Sunday, March 29, 2020

Souffle Pancakes

Souffle Pancakes 
  • 35 g cake flour
  • 20 g oat milk (or dairy milk, whatever)
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 45 g sugar + a pinch 
First thing's first: heat your griddle on a medium flame. I have a cast-iron griddle, but that doesn't mean I don't need to give it a quick wipe with olive oil or shortening. These are incredibly fiddly, so a thin layer of fat will go a long way. If you don't have a griddle, you can use a nonstick pan, so long as it's large and rather flat. 

Next, set up a piping bag by cutting off the tip and standing it up in a tall measuring cup or large tumbler. Fold the edge over the lip of the cup to keep it steady. This is a good trick to have in your arsenal for buttercreams, as well!

Separate the eggs and whisk a pinch of sugar in with the milk and yolks in a medium bowl, while your egg whites and 45 g of sugar go into the bowl of a standing mixer. You can add a splash of vanilla paste or rum extract at this point, too, if you like. Whisk by hand to make sure it's quite frothy. If you have a sieve of some sort, I'd advise using this to fold in the dry ingredients to your yolk-milk mixture. If you don't, it's honestly fine if you simply whisk them in, so long as you use smaller increments. 

Whisk your egg whites for 30 seconds on low to dissolve the sugar. Turn up your whisk to medium until frothy, and then whip on high until you get quite stiff peaks. Add in a small dollop of your whipped meringue to the egg yolk mixture and stir in using the whisk. It's not important to necessarily preserve bubbles, but to just stir it in to get everything slightly lighter. Add in a larger dollop of meringue - about a third of the whites - and fold in gently using the whisk. You're going to repeat this process until you get to the last third of the whites, at which point you'll switch to using the spatula.

Once everything's folded in together, your griddle should be hot. Turn it down to the lowest flame possible. Did you remember to give a quick glaze with the fat of your choice? Did you find yourself the thinnest spatula you could? Oh, good, I'm so glad you did. Now that you've ticked that box, you may gently pour your pancake batter into your prepared piping bag.

Wok not included.

Pipe large mounds of pancake, as if you were creating a rounded mountain of fluff, a few centimeters apart, all on your now-hot griddle. Do leave some space between them as it'll make flipping that much easier. Now, go wash your hands with hot water and soap, as hot as you can stand it. Rinse well, and rinse again with cold water. Let your dripping wet hands, that are now gone of all soap residue, and splash a few droplets of water around each pancake to create some steam. Now set the timer on the oven (or on your phone) for 6 minutes.  If you didn't use up all of your batter in this go, turn on your oven to 200 degrees and put a couple of ceramic plates in there. These will hold your cakes until you're ready to eat.

I'm sure you, like I, are quarantined so you're likely going stir-crazy already. Shall I entertain you for six minutes? I'll do my best by telling you a fun few facts about things you can use to stretch your budget - or, rather, stretch the life of your goods already in your house so you needn't venture out.

Switch to loose-leaf tea. This may seem counterproductive, but trust me on this one - it's going to be a budget-saver. If you switch to loose-leaf tea, you can brew up to ten pots from the same leaves. No, seriously. Ten. All you do is introduce boiling water after each pot is drained and let steep a minute longer than usual. Black teas, for example, should be brought back to life with boiling water, and steeped for 4 minutes. On the second, third, and fourth brews? Just five minutes with boiling water will do. Once your tea leaves are all said and done, don't you dare throw them away. My favorite use is to wrap the leaves in a paper towel and use them to scrub the counters, especially around the corners and around the sink; this is especially a good tip if you have issues with ants. I've had good success with keeping ants away using this, and that's not the only thing. If you drop them in the toilet bowl and let them sit for a few hours in the water, give it a quick brush, and flush for a deodorizing and stain-lifting treatment without harsh chemicals. If you have a musty carpet situation, let the tea leaves dry again, crush them up and sprinkle them on the carpet and let sit for 10 minutes or so before vacuuming. You can use those leftover leaves to feed your house plants, especially acid-loving plants such as ferns or orchids.  

Keep those egg shells. Let them dry out and crush with your hands. Use them with a scotch-brite pad and a drop of castille soap to scrub off any scummy such grossness on your sink. You can also use them as a super-rough scour for your cast-iron. I highly suggest not throwing away egg shells anyhow, especially if you have a garden. Everyone knows you can use them for fertilizer, but did you know that it helps feed birds in the spring? They just laid their eggs, and they usually will eat their egg shells to help get calcium back. Finally, if you crunch them up and sprinkle them around garden plots, it'll help keep pesky neighborhood cats and squirrels away. They don't like the sharp bits! Isn't that fun?

Beep beep! That timer should go off any second now! Flip them gently, I say, using that thin spatula of yours and - I cannot stress this part enough - ever so gently press the pancake into the hot surface of the griddle to make a flat-ish surface. Sprinkle on some water for steam. Time to sit and read for another 6 minutes? Oh, if you insist. 

Save your vegetable scraps - except the brassicas. This means broccoli and cauliflower, and any cabbage...unless you want that in your stock. Yes, you're making stock! Carrot peels, onion skins, lemon skins, herb branches, celery tips, ginger skins...anything you're likely using that's got big flavor. When you're ready to make that stock of yours, I'd like to suggest that you should also add in a cinnamon stick, some whole peppercorns, and a couple of bay leaves. Simply bring to a boil, and then simmer this goodness for one hour. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and either freeze in jars or in an ice cube tray. You don't need new mason jars, by the way. Simply wash any glass jar that has a screw-top lid (salsa jar, lard jar, whatever) either in the dishwasher or with soap and water, and boil both lid and jar in water to sterilize. If you do add this stuff into a jar, make sure you leave room for the stock to expand while freezing, so don't fill it absolutely to the brim. Most restaurants make things taste amazing using homemade stocks, and you don't have to be left behind by that. The way restaurants make everything taste amazing is by punching in as much flavor as possible into one dish, and then making sure that everything is harmonious. 

If you want to take up your remaining time on that timer to find a clean, large container to let hang out in the fridge that'll catch all of your veggie scraps and set it in the bottom of the fridge, go right ahead. 

Your timer should be done! If you need to make more, carefully transfer each pancake onto those warming ceramic plates in your warm oven, and repeat the process. If you need another project to occupy you for two 6-minute increments, check out what the local artists in my town are doing to fight the misery of this quarantine here! This is an adult coloring book made by the Kansas City Art Scene. Check it out! If you don't need it, however, go ahead and turn off your burner and let hang out while you get plates. I don't think you need butter for this, but please make sure it's already near-melted as you don't want cold butter spreading on these delicate babies. I personally think they did fine with just maple syrup. By the way, did you know that you can make syrup from the trees you probably have in your backyard? Yes, you can make syrups other than maple! Birch trees are common, as are sycmore trees in this area. Check out this video on how to make birch syrup while you eat.  Or, you know, watch it while you wait for your second batch of pancakes to cook.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you wake up tomorrow, inspired, to make these for breakfast. I also hope that you make these souffle pancakes for dinner tonight. Why shouldn't you have pancakes for dinner? We're all in the middle of redefining what we think the rules should really be right now, so why not you? Have pancakes for dinner! Give yourselves a little joy and silliness because goodness knows you need a good laugh. A dear friend of mine told me recently that it is a radical thing to take care of oneself in times like these.

I hope these turn out! Happy cooking and happy eating!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Veggie Frittata

Is the struggle real? It doesn't have to be. 
Keeping my promise, here's the recipe for the frittata, before the anecdote.

Here's how I made mine, enough for 2-4 people


  • 5 large eggs from a local farmer
    • They're going for $4/dozen out here, but trust me, they're worth it
  • A heaping spoonful of mayonnaise
    • Use a soup spoon 
  • 1 tsp horseradish, ground
    • You can get these at most grocery stores that have a Jewish section
  • Half of a red bell pepper, left over from some other dish, diced fine
  • 3 scallions, sliced fine, all the way up to the greens
  • A good handful of diced up cheese
    • I used a vegan parmesan that I love - but you use whatever you have around
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or vegan solid fat) plus 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
    • Pro-tip: mix it up with your peppercorns! Use half black peppercorns and half sichuan peppercorns in your pepper mill. Trust me, you'll thank me later
  • Any fresh herbs you've manager to procure
    • I have a sage plant in the garden that I snagged a few leaves off of
Preheat your oven to 400. Yes, preheat. This is very important to the dish that it goes in to a hot oven, otherwise your frittata won't be right. Heat is a factor for maximum fluffiness, which is exactly what you want. 

Invest in some good metal chopsticks - especially good for cooking and carrying around with you to eat with! Seriously, you want to avoid using single-use plasticware as much as possible anyhow.

Beat your eggs using a pair of chopsticks. Add your mayo, horseradish, and season with salt and pepper. Dice and slice your veggies, cheese, and whatever else you've decided to put in there. Think of your dish as a song that you're writing, and make decisions as to where things should go. Would you stick an oboe next to an electric guitar? You might, but what would the point be? The idea of the frittata is to use what leftover veggie scraps you have lying around and to transform it into something great. Make good decisions, especially when considering the size of your knife cuts. Everything should be the same size, so that way it all cooks evenly.

Speaking of knife cuts, have you ever done a chiffonade of fresh herbs? It's easy! Just take flat-leaf herbs, such as basil, mint, or sage, stack them up atop one another and roll them, as if you were rolling a cigar. Slice across as thin as you can, et voila! There we have a beautiful chiffonade, ready for garnish. 

Fresh herbs are cheap, but growing your own is cheaper. Use an egg carton to grow some in your kitchen window!

If you do buy herbs, however, keep them in the fridge standing in a tall glass of water, like you would keep flowers in a vase. They'll last for days and days longer!

Heat your butter and oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan until sizzling hot. Add your veggies and season heavily. Cook these on a high heat until soft and the color has just dimmed, about 1 minute or so, and add your egg. Use a spatula to stir in the middle, just so, and scrape once around the edge. The idea is to equally distribute the veggies, but quickly. Turn off your flame and add the cheese all around. Pop in your very hot oven and cook for 15 minutes. 

Once it's all done, run your spatula around once again to loosen it and it should slight right on to your cutting board. Cut into wedges, garnish with herbs and the scallion greens, and serve with some toast. Want to know how to make your own bread from scratch? I've written a few pieces on it here.

Don't let your stale bread go to waste, either! Chop it up, douse it with olive oil, and roast them at 300 degrees F to make croutons, which are wonderfully shelf-stable.
I love a good frittata because it's a perfect meal for a family on a budget that's been stuck inside during a global pandemic and that need to make every scrap of everything last. You can put just about anything in a frittata and have it still come out. The biggest factor you should consider is moisture - as in, please control how much you put in. 

I wouldn't use a big heaping spoonful of marinara in my frittata, nor would I put dry pasta. I might, however, put in the last few bites of lo mein from my takeout, or some taco meat and veggies. The only thing I have to do is to saute it first until I'm sure that there's at least not sopping moisture in the item. You can put cheese, veggies, meats and fish into a frittata so long as you keep ratios right.

The best part about this dish is that you can very easily save it for later, as it reheats well enough. In fact, you can chop up a leftover frittata, fry it quickly in some oil or butter, and serve it as a warm crouton in a garden salad. May I suggest a raspberry vinaigrette? If you don't have any vinaigrette, but have some last bits of jam in a near-empty jam jar, simply dump in some vinegar and oil in a 1:3 ratio and shake briskly. Yes, straight in the jar! You have an instant vinaigrette that's fancy and will save for later.

I hope you're all keeping your spirits up and staying strong during this global pandemic. What you can do now, since many of you are likely working from home or gainfully unemployed is find some good side hustles. You can also use this time to write or call your representatives for your local government and tell them exactly how you think they're handling this health crisis in your area. There's also a wonderful app and website called NextDoor, and if you feel like helping, they have a feature where you can tag your home - in your own neighborhood - to help out your elderly neighbors. 

The world is watching us. It'd be a very classy move if we used our spare time to show each other that community is a priority and that we are going to be there for each other in times of crisis. I'd also like to remind you to please not hoard things, especially for your elderly neighbors that may not be able to get to the grocery store. Old people need things like toilet paper and soap as well.

Is there something you'd like to see covered? Do you want help live for a certain something you're just not sure of in the pantry? Is your cupboard looking like an episode of "Chopped"? DM me on Instagram! I do 5 mins for $5, which is all I need from you to help get your a meal going. I do live chats, facetime, etc., any way you need help for your problem, right now.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. Make sure you get outside and walk around your block at least once per day. Remember that exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Let's not let this disease ruin us. 

Happy cooking and happy eating. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Good afternoon, all.

I was advised to write everything down as I see it during this quarantine. It's been about five days since then and it's now been called for a stay home order. This means that nobody leaves their home for 30 days, unless it's to go to work and the grocery store. Fortunately, this is meant to include restaurants, so we're going to hopefully be able to be open. I don't know what will happen, but I do know this.

I'm going to be stuck home now, so this means I'll be writing now.

I plan to write more often, with tips and tricks on how to run a house and not lose your sanity during this time.

It March 21st, first day of spring, and I spent the day with my husband, having a picnic out of the back of my car. We drove to Clinton Lake, I saw a bed of land snail shells. We watched the water and ate sandwiches and chips. This is likely the last normal day I'll have in at least 30 days, and I'm sure that I am not alone.

I've learned a lot over my last decade in the restaurant industry, and I want to share what ever knowledge I  can with you about surviving on a razor-thin margin of a budget. Here's what I'll pledge to you now:

Put the recipe first, and then put the story. If you feel like reading that while your stuff is cooking, awesome. If not, just like and comment on my post and tell me what you want to see next.

I'll put whatever survival stuff I can and update when I can.

Stay strong.

You're not alone out here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dump-it Peanut Butter Cookies

How in the world are these so perfect-looking? Read on...
This is going to be the easiest thing you ever make. You don't need a scale, you don't need standing mixer. You need a whisk, a wooden spoon, a big bowl, and some hands to make these. Because, hey, sometimes the world is a dumpster fire and you need cookies.

Dump-it Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c peanut butter**
    • If you have a peanut allergy, I highly recommend sunflower butter. It's just as good and will work just fine!
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 c potato starch
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c whole oats
  • Chocolate Chips, as needed
Combine the oil and peanut butter (or sunflower butter if you have an allergy) in a mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine them. Add both of the sugars and whisk together until quite smooth. You'll get a great workout! Add in the egg and vanilla paste, and whisk until it's absolutely combined. Now's the time to switch to a spatula or a wooden spoon.

Dump all of your dry ingredients, sans the chocolate chips, into your bowl and stir until wholly and fully combined. I advise you to let your batter rest in the fridge while your oven heats to 325 degrees F. I'm now going to give you an incredible tip on how to make the perfect-looking chocolate chip cookie.

As you can see, I used ghiradelli chips! And my kitchen is a mess!

Scoop out your dough and place them on your sheet pan in little mounds. Instead of mixing your chocolate chips in, you're going to carefully press the chocolate chips into the dome, almost like you're making a cute little porcupine. It may seem tedious, but I assure you that it's worth it. You can do this with chocolate chips, hershey kisses, M&Ms, whole pecans...pretty much anything you feel like you need your cookie to have. 

I learned this tip from watching a fabulous series on Netflix called "The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, a California-based artist that's a self-taught baker and DIY queen. Give her a watch!

Bake at 325 for 11 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 before moving to a cooling rack, or a fabulously stylish plate to accompany your tea party. Or you can have your tea party by the harbor while you throw the tea into the ocean. Just be sure to use the hashtag #resist when you post about it on Instagram. 

See that? That was so easy. You can literally throw it together in minutes. If you have small humans around you, you can also employ them to do this. Children are much more responsible and capable than you may think. Arguably, the best thing you can do for them is to teach them how to look after themselves, and what better way to start than to give them the ability to have good, fresh cookies whenever they want? But I digress.

Please enjoy the fastest chocolate chip cookies in the midwest. Even if you already have the oven preheated and only let this batter rest for two minutes, it'll still be great!

Thank you all so much for your patience while I figure out some things on the personal end. Writing gave me a sense of purpose, and in the senseless times in our country, the tumultuous and treacherous happenings, all I can think to do is keep going. 

I'm no Alexander Hamilton. I'm not going to write my way to revolution and I know that. I write letters to my state and government representatives about how I feel about the concentration camps, about the abuse those men, women and children are going through. I write letters about human rights, and about how women should be able to make private health decisions without the government stepping in. I write about how I think that guns should have common sense laws and tests and licencing, and how it shouldn't be so easy to kill and maim another human being. I write to them how I think that children shouldn't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. I guess that's my way of saying all of my writing motivation has been going to that, and not this passion project that I've grown to love.

This website has become my way to speak through food. I really love writing and I hope that you all enjoy reading what I write. Part of me doesn't want to ruin anyone's day by bringing up politics; the rest of me wants everyone to know and wants everyone to care so we can all rise up and make it stop. At least, that's the hope.

Thanks so much for always reading. Go make yourself these cookies and know that they're coming from not just a child of immigrants, but a place of love. Happy cooking and happy eating!

A Quick Apology

I'm very sorry that I seem to have given up on posting my regular blogs. I kept this website running as a sort of therapy for myself. Writing every Monday, having that routine, was comforting.

I'm sorry that I haven't done it lately. I know that my audience is tiny, but I hope that those that had been as kind as they were to pay attention to what I was saying will accept my apology.

I haven't forgotten.

I think I'm just waiting right now.

It feels sort of silly to write about food when my country is in the state that it's in. It feels almost pointless and helpless to write recipes when there are children in concentration camps in my hometown, all over the country. It feels wrong of me to keep writing when we're still, still debating on whether women are people or not.

Part of me wants to say that any piece of normalcy to get through is good. Part of me wants to take up arms and do more. Part of me just wants to give up.

I won't give up, though. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm thinking of you and that I'll start writing again soon.

Thank you.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Orange Roughy Tacos

Summer is nigh and so, by default, grilling season. Nothing is more fun than cooking outdoors. There's just something so wonderfully unfussy about forgetting the kitchen and bringing a cutting board, a paring knife, a spatula and a pair of tongs out to a fired-up grill.

Last night, my husband and I spent the entire evening on our garden patio and enjoyed the sun, the breeze, and the grill, and didn't step inside. We enjoyed ice-cold cokes, fresh guacamole, and the joy of grabbing herbs and lettuces from the garden just next to the patio. To say it was an ideal night would be an understatement. A quick tip or two about being/prepping stuff outside:

Take all that you need out to the patio table all at once so you don't have to keep on going in and out again. Bring your garnishes, bring plenty of spoons, bring your serving plates, etc. This way, you can enjoy the outside and relax. All I had was a cutting board, my mortar and pestle, and a few other odds and ends. It was great! There are, of course, a couple of things you'll want to do ahead of time, such as marinating the fish, but otherwise you should be good to go.

Why orange roughy for tacos? It's delicious, has a big flake on it, and is buttery and mild. It was also on sale, but please be advised that it's massively overfished and you shouldn't eat it constantly. It's okay every once in a blue moon, but otherwise I like to stick to trout. In fact, trout is my favorite fish to cook at home! Tonight was a special occasion, so I chose this one. You can substitute for cod or artic char, of course, but since it's a nice night, I felt like celebrating.

Orange Roughy Tacos

  • 2 filets orange roughy
  • A glug or two of canola oil
  • 1 lime
  • 5-7 mint leaves
  • 3-4 oregano leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Plenty of salt and black pepper
  • Taco Garnishes!
    • Cheese (cotija is traditional)(and only if you want)
    • Lettuces (we had ours from the garden)
    • Sour cream (we used the vegan kind)
    • Guacamole (recipe to follow)
    • Flour tortillas (I'll explain)
(please make in a mortar and pestle or molcajete)
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro (optional, but recommended)
Pop your fish filets in a metal bowl, add oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Take your lime and zest it, adding zest to the fish. You don't want to add the juice, because the acid will cook the fish and therefore destroy your need for the grill. Besides, you'll need the juice for later! Layer your mint and oregano leaves on top of one another and then slice as thin as you can. It helps to roll it up in a sort of cigar for slicing! This is called a chiffonade. Add this to your fish, and then gently toss. Go ahead and light the grill, now. I like a charcoal grill, but if you have a gas grill, go ahead and use it.

If you do have a charcoal grill, I highly suggest investing in what's known as a chimney. These guys run about $10 at any hardware store, and will have your coals hot in under 15 minutes. There's much less waste of charcoal, and you don't have to use lighter fluid at all. Bless!

When your coals are gray around the outside, dump them out of the chimney and pop on the grill grate. I wait about 3 minutes for everything to get hot, and then go ahead and start. Let's start with the guacamole!

Take your tomato and cut it in half, crossways, not long ways. Reserve one of the halves for dicing to top your tacos, but take the other half and pop it in the middle of the grill, cut-side down, where it's hottest. Next, take your lime that you've zested, cut it in half, and throw both of those sides on the grill. Ready for more? Go ahead and cut that jalapeno in half, longways, and let it hang out on the grill, skin side down. While these cook, pop a generous amount of salt and pepper into the bottom of your mortar and pestle along in with the crushed garlic and cilantro, if you're using. Crush and grind them until they form a paste.

When the jalapeno is charred well, remove from the grill and scrape off the skin with the back of your knife before roughly chopping. Add this to your mortar and pestle and give it a few grinds. Do the same with your now-cooked tomato half, and then take one of the halves of the lime and squeeze all of that delicious roasted juice out into your mix. Push the other half of the lime to the far side of the grill, to the perimeter where there's just enough heat to keep it warm.  Add the flesh of your avocados and grind. You're wanting to scrape the sides and crush it gently so as not to let everything fly out.

Somewhere in there is my house. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Next, you're going to want to warm your tortillas. I use flour tortillas because I hail from Southern Arizona, also known as Northern Mexico, also known as the Sonoran Desert. In the Sonoran region, wheat was the most-common cereal crop instead of corn, so it's quite normal to see flour tortillas being used instead of corn tortillas. Simply warm them on the grill, just enough to mark them on each side, then stack them between two plates (one upside-down over the other) and wrap that with a tea towel.

You're ready to grill your fish! I suggest using a spatula since orange roughy flakes quite big, and if you use tongs you threaten tearing the delicate fish apart and letting it tragically fall to the coals. You've marinated them using oil, so I doubt you'll have issue with it sticking, especially if your grates are nice and hot.

Grill on the first side for 3 minutes, and then flip for an additional 90 seconds to 2 minutes, or until the fish is firm and flaking apart. Fish doesn't take long to overcook, so please stay close! To finish, take that grilled lime half and squeeze it all over your fish as it's finishing cooking on the second side. The flavor of roasted citrus is one of my favorites, and I suggest you use it, too!

Transfer onto a plate and serve. You can break apart the fish using the spatula, or make it super-informal for you and your dining partner and eat with your hands! A third of the world uses a fork and knife, while one third uses chopsticks...and the final third uses just their hands to eat with. Toss out those old stuffy Euro-centric ideas that it's not a meal if not eaten with a knife and fork and get messy. The fun of tacos is that it's partly a mess!

To assemble the taco? Oh, sure.

I put down a thin layer of guacamole first with my spoon, then the fish. Then tomato, garden lettuces, avocado slices, a little smear of sour cream and some roasted lime juice. Delicious and easy! You, of course, can put whatever you like on the taco, but this is how I do it. If I'm having it with cheese (or vegan cheese-like product), I always put the cheese on the bottom before anything else. This way, it creates a barrier and my tortilla doesn't get too wet.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoy your meal, and remember that the only reason you have tacos is because of Mexico and the incredible culture that developed there. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Klops, an Eastern-European Meatloaf

I'm so mad that this was the best picture of this that I took. But by the time I was eating I was so hungry so I just forgot.
It doesn't sound good, does it? Klops. Blech. It's actually a very traditional meatloaf that's quite popular in Polish/Lithuanian Jewish homes. There's a recipe in The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden and if you search "Klops meatloaf" you'll learn all about this favorite of Poland. It's a very Eastern European thing to put foods inside of other foods, if that makes any sense. This meatloaf has hard-boiled eggs in it! I've had it before from a friend's recipe and did not care for it at all. I thought it was dry, gray, and bland but everyone else seemed to love it. I really love meatloaf and I wanted to make my own version of klops, but make it more like the meatloaf I had growing up, which is a savory, tomato-laden labor of love.

There are going to be a couple of ingredients in here that aren't totally traditional, but please trust me on these. I know you're going to want a wonderfully authentic Polish-Lithuanian recipe, and while those are all nice and fed many people, you've come to my page and I want to give you something with a little twist that will give you an excellent result in the end.

Miso, specifically white miso, is an excellent additive of salt for meats. I love seasoning food with it because it adds a savory depth of flavor to everything it touches. I think miso is one of the most-perfect foods, and it works especially well in this because of the acidity of the tomatoes. I chose roasted ones because they're going to have a little less moisture in them in exchange for more flavor. You can pick up a 14 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes at just about any grocery store nowadays, and you won't regret it.

Klops Meatloaf
serves 6-8
  • 2 lb course ground beef, ideally an 80/20 blend
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 can roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp white miso
  • 1 small cucumber, about 1/2 cup, diced fine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 c matzoh meal (or dry crackers, whatever you have)
  • Fresh mint and dill, chopped fine, about 3 Tbsp of each
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 cup quartered mushrooms, optional
  • 1 large tomato, optional
Make the hard-boiled eggs first by cooking them for 12 minutes with a teaspoon of baking soda added to the water, which will help you peel them faster! Another little trick is to drain them and then shock them immediately after cooking with ice to help peel them more quickly. 

You're going to want to use a whisk to make a sort of paste out of the miso and the egg. The reason we're using miso instead of salt is because it's going to add a savory saltiness to the meat without drawing extra liquid out, like a hard salt would. I know it sounds funny, but it's not always the best idea to put hard salt into a ground meatball product. Since it's softer, use liquid or paste. You can also use soy sauce!

Drain the tomatoes of the juice and add them to the ground meat, the rest of the vegetables, the matzoh meal, and your egg mixture. Moisture is your frenemy when it comes to meatloaf, so you want to control it as much as possible. You want to use a sort of "liquid" salt like miso instead of a hard salt like kosher salt because the latter will draw moisture out of each strand of meat and it'll have nowhere to go, unless you want to let the whole loaf sit in the fridge for a day or so, so it can pass nicely through and through without issue. I also have cucumber and grated onion in this recipe, which are quite moist, but it's a fragrant moist that you'll be grateful for. 

With your bare fingers, mix everything together, sort of like you're doing a pie crust. Add in the herbs and give everything a good knead. It's okay if you get a little rougher at this stage! You want to make sure you don't have too many air pockets here at this stage. Lay out the meat all on a large sheet of plastic film in a tube, and roll it up tight to make a  big sausage shape. You're going to wrap it as tight as you can and let it hang out on the counter for the 10 minutes it's going to take you to peel your eggs. What's happening now is you're letting the flavors mesh. You can do this up to 24 hours ahead of time and you can let it all hold in the refrigerator instead.

When you're ready to bake your meatloaf, heat your oven to 375 degrees F and choose a casserole dish that will hold everything with ease, ideally with sides that go up at least 2 inches all the way around. To form your meatloaf, unwrap the meat and take half of it into your casserole dish. Lay it into a flat oval and make a lovely little channel in which to lay your eggs. You're laying them on their sides so they go in a nice line all the way down. Take the rest of your meat and lay it on top of the loaf you've just made to sandwich the eggs in. Use your hands to pat and shape it into a nice tight loaf, the tighter the better.

Drizzle a little oil on top and season generously with salt and course ground pepper to give it a nice crust. If you like mushrooms, fill in around the sides of the loaf so it can soak up and cook in the fat. You can make a nice sauce out of this later, if you so choose!

Bake for 1 hour at 375. Remove from the oven and let hang out on your cutting board for at least 15 minutes. One of the reasons we let this meatloaf rest before serving is to help it retain its shape when you cut it. The whole idea of a meatloaf is for it to be a lovely homogenous thing, and it's especially lovely for leftovers. Who doesn't love a meatloaf sandwich for lunch?

Please be careful when you remove it from the oven, as there's quite a bit of fat that's sure to have cooked off. If you've cooked mushrooms around the sides, spoon them out into a dish gently, and then spoon out the fat that's rendered off. Reserve at least a couple of spoonfuls for the sauce, if you plan to make one. If you do want to make a nice sauce, simply chop up one large tomato, saute it in some of the fat that has been drained from the meatloaf, and add in the mushrooms that were cooked in the oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then blitz in a blender with some breadcrumbs or matzoh meal. 

The sauce is entirely optional, as it's quite yummy on its own. For sides, I suggest a squash puree or roasted potatoes. You're going to have tons of leftovers, so you may as well make it the day before your work week starts so you can have easy leftovers.

Thanks so much for reading! Happy cooking and happy eating!