Burn that meatloaf!

May 30, 2007

I’ve been making meatloaf for years. It was always my favorite growing up, but until now I’ve always made my meatloaf in the oven. Never again. Before I tell you how I made it, I’ll share with you my inspiration. Back in March, I tried Herbsaint for the first time. I’ve been back twice (with Bridget), and both times we ordered the meatloaf (partly because it’s delicious, but to also figure out what was in it and how to make it ourselves). We got close.

Herbsaint Meatloaf is different from my traditional meatloaf in that it’s cooked on the grill (at least I’m assuming that’s how they do it), and to do it right, you need to burn it. Go for the char! Here’s my recipe:

  • 1/2 lb. Ground chuck
  • 1/2 lb. Ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. Ground veal
  • 2 slices (about 1/4 inch thick) Pancetta diced
  • 2 cups Chopped onions
  • 2 Carrots (chopped)
  • 1 cup Bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato paste
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • Salt, pepper, Tony’s

I throw all of this in a large bowl, and mix it with my hands until well combined. The pancetta adds a baconiness that brings me back to my childhood, and the carrots sweeten the entire dish.

I needed to cook this on the grill, so I form it into a loaf and placed it in my vegetable grill tray. Next, I lit the grill and tossed some smoke chips on top of the coals. The loaf went in and the lid went on for about 2 hours.

The secret to my meatloaf has always been its glaze. To make it, mix:

  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • 2 tsp. Mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp. Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • Tony’s

Heat the sauce on top of the stove until it darkens and looks like BBQ sauce. Pour it over the meatloaf and put it back on the grill or under the broiler until the glaze looks set.

I serve it with roasted garlic and chives mashed potatoes. Make more than you need because this meatloaf is great the next day eaten cold or on a sandwich.

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Tonight I was going to have leftover Pork Carnita Tacos, but as I started foraging through our fridge, I noticed some delicious turkey bacon and immediately I thought, BLT.

A few days ago, I bought a fresh loaf of Dakota Wheat. I also have some fragrantly plump tomatoes bathing in the evening sun on my window sill, and some baby arugula in the crisper that would star as the “L” in my BLT tonight.

In our family, we almost always cook eggs in the greasy deliciousness left by recently fried bacon. Fried eggs made Bridget think of a recipe we saw in The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider, theĀ  latest edition to our cookbook library. On page 135, there’s a recipe for Elemental Carbonara (Pasta with a Fried Egg and Parmigiano).

Bridget cooked some whole-wheat spaghetti, and once it was just about done (al dente), she tossed it with 2 slices of crumbled bacon, torn basil leaves (about 3), fresh grated Parmesan, S&P and topped it with 2 fried eggs. The yellows of the eggs were still runny, so when she broke them over the pasta they combined with the cheese to make a soft, delicious sauce. This is a great dish.

You could call it Pasta with a fried egg on it, but fancy it up, serve it to company and call it Deconstructed Carbonara. Thanks, B!

Tonight we’ve discovered an amazing new concoction to add to our arsenal, the lemony-basil dressing from Giada’s Basil Chicken. When I got home from work, I marinated a whole, cut-up chicken in:

  • 1/3 cup | Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup | Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. | Fennel seeds (slightly crushed)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

I placed everything in a large ziploc bag and tossed it in the fridge. I lit the grill as Bridget made the basil dressing. First, she harvested some basil from the garden. Then she added it (amount), 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tsp. lemon zest , (amount) extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. After these ingredients had been added to the blender, she blitzed it. A few seconds later, and amazing emerald potion was created.

After about 30 minutes, I removed the marinated chicken from the fridge and threw it on the grill. After it was done, I set it aside to rest under a tent of foil. While the chicken rested, I diced some zuccini and tossed it with some olive oil, and salt and pepper. I grilled it under tender crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. I also reheated some left over corn salad from Sunday night.

The plate was served as grilled chicken with the basil dressing drizzled over top, with tender-crisp zucchini and corn salad.