Pineapple Ham Cake

Hello dear readers!

It rained a couple of days ago in Los Angeles and yet the clouds still hang low. The sun is in hiding, cause all that rain frizzed out her hair and she doesn’t want anyone to look at her.

It is a dreary day here in the city of angels and the Angelenos don’t know how to cope. They are supposed to be sunny and inviting. Reverie for the dreamers on those infamous  winter days.

What do you do when you can’t California dream?

You call up your cuz Hawaii and say. “Aloha cuz! Is it still paradise over there?”

“Yeah man! What’s up over there?”

“Well you know, we’re kind of a second rate paradise compared to you, but lately I’ve just wanted to slap on a beanie, wear some flannel, and smoke cigarettes while I drink coffee and contemplate the meaning of my existence.”

Hawaii pauses to think what could cheer up Cali cuz. “…would you like a pineapple? I mean I could send you some spam as well and maybe you could…”

Cali rips off their beanie, unbuttons the flannel, and snatches the pineapple out of Hawaii’s hands, “Oh sweet a pineapple! I’m good on that spam though!”

Under Cali’s breath, “Hawaii and their spam fixation, what a weirdo.”

“Okay well hope you enjoy! A hui hou!”

Under Hawaii’s breath, “Man I’m tired of Cali snubbing spam. They’re probably going to have ham with that pineapple. What a waste!”

And so dear readers, we shall have ham with our pineapple and with the help of Taste of Home Cooking for Two we will bring that paradise to our stomachs.

What you’ll need

  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons of beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons of 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 pound fully cooked ground ham (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Our first step is to crack open that can of pineapple. Drain the juice, but don’t throw it out, we will be using it later as a glaze.

Get two round containers that are about 10-oz. Taste of Home recommends ramekins or custard cups. I had neither of these. I made this a couple of weeks ago and can’t recall if I just used a bowl or just cooked it on a pan. The point is that you can make this without a custard cup, but I do think you should use it if you’ve got one.

Whatever you end up using, you’ll want to spray that device with a non stick cooking spray and then place your pineapple in it.

Next, get out a mixing bowl and combine the egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of mustard, and a dash of salt and pepper. Once this mixture is well combined, sprinkle in the pork and ham and mix everything together as evenly as possible.

We are now ready to form our ham patty. Do so by dividing this mixture into two round forms like a burger patty.

Place each patty on top of each pineapple ring.

While they sit there, in a small bowl mix brown sugar, remaining mustard, and one tablespoon of pineapple juice. Once mixed, pour this mixture on top of your patties and bake!

Pineapple ham cakes should be baked under 350 for 35-40 minutes and you’ll know it’s ready when the pork turns slightly brown.

When this happens remove from the oven, flip pineapple side up, and enjoy!

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Spam and custard cups not required

Does the pineapple ham cake bring paradise? Yes, yes it does.

Have you ever had a thick chunk of ham with pineapple? Pineapple ham cake is like a modification of that. Both are delicious, thick, juicy, and slightly sweet.

I ate this plain, but I think it would make an excellent sandwich or “ham” burger if you will.

Side note, did you know hamburgers got their fame from Hamburg and that’s why we call them hamburgers? Why are so many food origins linked to common names for other foods/countries? Like German chocolate cake. It’s not German, just some dude whose last name was German made it. Strange right?

Moving on, I have to say this is a heavenly modification of the classic pineapple and ham paring. It fits perfectly in the hammy city of angels, but you can enjoy it anywhere and you should.

 

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Apple Meat Loaf

Do your loaves of meat need a little sweetness in their lives, then may I present to you this apple meat loaf from Cooking for Two. 

What you’ll need

  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup of shredded peeled apple
  • 1/2 cup of soft bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons of ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • dash ground allspice
  • 3/4 pound ground beef

The first step is to saute the onion with the butter. Probably should make sure that butter is melted at first as well. Then in a large bowl combine the apple, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper and allspice.

Once all of those ingredients are fairly mixed, gradually stir in the onion and then finally the beef.

After the meat is mixed, pretend you’re Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and make it look like a loaf of bread. Then place that meat loaf into a pan and bake under 350 for 40-45 minutes.

You now have a meathead with a touch of sweetness,

I don’t have much to say about this recipe. It’s simple and easy to make. I did enjoy the slight sweetness from the apple. Besides the apple it’s your standard meat loaf, so if you are into that sort thing, you might as well give it try.

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Meatloaf is not the most photogenic

I am Bob’s Stuffed Meat Loaf

This stuffed beefy meat loaf concoction comes from Taste of Home Cooking for 2, but all I can think about when I read the words meat loaf and stuffed is this guy.

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Meat Loaf as Bob from Fight Club

Why specifically do I think of Meat Loaf as Bob and not Eddie from Rocky Horror? There’s even that time he played a mobster in A Hole in One with Michelle Williams.  Why does that not come readily to mind?

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Meat Loaf’s a good fella. 

I don’t know dear readers. I just know that my mind works in mysterious ways.

What you’ll need.

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted.
  • 1 cup of stuffing
  • 2/3 a pound of lean ground beef

The first step in making this stuffed meat loaf is to combine 1/4 of the barbecue sauce with the water and butter in a small bowl. When that mixture has been mixed well, add the stuffing.

Next, shove the mixture aside to form your meat patties. You will make four patties out of the 2/3 a pound of beef. Try to make them as even as possible because you are basically going to make a sandwich with the stuffing mixture as the inside. Do this by dividing the stuffing mixture into half and scooping each half on one patty. Then, place a plain patty on top of the one with stuffing and seal the edges so that the stuffing remains intact.

In case you got confused, there should only be two servings or two stuffed patties. If you’re still confused, don’t fret.  I have pictures.

The next step will be to bake the patties in the oven by placing them on a baking pan, naturally. Before you put them in the oven, do pour the remaining barbecue sauce on top. Once that’s done, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Uncooked patties for demonstrative purposes.

These turned out real well! I love it when a recipe is not only delicious, but easy to make.

The taste is what you’d expect. It’s meatloaf as a burger. I ate mine without a bun or extra toppings, but I could see some trendy burger food truck making this into a thing.

Feel free to save $12 and do it yourself, though. That’s my recommendation anyway.

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Bob’s Meat Loaf

Oatmeal Cookies

I’m not a butcher, I’m not candlestick maker, nor am I’m a baker. I’m not a crook, but I am a cook.

Thank you. I call that poem, Nixon’s Cooking Blog.

On a more serious tone, I do not consider myself a baker. My experience in baking cookies is almost nil. In other words, these are the second cookies I’ve ever made that didn’t come from a Pillsbury tube.

I get nervous when I have to bake, but these cookies from Taste of Home Cooking for Two were not difficult at all to make and I think even Nixon would get great results if he had ever tried making them.

What you’ll need

  • 1/3 cup of shortening
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons beaten egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats
  • 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts

The first step is to mix the shortening with the sugar. If you didn’t know, I didn’t anyway, shortening is basically butter. You can also use margarine. Whatever you use, make sure it’s been melted. When this process is finished, you add the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt until evenly mixed. Then slowly add this mixture to the butter, vanilla, and egg one. The walnuts will be the final touch to this mixture.

Once everything has been added, grease a cookie pan and spoon in the mixture, leaving 3 inches in between. It is recommended that each spooned in mixture be circular, but feel free to experiment. I wasn’t feeling creative, so I stuck with circles.

Whatever shape you choose, bake those shapes at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes. Once those minutes are up, allow them to cool for about two minutes and then you can turn into the cookie monster and dream about the moon being a cookie so you could eat it.

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I’ve never seen the cookie monster eat anything but chocolate chip cookies. Isn’t that strange? You’d think a cookie monster wouldn’t be so picky.

Like the cookie monster I prefer chocolate chip and am not a big fan of oatmeal cookies, but these were quite good. They were sweeter than any of the oatmeal cookies I’ve had. They were more like sugar cookies with oatmeal and a hint of vanilla than the crunchy granola bar like oatmeal cookies I’ve had in the past.

I brought these cookies to one of my temp offices and everyone seemed to be surprised by how good they were. Like me, they weren’t big fans of regular oatmeal cookies and were pleasantly surprised by this version.

I would make this again and I would add chocolate chips, mostly to please the cookie monster.

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Oatmeal cookies!!!

 

Barley and Beef as a Burger

This is an interesting little recipe from Taste of Home Cooking for Two. This is also recipe number two from the cookbook that features barley. I’m not sure if I like barley. It doesn’t really taste like anything and mine always come out kind of hard. I have a theory that the kind of barley I purchased needs to be cooked differently then what these recipes called for. Maybe I’d like barley if I cooked it right.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a culinary expert by any means. This blog and my cooking is my way of branching out, trying new things, and becoming a better cook. What I’ve discovered in my journeys is that it’s best to consult the packaging instructions when dealing with beans, rice, and frozen vegetables even while following a recipe. Otherwise your food item may not cook correctly.

In both recipes the barley is supposed to be tender. Mine, as I mentioned came out a little hard. Maybe this particular barley batch has a cold heart and that is as tender as it is willing to get.

If only barley could talk. It’d probably say, “Don’t eat me!” Barley isn’t the best conversationalist.

So how do you make a barley burger? Well, you’ll need 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of barley, 1/2 of a small onion, 1 tablespoon of barbecue sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/2 pound of lean ground beef, and 2 hamburger buns.

The first step is to boil the water in a small saucepan and pour in your barley. This is the moment where you would look at the packaging and maybe add more water and adjust cooking time. The cookbook says to allow the water to simmer after boiling and to cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Once cooked you will remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.

The next step is to grind the barley and onion in a food processor until the mix is finely chopped. Then mix the sauce, flour, salt, pepper, and barley mix in a bowl.

You are now ready to assemble a burger patty! This process will remind you of being a kid playing with play-doh, only with meat.

Crumble the beef into your mixture and then mix the two together. When it’s sufficiently mixed, form two round patties or be creative and make a new shape if you’d like. Wendy’s and White Castle like squares and sometimes it’s hip to be square.

Find your shape and then grill it over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until it’s reached your desire of rarity or doneness.

If you do not have a grill like me, you can either just cook it on a pan or broil in your oven. Either method works fine. I pan cooked my patties but I’ve used the broil method as well.

The final result is tasty, but a little odd. The barley added a slightly crunchy texture that I’m sure is actually supposed to be more mooshey. A woman named Rosella in the book says that “Barley adds another dimension to an old-fashioned hamburger.”

I mean, I guess? I didn’t exactly go into space, though. That would have been impressive. What did happen is that my patty fell apart. I suppose that could be a new dimension.

 

 

 

 

A Pilaf for your Weary Head

Wait, I mean stomach. No, a pillow! GAH! A pilaf for your weary stomach and a pillow for your weary head!

I need both right now.

LA has been mid-west hot the last two days. Meaning it’s been real humid lately and my air conditioning is not quite equipped for that. So I did not sleep well last night and I had to get up early for my temp job which has resulted in my brain being fried to pieces.

Speaking of my new temp job, today I noticed that my official title is, Rachel, Payment Process Manager. When I saw that, I was like, “Ooooooooo, I’m a manager!”

Then the smarter half of my brain was like, “Dude, Rachel, that’s just a fancy term for, you input payment information that a real manager has told you to do, because you are a temp. A data entry temp.”

What a buzz kill smart half of Rachel’s brain is. At the very least I can throw that term around and fool others into thinking it’s impressive. I mean that’s why they invented such titles anyway.

As for the subject at hand. This Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf from Taste of Home Cooking for Two is a true comfort for a fried, tired brain and a hungry stomach. It is a spa for your mind and body in a form of food. I’m too tired to think of a specific spa room comparison though. Is it a red clay ball pit room, a sauna, or a jade room?

Maybe it should just be a pilaf room. That actually sounds kind of nice. I should open a spa with a pilaf room.

What you’ll need for your pilaf room is, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot, 1/2 teaspoon of canola oil, 1/4 cup of jasmine rice, 1/4 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of chicken broth, pepper, and 1/3 cup of chopped fresh broccoli.

The first step is to saute the onion and carrot in a saucepan with the oil, until it is tender. You will then add the rice and quinoa. Mix it well with the onion and carrot and then add the broth and pepper.

Bring this to a boil and then simmer under low heat for 15-20 minutes. I recommend checking how long it takes the rice and quinoa to cook to aid you in your time limit. Either way, you will add your broccoli in the last three minutes of cooking time.

After the broccoli has cooked, remove from heat and let your pilaf cool for five minutes.

The final step is to fluff before you serve.

I’m holding back on some real dirty jokes right now.

I guess now that I have an adult job, I’ll be an adult and tell you that the final result of my pilaf was quite good. It is fluffy and the bit of oil secreted onto the rice and quinoa almost make it taste like fried rice.

I  paired mine with some chicken on the side, but I feel like this would be good with a side of salmon as well. I would be intrigued to make it similar to fried rice by adding peas or shrimp/pork. I feel like it’s a healthier version of fried rice anyway. I’m no nutritionist though, so don’t go blindly believing me on that.

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A serendipitous pilaf

Stuffed Peppers

Hello again. It’s been awhile since my last post. This is because I was on a road trip to San Antonio the past week. I started writing about my big adventure yesterday, but there’s a lot to tell. We already know my editing skills are abysmal and that entry is going to require a bit of time to make comprehensible. Hopefully it will be well worth it though.

Writing about stuffed peppers from Taste of Home Cooking for Two is all I can handle for now.

What you will need for this recipe is 1/4 cup of uncooked millet, 3/4 cup vegetable broth, 2 medium sweet peppers, 1/3 cup of frozen corn, 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 3 tablespoons of celery, 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, one finely chopped green onion, 1/2 teaspoon of mint flakes, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, 1/4 teaspoon of oregano, 1 small minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

The first step is to cook your millet. I couldn’t find millet, but I had some leftover pearl barley which is similar enough. To cook, you will boil the millet or barley in your broth. Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes. That’s what the cookbook says anyway. I recommend checking the package of whatever you end up buying, because certain items have different simmering time. However long it takes, once it’s cooked, you will drain and transfer to a bowl for cooling.

While all of that is happening you can prepare the other ingredients as well as the peppers by cutting the tops and removing the seeds. The peppers will be placed in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain them afterwards and rinse in cool water.

Back to the millet, once cooled that is, you will fluff a bit and then add the remaining ingredients. After everything is blended nicely together, you will spoon the mix into your peppers. Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and then bake for 55-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

As you can see this isn’t a difficult recipe to make. It’s very simple. The peppers turned out nice and soft, but I wasn’t a big fan of the filling. The walnuts and corn were my favorite part about it. Other than that, though I felt it was pretty bland.

This isn’t something I would make again, unless it was smothered with cheese. Cheese makes everything better.

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Although the pepper is stuffed, it sadly won’t stuff your stomach