Monday, October 21, 2013

Sausage, vegetables give turkey meatloaf recipe an Italian accent

I usually regard ground turkey as a somewhat healthier and less tasty substitution for ground beef, but a recent restaurant meal convinced me that ground turkey could reach higher heights. The chef mixed ground turkey with Italian sausage and sautéed vegetables, elevating what could have been an ordinary meatloaf into a dish that was unusual, flavorful, moist and nicely textured.

I think the restaurant used pork sausage, but I decided to lighten my loaf by using turkey sausage and ground turkey breast along with ground turkey thigh. (I bought the meat at Whole Foods, where I knew freshly ground turkey and freshly made sausage are always available in the butcher case.)

I stirred in a favorite combination of vegetables – onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes – but many other veggies could be substituted or added. Try a few leaves of spinach and some chopped fennel or grated carrots, for example. The variations are easy and almost endless.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, minced
½ small yellow or red bell pepper, minced
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
10 grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 pound ground turkey thigh
½ pound ground turkey breast
½ to 2/3 pound uncooked sweet Italian turkey sausage (2 large links)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil (for easy cleanup). Spray the top portion of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet, then add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften. Remove from heat; stir in grape tomatoes. Set aside to cool.

Beat egg and egg yolk lightly in a large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Add ground turkey and sausage meat, removing the sausage from the casings. Mix gently but well. Add vegetables; mix gently until well combined.

Shape the meat into a loaf on the broiler pan. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle reaches 180 degrees, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; let sit for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lemon scones recipe is a tea-time treat

Tea can be enjoyed throughout the day, and so can these lovely scones. If you're serving them in the morning, don't hesitate to mix the dough the night before. A food processor will make quick work of cutting the butter into the dry ingredients. Stir in the liquid, then cover the dough tightly and refrigerate. The next morning, knead the dough and shape the scones while the oven  preheats.

Like all traditional scones, these are lightly sweetened. They have a double dose of lemon flavor, provided by lemon juice and grated zest. You can amp up the lemon flavor even more by drizzling the cooled scones with the glaze described in the second variation.

You can split these scones and fill them with butter or clotted cream and jam. Clotted cream, also called Devonshire or Devon cream, is a classic accompaniment to scones (and the "cream" in an English cream tea). You can buy clotted cream at some high-end groceries or make your own using a recipe such as this one.

However you serve these lemon scones, everyone is sure to enjoy them -- with tea, with a glass of cold milk, or even with a mug of coffee.

Yield: 10 to 12 scones

1 medium lemon
½ cup cold whole milk or more if needed
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling 
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Grate the zest from the lemon; set zest aside. Squeeze the lemon juice. Measure 1 tablespoon juice; add to ½ cup milk.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes. Scatter over the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two table knives or the tines of a sturdy fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms fine crumbs. 
  4. Pour milk-lemon juice mixture over top. Stir just until combined. If dough doesn’t hold together, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
  5. Sprinkle a clean surface (such as a sheet of parchment paper) lightly with flour. Turn dough onto the floured surface. Knead gently six times, then form into a ball.
  6. Place the ball of dough on the baking sheet. Pat into a circle about ½ inch thick and 8 to 9 inches in diameter. With a bench knife or a sharp kitchen knife, score into 10 to 12 wedges, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until wedges are lightly browned. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with butter or clotted cream and jam.
Variation 1: To make mini scones, pat dough into two ½-inch-thick rectangles side by side on a baking sheet. Score into small triangles.

Variation 2: Let scones cool completely, then drizzle with a glaze made from 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, about 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon.

Food processor method: Combine dry ingredients and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Scatter cubed butter over dry ingredients; pulse about 20 times, until fine crumbs form. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and proceed with the directions in Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Adapted from a recipe posted at