What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Good Food Hunting: Meatloaf Cupcakes

October 24, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Don't let dinner become so mundane that this is how you feel. Instead mix it up with some meatloaf cupcakes!

Don’t let dinner become so mundane that this is how you feel. Instead mix it up with some meatloaf cupcakes!

Meatloaf is one of the ultimate comfort foods, especially this time of year. There are countless ways to make it, and each way has it’s own benefits. What I have been enamored with as of late are meatloaf cupcakes. Serving meatloaf up in a new way can help kids gain more of the good stuff, or work with the time pressed equestrian when getting food ready quickly isn’t always an option.

Meatloaf cupcakes that are oddly reminiscent of real sugary cupcakes.

Meatloaf cupcakes that are oddly reminiscent of the “real” sugary cupcakes.

Cupcakes are all the craze of course, maybe even dying down a bit in light of the illustrious cronut. Yet taking something that has no relation to cupcakes like meatloaf can actually bring out creativity even on a night when one is drained due to the cold weather and dwindling daylight. Simply put, a meatloaf cupcake is a spin on the traditional meatloaf, just baked in a cupcake pan. Not only do they cook quicker than traditional meatloaf, but you can top them with a variety of good stuff. I personally like whipped mashed potatoes piped on as frosting and then using some sort of tomato glaze on top. For someone who lives on the go or by themselves, these individual servings of meatloaf work really well straight out of the freezer. It’s a way to utilize your time and ingredients in prepping for the future lack of food on lesson nights.

While I still haven’t found my ideal meatloaf (it’s like trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie), here are some recipes I’ve had great luck with. Keep in mind the base of the meatloaf has some sort of meat component (turkey, pork and/or beef), bread or in some cases quinoa or panko, a binder (egg) and then vegetables and seasonings. You can definitely tailor any of these recipes to make it more to your liking.

A blend of ground beef, quinona, vegetables and seasoning to round out one version of my meatloaf recipe.

A blend of ground beef, quinona, vegetables and seasoning to round out one version of my meatloaf recipe.

Meatloaf mixture placed into cupcake tins to provide faster cooking and individual servings.

Meatloaf mixture placed into cupcake tins to provide faster cooking and individual servings.

Once the meat component is settled on, the next phase is deciding which type of “cupcakes” you want. You can opt for frosted or glazed. The frosted meat cakes can be whipped cauliflower or potatoes (sweet or regular). And to do this I just made my favorite recipe, put them into a piping bag, and essentially frosted the cakes. You could always get crazy and put different tips on your bag to create fun patterns.

Creamy mashed potatoes blended up and ready to go in their piping bag.

Creamy mashed potatoes blended up and ready to go in their piping bag.

Fully cooked meatloaf cakes and cooled mashed potatoes, ready to assemble.

Fully cooked meatloaf cakes and cooled mashed potatoes, ready to assemble.

Piped mashed potatoes top cooke meatloaf cakes to create meatloaf cupcakes.

Piped mashed potatoes top cooked meatloaf cakes to create meatloaf cupcakes.

If you like the meat and potatoes component, then it’s a perfect marriage. If you’re not into the starches, then you could just glaze them. Most people use straight tomato ketchup, but I personally like balsamic ketchup or even tomato jam. You can place this right on top of your meat cakes towards the end of the cooking so the sugars caramelize and leave you with depth of flavor. Of course if you opted for potatoes, you could put the glaze over it and cook the potatoes a second time.

Meatloaf cupcakes straight out of the broiler for their second sound of baking to brown the potatoes and caramelize the glaze.

Meatloaf cupcakes straight out of the broiler for their second sound of baking to brown the potatoes and caramelize the glaze.

The possibilities are of course endless! Just don’t get depressed about summer’s end and find a way to enjoy even the most mundane of comfort foods. It’s a way to let your creativity loose during the week with the benefits of stocking your freezer with easy meals.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Dressage at Devon

September 26, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Fig, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Naan Pizza from The Pub at Wegmans.

Dressage at Devon is well underway. The breed show itself takes place earlier in the week with the performance horses coming in to finish off the weekend. Much like the Devon Horse Show it promotes a worldly feel in a old time venue just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s a place where champions meet and the food in the area can’t be beat!

Dressage at Devon’s iconic pumpkins!

Myself during Dressage at Devon enjoying Ladies' Hat Day and all the other refreshments and fun!

Enjoying Dressage at Devon’s Ladies’ Hat Day and all the other refreshments and fun!

Of course I love partaking in the ladies hat day, but the food element is always worth talking about! The venue itself boasts some great finds just like the Harbor Sweets booth where you can sample chocolate daily.

Harbor Sweets/Dark Horse Chocolates booth at Dressage at Devon. A great place to get some sweetness in your day!

But say you want to get away from the show and have a good meal. My first recommendation will be to go to Wegmans. It’s about a ten minute drive pending traffic. Now before you get all grocery stored out on me, they do have a very nice and very cost affordable restaurant called the Pub– and they serve alcohol. After a long day it’s a great way to go out to dinner “as is” to kick back and enjoy a good meal. If you decide that this may not be the right location for dinner, then stop in and grab a growler of their seasonal beer selections and take it with you to enjoy! You can read my full review here, but the pictures may just sway you all the same:

The Pub at Wegmans. Photo courtesy of The Artful Diner.

Speck and Buratta with smoked salumi, roasted mushrooms and peas topped with truffle butter.

If you realize you’re going to have to wait to eat anywhere locally, then I suggest a short jaunt to Four Dogs Tavern. If you have your dogs with you, bring them along! The name “Four Dogs Tavern” comes from the print of four foxhounds that hangs just inside the entrance. The original was painted by Louis Godefroy Jadin. I always thought the name was due to the fact that you could bring your four legged friends enjoy in the atmosphere and food as well. I suppose that’s a large part of it too! They’re located in the Brandywine section of Pennsylvania, about thirty minutes from Devon. Consider this a city bistro with well trained staff, a greatly executed menu and a laid back atmosphere in the country. The food is out of this world, so definitely go hungry.

Artisanal Goat Cheese with Figs, Pistachio and Country Toast.

Crab Nachos with Avocado Sour Cream.

Definitely enjoy your time at the show, but more importantly for the sake of foodies everywhere- enjoy the food! To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Cucumber Blueberry Salad

August 31, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Finished salad just waiting for you to dig in.

Finished salad just waiting for you to dig in.

Our equestrian lifestyle barely leaves us with any time with our horse, and then comes a garden we had every intention of weeding and caring for meticulously during the summer months. We may not have gotten the yields and the picturesque garden we had hoped for, but buried underneath all those weeds is almost always an abundance of cucumbers we have no idea what to do with. You can make endless pickles, put them in your water, or top off salads, but in the end you’re fighting a losing battle. They will prosper no matter what you do to them (kind of makes you wish horses were more like cucumbers as maybe there’d be less vet bills due to their resilience).
But have you ever considered using cucumbers as the star of your show? By using a unique and very simple preparation technique, you end up with a non-soggy mess that’s able to take on a ton of flavors. I liked what I saw in a magazine, and from there doctored it up for what I had around the kitchen. No fuss, no muss. The beauty of this newfound inspiration was no hassle, and no heating up the kitchen.
All the fun and colorful ingredients to make this version of Cucumber and Blueberry Salad.

All the fun and colorful ingredients to make this version of Cucumber and Blueberry Salad.

slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes, showcasing exactly how it's done.

Slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes, makes for a super easy way to take this unsung hero and apply it into a variety of uses.

Slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes.

Slicing and seeding a cucumber in half moon shapes for this recipe.

Enjoy your holiday weekend! To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Cucumber and Blueberry Salad

3 medium cucumbers
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 cup of red onion, minced
1 pint of blueberries, rinsed
3 tablespoons of mint, thinly sliced
1 cup of feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Rinse your cucumbers and peel them. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop the center out with a spoon. Slice into bite sized pieces and set aside in a medium sized bowl.

In a skillet over low heat, place the sunflower seeds and lightly brown them. Should take about two minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the vinegar and sugar, heat for thirty second and stir till sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil, garlic powder and onion powder, add a little bit of salt, fresh ground Pepper and set aside.

In your large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with the cucumbers and sunflower Seeds. Pour on half of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Add more vinagrette as desired, season accordingly. Serve immediately. If not serving immediately, wait on adding the blueberries and mint until you’re ready to go. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Wegmans

The finished Cucumber Blueberry Salad just waiting to accompany your next dinner, or during labor day festivities.

The finished Cucumber Blueberry Salad just waiting to accompany your next dinner, or during labor day festivities.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.