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Skillet Meatloaf

This fall I was offered the opportunity to write a book that I’ve been wanting to write, thinking about writing, for years. A cast iron cookbook, full of family recipes, techniques, and tips on how to care for this most wonderful cookware. Everett was just a few months old when I started the project, and there were many times I didn’t think I could manage to keep my eyes open long enough in the evenings to write recipes. But, I did it. With the help of family, friends, and Dan, I put together this beautiful book, and I have never been more proud of a piece of work. The Southern Cast Iron Cookbook comes out in just a few weeks (May 16, but you can pre-order it now!) and I can’t wait for you to see it. It’s lovely.

 

 

One of the recipes I’ve made a few times already is the skillet meatloaf, and while it seems a bit unorthodox to post a meatloaf recipe when it’s 80 degrees outside, I think it’s worth the chance. My friend Aaron tested this recipe for me and his feedback (which ended up in the headnote of the book) was that this was the best meatloaf he’d ever had. You just don’t get a better endorsement than that (especially from someone with such a refined palate), and so I’ll just let the tester’s notes speak for themselves.

 

 

 

A brown sugar and apple cider vinegar sauce gives the meatloaf a little sweetness, and it’s incredible moist and flavorful. I served it with sautéed broccolini and gorgonzola scalloped potatoes, and then enjoyed the leftovers for days. In the book the recipe calls for a biscuit pan, which makes adorable individual servings of meatloaf. When I made it most recently I increased the ingredient quantities slightly made it in my 12″ skillet, which made an incredibly satisfying amount of meatloaf.

 

 

 

Every book that I’ve written has been a labor of love, and with each cookbook project I learn something new. This book was a wildly different experience than any of the books I’ve previously worked on, and I am immensely proud of how it has turned out. It is a very personal book, both the recipes and the stories that accompany them, come from my heart. My friend Christina said that this book was full of love, and I think she hit the nail on the head. From the dedication to the acknowledgements this book has a piece of me, and I’m so glad that I am able to share that with you.

 

 

Skillet Meatloaf
Source: The Southern Cast Iron Cookbook by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

 

This recipe is written for use with a 12″ skillet. 

 

sauce:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp brown sugar

3/4 cup tomato paste

 

meatloaf: 

3 lbs 85% lean ground beef

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

3/4 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup whole milk

5 garlic cloves, minced

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsps sea salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp dried mustard

1 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Begin by stirring together apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Set sauce aside.

 

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl mix together ground beef, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, milk, garlic, eggs, onion, sea salt, garlic powder, paprika, dry mustard, and cayenne. Transfer to the greased skillet, pressing mixture to an even height.

 

Spread half the sauce overtop of the meatloaf. Bake for 60-90 minutes, until meat is cooked through and bubbling. Allow to cool slightly, top with remaining sauce, and serve.

 

Make this Gluten Free:

 

This recipe adapts really easily for GF, just substitute gluten free breadcrumbs 1:1.

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Gorgonzola Scalloped Potatoes

I am lucky to have come from a family full of talented cooks and passionate food lovers. I spent many afternoons perched on a kitchen stool, watching my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles carefully put together simple meals and extravagant suppers. I learned the care and love of cooking from them, and I credit my love for toiling in the kitchen to their example.

 

 

That said, learning the techniques was something different entirely. For that, I was on my own, and I was thankful for my grandmother’s recipe cards, my subscription to Southern Living, and the library of cookbooks I began to collect as soon as I hung bookshelves in my first tiny apartment kitchen. Southern Living taught me how to make so many things, from a fluffy coconut cake to scalloped potatoes; I’ve poured over each issue that landed in my mailbox, picking up tips, techniques, and process. I firmly believe that once you learn the how of a recipe you open the doors to experimentation, changing and tweaking to suit your tastes.

 

 

I’ve made scalloped potatoes time and time again, for holidays, dinner parties, and date nights at home. Last Thanksgiving, pregnant and craving potatoes in a bone deep way, I made three different versions of scalloped potatoes in addition to mashed potatoes. That particular meal ended with one family member getting the potato sweats and one very happy pregnant lady.

 

 

While the bones of my scalloped potato recipes is always the same— thinly sliced potatoes, heavy cream, generous amounts of garlic and cheese— each time I make the dish it turns out a little bit different. Sometimes I’ll add other vegetables, different cheeses, spices, or even add a breadcrumb top to make the leap to au gratin. Recently I mixed in a cup of gorgonzola, and the result was heavenly. Tangy, creamy, and buttery, the gorgonzola gave the dish a punch of flavor that made it the perfect accompaniment to a pesto-topped sirloin and arugula salad. It’s a variation I’m sure I’ll find myself returning to again and again, a delicious twist on a family classic.

 

 

Gorgonzola Scalloped Potatoes
serves 4-6

 

8-10 medium sized red potatoes

1 cup gorgonzola cheese

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated asiago cheese

2 cups heavy cream

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

 

Heat oven to 350F.

 

Wash potatoes and thinly slice into 1/8″ slices, skin on. Arrange a layer of potato slices in a medium size casserole dish or braiser. Top with 1/2 gorgonzola and 1/3 mozzarella. Add a second layer of potatoes and top with remaining gorgonzola and 1/3 mozzarella. Add a third, and final, layer of potatoes and top with mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, salt, and red pepper flakes.

 

In a medium sauce pan combine heavy cream with minced garlic. Scald by bringing the cream just to the edge of a boil and then removing from heat. Add cream to the potatoes, pouring in along the edges of the dish so as not to disturb the layers.

 

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is melted, brown, and bubbling. Allow to set and cool for 15 minutes before serving.

 

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Dandelion Green Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

This morning I took a nature walk with my students, living vicariously through them as they delightedly picked dandelions and blew the flowering seeds into the wind, watching them dance on the cool spring breeze. After school I circled back to the same field with a pair of scissors and trimmed myself a bunch of dandelion greens for tonight’s salad. Slightly bitter with a peppery taste, dandelion greens are one of Dan’s favorites, which means that I jump at the chance to harvest and serve them. We particularly love them with a hot bacon dressing (because everything tastes better with a hot bacon dressing), goat cheese, toasted pecans, and red onions. Happy Spring, everyone!

 

 

Dandelion Green Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
serves 2-4

1 bunch fresh dandelion greens (approximately 4 cups)

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese

1/2 lb bacon

2 tbsp diced pecans

1 tbsp butter

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp seeded German mustard

Pinch salt

 

Clean and chop dandelion greens and thinly slice the onions.

Melt butter in a pan and quickly toast the pecans over medium heat by cooking for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 4-5 minutes per side. Set aside and drain all but 3 tbsp of grease out of the pan. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt to the skillet and whisk thoroughly over medium heat until completely combined (1-2 minutes).

Toss greens in hot dressing, and then transfer to serving dish. Top with onions, toasted pecans, goat cheese, and crumbled bacon. Serve warm.

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