Friday, November 26, 2010

pot-roast meatloaf

Friday, November 26, 2010

You might find it ridiculous that I'm posting quite an un-Thanksgiving recipe on the day after Thanksgiving, but as is usual around here, I'm quite late with my blogging. I actually made this most delicious meatloaf for the LAST holiday, Halloween, and I've been meaning to write it up for days. Well, almost a month, really.

I'm going to say from the start that I am not a fan of baked meat. I don't like meatballs for this reason, and usually, I hate meatloaf. Granted, the traditional American version is usually slathered with an oily-ish topping of ketchup, which you have to admit, doesn't exactly look mouthwatering. However, when I encountered this recipe in what is undoubtedly one of my new favorite cookbooks from a most beloved source, Jamie Oliver, I was tempted to try it. The recipe was preceded by a little introductory paragraph, where Jamie sang the praises of a good meatloaf and emphasized its comforting nature. I knew that I wanted a warm, comforting dish for our Halloween dinner. I'd invited my prospective sister-in-law C and brother-in-law over to enjoy the plethora of trick-or-treaters and a few traditional scary movies, and considering that it is one of my MOST favorite holidays, it was important that the evening was relaxed and pleasant, without a lot of stressful running around the kitchen or worrying about food. I knew that most everyone loves meatloaf, and even though it isn't my favorite, I was swayed by Jamie's comment about treating the meatloaf "as if I'm roasting a big joint of meat." Perhaps if I could think of it way, I mused, I might be able to actually enjoy it myself. Excellent strategy, Jamie!

Preparation was a breeze-don't be fooled by the long list of ingredients. It was easy to make the meatloaf mixture, and while it baked, I worked on the sauce. The end result was exactly as I'd hoped. The tomato sauce was deeply warm and greatly enhanced by the chick peas, which gave the whole dish a bit more substance. The meat, albeit of the baked variety, had the smoky salty flavor of bacon seeping delicately through it, and soaked up the tangy sauce nicely. Everyone loved it. Including me.

Pot-Roast Meatloaf, adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution, by Jamie Oliver

2 medium onions
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
12 cream or plain crackers, such as Jacob's (I used regular unsalted Saltines)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pound good-quality ground beef
1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
2 cloves of garlic
1/2-1 fresh red chile, to your taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 x 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained
2 x 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 springs of fresh rosemary
12 slices of smoked bacon, preferably free-range or organic (I found that I didn't need that much)
1 lemon

To make your meatloaf:
Preheat the oven to full whack (475 degrees). Peel and finely chop one of the onions-don't worry about technique, just chop away until fine. Place in a large frying pan on a medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground cumin and coriander. Fr and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden, then put into a large bowl to cool. Wrap the crackers in a kitchen towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits with your hands. Add to the bowl of cooled onions with the oregano, mustard, and ground beef. Crack in the egg and add another good pinch of salt and pepper. With clean hands, scrunch and mix up well. Move the meat mixture to a board, then pat and old it into a large football shape. Rub it with a little oil. You can either cook it straight away or put it on a place, cover, and place in the refrigerator until needed. Place the meatloaf in a Dutch oven-type pan or baking dish, put it into the preheated oven, and turn down the temperature immediately to 400 degrees. Bake for half and hour.

To make your meatloaf sauce:
Peel the other onion and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Peel and slice the garlic. Finely slice the red chile. Place the onion, garlic, and chile in a large pan on a medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil, the paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for around 7 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until softened and lightly golden. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.

To finish off and serve your meatloaf:
Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and put them into a little bowl. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour all the fat from the pan over the rosemary leaves and mix up well. Spoon your sauce around the meatloaf. Lay the slices of bacon over the top of the meatloaf and sauce. Scatter over the rosemary leaves. Put the pan back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bacon turns golden and the sauce is bubbling and delicious. Serve with a mixed leaf salad and some wedges of lemon for squeezing over-this will add a nice sharp twang.

there are times I think I couldn't love them more...

It's a bit much that I'm writing about them now, considering they have a new song entitled "Christmas Lights" coming out on December 1st. Clearly, I'll have to write about them again then, even though by that time I should be fully immersed in my paper for fall quarter. I can't help myself.

something you didn't know about me

I'm usually quite forthcoming on my beloved blog. I fully admit to my Twilight obsession, which is mock-worthy and shameful by the standards of many. In my seasonal playlists, I confess to the times when I've been influenced to find a song that was featured on a movie's trailer. By now everyone who reads knows that I'm relentlessly loyal to Rachael Ray and hate mayonnaise. I write about loving everything British and occasionally share my thoughts on my favorite books.

Despite my open nature, there is one teensy little fascination of mine I've left unshared. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll just come out and say it: I'm kind of into the whole zombie phenomenon. Yes, I've seen 28 Days Later more than twice. I've had many hours-long marathons playing Left for Dead with Joey (check out my usual avatar, Rochelle, in the pic below. For the record, my fave weapon is a machete). World War Z, the immensely popular novel by Max Brooks, son of Mel, is the book I've secretly been devouring all week instead of finishing up Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for grad school. When I heard about "The Walking Dead", the new show based on comic books detailing a zombie infestation in America, I had to check it out immediately.

In my defense, I'm TOTALLY NOT ALONE in this rather morbid fascination. There are piles of remakes of George Romero's "living dead" series, tons of zombie-related books, and of course the ubiquitous zombie video games. "The Walking Dead" is the featured cover of Entertainment Weekly this week, and is aired on the highly respectable AMC channel. Brad Pitt went through a bidding war to snatch the rights to World War Z, which is slated for a 2012 release (good lord, I actually just wrote "slated for release"-how pretentious and film critic-y of me!). When Brad Pitt gets involved, you can rest assured it's no run-of-the-mill or ridiculous idea. I'm pretty sure that gives zombie-philes some credibility. I don't think the fad is going away any time soon.

Let's just say that I would be good to have on your side should there be a zombie apocalypse. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

This baby has good taste.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Surely you're living under a rock by now if you haven't checked out Florence + the Machine.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the great gatsby

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm all over casting news these days, so it shouldn't be any big shock that I would write about the official decisions coming out regarding Baz Luhrmann's planned adaptation of The Great Gatsby. People have been talking about this for weeks, probably months. Though not officially confirmed, Leonardo diCaprio is widely believed to be taking on Jay Gatsby, an inspired choice if you ask me. No offense to those of you who love All the President's Men and will always enjoy a viewing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I'm fairly certain that Leo has more acting ability in a mere thumbnail than the best performance Robert Redford is capable of putting forth (Redford played Gatsby in the best-known film version).

Needless to say, most of the hubbub in the entertainment world has been a result of the speculation about Daisy Buchanan. Everyone seemed to have an idea of who the best Daisy might be, and reportedly, the final four contenders were Scarlett Johanssen, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively (shudder), and Carey Mulligan. Two days ago, Luhrmann officially announced that Carey Mulligan snagged the coveted role, referring to her, in a rather overdramatic way, as "his Daisy." Though I'll admit that her face is not exactly what I imagine-she's not what you might call conventionally pretty-Carey is poised to be a huge star. She's good. And certainly making good choices.

I'm not thrilled with the rumored casting of Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway (ugh, I just cannot dredge up any feelings of like for him) but I'm thinking the rest is a great start for a reboot of the beautifully written, tragic American classic.

In honor of the news, I decided it might be fun to thumb through my copy of the book and highlight a few of my favorite quotes. It's such an astounding book, and I have the fond memory of being inspired to read it after a conversation with my then-seventeen-year old cousin. He's a cerebral, thoughtful type, much more than one might expect at that age. I remember coming into the house one afternoon (I lived with my aunt and uncle for a summer), and he was intently watching the Redford/Farrow/Waterston version of the movie. I was surprised to see that he was so into it, and after a chat about the book, I decided to read it right away. It's one of the few books I've actually reread.

Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.

He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced-or seemed to face-the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

'If it wasn't for the mist we could see your home across the bay,' said Gatsby. 'You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.' Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

breaking dawn: on location

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

There has been a veritable drought of Twilight-related news on my blog. Perhaps you all thought I had somehow recovered from my mania/obsession/fascination with the saga and its irresistibly appealing principal stars. That is most certainly not the case, as you can see from the relative speed with which I jumped on these pictures, taken only two evenings ago whilst the couple filmed early scenes from Breaking Dawn, Part I, on location in Brazil. I'm sure the movie will have some more elaborate name when it's actually released, something along the lines of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part I." To be brutally honest, I deliberately waited to post until now. I'm attempting to practice some self-restraint. Which is difficult, considering the sweetly romantic, yet smoldering nature of these photos.

It's terribly hard to get anything accomplished in the midst of all this sweetness. And filming has just begun!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wedding #5

Saturday, November 6, 2010

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, November 1, 2010

the devil in the white city

Monday, November 1, 2010

Due to my compulsive daily visits to, I am on the veritable cusp of all entertainment news. Really, you should try me. I'd practically pay someone to prove me wrong. Where does this knowledge get me, you ask? The answer is a disappointing nowhere, unless I'm challenged to a rousing game of Scene It or participate in an Oscar ballot competition. Pop culture is a hobby that I simply cannot relinquish!

Thus, I feel compelled to share on this little blog of mine the "newest" of news about one of my favorite actors, the incomparable Leonardo diCaprio. After a significant amount of effort, he has signed on for the film version of The Devil in the White City, an excellent historical novel documenting the first World Fair in Chicago, which coincided with the murderous rampage of one serial killer, H.H. Holmes.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Leo and Tom Cruise have been in something of a battle to bring the story of Holmes to life. Cruise bought the rights back in 2003, but Leo was so committed he opted to use public documents to craft his own version of the story. He finally acquired the rights himself, and will now be playing a killer for the first time (at least, I'm fairly certain it's his first real villainous turn-you would think I would know!).

It's going to be good. Mostly because the book is great-I highly recommend checking it out-but not in small part because Leo just doesn't make many mistakes. If any.