Brilliance on bread

March 13, 2017

The ultimate meat loaf sandwich. I promise.

I astound myself sometimes at how freakin’ brilliant I can be in the kitchen.

As oppose, y’understand, to how clueless I can be in the kitchen. To my everlasting credit, I have not been shy about sharing my spectacular failures. But this is one of my spectacular successes.

Regular readers may recall my affinity for a meat loaf sandwich. Properly prepared, with lots of Hellman’s mayo, a layer of melty cheese (American slices will suffice, but Brie is much better), and perfectly thin slices of meat loaf, toasted to a turn, there ain’t much that can beat it.

I’ve beaten it.

And how it was, was, like this.

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A meat loaf kinda day

January 14, 2017

Because, well, meat loaf is good stuff.

So I cooked meat loaf for 60 or so for lunch at the soup kitchen, then came home and had some leftover meatloaf on a sandwich with good, melty Brie and lots of mayo for dinner.

No complaints with either. No pictures, either, but hey, live with it.

I was contemplating last week what my team would cook at the soup kitchen today, because I knew our turn was coming up and one of my chores as team captain is to order the groceries. I contemplated beef stew, but quite honestly, didn’t want to have to peel that many potatoes. We’d done chili and hot dogs last time, and I hate to do soup-style meals every time we volunteer. (Granted, that’s only once every 10 weeks, but still.)

So I thought, meat loaf. Meat loaf is cheap, a factor when you’re a charitable endeavor feeding 50 or so. So I placed my order for 15 pounds of ground beef and some corn and green beans for sides (I like mashed potatoes with meat loaf, but see above about not wanting to peel potatoes).

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Kickin’ it old school

January 10, 2017

Old school sho' nuff dinner, right here.

Old school sho’ nuff dinner, right here.

Because sometimes, you just want a throwback dinner.

And when you’re feeling throwback, there ain’t much more throwback than meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green peas.

Which is exactly what we had. Because, throwback.

I made my standard meatloaf, which involves a pound of ground beef, a panade of some bread crumbs or cracker crumbs with milk, some onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and an egg. Patted it out in a pie plate; I like a thin meat loaf, with more area of crispy outside to tender inside, because I like it that way.  Coated it down with ketchup, and into the oven it went.

Mashed potatoes were, well, mashed potatoes. With a little butter, a little sour cream, a little half and half. Mashed with the whisk attachment to my new immersion blender, which I dearly love, because you can take the little attachments off and throw them in the dishwasher, and that’s just a fine thing.

And the peas were peas. Steam ’em in the bag; dump ’em in a bowl, add butter. Eat.

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Down home comfort

January 21, 2016

Country cooking: Meat loaf, potato salad, peas with tomato relish, slaw.

Country cooking: Meat loaf, potato salad, peas with tomato relish, slaw.

(NOTE: Robin and Tammie, y’all asked for it — here ’tis.)

It doesn’t get much more plebian or blue-collar than meat loaf. Nor does it get much more comforting. A slab of steaming meat loaf, sporting its shiny red ketchup cap; a big scoop of mashed potatoes with a pat of butter melting in the middle; some peas or beans, just because Mama told you needed a vegetable AND a starch with every meal.

I’m tellin’ you, you can’t beat it.

I’ve made probably a thousand meat loaves in my life, some of them better than others. I’ve finally settled on two recipes. One is my bacon barbecue meatloaf, which I’ve blogged on here before, which is a wonderful thing on the grill, cooked low and slow with lots of smoke, but that’s not what we’re doing today. No, today is standard meat loaf, which may not be to everyone’s preferences, but certainly hits the spot for me and mine.

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Domesticity R Us

January 15, 2013

Oops. Here would be a post written this past weekend, and delayed so I could upload photos. I just uploaded photos. Sue me. We have been domestic today.

The makings of Marcella's sauce. Do this.

The makings of Marcella’s sauce. Do this.

 Me and Lucy, that would be. I have spent a significant portion of today cleaning up this hobo encampment that purported to be my residence, and along the way managed to make some marinara and meatballs, a meat loaf, and a quart of garlic confit.

Don't let anybody tell you different. This is a metric assload of garlic.

Don’t let anybody tell you different. This is a metric assload of garlic.

I’d been eyeing these big honking bags of peeled garlic cloves at Sam’s. Because it’s just easier than whacking and peeling garlic cloves, you know? Or it ought to be. And I ran across a recipe — really, more of a technique — for garlic confit, and I thought, “Self? You ought to try this.” And self agreed that sounded like a fine idea.

So I cleaned the kitchen, living room, and office, which means now someone can walk into my house and not be frightened. I cleaned an entire garbage bag of stuff, much of which was old enough to vote, out of my fridge. (My bedroom is tomorrow. I have my limit, and I had reached it. But it surely does look nice.) Then I went to Sam’s and the grocery, in between rainstorms, and stocked the fridge back up.

Of course, by the time I went to the grocery at 3-ish, having skipped lunch and just eaten a couple of granola bars for breakfast, I was dying. So I came home and ate chips and cheese dip, promptly ruining my appetite, but I had to do something with the ground beef, the ground pork, and the bacon I’d thawed out.

So I made half of it up into six sizeable meatballs, which I fried, the oven being occupied with dehydrating tomatos. (Yesterday was co-op delivery day; we will have capreses tomorrow, yes we will.) So they’re somewhat misshapen meatballs. A vat of Marcella’s tomato-butter sauce is simmering away on the stove, to which the meatballs will eventually be added. That’ll be a couple of meals’ worth.

I love this sauce. It’s so flipping easy. You just dump four 15-oz cans of diced tomatos (or whole ones, if that’s whatcha got), a stick of butter, a whole, peeled and quartered onion, and about four or five whole garlic cloves into a pot, add some basil, bring it to a boil, cut it back to a low boil, and let it simmer 20 minutes. Take an immersion blender to it (or do it in batches in your blender or FoPro, if you’re of a mind to do that or don’t have an immersion blender, but if you don’t? Get you one, soonest, because they are immensely handy little critters and they’re not but 20 bucks) and smooth it out, onions and garlic and all, and put it back on the heat, with your meatballs in it, to simmer until they’re nice and done, probably another hour. 

The meatballs were a half a pound each of Mountain Pastures ground beef and ground pork; 3/4 cup Rice Chex cereal soaked in half-and-half; some basil, some onion powder, some garlic powder, a half-cup of grated Parmigiano, and an egg. I use the Rice Chex because it makes a pretty excellent imitation of bread crumbs; I bought a box at the grocery today and FoPro’d the whole lot of ’em. That’s $2.19 (generic Rice Chex) for twice as much gluten-free bread crumbs as what they sell in a plastic tub at the health food store for $3.49. If you ever needed gluten-free bread crumbs, this is the way to go.

These will likely get frozen in three separate portions of meatballs and sauce, for future dinners. I can have ’em over GF pasta, which leaves some to be desired, or over rice or polenta. (Read: grits.)

Easy, easy, easy. Good, good, good.

The remaining half-pound each of beef and pork got smooshed together with another helping of Rice Chex and cream, an egg, and some barbecue dry rub. I spread it out on six strips of bacon, coated it down with barbecue sauce, sprinkled it with some fried-and-crumbled bacon, and rolled it up. At that point, I slid it into a gallon Zip-loc bag and stashed it in the freezer. I can lay it out one morning before I go to work, let it thaw all day, then top it with more barbecue sauce and bake it when I get home from work. It’ll suffice for a couple of nights, if not more.

The garlic confit took longer than the recipes said it would. You put your garlic in a saucepan, cover it completely with olive oil, and turn your stove on its lowest setting. The recipes say it’ll take about an hour to get soft. It took mine two. No matter. It’s all confited now. That’s a quart, or about 1/3 of a three-pound bag of peeled garlic cloves. Allegedly this stuff lasts in the fridge. I hope to God so. It’s supposed to be very rich and sweet because of the long, slow poach. Smelled good. We’ll not be bothered by vampires tonight, no we won’t.

In any event, it was a day full of cooking for no more eating than I did. However, I will have plenty to serve should you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em show up for dinner. So c’mon!

Cardiac meat loaf

February 5, 2012

A work of art. Whose appearance is exceeded only by its taste. And fat grams.

This meat loaf is brought to you by way of the New York Times, where it was billed as a “bacon explosion.” I adapted it heavily, but still and all, it has a half-pound of bacon, a pound of ground beef, and a pound of ground pork, so its ill-advisement for anyone who has trouble with cholesterol is more or less intact.

To hell with cholesterol. This is worth it.

The original recipe called for a pound and a half of Italian sausage and a pound and a half of bacon. Seriously? I feel downright healthy by comparison. Mine had only a half-pound of bacon. Oh, the virtues of moderation.

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Sunday morning, halftime

April 24, 2011

This, people, is Sweet Baby Jesus good. Trust me.

Seriously good. And seriously pretty. Would be great for a casual dinner or a luncheon.

I have been a busy little bee this morning, I have. To date, we have made 40 meatballs (that’s five meatball sandwiches’ worth) that are presently simmering in marinara sauce (Sigh. It’s Ragu. NS prefers that. I have to admit, it’s easier.), a baby meatloaf with the leftover beef/pork/veal mix from the meatballs, a loaf of Guinness whole wheat bread, and this:

This is a really Cool Thing. You will remember that I had made rye sourdough starter Friday night, with the intent of making rye bread this morning. And I had, in fact, put together said rye bread and was letting it rise when I sat down to peruse some blogs I like to read. And over on Dark Side of the Fridge, the Toy Lady was making the highest and best use of rye bread, which is, of course, in a sandwich featuring either pastrami or corned beef. Except she was baking the insides right there in the loaf, and I thought, “Damn! That’s just pretty cool!”

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