Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pears, Carrots, and Craisins, Oh My! Eat My (Turkey) Loaf.

Dissected Loaf Glory
Meatloaf made a comeback in my kitchen after a dormant, forgotten life, taking a backseat to my Cuban-style picadillo (a tried and true winner compliments of stellar Chef Mom). But this ground turkey contender became a front-runner when I decided to make it with what I considered nontraditional ingredients (AKA whatever I found in my refrigerator and pantry). Not to say that I wasn't selective, but I certainly did not trek to the market with a thoughtful grocery list (which proves to be the usual in Kitchen Rebecca). Using my keen cook's intuition - which is no way fail safe by any stretch, but nonetheless - this is what I came up with to add to my 1 1/4 lbs of lean ground turkey goodness:
*Oh, and I never measure anything, so my documentation is by no means a procedural recipe. I know, I gave up the "baker" dream a long time ago.
  • diced and grated carrot (one stalk - are they called stalks?)
  • diced peeled pear (a soft one)
  • diced onion (a small one)
  • grated garlic (3 cloves)
  • grated fresh ginger root (a finger-tip's length)
  • oats (a handful or two - bear in mind I have small hands)
  • craisins (as many as look pretty)
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • ground pepper
  • small can of tomato sauce (8 oz?)
Squished it all together, sculpted a lovely log, baked it covered, and then uncovered to get that sauce-induced crust, and viola, I had me a darn good meatloaf with all 'dem fixins right inside! (I don't know why I just turned southern.) And it took an hour, tops.

Plated with tarragon-lemon steamed broccoli, zucchini, and yellow squash, and field green salad tossed with cannellini beans, tomatoes, avocado, and cucumbers.
Surprise Secret: I found the pears and the oats kept the turkey loaf unusually moist, especially for a very lean meat. The overall flavor was a mellow, subtle sweetness with the texture of a firmer bread pudding.

This is one of those times where the creative cat in me produced a surprisingly tasty twist on a traditional (sometimes not so tasty) staple. So don't fear the loaf! Mold that meat when its ground-up state begs the question: what will I be today?