Monday, January 16, 2012

We still eat around here.

You may recall, from previous ski trip preparations, that I like to master plan our ski trip menu.

And, you may also recall that we go on an annual ski trip about this time of year. Even on the years when we are freshly back from skiing in another country.

Like this year.

Like awesome people who plan vacations so far in advance that they don't realize how they've managed to stack them up right on top of each other to the point where coworkers and bosses and clients are all, "Dudes. What the fuck? Weren't you, like *JUST* on vacation? And, hey, wasn't that a ski trip, too?"

To which we just say, yeah, and then bow our heads sheepishly while smiling crooked little knowing smiles and flipping them the bird.

Not until their backs are turned though! We're not animals!

Anyway, so yeah, we're going on another ski trip next week, this time to the great Only Place In The Continental US With Proper Snow state of Montana,  where the forecast is calling for snow and snow and snow some more.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING WINTER, MONTANA. Unlike the rest of this place, particularly Tahoe, which has dirt for snow and cannons for storms and hiking on MLK weekend instead of skiing and other such nonsense.

It's sad, Tahoe right now, so we're extra psyched to see what Montana's all about for skiing and riding finally. Because Bubba's been wearing his Whitefish hat ragged over the last few years waiting for the chance to press his planks against their wondrous mounds.

You said Mounds.
YAY! That was probably the porniest thing I've written in a long time! About my man and his undying love affair with snow. And mounds.


And this post was supposed to be about meat loaf.

Hey! Meat loaf! Let's talk about that.

So, you guys know that a part of master planning any ski trip menu is testing out new Sure To Be Awesome recipes, right?

Because it is.

This time when I drew up the menu, we had a bunch of old ski dinner standbys on there like Bubba's famous BBQ brisket, our friends' tortilla soup and lasagna and my meat loaf.

But, my meat loaf, while good, was put under scrutiny when I was leafing through old issues of Cook's Illustrated in my pajamas (What? You don't all this?) and came across their recipe.

I mean, we all know that if a recipe appears in CI, it's bound to be completely mind-blowingly incredible. Also, it will take a long time to make, dirty every pot, pan and utensil and require the construction of at least one proprietary tool.

This recipe for meat loaf did not disappoint.

Now, I'm not going to go into the whole science and What Are They Talking About? theory behind the recipe, because that's what CI does best and I won't be able to add anything meaningful to what they already say so clearly, but I will say that 110 loaves later (which is how many they made in order to perfect their recipe), this recipe is pretty fucking perfect.

And no veal or complicated meat mixture required. It's all beef and it doesn't just taste like a big burger log.

I like that.

Because I have a LOT of beef in my chest freezer from the split half we get annually and I can't be bothered to haul to the butcher for a half pound of ground pork and half pound of veal and oh this much of whatever part of whatever beast ground into whatever blah blah blah, I JUST WANT TO MAKE A SIMPLE MEAT LOAF.

Because, I don't know about you guys, but to me, I think meat loaf should be a simple and satisfying thing to make and eat.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that the CI recipe is simple, but it's damned satisfying, particularly when you make it for two of your ski buddies (one being Bubba) who'll be a part of the ski trip, and they go back for seconds while making comments about the awesomeness of it all.

Awesome Meat loaf. That's a beautiful thing.

Before I give you the recipe, though, I will tell you that one of the things that makes this recipe awesome is also sort of suspect. In the way that I saw it on the list of ingredients and, having not read the whole preceding article which explained its role in the making of awesomeness, sort of recoiled from the pages.

I was backing away slowly when I took this.

It's gelatin. Unflavored gelatin. Not a lot - just 1/4 teaspoon - but it's 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin. Which, I don't know, seemed weird.

But then I read the article which explains the why and how of it and I became soothed by the science.

Soothing science, that's what CI is all about. Or something.

Anyway, the loaf. It's below and a few of the steps that I caught on camera while making it are there, too. As well as my inventive packaging for the Master Planned Ski Menu Meat loaf and a picture of Bubba's hat begging on its deathbed to be returned to its homeland.

Soon, grody hat. Soon.

AKA Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmeat loaf
AKA (singsongy voice) Meat loaf sandwich - Imma have a meat loaf sandwich (/singsongy voice)

The Test Loaf atop a handmade perforated foil tray atop a cooling rack atop a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.

The Amazin' Glaze. Sorry, had to say it.

When testing recipes, one must have boozy reinforcements. And sharp knives.

Bonus of the baking sheet apparatus: easy transfer to a serving platter and no pool of grease.

The most perfect loaf two servings from being gone. Read: MEAT LOAF SANDWICH MAKIN'S.

This recipe mixes up into the most loafable texture.

If only I hadn't punched a hole in the bottom foil, this would have gone perfectly.

Meet Dinner, 1/23/12.

Ski bound loaf.

So, what's on YOUR apres ski menu? Can I have some?


  1. Can't ski cuz I broke my ankle (2 metal plates, 18 screws) but I CAN eat MEATLOAF! This looks goooood.

  2. Hmmm that looks pretty yummy! Have fun skiing. I've only been once and it was a nightmare so I just tell everyone else to go on and have fun. I sit here and drink some hot chocolate for you.

  3. I love meatloaf sandwiches. Which is funny, because generally cold leftover meat makes me want to vomit, but there you are.

    I've made the meatloaf recipe in one of our CI cookbooks once. It's wrapped in bacon. It is, of course, very good, but I prefer a sweetish glaze on my meatloaf, which it looks like they've finally done in this recipe.

    That's the thing with CI. They get all pompous about THIS recipe being the BEST EVER, no really, we tested it three million times! And then there's a new article in the magazine a year later contradicting everything they said before about that particular dish. Irritating. But still always good.

  4. For the record. We miss you. We want to see you soon. We want an evening with you and Bubba and want to be laughed about in your blog because we're just that needy.

  5. This makes me feel even worse for being such a meatloaf failure. Because (wait for it) that looks delicious.

  6. How dare you call my Sunday hat grody. There's not even any green stuff growing on the bill. Sheesh.

    Meatloaf is amazing, tho.

  7. You're leaving us again??? I'm SOOO Jealous!!! You two are living the life!!! And that meatloaf -- holy cow! It looks fabulous -- Thanks for posting -- I'm going to pin it so I'll remember where I saw it! ;-D

  8. Okay, this is a weird question to ask, but what kind of cuts do you get when you order meat? I split a 1/4 cow with my neighbor and even though I know the correct answer to what cuts do you get is whatever you want to cook with, but there is the problem of there only being so many cuts of certain kinds on 1/8 of a cow. Know what I mean? I feel like you need a degree in butchering to know what is available. Anyhoo, this is my long-winded way of saying I'd like there to be more than 2 flank steaks, 2 t-bones, a package of short ribs and then a shit-ton of ground beef in my portion next time and I'm not sure how to make that happen.

    Any advice, oh maven of meat?

  9. I do not understand how I don't have that copy of CI. How did this taste? You know I've got a hankering for meat loaf. The sandwich the next day is the reason to make it in the first place!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.