27.9.05

Loaf...of meat.

Meatloaf = loaf of meat. What kind of a name for food is meatloaf? You could just as well call a steak: slab. Slab of meat. Doesn't exactly make the mouth water, does it? Meatloaf brings back memories of sitting at the dinner table with my brother for hours, trying to come up with ways to hide slices of the loaf-shaped conglomeration of meat and other things that meat aren't supposed to be combined with, like eggs and breadcrumbs and ketchup, because we weren't allowed to leave the table until we'd eaten it.

I think we tried a myriad of strategies:

Hiding it in the milk glass.

Feeding it to the dog, who conveniently happened to have been called to the table, by us, just before dinner.

Placing the smallest bite imaginable into our mouths, nose plugged (from the inside, so mom couldn't see), smiling brightly, then casually bringing the napkin up to our mouths and spitting it out into the napkin. Then we would, of course, make comments about delicious it was. And toss the hideously large and soggy napkin into the garbage after offering to do the dishes. Good thing we used paper napkins back then; or we'd have been in big trouble.

Even the thought of meatloaf gave me the shudders. And the smell was even worse. Especially if there was ketchup anywhere near it. Ketchup and hotdogs are about the only two food items that I cannot, and will not, eat. For as long as I can remember, the smell of either one would send me running away in the opposite direction, hands clasped over my mouth, holding back the gag reflex. We can discuss this on some future post.

So now that I'm older, more mature, and trying to improve my culinary repertoir, when I came across a meatloaf recipe on a blog from a woman I innately trust, Nicole over at bakingsheet, I decided I was old enough to try meatloaf once again...because it might actually be good. Besides, I like all the ingredients: eggs, fresh breadcrumbs, spices, meat; so doesn't that mean I should like the end product?

Her meatloaf, as far as all loaves of meat go, is outstanding. I used ground buffalo from a local organic farm here because I'd gotten a tasty free sample (cooked) from the owner of the farm who was giving them out at the butcher last time I was there and I wanted to try it. I also added the optional mustard powder and cooked it on a cookie sheet instead of in a loaf pan.
Buffalo is very mild flavored and lean so there was hardly any fat to drip off. I was worried it would turn out dry, especially because I couldn't use the ketchup (gag) and we were out of chili sauce to drizzle on top, but it wasn't, so I'm glad I didn't try to add extra liquids. We also used farm fresh eggs, organic milk, and freshly made bread crumbs - I figured if I'm giving meatloaf a try, I'm going to try and make it the best it could be. I served it with a mache' salad (my favorite lettuce out there) with tomatoes, fresh figs, and crispy-fried shallots and a potato/scallion/cheese hash on the side.

And you know what? I actually cleaned my plate! And it was delicious! No more napkins, dogs or glasses of milk needed. We even had leftovers for the next day - though I didn't indulge a second time...I figured I'd relish in my glory for another full day without adding any variables. Thank you, Nicole!

4 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

Michelle, every chef should know their limits. Mine is meatloaf. I have made it a zillion times and I never have liked my own. Other people make much better meatloaf than me. I can make the same recipe that I ate at someone's house and it is never the same. Maybe this time I can make a decent meatloaf! Give up the recipe for the potato, scallion and cheese hash. That looks killer too. I never met a potato dish that I didn't like!

michelle said...

Hi Vickie- that's what I thought too, but I had to give it an adult try...I wouldn't even eat it at someone else's house! (not that anyone ever offered it to me, or I probably would have, of course). Let me know if you decide to try it what you think.

Clare Eats said...

Hi Michelle :)
So Glad you left me a comment :) I have never quite made it round to trying meat loaf either.... perhaps I should!

michelle said...

Hi Clare -
ahh, fellow scientist! so glad you could visit my blog! I'm part ecologist, part marine biologist, part molecular biologist and all foodie. Glad to know there's another foodie scientist that exists!