Diner meatloaf, by sharon

November 17, 2008

It’s only within the last few years that I decided I really like a good meatloaf.  After some trial and error, this is one of the best I’ve come up with.

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
4-5 slices of bread

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Soak the bread in a tiny bit of milk and stir until it starts to fall apart.  Sautee the garlic, onion, and green pepper until the onion is translucent.  Stir into the bread crumbs and let cool slightly.  Add the egg, brown sugar, 1 cup of the ketchup, and beef.  Mix (with your hands, get over it) and then spread it into a 9×13 baking pan.  Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of ketchup over the top and bake for approximately one hour.  Remove from oven, pour off any grease that has collected (the meatloaf will have shrunken depending on the leanness of the meat).

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Cold weather comfort, by sharon

November 17, 2008

I’ve decided to make a giant pot of beef vegetable soup.  I’ve never made it, and I have no clue what I’m doing, but hey!  That’s never actually stopped me before.  So . . . this is how I’m doing it.

Ingredients:
1 pack of beef short ribs
1 pack of beef necks
1 pack of beef shanks
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups of fresh green beans, snapped into small pieces
celery leaves, chopped
fresh marjoram, chopped
salt
black pepper
ground thyme

Method
If I type something in here, it seems like I actually have a method.  But let’s pretend.  I’ve been looking up pho recipes lately, so I took a few tips from that on how to make a good broth.  Throw the bones and meat into a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes and remove the meat to a colander.  Throw out the water—there should be TONS of foam on top which supposedly contains a lot of impurities and the most fat.  Rinse out the pot, rinse off the meat, then put the meat back in the pot and cover with 14-16 cups of water (approximately 4 quarts).

Chop the onion and garlic.  While the water is coming to a boil, quickly sautee the garlic and onion before adding it to the stock.  I decided to do this to add a deeper flavor.  Once the onion is transluscent, add the onion, garlic, and some chopped marjoram to the pot.  Add some salt, pepper, and ground thyme as well.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer on medium-high for about 2-3 hours.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the bones and meat from the pot to a colander.  Throw some ice into the stock and put it into the freezer so all the extra fat rises to the top and is easy to skim off.  Pull the meat off of the bones and give it a rough chop.  If you’ve done it right, the shank bones should now be hollow, since all the marrow will have cooked out into the stock.

Skim the fat from the stock, bring it back to a boil, and add the tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and celery.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender.  Add the meat back in toward the end.  At this point, start testing the stock again for salt.  If it needs anything, add it (so vague, I know).

And that’s it!  Yes, it takes all day.  Because a good soup takes all day.  It’s worth it, i swear.