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Monday, March 7, 2011

Paradise by the Stove Light

My eldest loves meatloaf.  And ham.  Also affectionately called Pig's Butt, in these here parts.

Don't ask, we don't get out much around here.

Oh, yah, and chocolate.  And cake, definitely cake.

Anyhoo, the girl and I made her hero meatloaf for supper the other night (for those who are linguistically challenged due to an urban upbringing, that would be the evening meal)

Here she is, in her mandatory pink Barbie kitten shirt.  Perfect for meatloaf manipulation.

Take some ground beef and chuck it in a bowl (sorry, just a little butcher shop humour there).  I would go with regular ground beef, to be honest. It is cheaper than the ultra lean nonsense and tastes better.  I have no idea what this is.  Our meat comes from a butcher shop by the half cow and we get whatever we are given.  And don't worry about the full-fat thing.  I have a trick for that.

Toss in a couple of eggs. More if you need to use them up.  This is making meatloaf, not flying rocket ships.

Trivia time:  back in the day, whole eggs used to be cooked into the middle of meatloaf.  They were a cheap source of protein and stretched the ground beef buck.

At this point, I toss in a goodly amount of bread crumbs.  If I were my mother, I would be using oatmeal here instead.  But I'm not her.  Not that being her a is a bad thing. It's just that I am me.

Not pictured, but equally important, is some kind of onion.  Dried onion works well with full fat meat, as it holds in some of the juices and produces a nice, moist meatloaf.  Finely chopped fresh onion works well if you have succumbed to this whole lower fat nonsense.  For today's version, I found french fried onions, like the kind Aunt Martha used to put on top of her famous green bean casserole, in my local bulk food store.  Score!  If you are adding any type of dried onion, I'd skip the salt all together

Heavy doses of BBQ are also required, along with some fresh black pepper.  Again, if I were my mother, I'd be adding chopped green pepper in here.  I'm not and so will never find me committing such a heinous act.

And for the love of all that's holy - NO KETCHUP.

And now, for the secret ingredient - Worcestershire sauce.  Lots and lots of it.  Somewhere in the 12 shakes/1/4 cup  range.  This will add a depth of flavour you will not believe.  Oh, and Lea & Perrins is really the only way to go.  Accept no substitutes.  I've tried and cooked to regret it.

Another moist meatloaf trick - cook it in a loaf pan.  Spray it liberally with cooking spray and then pack that stuff in there, nice 'n' tight.

Throw it in a 350 F oven until it's done.  Somewhere around 45 minutes.  Do not, as pictured below, run across the street to your neighbour's house to retrieve your eldest child and end up helping your neighbour with her ESL homework.  Things can get a little overdone.

Then, for the nifty trick.

Take that little bitty rack that comes in your toaster oven and lay it, handle sides up, on top of the loaf pan.  Then place a sufficiently large platter on top of that.  Then, do a speed flip and voila!

The excess fat will drain away.  You will have moist and delicious meatloaf (as long as you didn't use ketchup or green peppers *shudder*).  Then pull the loaf pan off the meatloaf, put a platter in it's place, and turn the meatloaf out onto a serving platter.  Bingo, presto.

Slice it up the next day for meatloaf sandwiches.  If you are still hung up on the whole ketchup thing, go ahead I guess, and ruin your meatloaf here.

It will keep a considerable length of time in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze it, once it is cooked, to serve at a later date.

But not on date night.  That might be pushing it.  Short cuts are one thing.  Convenience food might be a little much. 1. 2.
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