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07 August 2008

1 lb hamburg, 1 egg, 1/2 cup quick oats, salt, pepper, top w/ ketchup. Bake 1 hr at 375. Rest 10 min. I made meatloaf last night, and I got to thinking [More:] ... about how I always made it with a variety of ingredients that required a lot of prep to work into the meat with a minimum of effort. Overworking the mix makes meatloaf tough.

So, there it is. The essence of meatloaf -- its defining elements and the minimum needed to make it tasty.

Your turn. Spaghetti? Stroganoff? Cookies?
Salsa! mainly cos it doesn't require cooking on hot days.

The first one is one I usually make as a "mild" ingredient. It's an integral part of my hanger steak tacos, which I make spicy so they don't need more heat. It's also great for picnics or situations where you have finicky eaters who don't like spice. You can also double/triple the recipe at whim and use it as a relish, dip, side or cold salad if you so choose:

black bean/corn salsa:
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1/4 cup minced sweet onion (vidalia or texas, don't use red it's too bitter)
1-2 large cloves garlic, mashed thru a press
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
salt (to taste, tho canned veg are pretty salty)
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional I guess, but not in my household)
Truly optional: 1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded, pith removed, and VERY finely minced, but only if you want more heat.

Stir all ingredients together, let stand or refrigerate for ~ 1 hour to meld.

Classic Red Salsa:
Put the following in a large food processor:
1 quart good quality chopped tomatoes. word: do. not. EVER. use those gadawful supermarket ones, use good quality canned if you must.
4-6 large cloves garlic, mashed thru a press
Juice of one whole lime
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 large bunch fresh cilantro (NOT optional in my household, sorry)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded, de-pithed, fairly small dice so it distributes evenly
1 teaspoon salt (your pref, the mister and I are saltaphiles; I use sea salt btw)

Now pulse the food processor until everything's pretty well blended but DON'T over-process or it'll go all pink and foamy (ew). Correct the seasonings as necessary - I will typically go back and add more chili, cumin or salt to balance it.

Decant, let stand or refrigerate for ~1 hour to meld. Enjoy!

posted by lonefrontranger 07 August | 16:03
Cilantro is ALWAYS optional. *glares*
posted by bunnyfire 07 August | 16:12
So, the essence of salsa is tomatoes, onion and hot peppers, chopped together, and chilled. I'm going for the minimum that defines the dish.
posted by Ardiril 07 August | 16:37
don't forget garlic.
posted by lonefrontranger 07 August | 16:56
The acid is part of the minimum defining characteristics too. You need the lime juice (or lemon or maybe a splash of red wine vinegar if you're in a bind(?), but it's nothing without the acid).
posted by birdie 07 August | 17:54
I should have followed your philosophy for my chili, Ardiril. Something's not playing nice with something else in there.
posted by Pips 07 August | 18:07
Ardiril, you are the only person aside from my mother, her sisters, and their mother I have ever heard use "hamburg" to mean hamburger/ground beef.
posted by mdonley 08 August | 16:05
The essential chocolate-chip cookie ingredients are: flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate, fat. Leavening, too, I'm thinking, though I guess it's arguable--ditto salt and vanilla, right?
posted by box 08 August | 17:05
Pancakes: flour, egg, milk. Everything else is an add-on.

God, I haven't had meatloaf in (literally) decades. I was going to make one for the bf recently but got hung up on whether I should make a boiled egg middle or not, and didn't in the end.
posted by goo 08 August | 18:07
How about scotch eggs? I'd never deep fry them as I don't ever use that much oil in cooking, especially deep frying which really isn't good for you. They can be baked and they're really nice. Elizard made 'em once in the winter and they're perfect with steamed veggies for cold days. You could probably use any type of meat to wrap the eggs in and it'd be fine. It's rare (like 3 times a year) I'll eat that much flesh, but once in a while it's necessary.
Southern cooking. Epicurious 1, 2.

I'm sure it'd take work, but you could make a vegetarian version using textured soy protein. You'd have to find some way of getting the soy to the same sticky texture of the meats used in the above recipes. Flavouring's easy: soak the soy in a veggie broth with Worcestershire sauce, sage, oregano, salt, pepper and other very "earthy" spices. After an hour (or preferably more to allow all the spices to blend) the soy's soaked up all the goodness and has a deep flavour like spiced meat. If you fry it like ground beef, it takes on the same texture as the beef and can be used in place of it in stews and chilies. I'll have to think on how to get it sticky. Maybe I'll try that this weekend.
posted by Zack_Replica 09 August | 00:10
...take her to the police station, where she put on pants. || If The Pink Superhero was a bird she would not be a flamingo ...