To paraphrase from Philip Roth’s “Love Story,” what can I say about a winter that simply won’t go away.
Last Wednesday I shoveled five different times, just to allow me to get from my front porch to get my newspapers. And the same number of times so I could get to my garage. I failed. The snow was so heavy I was exhausted.
Friends were able to visit me for dinner Sunday, but they had to clomp through now-hardened moguls. When they left Sunday night, it was snowing again. Weather reports now say Thursday and Friday, there may be sleet, snow and freezing rain.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Joan Gordon brought me a terrific meatloaf she made the day before. We had sandwiches on good rye bread, salad and dessert while we watched the Stupid Bowl. I ate the rest of the meatloaf over the next few days. It is superb.
Lenny Schwartz’s Market Street Meatloaf (adapted)
Yield: serves 8
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Three-quarter cup finely chopped onion
Three-quarter cup finely chopped scallions (white part and 3 inches of green)
One-half cup finely chopped carrots
One-quarter cup finely chopped celery
One-quarter cup finely chopped red pepper
One-quarter cup finely chopped green pepper
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
3 large eggs
One-half cup ketchup
One-half cup half-and-half cream (Joan used sour cream)
1 teaspoon cumin
One-half teaspoon nutmeg
One-quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
3 pounds lean ground turkey
Three-quarter cup breadcrumbs, toasted and crumbled (Joan uses whatever is in the bread box)
- Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium low heat and add onions, scallions, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic. Cook stirring often until moisture has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Set mixture aside to cool, then refrigerate it, covered, until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
- Beat eggs, ketchup, half-and-half, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Add ground turkey and bread crumbs. Add chilled vegetables and knead with your hands until well mixed.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Form into loaves or one big loaf and place on a rimmed baking pan. (You can cover the baking sheet to avoid cleanup.) Bake until loaf is cooked through to about 160 degrees (about 45 to 50 minutes. Let loaf rest for at least 20 minutes.
There is almost nothing sweet about my pantry, refrigerator or freezer. Oh, they’re pretty enough and I keep them clean inside and out. But when I look, I find not one sugary something to crave my sweet tooth.
This, of course, is reasonable. I am down many pounds at this point and I have another 20 to go. I’m afraid that if I had some homemade brownies or Girl Scout cookies in the freezer, I might eat them without thawing them. If there were Newtons or jelly beans in the pantry, they would be, figuratively, toast. There are pints of ice cream in both freezers,but ice cream was my husband’s siren song, not mine.
Of course, I can cook sweet things in a New York minute, like my cooktop chocolate pudding. That would be fine if I would eat just one cup, but I usually eat all four ramekins. Or make the recipe for a microwave chocolate cake in a mug.
But I figured if I make something truly luscious that I could have “one of” and then give the rest away, I might be happy enough. So I did have one, gave all the rest away and I’m keeping this recipe.
Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
“A Good Appetite,” by Melissa Clark (New York Times, page D2, January 22, 2014)
Yield: 36 cookies
Three-quarter cup sweetened coconut
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 and one-half cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
3 cups rolled oats
One-half cup dates, pitted and chopped (actually, buy Sunsweet dates, pitted and chopped)
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons mascarpone
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 and one-half teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast coconut in a rimmed baking pan until lightly colored and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool. Raise temperature to 375 degrees.
- In bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter until light. Beat in brown sugar and honey and beat until very fluffy, about 5 minutes Beat in vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until combined. Beat in dates and coconut.
- Line 3 baking sheets with parchment or Silpat. In a small bowl combined granulated sugar and rest of the cinnamon. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll them in cinnamon-sugar. Transfer to baking sheet, leaving 1 and one-half inches between balls. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool in pan 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Make filling: With a mixer, beat in cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl. Sandwich about 1 tablespoon filling between two cookies. Repeat until done.
About the author: Lee White (left) is a resident of Old Lyme in a section of town where she and her house are the oldest members. She has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for the Shore Publishing newspapers, and Elan, a quarterly magazine, all of which are now owned by The Day.