Thursday, July 21, 2011

A blast from a cookbook past

The pants she's wearing in this picture used to be to her
ankles less then 6 months ago, I swear!
Recently I've noticed that my 4year old daughters long pants were suddenly hitting her just below the calf. I was certain I did not purchase them that lenght, and sat there bewildered for a few moments as to how the sudden change? It didn't take too long before the light bulb went off and I realized that the lenght change was not just the obvious result of her growing like a weed these days, but also my incredible lagging on spring cleaning this is year!

I am late! We are half way through July and I barely started sorting through closets, drawers, shelves, cupboards and my favorite....bookshelves. Typically the cleaning rampage begins with organizing my kids toys and clothes, as they grow so fast I can hardly keep up. I eventually make it to my favorite area in the kitchen, a shelf filled with cook books. Books don't exactly fall into the official "spring clean" category. I rarely part with my cook books nor can I ever imagine giving any of them away. OK maybe I may allow someone to borrow one from time to time but even then I hesitate. I am very territorial when it comes to my cook books!

Some of my Lovely Books
So the week has passed, clothes have been sorted and Lia's calf length pants removed and ready to be donated. The pantry has been cleaned and expired items tossed, and all spices are now in alphabetical order. OK I'm only kidding as that would be neurotic even for me! The spices are however neatly organized and perfectly lined up. The BEST part of this overhaul had to do with the sorting through my cookbooks however. I came across one I hadn't seen in ages, but that I've loved since 2001. A Williams-Sonoma Chicken book that of all things has my absolute favorite Turkey Meatloaf with Sage Gravy recipe in the back bonus section.

Turkey Meat loaf with Sage Gravy
What a blast from the past. 2001 was the year I got engaged and I will forever associate this meatloaf with that incredible time. This was probably one of the first recipes I ever made from a book, while finishing college and living in a tiny apartment with my Husband (then fiance). I swear when I made it last week, and we sat there eating together, it was as if we had traveled back in time. There at our breakfast table felt like I was 21 again, happy to have successfully prepared a dish from a book and proud of myself for having followed directions correctly. Thrilled to have cooked a delicious meal for the man I was about to marry. You know it helped that the kids were asleep and not around to whine and snap us back into 2011....I love them but they are not allowed to time travel with us :)

The Sage Gravy is Incredible
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have over the years. The loaf comes out so moist and the flavors so simple and mild yet comforting and and delicious. Eating this dish just makes me so relaxed and soothes my senses. The gravy is the star and the sage really adds that special something. I am so happy to have stumbled upon this recipe after 11 years and glad to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it with those special to you as I have.

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Chicken Cook Book
Turkey Meat loaf with Sage Gravy

For the Meat Loaf:
1 egg
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 lb. ground turkey
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
1 small yellow onion finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

For The Gravy:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all purpose plain flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, as well as a small loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the egg and tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined. Add the ground turkey, bread crumbs, onion, celery, parsley, and rosemary to the bowl and mix just until combined.
3. Pack the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Then put the baking tray on top of pan and flip it gently.

4. Bake until the center of the loaf registers 165F on a food thermometer. About 1 1/4 hours, my oven takes about 50minutes so check at that point as all ovens differ. Transfer the meat to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
5. To make the gravy, add butter to the pan and melt over low heat. Then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Next slowly whisk in the stock and raise the heat to medium, bring to a boil while continuing to stir with the whisk. Make sure to scrape any brown bits from the pan that were left over from the loaf.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until the gravy reduces slightly. Stir in the sage, season with salt and pepper.

Serve the turkey loaf with mashed potatoes and pour the gravy over everything before you eat.
(TIP: I like to use 99% fat free organic turkey. Don't worry it will still be moist, besides the decadent gravy you will pour over it will create even more moisture)


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