Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh Meatloaf How I Love/Hate You So....

Meatloaf is a sore subject for me. When I very first got married to my wonderful husband I had such high hopes. I grew up with a Grandmother & Aunt were were fantastic cooks, great at down home style from scratch cooking who never seemed to need a recipe to create beautiful & delicious meals, a mom who, while extrodinarily culinarily challenged (adding extra cheese to her kraft mac was about as adventerous in cooking as she got) dabbled in vegitarianism and introduced me (via wonderful local restaurants) to such delights as: tofu & bean sprouts, and a wonderfully endulgant dad who was willing to try whatever concoction I dreamed up, and praised each dish as a culinary masterpiece... looking back I'm sure he exagerated... but only a bit! So when I got married I was just sure that while my husband was accustomed to white bread, meat & potatos I would quite soon open his eyes to the wonderful world of creative cooking. I mean with my background & the obvious hereditary cooking skills where could I go wrong?

Well for starters I could go wrong with meatloaf. Shortly after my dear husband and I moved in together I announced that I was going to make him a delicious meatloaf dinner. Being a meat & potatos man, he was understandably excited as meatloaf is a far cry from the fish, veggie burgers & chicken dishes that he was beginning to fear were the only things I could (or would) make. Now I have never made meatloaf before but it can't be that challenging, everyone has a family specialty and I had never tasted one that was actually awful... maybe dry & bland but certainly they were always edible. I called around for tips and finally settled on my sister's Meatloaf Florantine. I subbed out a few things to make it easier & uber healthy and ended up with a turkey meatloaf with spinach mixed in and topped with a mix of italian cheeses. I was pretty proud of it, it was healthy, fairly tasty and while not traditional, it was technically a loaf of meat... I did not consider for a second that my husband might take offense to me messing with one of his favorite meals. He was not impressed and 2/3 of the EXTRA large loaf (I made lots because I just KNEW he was going to love it) went in the trash.

Since that fateful day I have learned just which dishes are strictly off limits to my creative tweaking (meatloaf, chili, pasta & tuna salad to name a few) and how to sneak in healthier choices into even the most sacred of dishes without getting caught. Meatloaf has still been a bit of a challenge, after a few more tries I came up with a version of a friend's recipe that involves a traditional meatloaf cooked potroast style surrounded in carrots & potatoes in a tomato based sauce. I've been making that one for the last year and a half thinking it was acceptable until I told hubby that our next post was meatloaf and he requested (several times over the course of several days and even after I agreed reminded me several more times) to make a "normal" meatloaf without the "extra stuff" with just the "normal" stuff. He also just about begged me not to add spinach (seriously that was over two YEARS ago!). SO this was another experimental recipe and I'm happy to say that I rocked it :)


meatloaf base:
1lb lean ground beef (90/10 or leaner)
3 hot italian turkey sausage links, squeezed out of the casing
1/2 cup coursly chopped portobella mushrooms
1 medium onion diced small
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs

Put all ingrediants into a bowl and smoosh well to mix. I HIGHLY recomend smooshing by hand, but if you're squeemish you can use a mixer... but seriously now what red-blooded woman doesnt like to get her hands in there and smoosh some meat?? Now I made my meatloaf base with plans to top with ketchup to make my darling husband happy BUT after hearing Lacey raving about her salt crusted meatloaf I wanted to attempt something similar. I was loathe to have another meatloaf florentine incident so I split the base in half and made two smaller loafs on my baking sheet. Here are your topping options:

Parmesian & Sea Salt crust:
Mix the following in a small bowl
1/4 cup parmasan cheese
1/4 cup course sea salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp basil

Generously coat the outside of the meatloaf in the mixture, pressing it into the loaf so it sticks. Dump the extra on top and spread around evenly.

Traditional (ish) ketchup topping
Coat the loaf in brown sugar, you'll probably use about 1/3 of a cup
Top this evenly with about 3 tsp Hickory Bacon Salt (If you've never heard of Bacon salt you have been sorely deprived, J & D's bacon salt had changed my life, and it can change yours too! they have come up with a Kosher Certified way to make everything-even your envelopes-taste like bacon)
Spread 1/2 cup of ketchup over the top and sprinkle with a little more bacon salt (seriously, you NEED to try this!)

Whichever option you choose, or if you decide to be like me and split the loaf and use both (in which case use half of everything!) pop that bad boy in the oven at 375 for 50 minutes (if spitting the loaf cut cooking time to 40 minutes) allow the loaf to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into the beefy goodness and enjoy. I personally thought both loafs were phenominal, the hubby preferred the ketchup topped loaf and polished off the leftovers within 3 days. That my dears is what I would call culinary success!!!!!!


Post a Comment