Monday, April 16, 2007

Not quite traditional...

As we are trying to get back into the swing of things after getting back from vacation, I decided to do a couple dishes of comfort food, though a little updated, for dinner tonight. Instead of starting us off with a side like mashed potatoes, I decided to play around with something a little different and we ended up with this side of Creamy Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic and Chipotle.

First, we began by roasting an entire bulb of garlic that was drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil. After letting the garlic cool a bit, the pulp was easily squeezed out of the individual cloves - we then mixed the softened pulp with cream cheese, milk and minced chipotle peppers. Once we cut up the entire head of cauliflower, we gently steamed the florets in a large pot until they were tender. The cauliflower is added in with the cream cheese and then I used an immersion blender to break down the cauliflower, turning the mixture very smooth. You could use a potato masher to combine the mixture to keep it a little chunky - but we were aiming for an extra creamy texture. Roasting the garlic mellows the flavor and lends a rich background with a hint of sweetness. The cream cheese adds thickness and bring a luscious mouth-feel to the dish with the chipotle adding a mild smoky heat. It ended up being almost too thin though, so I may try adding the cooked cauliflower back into the hot, but dry, pot and letting some of the liquid evaporate off like you would do when you boil potatoes.

For the main portion of tonight's dinner, we took a lighter look at meatloaf with a recipe for Turkey Mini Meat Loaves. Since I grind my own turkey meat, I used a combo of dark and white meat to ensure the loaves would stay moist- but if you want, you could get away with using all white meat. Mixed with the ground meat are softened onions, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and spices bound with an egg and a handful of breadcrumbs. For individual portions, the mixture is divided into muffin cups to bake - however, you could bake this as one larger loaf and slice it if you prefer. If you do that, it will take about 15 or 20 minutes longer to bake. Before the mini loaves are placed in the oven, we coated the naked tops in a mixture of ketchup, grainy mustard and a few dashes of Frank's Red Hot (cayenne pepper sauce). Since these will release some juices as they bake, be sure to place the muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips so you don't get a mess in the bottom of your oven.

With their tangy tops, these loaves were light, held their shape well and did stay quite moist from the onions and meat mixture. While they didn't blow our minds, they were very good, a little different and yet still gave that comforting feeling when you ate them.


  1. MMMMMmmm.. i love meat loaf.=) I have never mde it before. I think i might try it using chicken. =)

  2. I love the method of baking the meatloaf in the muffin tins. Great way to save for left overs or freeze for later. Also good for when you are only cooking for one or two.

  3. The cauliflower dish sounds yummy!!
    I see you are not around these past few days, hope everything is ok with you and Jeff!!

  4. Victoria - It's quite easy - give it a try!

    Anon - I agree!

    Ana - You know why now... thanks for wondering what was up!