Jan 2: Sushi; Meatloaf dinner

Lunch: Sushi

One of the things I love about living in Southern California is the abundance of decent sushi. Sushi is not something that Australia didn’t do particularly well when I lived there, nor even on recent trips. It’s a regular thing for us when grocery shopping and lunch co-incide. If the weather is good we like to continue on to a park and eat there, just to be outside the office/apartment for a while.

Lunch was a mix of spicy tuna and cucumber avocado rolls and totaled $17 or $8.50 a serve. Compare that with dinner at $3.80 a serve!

Dinner: Classic American Meatloaf with cauliflower and parsnip mash

During the time my mother and niece were visiting from Australia, Greg wanted to expose my niece to American classics, and some modern interpretations. Tonight he cooked it again for Cirina Catania.

Greg chose Barefoot Contessa’s classic recipe but used 1 lb (250 g) each beef and pork. This is a great recipe and with the mix of meats has more flavor than you’d expect from something this simple. We also cook a mushroom and red wine meatloaf, and a turkey, bacon and chipotle meatloaf with a recipe we created. All are great.

Because we get a direct-from-farmer meat delivery, the ground pork and beef were about $8 each. Grass fed, organic ground beef or pork usually runs about $6 lb. The other ingredients are inexpensive. It makes five generous serves so we still come out at around $3.40 a serve or with regular organic ground meats around $2.60.

For the mash, take a head of cauliflower and break it into florets. Cut up two large parsnips into cubes about 1″ on each side. Greg uses the pressure cooker to cook the vegetables (only three minutes!), but you could steam, or even boil them. (Boiling tends to lose flavor into the water.)

Let the vegetables steam until the steaming stops, otherwise the mash ends up too sloppy.

Mash the cauliflower and parsnip or use a Cuisinart like we do, with some butter, lemon, garlic and sea salt to taste.  (But a quick search will find many interesting variations on the basic recipe.)

Greg found this alternate mash a year ago when my mom was on an elimination diet and nightshades (including potato) were temporarily off the table. We rarely go back to potato mash now. Cirina brought some yellow beets with her that had been previously roasted.

Cauliflower and parsnip are cheap and this works out under 40c per serve, for a total meal cost of $2.80 or $3.80 per serve depending on where you get your ground meat.


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