Updated with new photos, from the recipe archive. First posted in 2004.
Why do I love meatloaf? It reminds me of being a kid. Where does one get meatloaf other than at home or at a school cafeteria? When I lived in San Francisco I bought meatloaf already mixed and seasoned from my local butcher. Just mixed in an egg, put it in a loaf pan, and popped it in the oven for an hour. These days I wait for my father to whip up a batch. He makes the Best. Meatloaf. Ever. His trick? He uses a mix of ground beef and pork, but the pork he uses is Italian pork sausage (half sweet, half spicy) instead of plain ground pork. He found the original recipe in an old issue of Gourmet (April 1994) and has adjusted it to his taste (including the sausage substitution) over the years. It takes a little more prep time because of the sofritto base (minced carrots, onions, celery, and garlic), but it is so worth it!
They say everybody gets their fifteen minutes of fame, perhaps that’s the same for vegetables? If so, kale is certainly having its day. Kale chips, kale smoothies, kale salads, kale is everywhere! It’s the spinach of the 80s, in kale form. Personally, I couldn’t be more pleased. We love our greens here—collard, kale, spinach, beet, chard. Anything that encourages people to cook with and eat more of these fabulously good-for-you and good tasting greens is alright by me. Scrambled eggs, for example, are great with sautéed onions and kale. Stir in some shredded cheese and seasonings, perfection!
September is my favorite month here in Sacramento. The garden is still producing plenty of tomatoes and chiles. The sweltering heat of the summer has moved on, leaving us shorter days, cooler nights, clear skies, and lovely breezes. The neighborhood kids are back to school, and our summer travels are over, but we haven’t yet succumbed to the frenzy of holiday planning. The first signs of the season are appearing in the market—butternut squash, apples, pears. This is a quick and easy pork chop recipe with skillet seared pork chops, served with a sweet and sour, gingery sauce with fresh pears. Perfect for the fall. Enjoy!
Fall is Granny Smith season over at my parent’s house; their trees are so heavy with apples my father has to prop up the branches with long two by fours to keep them from breaking. We also are blessed with a bounty of figs from the fig tree, with which my mother often makes a particularly wonderful fig jam (an easy recipe that cooks up in about 15 minutes, I recommend it!). So when I saw this recipe for an apple and gruyere grilled cheese panini with fig jam in my friend Kathy Strahs’ fabulous new cookbook, The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. It’s sort of a no-brainer actually. Granny Smith apples, gruyere cheese, figs? They belong together. I just never would have thought to put them together in a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh. My. Gosh. Crazy good!
Over the years, many readers have emailed me with questions about the cameras and lenses used to take photos on Simply Recipes. I thought I would take a minute to describe the equipment, software and a little of the process I use here. I’ll start with the cameras I use even though any photographer will tell you, it’s not the equipment but the eye of the photographer that’s important. I couldn’t agree more! Though good equipment does help when you have challenging lighting, which is often the case in the kitchen. At the end of the article I list lots of links to tutorials and resources if you are interested in learning more about food photography. If you have any questions about my process I haven’t addressed here, please ask in the comments. I’ll answer them if I can.