Monday, March 28, 2011
Just loafin' around...
Meat is primal - altho you can buy it in plastic wrapped packages in your local grocery store, or in white paper packages from a real butcher, you can also head out into the wild and kill you some before it eats you. Just stay far away from petting zoo's...not good form to bag a bunny in front of Mrs. Jeffries kindergarten class while they're on a field trip. And if you do, for GOODNESS sake, DON'T gut and skin it there. Mrs. Jeffries is spunky as hell and will take you OUT.
We were city folk growing up, but I think we ate some weird stuff - altho Handsome Stranger just scoffs when I say that. He grew up on a farm, who's mission statement is "Waste not, want not" and ""Why yes, I WAS born in a barn, why do you ask?" They ate everything, including the oink....and I believe it after reading the Little House series compulsively over a 40 year span. I was grossed out, but intrigued...I would still love to eat a pig's tail roasted over a fire - to me that IS the oink! I told him we had to eat cans of salmon that were full of bones and what a pain it was to pick out all the vertebrae so you didn't get a wayward "crunch", and he just laughed in my face - his mom just drained the whole can and smashed it all up with a fork and made crunchy salmon salad with mayo *hork, gag* OK, OK...you WIN!!
They were poor, but so were we, and we didn't have animals wandering around just begging to be eaten, so my parental units had to make do with whatever was cheap and plentiful. They had a few weird stores they would go to occasionally, and one time they scored on Majesty Luncheon Meat. MLM is actually generic Spam...frankly, I don't know that you could tell the difference without the can - chopped ham is chopped ham. At first we loved it sliced and fried, and ground up with raw onion, pickles, mayo and a little mustard in a sandwich, and I always dreamed of growing up someday and making the creation on the back of the can where you sliced it not quite all the way through and stuck half pineapple slices in between and baked it in the oven. It looks so ELEGANT. Luckily I came to my senses when I turned 11 or so - they bought a LOT of it and I finally could take no more - PBJ was never a fave, but I learned to love it during the MLM fiasco.
My kids worst food memories center around the humble turkey wiener - good source of cheap protein, comes in a convenient shape for easy eating, and so cheap you wonder why they're practically giving them away...until you ate about 400 of 'em. Disguising the dread TW was an art, and I apparently flunked finger painting....my offspring were smart so you could only trick them a couple times before they caught on. "Mmmmm....chees - HEY, is this what I THINK it is??!!" Smart aleck kids. I cannot, I will not, EVER eat a turkey weenie again - if it's that or starve, I will bid you adieu for eternity. Especially since I now read labels and would never willingly put anything in my body that is made from "mechanically separated" anything - BAH!!
Wasn't planning on doing this, but a recent facebook post is sure to trigger a landslide of requests for the BEST MEATLOAF EVER, so I figured I'd get a jump on it. I know a lot of people refuse to eat anything in loaf form unless it's bread, and that it's unnatural to form a loaf of anything else. No more unnatural than your Great Gramma's titan red hair or that flap of fiber that twists in the wind on your Uncle Manny's previously bald head...just not something you would bring up in polite conversation. I think meatloaf is an art, and I have uncovered a Picasso that he painted before AND after he cut off his ear. But there is no ear in it...promise.
BEST MEATLOAF EVER
I am going to share this with the original ingredients in (these things) - that way if you don't give a rip how many points you eat and you want meatloaf that will make your head spin like Regan in that very bad movie we were not allowed to watch, you can do so. I highly recommend both versions - I just can't eat the bad one anymore. And have some trust - I wouldn't shit you, the turkey version is wildly delicious, and will someday be on the menu in my own restaurant. So no fair putting it on yours, you know who you are (Lynn).
Olive oil or butter Pam spray (2 T. butter)
1 carrot, diced
1 large rib of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground turkey, 93/7% (1.5 lbs. lean ground beef & 1/2 lb. ground pork*)
1 cup fine, soft bread crumbs from two slices of bread
1 egg & 1 egg white (2 eggs)
1/3 C. milk
2 T. Worcestershire
1 T. cider vinegar
2 T. prune juice (2-4 prunes, minced)
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 T. BBQ sauce
Spray large skillet (or melt butter) and saute veggies until soft. In large bowl, put bread crumbs and milk, then add turkey, egg, Worcestershire, vinegar, prune juice, and spices and mix well with your hands or a potato masher. (I use gloves - no matter how much I scrub under my nails I am sure there is raw turkey under there and altho I used to eat raw hamburger, that's just gross) Throw in the soft veggies and mix quickly so it cools off fast, divide into two loaf pans and smooth tops, put 1 T. BBQ sauce on top of each and spread over top evenly. Bake at 350 for about one hour...it may be done before then - you can temp it to 155 if you want. Drain off as much of the liquid as possible and let cool with a hot pad under one end so the fat/juice doesn't suck back into the meat...it will still be nice and moist. Let cool at least 15 minutes so it won't fall apart, serve with mashed potatoes and some peas for a traditional fave - I made some brown gravy I just invented and it was da BOMB. (2 tsp. butter, 2 Tbsp. flour, 2 C. hot water, some onion soup mix, a little beef bouillon, a dash of Worcestershire, a dash of dark soy and the drippings from the meatloaf...boil until it reduces into a gravy that will be thin but coat a spoon) I got 12 slices from each loaf, which works out to 2 points plus per slice - suh-WEET.
My all time favorite sandwich is....duh, MEATLOAF. So tomorrow, I will be happier than a pig in mud, and everyone will be sooooooo jealous...and no tradesies. What's mine is mine, and what's yours is pitiful. Oink.
*Note about original recipe: It also contained 1/4 lb. bacon, cut in 1/4" strips, and you put them in the food processor with the prunes to chop it all finely. It was VERY good, but you really don't want to lick the spatula after cleaning out the bowl.