Look Ma!

Community Dinner #1

Last night’s community dinner was fun, and inspired by my mama. I used her recipes and the new kitchen tools she gave me for Christmas. We had my mom’s Mexican Meatloaf (which I doubled, and oops — only used 1/2 the amount of breadcrumbs I should have. It was more like Mexican Soupy Meatloaf.), fresh baked bread, salad and crispy oatmeal cookies. The cookies and the bread recipes are in the January/February issue of Cooks Illustrated. Both great recipes, although I will cook the bread a bit longer and add cinnamon and raisins to the cookies next time.

Mom's Mexican Meatloaf

Mexican Meatloaf is yummy. The trick is to add a dash of cayenne. I also cooked the ground turkey (healthier) in beer beforehand to give it a bit of a kick. I think my spice register is off because everyone said this was a bit too hot.

Loving my new dutch oven

I put my pretty turquoise Marty Dutch oven to use baking No Knead Bread 2.0.

warm, fresh out of the oven

This time I added sesame, poppy and flax seeds to the top to give it a bit more.

No knead, 2.0

Next time, I want to try the walnut and cranberry version.

playing with my new kitchen toys -- scoop!

I had a chance to use another new kitchen toy last night too — this scoop. It really does make baking cookies much easier. They are all the same size, so voila — they cook equally.

crispy oatmeal cookies

I’d love to have a photo of the finished product, but they were either eaten or packaged up for the road before I had a chance. Next time!

If I haven’t mentioned it this week, Cooks Illustrated is my new favorite reading material. I love this magazine. My friend John bought me a subscription to Bon Appetite for Christmas and I have two pretty new issues waiting to be read this weekend too. I am going to use these weekly community dinners to try new recipes and techniques. Worst case scenario, there is a great pizza place on the corner.


18 Replies to “Look Ma!”

  1. Looks like a great time! Any chance you’d share your mom’s meatloaf recipe? I’m always on the hunt for a good one, I love meatloaf!

  2. I think that community dinners are a fan-tastic idea! And, I think the old advice of never experimenting on company is hogwash — some of my best meals were first-time attempts.

    I love Cooks Illust. (no crazy colour ads!) If you are in need of a great go-to cookbook, check out their The New Best Recipe.

  3. The evening must have been a success! And what have you planned for the community?
    As for the new try, in my case a new recipe ALWAYS is better the first time!!!!

  4. Just delurking to say that if you like Cook’s Illustrated, be sure to check out their big cookbook, The New Best Recipe. Complete with mini-dissertation on every recipe! I love it (and more importantly, everything I’ve made from it is delicious–like the dinner you made. Yum!).

  5. Oh man, that looks fantastic! Thanks to you I’m going to have to go out and find that issue of Cooks Illustrated! And buy a dutch oven!

  6. I love your community dinner project–it’s a great way to spend time with others while enjoying a fantastic meal. Your menu is great and the comments about various components are very helpful. The two cooking magazines are also in my little repertoire and make for some fun experimenting.

  7. what fun! your bread looks bee-you-ti-full! (as does the turquoise pot) was it delicous? also, i find an ice cream scoop great for scooping cupcake batter too.

  8. Community dinners are an awesome idea-

    We have been doing them for the last year and a half up here in bend, OR. We all bring ingredients and cook together- rubbing elbows in a small kitchen and drinking wine has to be my favorite thing. Always makes for great conversation!

    I’ll be in AZ visiting friends and family the last week of january- if you have an open seat for your next community meal…i’d love to hitch a ride with Adam and come! Let me know!

    Good stuff!


  9. Sounds delish! I bet your friends loved it, too. Food always tastes better if I don’t have to cook it myself. (Actually, I don’t mind the cooking as much as the CLEANING!)

  10. Glad that your dinner was a delight!

    Aren’t those cookie scoops the best thing? You can also use them to make meatballs, too.


  11. I LOVE my cookie scoop. I used it for the 40+ dozen cookies I made at Christmas.

    I’m coveting your lovely Martha Dutch oven. Think I’d better start saving my pennies for one.

  12. I make the no-knead bread all the time but have never used parchment paper!!!! I use a Pampered Chef stoneware bowl so it hasn’t ever stuck to the sides…does using the paper do something different? Do you put it on the paper for the final rising? I always have trouble getting it off the towel and into the hot bowl. I love the idea of community dinners…As usual you are ahead of the trends…”Cooking Light” Jan/Feb 08 issue has the story of “Dinner Day” the State of Pennsylvania official holiday held the second Saturday in January being named “Invite a Neighbor to Dinner Day” It became an official holiday in 2002. Happy New Year Kelli!

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