Monday, June 26, 2017

Meatloaf... its what's for dinner!

Though I grew up a vegetarian, my mom always cooked meat things for my dad, and meatloaf was one of the dishes I loved. It’s tasty, filling and approachable, especially for someone who isn’t used to a lot of meat, because there is no clue as to what animal it was. It’s just a loaf. Of goodness. It’s fun to mix up with your hands, it’s delicious right out of the oven, and also nice cold on a sandwich. It is an all-purpose food and modelling material!

today's fridge finds = tonight's dinner!

Carrie wrote this, age 10

I have indeed sampled and experimented with other loaves, like the Super Hippie mushroom-lentil loaf so popular in Berkeley and other communal living hot spots, and if nicely spiced (and if there is some fat content), some are actually not bad. I’ve also made the quintessential mid-century style meatloaf (see 1959 General Foods Cookbook) which derives its flavor from a packet of dry soup or dressing mix, and might be topped with freeze-dried onions! My mom’s recipe (see my hand-copied notes, written at age 10, above) was a somewhat gourmet mix of several meats and traditional Italian spices. If done thoughtfully, one can create a loaf out of just about anything, meat or otherwise. I’ve begun, lately, to treat meatloaf a bit the way I treat quiche: I believe I can throw just about anything in, and it will be good. That thinking has given rise to my general weekday meal-planning strategy: my favorite formats being 1) quiche 2) salad 3) soup and 4) meatloaf. I pretty much rotate those 4 and use whatever is fresh, leftover, given to me by neighbors or otherwise discovered  in my fridge, to create one-dish suppers that I will also enjoy the day after for lunch.

Love this cookbook, thank you GKG!

A very traditional version from the 50s

Carrie’s Theory of Meatloaf: Basically, mix up some ground meat, chopped veg, some kind of binding agent (bread crumbs or oatmeal are typical), and a liquid like egg, cottage cheese or milk. Add a member of the Allium family (onion, leek, scallion, garlic), add a little spice (oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce), form into a loaf, and bake. This can be topped with tomato paste, basted with wine or chicken stock, or can be left plain to firm into shape in a medium oven (350-375) for somewhere between 45-60 min and then fill er up! For serving, you can try something fancy like a drizzle of tomato sauce (aka catsup) or a sprig of mint, but don’t try too hard – it’s meatloaf : not pretty, but pretty darn tasty.

meatloaf version 2.0

mix it up!

Loaf + tomato paste = yum

Going in

Today’s loaf is a turkey and veg creation, based loosely on a modern recipe:

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ chopped green bell pepper
½ chopped onion
Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper
Tomato paste to top; Red wine to baste

Bake as suggested above (350-375 for 45-60 min)

and enjoy with a glass of the red wine you used to baste. #nom

Have a slice!