Sunday, August 05, 2007

Meatloaf!

No no no. Not that wonderful dad who coached Little League and sang in Rocky Horror Picture Show and so forth.

The EATING kind.

See, over at Pretty Lady's the other day, commenter-blogger-artist Chris Rywalt mentioned making meatloaf for his wife the engineer.

I like meatloaf. Depending on the recipe, I even like it a LOT. But I always had trouble making it come out consistently. And I remember Chris mentioning before that he did a lot of cooking and was considering producing an actual cookbook.

So I asked Chris if he had a good meatloaf recipe. Voila! He did, indeed. And kindly, Pretty Lady posted it.

Oh BOY!

Then I had to sleep for a week or so and some time went by. I had some ground pork to mix in with the ground chuck, but it didn't make it.

Poor Livey had to fend for herself for dinner AND breakfast for a while. And when I get back out of bed I'm a little...slow. I wanted to cook again but I was taking baby steps.

Luckily, Trig's had chuck On Sale $1.99/pound, yay!

Livey brought home over 3 pounds. This was GREAT. See, our tastes in seasonings and procedures are a little different sometimes, like with everyone.

All that meat meant I could I make...TWO meat loaves! Do a little experimenting.

I finally picked my cooking day and I was ready, but when I started it was a little late in the day and we were already hungry. That's why there aren't many pix. Sorry everyone! I had to concentrate on getting that food in the oven.

Okay. I realized early on that all that careful mixing by hand was holding me back from cooking meat loaf more often. When you mix ground beef with other things, it's best not to compact it too much. I get tired standing up, can't do it for more than a couple minutes at a time.

But Chris says he uses a dough hook sometimes.

Hmmm...I don't have one here. But I can half-way imitate it by using the little hand mixer but with only one beater in it instead of two.

And it worked! Cool!!!

Then, since I don't have a blender or food processor here, I considered how to get the onion and carrot fine enough. Okay. Easy. I grated them on a cheese grater. The garlic I put through a garlic press, so that was fine enough. Bread crumbs I'm used to making by hand. Dry them out a bit on low heat, let them cool and wait till they're completely dry, then crumble with your fingers. I got that done the day before. The work time is very short, the drying time can be long.


So. Starting with all the ingredients we had in common, for each meatloaf I had:

Apx. 1.25 # ground chuck
Apx. 3/4 c bread crumbs
Around half of a large and very sweet Vidalia onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 t salt
1 egg

I further seasoned them as follows:
Livey's, by request: Apx. 2 t Italian seasoning and 1 t oregano

Mine: Apx. 1 T poultry seasoning (substituted for thyme)
I grated carrot

I gently and carefully mixed each one separately with the hand mixer and one beater. It worked great! It was well-mixed but not compacted.

Livey wanted hers to stay in the Pyrex loaf pan. Me, I wanted the inverted stand alone kind. Great chance to try it both ways.

I don't have a meat thermometer, and Livey's oven runs a bit cool, so I cooked them for about 50 minutes on 350 degrees (probably that meant 325 degrees).

Then I put the oven on 500 degrees for around 8 minutes to get the crusty crust.

At the very end, the juices in my pan got a little blackened. But that was only at the outside of the meat loaf, the actual loaf wasn't blackened at all.


So out they came.

And they were PERFECT! Oh my!

They were BOTH delicious. Wonderful flavor and texture, nice and juicy, nice brown outsides. Perfectly cooked in the middle, no pink.

And for the first time in a very long while, I couldn't even say which version of an experiment I liked better. I kept going between them, testing. Nope. One was simply not better than the other.

We demolished them pretty well, and still had just the right amounts left for meat loaf sandwiches.

YUM!!!

Thank you, Chris! That was great.

15 comments:

Livey said...

Bout damn time you earned your keep woman!

k said...

Am I unfired now?

Livey said...

not yet, you owe me a weeks worth of meals first!

Chris Rywalt said...

You're both very welcome. I'm glad it worked out. Maybe next I'll post my Beef with Broccoli No Broccoli with Broccoli recipe. (And no, that's not a typo.)

Kenny said...

Both look and sound great. If the bride did not have dinner planned I would be willing to try and cook one my own self

Lulu said...

I am a lurker and a very rare commenter, but you touched my heart when I read "meatloaf". I'm sure it is my meager upbringing but hamburger is my favorite. I go to a steakhouse and order their burgers.

One recipe I use for meatloaf is: look at the condiments in your frige. Use them. Worcestershire suace, soy sauce, bbq sauce, mustard, ketchup, salsa... a bit of each.

Depending what is onhand: grated carrot, grated potato, onion, garlic, italian bread crumbs. Pour a can of pork and beans over the meatloaf the last ten minutes or so. (not an option I often choose, but good)

Mother used to shape the mixture around a couple of hard-boiled eggs, then bake. Another option I rarely choose.

Oh yes, the "catch-all" meatloaf receipe.

Thanks for mentioning the increase in temperature the last few minutes. I have not tried that, but I will now.

Oh, don't get me started on my catch-all lasagna.

Lulu

sue said...

Mmmm... I love cold meat-loaf sammies with catsup.

k said...

Chris, I have NO idea what could possibly be behind a recipe with a name like that! Naturally I'm dying to find out what's up with the name, with or without aforementioned recipe. Since I love both beef and broccoli - together or a la carte - I suspect I'd like that dish no matter what you really are talking about.

kenny, it turned out to be much easier than I'd thought. And after seeing Chris's recipe, Desert Cat got hungry for some nice meatloaf. So his Daisycat cooked one up, but she stood firm on the carrot issue. Would not have a carrot in her meatloaf, no siree Bob. So DC thinks maybe he'll do a meatloaf of his own one day so he can taste one with the carrot in it. That was good.

Hi Lulu, and welcome! You know, just this morning I woke up thinking, --Oh! Maybe some Worcestershire sauce in there...

Chris's browning technique works great. I not only have my *consistent* recipe but the best one I've ever seen - we both loved that crust. It was a first time for me, as was the bit about turning it over into another pan so it's free standing. Both were great ideas.

sue, YES! Mmmm...

Chris Rywalt said...

The free-standing idea was straight from Alton. Great idea.

As for Beef with Broccoli No Broccoli with Broccoli, the short version of the story is my wife would, when we ordered Chinese, always get "Beef with broccoli, no broccoli." This is because she liked the beef and the brown sauce, but not the broccoli. But if you just said "Beef with brown sauce" you could end up with almost anything, including, once, oyster sauce, which totally horrified her. So she'd say "Beef with broccoli no broccoli" and get what she wanted. I decided to try and match the recipe myself, so my first attempts involved no broccoli and were called "Beef with Broccoli No Broccoli." But after a while, I realized I missed the broccoli, so I started making "Beef with Broccoli No Broccoli with Broccoli." It's a bit of a misnomer because it also has (optionally) tofu, snow peas, and shitake mushrooms.

k said...

That's my absolute most favorite entre at Lotus Chinese Kitchen, where I live. Except since I love broccoli I never ask them to hold the broccoli.

The old cook used to put straw mushrooms in sometimes, which I didn't want. I did want extra garlic.

Finally they told me this dish isn't supposed to have any mushrooms, you don't have to ask them to hold the mushrooms.

They always know who I am by my order. It's always got a small B & B with extra garlic.

They're usually hysterically taciturn on the phone. But sometimes I hear, --Oh I know you this is k wight? How you doin' you doin' okay? You wanna [xyz] too? Okay I wead back...That's wight?
--Yes.
--10-15 minutes. Okaybye!SLAM goes the phone.

I ADORE Lotus Chinese Kitchen and everyone in there.

I think your additions would taste marvelous. Shitake mushrooms and black mushrooms are the only ones I eat.

Chris Rywalt said...

Then perhaps, if you're very very nice to me, I'll write up my recipe for your experimentation.

k said...

YES PLEASE!!! WHEE!!!

Um...I can try to be very very nice, but how? I mean, I'm just a silly Old Crone-phase woman running around on a scooter with a bun in her hair. Playing with my orchids and yard lizards and baby mice and so forth. Not of much value to most folks these days.

But...I guess I could cook it and tell you how yummy it is. Would that work?

(re. the b&bnbw/b, NOT the mice.)

Chris Rywalt said...

You'd offer to cook baby mice for me? How sweet. Okay, I'll post the Beef with Broccoli No Broccoli with Broccoli recipe.

k said...

Oh BOY! Thank you!

That will be much better.

Those mice were way too little to make much of a meal.

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