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Tuesday
Nov062012

a meal fit for a president (and presidential hopeful)

Today is Election Day. In honor of today, I made a couple of the 2013 Presidential hopefuls' favorites: President Barack Obama's Chili and Governor Mitt Romney's wife's Meatloaf Cakes. I don't normally think to take cooking advice from politicians but today, I thought why not, and I learned something from both parties ...

Most chili recipes fall into a meaty, rich, comforting kind of dish. It’s a one-bowl meal with rice and maybe some cheese, tomatoes, avocados and onions as garnish. The one taste that's missing: acid. Of course! President Obama's chili recipe uses red wine vinegar and it definitely makes a difference. Will be experimenting with that on my next batch.

Meatloaf is another one of those rich comforting dishes. Unlike chili, it requires additional sides to make a meal but the results are the same: rich, comforting and homey. Instead of using the meatloaf trifecta (beef, veal, pork), Ann Romney's meatloaf uses only one: Beef. And instead of using milk to tenderize and moisten, she uses an acid: Lemon juice! It was another "Aha!" moment to co-opt. What I also liked about her recipe was that it was clearly made by a mom; someone that uses the time the meatloaves are baking to do another step.

Obama Family's Chili
adapted from President Obama
serves 4

1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground 93% fat free turkey or 90% lean beef
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground basil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 (or 2-1/2 cups) Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can red kidney beans, undrained
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish (optional)
Chopped red onion, for garnish (optional)
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Chopped scallion, for garnish (optional)
Diced avocado, for garnish (optional)
Hot sauce (optional)
Cooked white rice, brown rice or quinoa (optional)

In a medium-large sized pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, green pepper and garlic until soft about 5 minutes. Add ground meat; brown and crumble. Add spices and red wine vinegar. Stir and let cook for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, reduce heat and let simmer until tomatoes cook down, about 15 minutes. Add kidney beans and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve over white rice, brown rice or quinoa. Garnish with any of the following: Grated cheddar cheese, onions, scallion, avocado, and sour cream. Enjoy!

Mitt's Favorite Meatloaf Cakes (Meatloafettes? Beefcakes?)
adapted from Ann Romney
serves 4-6

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I combo'd 90% and 80% lean)
1 large egg
1/4-cup onion, chopped fine
3 small lemons or 1/4 cup lemon juice
3 slices of whole grain bread, crust on, cut or torn into small pieces
2 teaspoons seasoned salt* (see note)
1/4-cup ketchup
1/4-cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2-teaspoon allspice
1/4-teaspoon clove
Chopped parsley, as garnish (optional)
Steamed or microwaved vegetables, dressed in extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar (optional)
Mashed potatoes or cauliflower (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

In a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, lemon juice, bread, and seasoned salt together. Mix well. Portion out 6-8 mounds on the sheet pan. Form them into small rectangles, like you're making mini loafs. Bake for 15 minutes.

In a Pyrex measuring cup, measure out the ketchup, add in the remaining ingredients and stir until the brown sugar dissolves. Dollop about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the glaze over each loafette, being careful not to touch the tops with your spoon, since you're dipping it back into the Pyrex cup. Once each one has been "dolloped", spread the glaze over the top, allowing some to trickle down the sides. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Serve with steamed (or microwaved) vegetables and mashed potatoes or cauliflower. Add a little of the remaining glaze on top of each loaf; sprinkle parsley over the loaves and mashed veggie. Enjoy!

Note: If you don't own seasoning salt (I don't) I made my own blend:

1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2-teaspoon sugar
1/4-teaspoon paprika
1/8-teaspoon turmeric
1/8-teaspoon onion powder
1/8-teaspoon garlic powder

Sprinkle each one into the large mixing bowl with meat as you go. Be sure to mix the meat mixture well to distribute the seasonings.

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