This post is going to be a little different than usual…
I usually write my blog posts the day before I publish them. This post, I am writing on Tuesday night. This morning, I was up before the sun. My school’s sci-fi club (of which I am the treasurer) had a fundraiser today. We decided to have another hot drinks fundraiser (affectionately named “Into Darkroast” as a sequel to our last hot drinks fundraiser). We set up a table on the main path across campus at 7 a.m. and waited. With the wind chill, it was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit… below zero (that’s about -30 Celsius, for my non-US readers, shout-out to you guys). At any rate, it was absolutely freezing, and I’m terrible at maintaining a reasonable core temperature when it’s that cold. So I froze. Thankfully, we were able to move the table into the Student Union around noonish. The majority of my afternoon was spent flip-flopping among making hot chocolate for customers, reading Timeline, and trying not to fall asleep. By the time I made it home for the evening, all I wanted, and I quote, was “a nap, a juice box, and a blanket.” 8 o’clock rolls around and I still haven’t made dinner. I had done a load of laundry and put off taking a nap because I was too restless. I had the fixings (and the initial plan) to make meatloaf. I shuffled into the kitchen and got out the ingredients. My mom gave me a basic recipe for meatloaf that went like this: Ingredients
2lb ground beef (Options: Ground veal, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken. Veal/pork/beef is a nice combo)
¾ c dried bread crumbs (Options: 2 slices of day old bread crumbled, or ½ cu oats)
½ cu milk
1 cup chopped veg = onions, pepper, carrot, celery – use whatever you have – total amount = a cup of 1/2” chopped veg
1 tsp garlic powder or one clove fresh garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp Parsley
1 tsp each basil
Optional: Use your imagination here -Chopped bacon (2 strips), chopped cheddar ½ cup, horseradish
Check out recipes online and pick and choose “special” ingredients to add or substitute.
1/3 cu Ketchup
1/3 cu brown sugar
1/3 apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, pepper and onion powder
1.In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and bread; let stand until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the onion, carrot, cheese and seasonings. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
2.Shape into a loaf 8x10x2 in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes.
3.Combine the glaze ingredients; spoon half of the mixture over meat loaf. Bake 30 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160°, occasionally spooning remaining topping over loaf. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I was able to carry out the instructions up until “crumble beef over mixture and mix well.”
“Boyfraaaaaand,” I called, lazily. “I require assistance.” Ever dutiful, the boyfriend appeared by my side, awaiting orders. He had been spared the morning’s standing around, even though he had gotten up just as early (he lives basically next door, with the VP of the club, and had offered to help us set up before his first class). I asked for help with mixing the meat into the mixture of goodies. We had begun a co-operative meatloaf adventure. I read off the instructions to him as he worked through the recipe. First, he had to crumble the beef. He was pretty good at that. Or so I thought. I heard a soft *plop* and I turned around to find a sizable chunk of ground beef on the floor. “Oops…” he said, looking sheepishly my way. I shook my head and picked the piece up off the floor. That was the only casualty, thankfully. The rest of the mixing went quite well, aside from the fact that, halfway through, the boyfriend was getting cold hands. I figured it was all fair, considering he didn’t have to stand out in this morning’s cold for nearly as long as I had. Sorry, Boyfriend.
He wanted me to mention that he was very patient as I stopped his mixing to take this picture. It took me a few tries and several different angles before I finally decided on the view I got from sticking the phone practically up his nose.
After mixing was finished, I called my mother. This call was not too different from most calls with my mother (or as I called her, not activating the filter between brain and mouth before speaking, “Momelette”). We made the rounds of the usual “How are you? What’s new? Yadda yadda yadda” before we got to the question I had called to ask, which we followed up with about ten minutes of banter. According to “Momelette,” the best way to go about getting the loaf shape is to press the meat mix into the bottom of the bowl and flip that over onto the broiler pan. From there, you can make it into more of a rectangle.
Perfect! It was ready for the oven. About halfway through the initial cook time, I remembered that I was supposed to make a glaze for the top of the loaf. It was quick enough to whip up. The idea was that you would drizzle it on in parts as the meatloaf cooked during the second round. By the end of the first cooking round, I was pretty well-awakened by the scent of food. I relieved the boyfriend of his duties. I drizzled a new layer of glaze on top of the meatloaf every ten minutes or so over the 30 minute period. All in all, the second cooking round was relatively uneventful, save for me almost dropping one of my oven mitts (the potholder) into the bottom of the hot oven. Every time I opened the oven, I was hit first by a wonderful aroma, and second by a wave of vinegar-laced heat, which by now has probably removed most of my eyelashes. Finally, after much anticipation and many delicious smells, the meatloaf emerged from the oven.
Afterthoughts on the meatloaf:
It tasted phenomenal. It was moist, flavorful, and went swimmingly with the brown rice and quinoa that I served it atop. What’s more, we have half a loaf leftover for tomorrow night! Yay! The boyfriend and I agreed that we would be making this recipe again in the very near future.