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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Not my day in the kitchen

Today was one of those days I just should have stayed out of the kitchen. I was making a meatloaf that called for two eggs. Cracked one egg into the bowl and put the shell on a nearby paper towel headed for the trash; cracked the second egg--right into the paper towel. So I carried the whole sodden mess to the trash, hoping it would drip, and got a third egg--three eggs to get two. Then I was frying bacon for a one-person wilted lettuce salad--and I burned it. So two pieces of bacon to get one usable one.
I will says the meatloaf was delicious. Lamb, with a bit of ground pork--yes, greasy, and a mess to clean up after, but because I put it on a rack, the grease all dripped down and the meatloaf itself was not greasy at all. Simply seasoned with parsley, basil, parmesan, salt and pepper but it had a great flavor. And I used a trick I learned from a Paula Dean recipe--use Ritz crackers for crumbs instead of bread. Not non-fat and I know it, but it gives great texture and richness. I forgot my mom's trick of throwing in a handful of instant tapioca to make it hold together, but the meatloaf had great texture and didn't need it. Should make great sandwiches tomorrow.
There's a great history of mystery novels and cooking. The two seem to go together, and I think sometime I'll do an article on it. You can call up several theories--in a world of blood and murder, people want comfort is one of the most common. Several classic mystery sleuths have been cooks and you can get their cookbooks today--there's a Nancy Drew cookbook and one of Nero Wolfe's recipes, along with one by Patricia Cornwall. And many more. But the recipe I used tonight was a modernized version from Nero Wolfe's book. It reminded gently that you could put crackers or bread, parley, and chopped shallots in a food processor but pointed out that in Nero Wolfe's days that gadget didn't exist. Anyway, if you want to try it, the cookbook is available online and I found the actual recipe online.
With my meatloaf, I had canned corn--left over because my daughter opened too many cans for a party dip last night--and wilted lettuce.

Wilted lettuce is an old and simple recipe from my mom:

Fry bacon (and try not to burn it--classic wisdom is when you fry bacon, stand there and watch it; do not wander away to your computer).
Drain bacon
Tear up fresh leaf lettuce into bite size pieces
Put vinegar in the bacon drippings (about 2/3 drippings to 1/3 vinegar); heat
Pour hot oil/vinegar over greens.
Crumble bacon into salad.

Optional: after bacon is fried, sauté a chopped scallion or two in the grease.

You can do this with fresh spinach, and my son-in-law, Christian, particularly likes it if I do it with canned green beans.

Happy cooking--and watch your bacon!

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