Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A dinner time story (No-loaf Meatloaf)

This recipe originated from Sandi Richard's Cooking for the Rushed recipe of the same name. My version's different - less sweet, more sassy. Her site has more information about her books, and a few of her recipes can be found on the Food Newtork website.

By the time I got home the ground beef was still giving me the cold shoulder. I took it out of the frige and slammed it on the counter. I can't help reacting to its temperment that way - but I knew it wouldn't help.

I dug out my roasting pan and set my oven to 400 F; it's a little slow and the dial's going - but the oven is an old friend, so I adjust the heat up just to cover it's failures. I lined the bottom of the roasting pan with tin foil for easy cleanup, then used some extra virgin olive oil in an atomizer to spray the grill so things wouldn't stick. I suppose non-stick spray would be better, but olive oil and I go way back, and we work well together - so why change now?

I carefully lined up the other ingredients and equipment for tonight's dish: corn flakes, homemade salsa, Worchestershire sauce, 2 cloves of garlic (peeled), egg whites, the pepper grinder, a good knife, and a spatula.

Ignoring the temperment of the ground beef, I took it out of its wrap and threw it into my big pirex bowl. Homemade, the salsa is a bit biting, but I'm use to her sass. 1/2 a cup covered the ground beef nicely.

The recipe calls for garlic powder, but I grabbed fresh and slammed it into submission before dicing it fine and throwing it into the bowl with the beef. I added a tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce for the class he always brings to a dish, then jammed my fingers into the still chilly beef and began working everything together. Spoons and spatulas are fine, but there's nothing like a massage to make ingredients relax and start mixing. That, an egg white, and about 1/2 a cup of a ground up corn flakes will bind any unreasonable mess into a whole.

Once everyone was well mixed, I divided them up into four. Using my hands (still) I rolled the mix into four (roughly) equal-sized balls. Then, one at a time, I flattened the balls into rough loaf-shapes.

The loaf-shapes went onto the roasting pan's grill.

Back to my bowl I added another 1/2 cup of salsa, 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayanne pepper. I mixed this together with the spatula, careful to scrape the sides and get everything together. Then layered it like a blanket over the loaves. Then the roasting pan went into the hot oven.

Feeling lazy, I dumped 2 cups of frozen green beens into a casserole dish and added 1/2 cup of water. I covered it and set it in the microwave. Then I set the alarm to scream at me in 45 minutes. When it screamed - I came in and turned the microwave on high, and set the time again for 5 minutes. Then I walked away so I wouldn't hear the green beans cry.

When the timer screamed again, dinner was ready. The meatloaf was a bit too hot for me (next time I'll cut back on the cayanne pepper - she's just too much for me to handle), but good none-the less.

Made a nice dinner for 2 with enough leftovers for two meatloaf sandwiches (upon which I loaded some sultry Montaray jack cheese with jalapenos).

1 pound ground beef, lean
1 cup corn flakes, ground
1 cup salsa, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
1 egg white
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, smashed and diced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with foil and spray its grill with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix together the beef, ground corn flakes, 1/2 cup salsa, 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce, egg white, pepper and garlic.
  4. Shape into 4 loaves and place them on the grill.
  5. In the same bowl, mix the last of the salsa, Worchestershire sauce and the cayenne pepper together.
  6. Spread the mixture over top of the loaves.
  7. Bake the loaves for 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is over 160 F.
Serve with steamed green beans, a nob of butter, and some more ground black pepper.

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