I have many food related musings happening in my head so this post may not flow. Bear with me, cause if you make it all the way through I promise you will make the most kick ass meatloaf EVER. (emphasis is mine, obviously, it’s a blog).
Its peak time of year for eating from the Farmer’s Market. I have been OBSESSED lately with cucumber tomato salad. The simplest thing ever, the approach I take was learned a long time ago when I dated a nice Italian boy for a minute. If you are reading this and know a guy named Tony Fiorini, probably living on the West side of Cincinnati, tell him I said thanks.
His Mom and Grandmother would do these amazing Sunday dinners. I don’t think his grandmother could speak much English but her sauce was beyond! These people were as Italian as you could be on the West side of Cincinnati. they even knew the LaRoasa’s for pete’s Sake (not sure if they knew Pete or Carolyn Rose but it would not surprise me). I digress.
The salad was chopped fresh cucumbers, cocktail tomatoes and just a touch of chopped red onion. Sprinkle liberally with Red Wine Vinegar, a bit of EVOO, heavy hand on Kosher Salt and Cracked Pepper–combine and cover, allowing flavors to meld by refrigerating for 2-3 hours before serving. They will look like this. I have kept mine going for a month now and eating them with almost every meal:
My Dad has been hanging out in CO for a month or so now and very much enjoying having someone else do the cooking. He has been a regular at the Casa Kitchen dinner table. One of has favorite meals is meatloaf with mashed potatoes. So that was Sunday dinner this week.
One of my favorite cookbooks is The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. My Mom gave me this cookbook many years ago and it is so dog eared now–its split in half and held together by a heavy rubber band. There are bits of dried stuff and splatters and notes spanning 20 years. I love it.
Their Market Street Meatloaf recipe is excellent. I do not follow this exactly on the ingredients but I do love the general approach. Here is a link to the original recipe. http://http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pork/market-street-meat-loaf.html
Over the years I have learned that if I can make the meal “mini-sized” I had a better chance with my very picky daughter. Meatloaf served as a slice of a larger loaf no way. But make the meatloaf in muffin pans and topped them with a little shredded cheese and she will gobble them down!
I use whatever veggies are in my crisper and dice them fine. This time that included yellow onion, green and yellow pepper, carrots, broccoli and a 1/4 cup of chopped garlic from a jar. Salute in 2 T of EVOO and 2 T Butter for 15 or 20 mins until soft. Remove from heat to a bowl and chill in fridge.
In a mixing bowl combine 2 eggs, 1/2 cup half-half, 1/2 cup ketchup (or BBQ sauce), cumin, allspice, curry, nutmeg, white pepper, black pepper, red pepper, and salt. To that add 2-3 lbs of ground beef (I use ground chuck as I like the higher fat ratio for meatloaf). Combine with hands, adding chilled veggies and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. If you like a meatloaf cheesy add some cheddar or feta at this point–maybe 1/2 cup.
Spray muffin pans with non stick cooking spray and fill each muffin cup with the beef mixture. Top each muffin with grated cheddar cheese (other cheeses would work but be careful not to burn with a hard cheese like parmesan). Bake in a 350 oven for 30-40 minutes or until each muffin is just a little crusty on the edges.
I served homemade mashed potatoes and roasted Brussel sprouts on the side. For potatoes I recommend using Yukon Gold for the fluffiest texture and adding to that a mixture of 1/2 and 1/2, cream cheese, sour cream and butter. Finish with salt and pepper and keep them on low in a cast enameled pot with a film of cream on top and the lid secured. Keeps the potatoes moist and creamy without you having to beat them at the last minute.
I had an unusually quiet table last night. Everyone was too busy eating to talk. Dad took leftovers home and I still have enough left to cover Monday night dinner. Life is good (and tasty) at the Casa!