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July 25, 2004

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PS: Creamed corn is an abomination unto the Lord, or at least an abomination unto my plate.

Amen, brother. But that green-bean cassarole thingy with the crunchy fried onions on top is righteous.

This is a comfort food versus burger thing, methinks. Home vs. out. Very primal.

And whether some else makes it for you (your partner?) is yet more emotional, versus flavor and nutrition and cooking.

My favorite "vegetarian meatloaf" recipe is mushroom roast.

The basic ingredients:
Butter
Onion
Mushrooms
Breadcrumb (real breadcrumb)
Cheese
Egg
vegetable stock, herbs/seasonings to taste

It's a variable recipe, obviously, but a mushroom roast I made for a dinner party of 12, 3 vegetarians, was:

About 2 ounces butter
2 large onions
2lbs mushrooms
2lbs breadcrumb
1 lb cheese
2 free range eggs
1 cube garlic+herb veg stock

1. Crumble bread, chop onions and mushrooms, grate cheese.

2. Melt butter in a large pan. Add onions, saute till tender, then add mushrooms and cook till mushrooms are giving off large quantities of liquid. Add vegetable stock cube and a little more liquid (less than a quarter of a pint of water, I think - I did this bit "by eye", and it might make sense to add extra liquid as step 3.5).

3. In a very large bowl, mix together the onions, mushrooms, breadcrumb, and most of the grated cheese. Add the eggs.

4. Grease a large casserole dish and fill with the mixture. Scatter the remainder of the grated cheese over the top.

5. Bake in a hot oven for about fifty minutes.

Okay here's an incredible variant. Not for the health conscious.

Ingredients:

1 lb. very lean ground beef
1/4 lb. bacon
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 cup catsup (or chili sauce)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1/4 tsp. ground marjoram (or thyme)
salt and pepper to taste

Either grind your own beef or have your butcher grind it very lean i.e. no fat. Using a food processor process the bacon until it is (fairly) smooth. I usually process the oats until they're about 1/4 the size of normal rolled oats i.e. like coarse meal.

Mix everything. Using your hands is best. Pack it into a Pyrex loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees until ready (about 40 minutes). It's done when it's starting to brown and the juices run clear. Try to not overcook.

With this recipe I usually do one ingredient at a time in the food processor and then mix everything at the end.

I am preparing a post on the ultimate guide to meatloaf on my website. I'll trackback when I'm done.

PPS: We probably need a cooking category.

Seconded.

Morningstar Farms makes outstanding vegetarian substitutes for ground beef and sausage. I'm particularly fond of the "Market Street Meatloaf" recipe in "The New Basics Cookbook". I won't reprint it for copyright reasons, but hopefully it is still in the most recent edition.

I also heartily recommend the "Hell's Kitchen Chili" recipe in the same book.

OK, so I've guarded this secret very carefully for years, but, the sun is shining, and otherwise things are well, so I'm feeling generous:

The secret ingredient in Edward's Universally Loved and Immediately Devoured Meatloaf?

Replace Ketchup with Barbeque Sauce. That way you have no lingering Heinz vs. W Ketchup doubts, and you get bonus flavor without having to figure out what all those secret spices your Great Aunt Petunia uses in her prize-winning meatloaf are.

Trust me, it's a very moist, tastey alternative.

Oh, and on creamed corn, I can't get past the sensation that eating it is somehow redundant.

Edward is absolutely right on the barbeque sauce. And I second Gromit's suggestion on the Morningstar Farms products. I can't say I've tried it for meatloaf but it makes a quite decent chili and good Sloppy Joes.

Here's the simple recipe that Mom sent me to college with all those years ago, and I just love it. Warms me up when I'm feeling blue, and all that. With whole milk and real butter mashed potatoes, heaven. And green beans cooked with bacon and onions.

Anyway:

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 envelope Lipton's onion soup mix
0.5 cup milk
3 slices crumbled bread
.25 cup ketchup
1 egg

Mom says to mix it all together, form into a loaf, and bake at 350 for 1.25 hours.

I tinker, and do this:
Don't mix the ketchup in. Make the loaf (Lipton makes an onion/mushroom soup mix I like to use), spread the ketchup over the top just to cover, mix with a bit of Worcestershire, and sprinkle the top with celery seed.

The biggest influence on the outcome I've found is the amount and type of bread. I use the pointy side of my cheese grater to shread the bread into crumbs. A great use for stale bread (which is easier to shread).

I hope the recipes continue to come in Moe, but Gary nailed it in the second post. The best meatloaf recipe is invariably "Mom's" or that of your spouse. Even if you could duplicate your wife's efforts perfectly, I'd bet the final product just wouldn't taste as good as hers. My wife understands that I like my mom's meatloaf over hers, but it doesn't bother her because she knows that our kids will always prefer hers to any other. As far as I know, that's just how it's supposed to work.

The secret to making ceamed corn more palatable by the way, is to place it next to over-cooked (mushy) peas!

The best meatloaf recipe is invariably "Mom's" or that of your spouse.

The best compliment I ever received on my cooking was from my mother. She said—I think about potato salad: "You make this just like my mother used to."

Dave, I sometimes wonder if our mothers fully grasp how much power and influence they wield. A compliment like that from anyone other than your own mother just wouldn't have the same impact, would it?

A correction to my post: "ceamed" should be "creamed", of course. There's no hope at all for "ceamed" corn!

Moe, how about expanding your proposed "recipe" category to a broader "culinary" one? For example, "Best Places to Eat" in various locations would be welcome to those of us who are frequent travelers.

My recipe is so simple but everyone who tries it seems to love it to death so:

1 pound hamburger
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup of ketchup, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I like KC Masterpeice Spicy or Famous Dave's if you can find it) mixed together
1/2 pack crushed crackers or Italian spiced crushed croutons
2 eggs
garlic powder

Mix until dough. Bake 375 for an hour-ish. Last 15 minutes top with some of the ketchup/BBQ sauce mixture.

I forgot from my written down recipe that I usually add a dash of worcester sauce.

Enjoy.

Marjoram is definitely a good little secret weapon, improving the flavor without changing it too much. Another trick I use is a little dab of peanut butter. Yes, really. It doesn't have too much effect on the flavor, but it does make the mix a little stickier and allow a better meat/starch balance without becoming all crumbly.

Equal parts of veal, pork and ground beef
Onion(s)
Green Pepper(s) (optional)
Egg
bread crumbs
season to tast (salt, pepper, tobasco or any other herb which adds a little heat or flavor)

bake in greased bread pan or roll into balls, lightly fry in skillet and then add to the sauce.

As for the meatless recipes, see Strata
eggs
bread
cheese (NY cheddar)
green chilies (whole, cut into thin strips, not diced)
ham or suasage (optional, not really)

With all due respect to our vegetarian colleagues, shouldn't you avoid anything called "meatloaf" regardless of what it contains? Or is it already too complicated to remain true to your dietary values as it is without pedantic putzes like myself making life more difficult?

I have never made and do not like meatloaf. If we do a "Cambodian recipe slam!", "Yuppy pizza recipe slam!", "Mexican recipe slam!" "Dessert recipe slam!" etc. I can help out, though.

Recipes...hah! Who needs 'em?

Key secret (in the sense of Berger) ingredients:

instead of crackers, breadcrumbs, etc for moisture absorber:

substitute about equal quantities Vigo Italian breadcrumbs (w/Parmesan) and Quaker oats.

Ketchup, etc are a matter of preference and therefore get added after cooking. My personal preference is either a) Del Monte chili sauce (hey, it's what I grew up with) or b) Scorned Woman.

Nealy everything else is a function of what mood I'm in that day, except I rarely use rosemary in meatloaf. Come to think of it, maybe I ought to try that sometime. The old-fashioned way used to be equal parts ground beef, pork and veal (IIRC).

With all due respect to our vegetarian colleagues, shouldn't you avoid anything called "meatloaf" regardless of what it contains? Or is it already too complicated to remain true to your dietary values as it is without pedantic putzes like myself making life more difficult?

Let us just say that many of us became vegetarian for reasons other than disdain for the taste of meat.

I should also note that I am not, strictly speaking, vegetarian.

Edward: With all due respect to our vegetarian colleagues, shouldn't you avoid anything called "meatloaf" regardless of what it contains?

I'm not a vegetarian for semantic reasons, so no, I shouldn't avoid something merely because it's called meatloaf. (Or indeed Meatloaf.) I avoid anything that has bits of dead animal in it, whether fish, flesh, or fowl, but I've eaten at Buddhist restaurants where they used seitan and soy to make "vegetarian pork", "vegetarian beef", "vegetarian chicken", and it was all tasty.

However, I do admit I call the recipe posted (July 25, 2004 11:01 AM) "vegetarian meatloaf" only when pressed to offer an analogy: it occupies the same kind of comfortable, filling, savory space as meatloaf does, and IME even confirmed carnivores like it. Mostly I call it mushroom roast: you will find a hundred variations of it listed under that name. (But I like mine the best.)

Hooray! I started something! My meatloaf recipe slam comment comes to fruition! See me bend the Matrix to my will! (Although I've not managed to will the sequels out of existence.)

Anyway, here are two contributions, straight from the brain o' the chefyamabushi. I don't use recipes, so you will have to use another recipe as a template, and tweak the proportions a little... be mindful of acidity, and always use kosher salt, my children!

1. (in honor of Katherine's Cambodian comment, a random southeast asian concoction)

Ground chicken, more dark meat is better
adding some ground pork never hurts anything
cooked rice (not sticky) instead of bread crumbs
eggs
minced onion
minced serrano or other fresh chiles
crushed, well-drained tomatoes
minced fresh cilantro, basil, parsley (or tarragon pretty much goes with anything)
sliced mushrooms, sauteed and deglazed with
mirin and lime juice, ahead of time
splash of coconut milk
smear of curry paste (player's choice)
another splash of lime juice (or orange juice, why not?)

serve with a half and half mix of sriracha chili sauce (Huy Fong Foods' is the standard) and good old ketchup, maybe with a little citrus juice mixed in

happy experimenting

2. mediterranean lamb thing

ground lamb
bread crumbs
eggs
minced onion
mushrooms of choice, fine dice, sauteed in
butter and deglazed with wine of choice
fresh rosemary chopped fine (take it easy,
rosemary is a strong one)
a little tomato concasse, well drained
couple of sage leaves, chopped fine
fresh basil, parlsey, thyme, tarragon
crumbled feta
a bit of chopped prosciutto of other smoked or
cured porky goodness

...hmmm, a little small-dice eggplant might go well in this, also... or slather thickly sliced eggplant with olive oil, kosher salt, and ground black pepper for a nicely grilled vegetable side

Have fun, y'all!

My mother used crackers instead of breadcrumbs, and I like it better because it's less dry.

She just put some hamburger (I use Morningstar meatless burger), 1 or 2 eggs (depending upon texture), onions, and crushed up like a pack of Premium crackers. I also add some spices like garlic to mine although my mother didn't because my father doesn't like spices. She would also put ketchup on it before baking as well. Pack it, but the more packed it is, it's going to be too dry. And Pyrex dish; it handles even heating the best.

The trick is to balance the dry stuff like the crackers with the amount of hamburger so that it's not overly dry.

this is all very interesting. I will be making meatloaf tonight and I'm hunting around for new ideas. I'm surprised to see that some of my mothers ideas/ingredients are absent from what i have seen so far-------------
canned condensed milk instead of egg
corn flakes in place of bread crumbs / crackers
canned condensed tomato soup ( un-diluted ) as a topping.

Try carmelizing two or large white onions with a tablespoon of brown sugar for your meatloaf. also 1-2 tablespoons yellow mustard.

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