Sunday, October 22, 2006

I have been asked, dogged, for my recipe for meatloaf. Here's the guilty secret: I don't have one. But I made it last night and tried to stay fully present and not go into the cooking zone, so as to remember what I put into it and how I make it.

Meatloaf, comfort food of the kings. My read on meatloaf is a soft, seamless texture that holds shape and has flavor, snaps of flavor. So I get 2 lbs of ground sirloin and put in in the mixing bowl. This is a superstition of sorts, a Bellemaison superstition, and it's important to me: maybe it's the secret to the meatloaf that is Boeuf de Bellemaison? I use one bowl; it's a one bowl deal. I slide the ground sirloin up the side of said bowl, crack in two eggs and beat them with a fork into a unified force; I then add non-fat milk, a fair amount, and continue beating until the mixture has absorbed itself and you now do not have just milk or just egg. I slide the meat back down into the bowl and this said pretty yellow liquid should just about cover the 2 lbs of ground sirloin. Told you this was precise. I then slide the meat back up and began to add the spices. I start with salt and pepper. Start with pepper actually because I like the smell. Currently, I am using Costco's ground your own, as it's quite nice and I like the way the grinder operates. I am using their sea salt grinder, too, same reason. I then grind in some of their dried garlic, which the jury is still out on and give it a good smell. It should be nice and full, but not fragrant. That's coming up.

I then get out the celery salt, thyme and dehydrated onion. Typically, I do not cook with anything but fresh, but for meatloaf I use the dehydrates because I like the texture I get with them. The fresh doesn't get it fine enough for me and adds a little moisture that I need to suck up with a few more bread crumbs, which soak up my flavor that I have just meticulously constructed. I know you see where this is going. But I lay in the celery salt, thyme and dehydrated onion, mix it in the liquid only and then smell deeply. NOW it should be quite fragrant. If it smells overpowering in one direction or another, drop back and reformulate in small amounts. But you're on a thin edge here and you have to go slow to get back. But when you're back,you'll know right away. It smells really good. Finally, I finish with Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs. I have tried everything and nothing gives me the texture without screwing up the flavor like the store bought bread crumbs. If it will give the result I want, I am willing to take short cuts. You use enough bread crumbs to let the whole thing absorb the milk and be shapable, but not two tablespoons more. If you are generous with the bread crumbs, they will jump right in, drink the milk and the meatloaf will be dry. Not only that, they will take all the flavor as they suck up the moisture. They are greedy, but necessary, those little bread crumbs.
You mix the whole thing gently with a fork, until a soft/firm consistency is achieved.

I divide it in two, pat it with a fork into a sprayed meatloaf pan, into little oblong mounds. I create a slope in case there might be an obscure gram of fat anywhere that needs to run off to the bottom of the pan. Then, here is the really hart part. If you thought dehydrated garlic and onion were humbling, hear this: ketchup is the next ingredient. True! I carefully lather the top in ketchup, avoiding the sides because the excess will run down. After that odious but necessary chore is done, I generously sprinkle finely grated parmesan everywhere. Yeah, this is the really good part. That ketchup makes tang but the parmesan gives it such a nice flavor which creates a superb edge. With the thyme and the celery, it's alchemy. You now know everything except the PIN. And you don't really need that now that you know how to make meatloaf.

I bake it 350 degrees for about an hour and a half; the top will brown up slowly, but nicely and then bring it out to sit for 10 minutes. I go with fall/winter squash, orange or gold on the side and baked potatoes, too. There are people that eat here sometimes that demand coleslaw, too. I go with the salty, non-sweet, really crunchy kind. Medium shred cabbage, finely grated onion, Best Foods about 2-3 tablespoons, 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice and salt and pepper like crazy. Let it sit for 6 hours.

They like this meal around here and so my monarchy remains intact. This is just one of the guilty pleasures that are relished behind closed doors at Bellemaison.

Today I am making Orangette's banana/sour cream cake with coconut frosting. Let the homefires roar!

The 'Kan EWA


raymond pert said...

Yes, please feel free to link my blog to your page. I'll return the favor.
thank you very much.

jb3ll3 said...

Folks, put it up for Raymond Pert, a pseudonym the new guy uses in honor of his father. He, too, maintains a lifelong love affair with his hometown and talks about it in his superb blog, Kellogg Bloggin'. Get over there. Use the link out front. Warning: content is high-grade Pacific Northwest/North Idaho ambrosia. pure, too. Tivish! This means YOU.

Phil said...

My meatloaf recipe is so plain... 1 lb of ground beef, two eggs, a cup of worcestershire sauce, a cupe of mozarella cheese, and some kind of veggie (corn, green beans, lentils).

Yours sounds very good... I'll try it next week. Thanks! Meatloaf is always a big hit with the kids.

the psycho therapist said...

Thank god I saved some old Bon Appetit's, Too Busy to Cook?. I could've made 50 Cajun Meatloaves to your one, but who's competing? (wink)

Because I adore you madly, I shall share my recipe with you sometime soon.

Instant thought: I wonder how we'd work together if we cooked a meal. Hmmm. I dunno 'bout you but I fly and multi-task like a demon: "Zone" extraordinaire. You say you "zone" but you also claim to be a "J" on the Meyers-Briggs, right? I think there might be some worryin' on your part...until you ate my food, of course, and then you'd just take your glass of wine into another room and sing or dance until the food was ready.


I'll bet you are a FABULOUS cook and I look forward to your preparing me many a meal. (ROTFLMAO) Well, okay, maybe one or two, just so I can tell people I know you. Tee hee.

G'night, Pink of the Converse

jb3ll3 said...

Sweet Wendo, I'm not copying,zoned as usual. As you saying, I'm a deliberative, scheming cook? I bet that's accurate. I dunno. I cook with my daughter who is a superb cook who gets the job done, pronto. I love to prep chef for her so I bet I would be thrilled to cut, chop and wash for you, too. In fact, I'd be honored.

I would worry about your food? your method? your recipe? naw. not this chicken. I have been around too many good cooks in my life that were different. I also subscribe to the notion that anything tastes 20% better if you don't have to cook it! And if I was lucky enough to be invited to dinner at your house, you best damn believe that I would sing and dance in anticipation. best!

Don't forget I'm socially selective; go to the fine print of my MB, which shall be anonymous here, Sweet V. You don't know me. I*KNOW*YOU. Sleep well.

jb3ll3 said...

Phil, I can honestly say I have never cooked for my children when they didn't like it. They are my biggest fans. They have always eaten copious amounts of f&v, all different kinds of f&v and to my pride, are great companions in a restaurant and adventuresome eaters. And they are all great cooks!

Mommy Dearest said...

Alright. Here's mine: Ground beef, chopped onions, a generous splash of worscestshire (i can't never spell it) sauce, s&p, two slices of torn up bread and two eggs. Sometimes mix in a can of corn. Bake for an hour. In the last 15 minutes of baking, I squirt on some ketchup and corn syrup. Tonite the boo and I made homemade applesauce, which is one of my favorite fall comfort foods. And butternut squash. Both kids hated it.

jb3ll3 said...

T! You mix IN vegetables, too? Like Phil? I was not aware of this meatloaf trend. I used to use torn up bread. Go with the Progresso bread crumbs; smoooooth. AND ketchup and corn syrup? mixed together? why corn syrup?

BX_boy said...

So it's nine in the morning here in London and I cannot wait for dinner. hahah.

toadman said...

I hope you served it with Mashed potatoes and green beans. Oh yeah.. that's the homestyle I'm talkin' about.

BX_boy said...

quesiton on the coleslaw:

why do you let it sit for six hours? what happens in this time of marination?

jb3ll3 said...

cabbage absorbs the flavor; salt and pepper flavor it and lemon juice tenderizes it.

Thom said...

JBelle, please contact me at your leisure.

Thom George

Julie said...

Your receipe sounds great! It sounds like the one my mother made when I was a kid. Mine is similar but instead of celery salt, I use lovage (just try and fine that!!!). It has the taste of celery without the salt content. I don't care for salt of any kind or in any amount. The meat is salty enough for me.

Oh, BTW, I grow and process lovage every year since it is so difficult to find.

Bre said...

I am drooling right now. I think I may need to do Jbelles recipe with the corn mixed in. All these recipes are so easy, I'm such a wuss when it comes to cooking, if it's not I easy I'm not doing it.

jb3ll3 said...

LOVAGE. I do not know lovage. I'm going to try it. Do you grow it, harvest, then try it?

jb3ll3 said...

Bree, how are you? How are you feeling? :) I am kind of the opposite of you. I don't like to fix food. I like to cook. The Rachael Ray thing is borderline objectionalbe to me but because she uses fresh ingredients, I can use her cookbooks some of the time. I just sent a really nice one to Bronx Boy because they are perfect for him at this time in his life. Have you ever used her? I think you might like here....xoxxoxo

Bre said...

I'm finally starting to feel pretty good. I was pretty sick there for a while.

I think I might enjoy cooking if I had more time, maybe as I get older I'll enjoy it more. I plan to ask my mom to let me cook Thanksgiving dinner with her supervision so I can get more practice. =)

curtcon said...

My Wickit Pissah Meatloaf

2 lbs of lean ground beef
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
Tsp of chili powder (or a bit more if you are me)
About the same amount of sage
3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
Tsp of salt
¾ cup of milk
2 eggs
¼-1/3 cup o’ milk
Tsp of pepper
¼ cup of lee n perrin’s (is there any other kind?)
¾ cup of breadcrumbs (unflavored)

Ok, you combine all this and wrap in foil, and throw it in the fridge cuz you just ain’t havin meatloaf tonight.

24 hours later…put the still wrapped in foil meatloaf in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour. While that is baking mix up this..

1/3 cup of ketchup
2 tbs of brown sugar
Tsp of salt
Tsp of dry mustard
Pepper to taste

After the hour, open the foil, drain off the juice and spread the top with the above mix..Pop it back in the oven uncovered for another half hour. Serve. Accept praise by saying “aww shucks”

jb3ll3 said...

two words, Curt: awe*some. That damn Wendy is one lucky woman. We're having this next Sunday. I can't wait!

Word Tosser said...

My Uncle was an old Navy cook, who made a wicked meatloaf..but would never tell me the ingredients. But he did tell me to get the pan lower than me... take the meat in a ball, and slam dunk it into the pan, as hard as I could. It will keep it solid, he said and it does. Also has a ditch around the edge of the pan for fat to go to, to pour off easy.
I made one last Spring, it was soooo had great flavor, it was firm yet soft. My husband loved it and bragged about it. How did I make it? Dang if I know. I was just winging it that day..I hate that, when it happens.

Anonymous said...

Any good recipes for salmon loaf?

jb3ll3 said...

Cis, LOL! So much of how it all comes really is a mystery, isn't it? (still laughing)

the psycho therapist said...

Real cooks (heh heh) don't know from recipes or measurements but here goes...

Cajun Meatloaf

1/2 stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 c chopped green pepper (I use combinations for color)
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 t dried thyme, crumbled
1 t ground black pepper
1/2 t cumin

2 pds. ground beef (I use turkey)
2 eggs, beaten to blend
1 c fine, dry breadcrumbs
1 c catsup
2 t Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter, add next 7 ingredients and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Combine meat, egg, breadcrumbs, 1/2 c catsup and Worcestershire sauce in medium bowl. Blend in sauteed vegetables. Form mixture into a loaf approximately 2 inches high and 5 inches wide in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Spread top with remaining catsup and bake for 40 more minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Notes: I use carrots and celery and a ton of other veggies for texture and color. I also come close to doubling the seasonings (always an eyeball judgment) and use more breadcrumbs.

My momma told me her momma told her not to "play around" with the meat too much, meaning "overworking" it when mixing. Lightly fold, enough to mix, letting the meat "breathe". What can I say, it just feels "right".

Also, I love to cover the meatloaf with trimmed slices of bacon for the absolute best flavor in the entire world. Because I use turkey (which has a lot less fat and can be drier), the bacon drippings seep all the way down the loaf as it cooks and looks gorgeous as a topping. Plus, the house smells DIVINE.

So, whatchu got here is spicy and aromatic. To die for, I'm just sayin'.

Naturally this get served alongside Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

jb3ll3 said...

I've heard that there is a meatloaf challenge afoot. Wendolina, you are going to HAVE to appoint a proxy to enter Cajun meatloaf. And do Cajuns cook with bacon? Or is that a Baptist derivative?

the psycho therapist said...

Proxy? I don't need no stinkin' proxy.

Tell you what, this recipe takes minutes to throw together and tastes like heaven. You try it for yourself (as all life can only be truly known by direct experience) and advise me further as to this proxy nonsense.

If I must have a stand in, I'll volunteer Marmite but only if she wears "funeral shoes" two sizes too small for her feet and a cardigan, buttoned or unbuttoned as she sees fit. That oughta do it. Good day!

jb3ll3 said...

Wendo, I think the meat-off will be in North Idaho.

MarmiteToasty said...

Ya see, I just dont get this meatloaf thingy you lot make..... to me it sounds just like a GIANT meatball but cooked in an oblong tin ...... or something that the elderly do in their share time, ya know, ya give them some beef to chew up for a while then they then put it all in one bowl and mix with a few herbs and stuff and then bake..........

ok ok Im winding ya up...... but it still just sounds like an oblong meatball......


jb3ll3 said...

it is....

Bay Views said...

You all use eggs??? Well I guess if you can't get it to hang together any other way...

I hereby issue a challenge. A meatloaf cookoff. I think I can probably get the Captain's Wheel to sponsor it. Of course you will have the pure pleasure of sampling my very own masterpiece.

jb3ll3 said...

c'mon, whaddya got? what's yer recipe?

Bre said...

So I used a combonation of several recipes on here to make meatloaf last night. I cheated and bought a seasoning mix, we're low on funding right now and I couldn't justify pay $6.00 for celery salt (not until payday anyways) so I had to cheat. But it was good, so good I over ate and almost made myself sick. I also made some really good mashed potatoes then covered them in cheese and broiled it in the oven. My husband was especially happy, he thought it was a celebration dinner because he got a new job interview, I didn't have the heart to tell him I had been reading meatloaf recipes the past two days and couldn't withstand the cravings any longer. =)

jb3ll3 said...

yum! what did you use?