Build it and they will come
How often do you crave some childhood
favorite? My Mother was a classic WASP
when it came to cuisine. Beyond making
spectacular roasted chicken, beef, lamb,
and Yorkshire pudding anything else was
questionable at best. Especially Ethel's
meatloaf which can only be described as
an alternative building material. It was so
tough that I'm certain there is at least one
foundation made off blocks smeared with
catsup topped with bacon. How such a
rock solid consistency was achieved still
remains a mystery. Thank God for that!
Out of order
For years I stayed away from the stuff.
Then suddenly in the nineties meatloaf
became chic again. Well, lets agree that
it became quite popular in some circles.
So much so that I have a slew of recipes
from the likes of Bill Blass, Julia Child,
and even Nan Kempner. Soon it was on
almost every restaurant menu. However
my favorite was always Mortimer's then
Swifty's version (may it rest in peace).
Today meatloaf has faded from some
social spheres but at our house it's still a
blue plate special. May I take your order?
What's your beef?
Earlier this year we purchased half a cow.
Meaning that once said grass fed beast
was butchered we suddenly had a freezer
full of protein. Most particularly ground
beef. Hence the need to at least weekly
chip away at said mound. At times there's
nothing better than a burger with all the
fixings. However Frank and I both love a
pure and simple patty sautéed with some
onions and nothing else. Of course one
can make meat sauce, meat balls, or any
other melange. Yet our favorite is the
definition of comfort food -meatloaf!
Friends and family
How can something so seemingly simple
be so scrumptious!? The other evening
we had some dear friends over for dinner.
They're the kind of people that we can
truly relax and let our hair down with.
Thus I prepared a salad, some meat loaf,
mashed potatoes, sautéed broccoli rabe',
and ice cream for dessert. Simple, fresh,
and easy. But somehow one of the best
meals we've had in a long time. While
I'm certain it was the company, maybe
my melange of meat helped make it a
night to remember. Anybody want more?
Everybody has an opinion of what's
appropriate or not when making a
meat loaf. Some guard their secret
with a religious fervor, Others share
and share alike. To my knowledge
there's no Meat Loaf Helper in a box
however one can purchase a useless
packet of seasonings over the counter.
Theres really no reason to fret. My
approach is fast, easy, and simple -
that works best for me. Sadly I never
measure anything but here is my rough
formula for success. Here we go...
1 medium onion chopped
6-8 fresh mushrooms chopped finely
2 carrots grated
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped finely
1 pound ground pork
1 jar roasted red peppers drained and chopped
1 cup catsup
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste
Saute onions, mushrooms, and carrots in olive oil in covered skillet
over low heat until onions are transparent (about ten minutes). Salt
& pepper to taste. Take off heat, mix in chopped garlic and cool
until room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl place all over ingredients plus cooled
vegetables and salt and pepper to your liking. Mix the mess with
your hands until all ingredients are incorporated into one melange.
Do not over mix or squeeze too tightly.
Turn bowl contents onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Form into a loaf shape - press so that it keeps it's shape and doesn't
break apart however do not squeeze! Top with a liberal coating of
additional catsup. If you like - also place 2-4 slices of bacon on top.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour. Should be firm
and nicely browned. Let it sit uncovered for ten minutes before
sliding onto a serving platter. Then slice and ENJOY!