely, set aside for 10 minutes
1 lb ground pork cooked
1 (14 oz) bag Pepperidge Farm Stuffing breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups (or less) water or broth
1 large onion
1 medium fuji apple
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup homemade cranberry sauce

Sauté pork and set aside. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water or broth, salt, chopped apple and celery. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add cooked pork and breadcrumbs; mix well. Add 1 cup water and mix. Then add cranberry sauce and stir gently. Add more water as necessary until bread crumbs are mostly moist (juices of the turkey will make stuffing more moist in cooking). Refrigerate.

Pasta al pomodoro

Recipe from “New Italian Cooking,” courtesy of chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta

Total Prep: Roughly 40 minutes, 4 servings
This is a straightforward, traditional, fresh tomato sauce in which ripe tomatoes — and little else — get cooked quickly to retain their vibrant flavor. Why then is it such a hit? The key is in the finish. Here’s how I put the dish together at the restaurant: I take a single portion of pasta cooked just shy of al dente and add it to a sauté pan that holds a single portion of hot, bubbling tomato sauce. To toss the pasta and sauce together I use that pan-jerking method we chefs are so fond of. I do this to look cool. Just kidding. The real reason is that this technique not only coats the pasta evenly with the sauce, but it also introduces a little air into the process making the dish feel lighter and brighter. To accomplish this aeration with larger portions and without fancy wrist work, cook the sauce in a pan with a lot of surface area. When you add the pasta to the sauce, gently toss the pasta with a couple of wooden spoons (tongs can bruise and break the strands), lifting the pasta high above the bottom of the pot. Finish the dish with some butter, some cheese, and some basil.
About 20 ripe plum tomatoes

About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish the dish

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbs. unsalted butter 1 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about half a cup)

6 to 8 fresh basil leaves well washed and dried, stacked and rolled into a cylinder and cut thinly crosswise into a chiffonade

1 lb. spaghetti, either high-quality dry or homemade
To peel the tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease about 5 tomatoes in the pot and cook. Let boil for about 15 seconds and then promptly move them to the waiting ice water (do this with the remaining tomatoes). Pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife. If the skin sticks, try a vegetable peeler using a gentle sawing motion. Cut the tomatoes in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.
To cook the tomatoes: In a wide pan, heat the 1/3 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and season lightly with the salt and pepper (I always start with a light hand with the salt and pepper because as the tomatoes reduce, the salt will become concentrated).

Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften. Then, using a potato masher, chop the tomatoes finely. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze it for longer storage.
To serve: Bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat, gently tossing the pasta and the sauce together with a couple of wooden spoons and a lot of exaggerated movement (you can even shake the pan) until the pasta is just tender and the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive (If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta liquid to adjust it). Take the pan off the heat and toss the butter, basil and cheese with the pasta in the same manner (the pasta should take on an orange hue) and serve immediately.