Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Cooks for a Cause" & "Rain, Hail and Baked Beans" & Food Network Kitchens" - Pizza Meatloaf, Scalloped Potatoes, Boston Baked Beans

Date I made these recipes: October 25, 2009

Cooks for a Cause – Benefiting the Twin Cities Race For The Cure® Susan G. Komen Foundation
Published by: Favorite Recipes Press
© 2001
Recipe: Pizza Meat Loaf – submitted by Dan Terhaar – AM 1500 KSTP – p. 73

Rain, Hail and Baked Beans – a New England Seasonal Cook Book With Favorite Recipes from New England Inns by Duncan MacDonald and Robb Sagendorph
Published by: Ives Washburn, Inc.
© 1958
Recipe: Boston Baked Beans – p. 26

Food Network Kitchens Cookbook by the Food Network Kitchens
Published by: Meredith Press
ISBN: 069621854-2
Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes with Gruyere – p. 204

So some of you might be wondering what I was thinking pairing Pizza Meat Loaf with Scalloped Potatoes with Gruyere cheese (a cheese made in Switzerland) with Boston Baked Beans but reader, there was a method to my madness.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and my mother was a twenty-three-year survivor of breast cancer before she died from a massive stroke. I purchased the Cooks for a Cause book at one of my favorite thrift stores and voila! I had my recipe.

October is also my birthday month and my mom used to make my favorite meal every birthday: meatloaf, scalloped potatoes and baked beans (with angel food cake for dessert).

Now, we were not pizza meatloaf people, my mom making the simple meatloaf recipe probably from the back of a Quaker Oats container, nor did we have access to Gruyere cheese. In fact, there was absolutely no cheese involved in mom’s scalloped potatoes whatsoever. As to the baked beans, well, my mom “doctored up” (her words) some Campbell’s Pork and Beans with mustard, ketchup and a bit of brown sugar. And danged if they weren’t good!

These recipes were all a hit and oddly enough, the flavors didn’t clash as I feared they might. The eight-hour cooking time on the beans may seem long but they came out with the texture of canned beans only better. I like things that I can put in the oven and ignore for hours on end.

By the way Twin Cities’ residents, I would be remiss if I didn’t put in a plug for one of my favorite places to get used cookbooks (such as the Cooks for a Cause cookbook), Value Village. Value Village Thrift stores are run by Arc Greater Twin Cities, an organization that provides advocacy and support for individuals with developmental and mental difficulties and their families. Value Village is currently in Richfield, MN, Brooklyn Center, MN and New Hope, MN with a fourth store just weeks away from opening at 1650 White Bear Avenue in St. Paul. I have been volunteering for Arc for over 22 years and am chairing the grand opening of the new St. Paul store. Their stores are fun places to find everything under the sun—clothes, beddings, household items and books. I think the cookbook cost me a mere $1.00. The best thing about that cookbook is that all recipes were submitted by local TV and radio personnel who work(ed) for KSTP studios. Not only was the recipe good but it benefited two good causes - can’t beat that!

Please note that you must soak the beans overnight before preparing the bean recipe. I cooked the beans for 6 1/2 hours before cranking up the heat from 250 to 350 and then threw in the meatloaf and scalloped potatoes. I cooked the beans for ½ hour at 350, then pulled them out of the oven, and after the other stuff was cooling, put the beans in for another 1½ hour at 250. They were perfect!

Pizza Meat Loaf (serves 20 so you’ve gotta know I cut this recipe in half!)
3 ½ pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork or pork sausage
1 (16-ounce) can pizza sauce
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cups rolled oats
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped onion
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup ketchup (for the topping)

Combine the ground beef, ground pork, pizza sauce, tomato sauce, oats, eggs, onion, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Form into a flat lofa in a 10x14-inch baking pan. Spread the ketchup over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ¼ hours. Drain any accumulated juices and let stand for 20 minutes before serving. Note: I cooked it for about 1.75 hours and then let it sit for 20 minutes as the center still needed cooking.

Scalloped potatoes with gruyere – 4 to 6 servings
1 large clove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ¼ pounds Yellow Finn or other waxy potatoes (about 6), peeled (Note: I weighed my potatoes and definitely had more than 6; if you have a kitchen scale, you might want to use it for this recipe)
2 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 2 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Rub the garlic all over the inside of an 8x8x2-inch casserole dish. Mince what is left of the garlic cloves. Smear some of the butter all over the inside of the dish.

Using a mandoline or vegetable slicer (or heck, just a plain, old kitchen knife), slice the potatoes about 1/8 inch thick and put them in a large saucepan with the mined garlic, remaining butter, the half-and-half, thyme, salt, pepper to taste and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture has thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and shake the pan to distribute the potatoes evenly. Bake, uncovered, occasionally spooning some of the liquid over the top, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 50 minutes (more like 75). Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake until brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let the casserole cool 10 minutes before serving.

Author’s note: Boiling the potatoes in the cooking liquid before layering them in a baking dish is the key to superior scalloped potatoes. As the half-and-half heats, it draws the starch from the potatoes and turns into a satiny sauce. To lighten up this classic (Ann’s note: why?!), use the same technique with chicken broth.

Boston Baked Beans – serves 8
1 quart pea beans (I used navy)
½ pound salt pork
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Boiling water

Wash and pick over the beans. Soak OVERNIGHT in cold water. In the morning, drain, cover beans with fresh water, and simmer until skins break (about an hour). Put beans into bean pot or other casserole. Score pork and press into beans, filling pot until three-fourths full. Add sugar, molasses, salt and mustard. Cover with boiling water. Cover and bake 8 hours without stirring in slow oven (250). Keep the beans almost covered but not swimming in water. Remove the cover during the last half hour of baking.

By the way, my husband, who usually tolerates my attempts at baked beans, was all over this recipe. He said if all baked beans tasted like this, he could grow to like them!


~~louise~~ said...

Hi Ann,
I love discovering cookbooks and recipes I've never seen before. Thanks for tips on the potatoes. A nice group of recipes.

Thanks for sharing...

P.S. Did you ever subscribe to Cookbook Collectors' Exchange? (CCE)

Ann said...

No but thanks for the head's up! I'll check it out.