In the Summer, We Made Meat Cakes

So I am still messing around with those Reynold’s Baking Cups, since I have so freaking many of them. I made meat cakes!

I made a real meal! Salad and everything. The stink rinsed off the lettuce, and I had fresh vegetables on hand to jazz it up with. The entree was a meatloaf from a recipe online. I have made meatloaves of many varieties, some by making it up, and this one is my new favorite. It was loafalicious.

Pan-Friend Meatloaf in Tricolor Peppers

Some caveats: I didn’t make beautiful pan-fried medallions because I didn’t have large peppers on hand. What caught my eye in the first place was that I have a frozen vegetable mix of three colors of pepper strips. I usually get those for a Thai-ish coconut milk stir-fry thing with chicken, but they make lots and lots of them; there was no need to save it. When I got to the recipe page they looked really, really good, and not that difficult to make. I can see me getting into trouble with with flipping a meat-filled pepper ring, but I have a spatula-ish set of tongs. It just might work! Maybe for book club, now that the vegetarian has moved away.

So I ended up just preparing the meat per instructions and baking it in a loaf pan for about an hour. OK, not per instructions–there were some modifications. I doubled it, first. Second, I didn’t have turkey so I used two pounds of beef. Third, I probably added more garlic than strictly required, and I had one pretty large onion instead of two small ones. I also used a wheat bread instead of a white bread. And I didn’t have fresh sage.

ASIDE: Sage puzzles me. It’s so mossy. I can’t figure it out and I almost never use it. I couldn’t even say how long I’ve had this jar. It’s possible that I added a completely inert green substance. Smelled nice, though. END ASIDE.

I never make less than two pounds of meatloaf at a time, because I like it to have a rounded top like a loaf of bread and I only have the bigger loaf pans. I hate cooking something flat and prismatic. It’s so unappealing to have a rectangular shaped piece of pressed meat. That semi-ellipse at the top makes all the difference.

So why the meat cakes? After filling the bread pan and lovingly rounding the top, I had some meat left over. Plus the meatloaf was going to take an hour to cook and I didn’t know how long Fella and Filly were going to let me delay dinner. Why not roll up two balls of meat and stick them in the muffin pans I had washed from the cornbread the night before but not yet put away. And then why not spare myself the mess and just put two balls of meat on tin foil? And then why not use the baking cups? I had a whole stack of just the foil part without the paper lining that I didn’t use when I made those cupcakes for the Robot Cake. I stuck the meatcakes in another pan just as a platform, but I didn’t have to clean it. That is, it passed the eyeball test and and I put it away.

Turns out meatcakes cook in a hurry. Fifteen, twenty minutes tops. We lit the candles and sang the happy birthday song and just had a much better time than you usually do with ground meat. I served it with some hippy dippy steak sauce from the healthy, independent grocery store. It’s pretty good. A-1 is also pretty good. Ketchup has no place at my table.

I am seriously stoked to try the recipe as written. I am even more stoked that there are leftovers of everything, including the salad. I just might get away with not cooking tonight!

On Wine:
At the grocery store yesterday I ended up talking to the guy who was checking the wine display for whatever vineyard it was. I had intended to buy a big bottle of crappy white wine to keep in the cupboard for cooking, particularly because some of the garlic butter lemon sauces I saw recipes for called for white wine. He told me never to buy a sweet wine for cooking (stick with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blancs or similar) and that you can’t keep wine for cooking on hand because it turns to vinegar. I’ve had a bottle of crappy red in the cupboard for a while that I’m sure turned to vinegar a year ago or more. I’ve cooked with it, and it tasted fine, but now I wonder what all those dishes and marinades would have tasted like if it had still been wine. After we got to talking about the problem, he recommended getting a box of wine, because those stay airtight. I don’t really want to store a box of wine, but we also decided that those little four-packs of wine that you see at Target would probably be an excellent solution. Each one has maybe a little more than half a cup of wine in it, which is a pretty common amount for cooking. I am eager to go buy some. Plus I’ve been off Chardonnay since getting wasted the night Walter Matthau died; I would not be tempted to drink the little bottles in any way.

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