Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Autumn Foodies

Every autumn (the first cold front in September, usually) I am overtaken with the urge to be domestic, cook things, and in general become very nesty. (I told TheLimey this last year when we were just dating and he became quite concerned, as he thought I said "nasty". )

Last weekend I must then perforce take a cooking break from my academic slaving. I made a number of things to be parceled out into the freezer for eating this week.

I am most proud of two recipes that I synthesized myself. I say "synthesized" advisedly, because I did actually scan (not "skim") hundreds of recipes for these items, note common elements, select those I approved of, and put them together to make my recipes. And they turned out really, really good. (Links are in pdf form, scanned from my actual recipe cards.)

First, the bean soup. Vegetarians can substitute veggie or mushroom stock, and substitute some smoky seitan product for the hambits. But there should definitely be something with that smoky flavor. This is a really rich and buttery-tasting soup (though there's no butter in it). You will always want a second bowl, even if you don't realize it when you first begin eating.

I use Jennie-O turkey ham for the ham. I use Mrs. Dash extra-spicy for the spicy seasoning. And I've more or less converted to that Better-Than-Bouillon stuff for all my bouillon needs, though at the time I developed this I was still using granules. Do not omit the sherry! There's something about onions and sherry that makes food taste like restaurant food. I use Sheffield extra-dry. (Don't use a cream sherry, of course, like Bristol Cream or something. Save that for drinking with the roasted chestnuts.)

Next, the meatloaf*. While I have not traditionally been a big meatloaf person, TheLimey mentioned that he really liked meatloaf, so I began the recipe synthesis at that time. I have certainly tasted some really ucky meatloaves in my time, so I had to be sure. I do like this one a lot and have been known to take seconds. (Don't think this is easily convertible to vegetarian, and it involves a gross description of meat, so don't look!)

I use ground chuck, and I use "heavy" whole wheat (not that fluffy stuff) for the bread. (Usually I use Brownberry Natural Health Nut.) Near the end of the cooking process, I use a turkey baster to repeatedly suck up the drippings, with which I make gravy, and serve the lot with chunky mashed potatoes. If someone knows how to get the chewy, semi-crispy, caramelized bottom (like that on Boston Market meatloaf) I'd be much obliged if you told me. I'm wondering if it might have to involve a second stovetop process after the baking...

Anyway, enjoy, and remember to attribute the recipes to me!! :)

*The meatloaf even has beer in it. That's pretty special, if you ask me.


kilburina said...

Hey, I have come over all domestic in the last few weeks too - it must be nesting down for winter! I cooked pizza - base and all - twice last week!

liz said...

Very, very ambitious.

argotnaut said...

I do get nesty this time of year, but as in "red Lectroid nest."

I just did not get that cooking gene. But I did make some tasty banana bread a few weeks ago -- only because the bananas had gotten black, I dislike black bananas, and love banana bread.

Andrew said...

"Better Than Bouillon" kicks ass! I had some organic veggie broth left over from another recipe and used it to make a rice pilaf dish in which I normally use "BTB." But the pilaf just wasn't the same. Plus the BTB keeps in the fridge a lot longer. Viva BTB!