Appetites: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes and book review

This right here is a heart attack on a plate…so bad for you, but so good you don’t care!

When I saw Anthony’s description of the meatloaves in his life, from his mom’s, to school cafeteria, to TV dinners, I knew this was going to be something special and could not wait to try it. It does take a lot longer than my go to meatloaf recipe, so I’d call this more of a labor of love than your average midweek family meal.

He starts off by cooking some chopped onions and celery with some herbs and then mixing that with some minced meats, eggs, bread crumbs and seasoning. This gets packed into a loaf pan and covered with foil and baked for an hour before the foil is removed and tomato paste is brushed over the top and it continues to bake until it reaches the appropriate temperature.

Meanwhile you make a mushroom gravy and the accompanying mashed potatoes. The gravy is simply enough – cooking some chopped shallots and mushrooms and mixing in a roux made from butter and flour then adding in stock and cream and seasoning. It is the most amazing mushroom gravy and I am definitely going to be using this again!

The Robuchon style mashed potatoes is where things really get interesting. Anthony obviously loved Joel Robuchon’s mashed potatoes so much as to try to recreate them on his own which he did by adding an obscene amount of butter and heavy cream. Í’m not gonna lie, this was by far the nicest mashed potato recipe we’ve ever had, but there is no way we are eating this on a regular basis or making it our go to recipe. There was 450g of butter for 1 kg of potatoes used!

While the meal mightn’t look the most appetizing it really was delicious. I personally disliked the tomato paste topping on the meatloaf. The tomato paste taste doesn’t really cook off and so it becomes a bit overpowering. I’d probably add tomato sauce instead. The other take away I had from this recipe was that I wasn’t burping it for the rest of the evening like I normally do with our meatloaf. Thinking this was because I precooked the onions, but it’s really hard to know.

It is with a heavy heart that Food52 Cookbook Club added Anthony Bourdain’s books to the list for June. I’m really glad I had quick access to Appetites through our local library and that I had a chance to pay tribute to him through our cooking this month. While I’ve only had the chance to scratch the surface of this book, it has already won us over with the best Egg & Bacon Rolls ever. We have seriously made them 4 times already since discovering the recipe. And there is so much more I want to try.

I will say that for some reason I was not prepared for the rough language in the book. I know he would swear, but I thought this was going to be more like Gordon Ramsay’s books which don’t show signs of his penchant for swearing at all. My 12 year old thought it was most hilarious when he saw the “F” word in big bold writing as I was looking through the cookbook. Never mind that, I just read it away from the 6 year old who is absolutely fascinated with that language atm.

RIP Anthony. Thank you for sharing your love of food and culture with the world. You certainly left your mark on us all.

To see my other two posts on Appetites, click on the links below:

Appetites: Macaroni and Cheese

We had a stack of leftover pulled pork from Aaron’s birthday party this week so I thought I’d throw together an American bbq dinner of sorts with the leftovers as a quick midweek meal. We had the pork and the coleslaw, so to it I added a batch of cornbread and Anthony Bourdain’s macaroni & cheese from his book, Appetites.

It was really nice, albeit a bit different from my usual macaroni & cheese, though the method is virtually the same. It had an extra 2 cups of milk and 8 oz of cheese! The seasonings were familiar, cayenne and mustard (I used paprika instead of cayenne) and instead of just using cheddar like I normally would, it contained 4 different cheeses – mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and Gruyere (I substituted monterey jack for the Gruyere because that’s what I had on hand).

The feedback on his version of macaroni & cheese was mixed. The younger two refused to eat it (I think the Parmesan on top was too strong a flavor) but the rest of us thought it was great. Will I change my recipe and use this one instead from now on? Nah. I am open to seeing if there is a better recipe out there, but this one ain’t it. But it was quite close and it was creamy and delicious!

Appetites: Bodega Sandwiches

Food52 Cookbook Club has added two of Anthony Bourdain’s cookbooks to this month’s club choices. This recipe, which Aaron made for dinner tonight, comes from Appetites: A Cookbook.

There’s fewer things that I (and many others) think are necessary for a perfect breakfast than bacon and eggs, and a good bacon and egg roll is worth its weight in gold. Well, maybe not quite, but it’s still a pretty good way to start the day. A good bacon and egg roll is finger food. You have to be able to eat it with your hands. Maybe even while driving.

The trade off here, of course, is that the perfect egg has a runny yolk. A runny yolk is not conducive to finger food, and especially driving. So the best bacon and egg rolls I’ve had have been eaten with a knife and fork, on a plate.

So when Jen showed my Anthony Bourdain’s Bodega Sandwiches and I saw he, rather than frying the eggs, makes more of an omelette, I said – ‘that makes perfect sense!’…omelettes are the perfect way to have non-runny eggs!

Bourdain’s recipe is simple, fast and amazingly delicious…and clean. Cooking bacon is messy with all the fat, but this recipe makes sure you clean the fat up after cooking the bacon. I did this on our flat grill, and then took the sliced hamburger buns and toasted them on the inside in the bacon fat. Then I whisked the eggs together as you would for an omelette and cooked them in the bacon fat and when they were almost cooked, simply laid American cheese slices on top to get all melty. Then it was just a matter of assembling the four ingredient sandwich.

So, if you’re after a quick breakfast (or brunch, or brinner, or anytime!), this recipe will get you one of the nicest bacon and egg rolls I’ve had. We’ll definitely be adding this to the menu! RIP Tony.