Friday, February 23, 2007

Updating some classic comfort foods...

What could be a more classic pair of comfort foods than meat loaf and mashed potatoes? However, the two that we made for dinner tonight are not necessarily your typical recipes. Instead of plain ol' mashed taters, we added a smoky flare to these buttery golden spuds with a recipe for Mashed Potatoes with Cumin-Lime Butter.

Softened butter is mixed together with cilantro, shallots, fresh lime juice, ground cumin and toasted cumin seeds to forge the smoky aspect. Once the Yukon gold potatoes are tender and drained, be sure to put them back in the hot pot so any water left on the potatoes can evaporate and dry them out a touch. Out of our preference, I left the skins on and used a potato masher to cream out the potatoes, but feel free to peel them and use a mixer if you want an ultra creamy texture. Mashed with buttermilk to add a mild twang, each heaping mound of the potatoes is given a dollop of the herbed lime-y butter mixture - this way you can add as little or as much to your taste, rather than adding it to the entire batch.

Inside tonight's main dish, Salsa Meat Loaf, is a bounty of grated carrots, zucchini, garlic and onions that are bound together with ground sirloin, egg whites and rolled oats. If you wanted to be sneaky, you could finely grate the vegetables so they won't be as visible if you have picky eaters, but I used a coarser grate for a bit of texture. As you mix the ingredients together, be sure to use a gentle hand to keep the mixture light and so you don't over-work the meat. Shaped free-form on a broiler pan (good to let the excess fat drip away), the meat loaf cooks until the top turns brown. A coating of chipotle salsa is then slathered on top and goes back into the oven to finish cooking. The total time it takes to bake will vary depending on how thick your loaf ends up - ours was just over 2" high and took a little over an hour. The only change needed I think would be to add a bit more salt - the meat loaf held together quite well, sliced cleanly and was definitely moist. The salsa I used was the one we first tried and liked back in July from Trader Joe's - it brought a subtle heat that kind of crept up on you without masking the flavor underneath.

Hmm... it's not even 15 minutes since we've been done eating and I can't get this thought of a thick hearty meat loaf sandwich out of my mind for lunch tomorrow - is that wrong? Tomorrow morning better fly by fast!


  1. Yum! Leftover meatloaf sandwiches the next day are the best part of making meatloaf.

  2. Dinner looks awesome, Joe!! True comfort food. Enjoy the leftovers!

  3. I've had meatloaf on my mind recently too - I love the recipe from Cook's Illustrated.

  4. There are few things better than a nice meatloaf sandwich... with gravy!

  5. Wow! Your food pix are looking better than they ever have. New camera? Tips you want to share?

  6. Barbara - so true!

    Val - Thanks!

    mebeth - I don't believe we have tried that one yet!

    s'kat - yeah!

    Anon - Nothing new really! Although a new camera would be nice!