Paradise By the Dashboard Lights, or Meatloaf, or a Black Buffalo

There are times when you take different “things” and put them together and you end up with something really special. It might be a recipe for an entrée, a desert or a cocktail.   A little of this…a lot of that…equal parts of these…and don’t forget to spike it with something.

When Blake went to college at Rhodes, I remember him calling home and telling us all about a song he heard…one he really liked…it was called Mambo #5, by Lou Bega.  Yeah, that one…sigh!

A little bit of Monica in my life,

A little bit of Erica by my side.

A little bit of Rita’s all I need,

I mention the song for two reasons…1. Because the song is kinda like what I was talking about, a little of this, a little of that, etc. and 2. Because that song quickly got on everyone’s nerves, including Blake’s and I thought this might remind him that he used to listen to this song. (even ‘tho he will deny it…but that is just Blake)

Meatloaf is like that too.  The “food”, not the music artist/actor/Celebrity Apprentice.  Although I am sure a similar argument could be made for the song “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights” (a little of this, a little of that, I gotta know right now)

Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I’ll give you my answer in the morning
Let me sleep on it!!!

When a meatloaf is typically fixed, there are a variety of ingredients, some good, some not so…which is the reason I do not think I can remember ordering this at a restaurant, until not long ago.  Let’s face it, most of us were scared for life and ruined in the school cafeteria when we got meatloaf and mashed ‘taters on Wednesdays from the cafeteria workers…covered in a brown lumpy liquid “they” called gravy.  The ‘taters were usually instant (duh, yes that is true, but not to worry, there is an Easter Bunny).  And we called the meatloaf, “mystery meat”.  Seriously, that stuff did not taste like anything mom made.  Didn’t taste like beef.  Nor pork.  Maybe plywood or drywall, but I have never added brown gravy to plywood or drywall.  If I had, then maybe it would have been close.  And frankly, I do not want to even talk about what the “mystery meat” looked like…that would be in bad taste. (pun intended)

Now my grandmother gave Diana a pretty good recipe for meatloaf which included pepper cheese, tomato sauce, ground meat and Italian sausage.  This was pretty good.  Perhaps the best meatloaf until now…

I gotta know right now!
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
I gotta know right now!
Before we go any further
Do you love me?
And will you love me forever?

Just recently I made a meatloaf that tastes like nothing else you have ever had…promise…in a good way.  It is a recipe from Wolfgang Puck and is often served at some of his restaurants.  Especially the ones I tend to frequent…those little kiosk types in airport terminals.  This is respectable meatloaf.  No, dare I say, this is “gourmet meatloaf” (yeah I know, an oxymoron just like jumbo shrimp, military intelligence and “man of the house”). But this is not your “mom’s-school cafeteria-mystery meat-fill in the blank” meatloaf.  This is Wolfie Puck.  And it is good.  Again, I throw out a dare to you all…if you try this and do not like it, honestly, I will prepare a dinner for you. Seriously.  Yeah, it’s that good and here it is…just let me know.

Wolfgang Puck’s Meatloaf

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 pounds smoked bacon (sliced-about 13 slices)
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion about 5-8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook over medium-high heat  3-5 minutes. Stir in the cream, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl and let it cool. (Pour yourself a glass of wine)
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Add to the bowl the beef, pork, and veal. Stir in the egg and continue mixing just until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. On a work surface, position a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with the bacon slices, placing them parallel to the short end and slightly overlapping, with their ends hanging over the edges. (Or simply making sure there is plenty of bacon to cover the meat mixture) Add the meat mixture to the pan patting it down to make it smooth and even. Fold the ends of the bacon strips up and over the meat mixture to enclose it completely. Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil. (Time for another glass of wine)
  4. (This is important and you might need to improvise…but it is key to keeping this moist) To prepare the water bath, place a roasting pan inside the oven on the middle shelf. Bring a kettle of water to boil. Using an oven glove, slide out part way from the oven the shelf with the roasting pan. Place the loaf pan in the center of the roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the loaf pan. (Or just fill the pan after you place the loaf pan in the roasting pan…eh? okay?) Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil.
  5. Carefully slide the shelf back into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat loaf registers 165 Fahrenheit, about 30 minutes more.
  6. Remove the pan of meat loaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Holding the loaf pan with oven gloves or pot holder, carefully pour the juices from the pan into a sauce-boat or heatproof cup. Cut the loaf crosswise into 8 slices, taking care to cut completely through the bacon with each slice. Serve each slice drizzled with pan juices…and, of course, a glass of wine.

This serves about six…yeah right.  How about four?  Yeah, like I said…it is that good!  Not that it matters, but I served (drank) a nice Zinfadel with this.  Nice touch.

Cocktails are kinda like meatloaf…again, the food, not the artist/actor/Celebrity Apprentice.  (okay, I know you are thinking this is a stretch…and it is…just stay with me a minute)

Sometimes you mix things together.  Things that you might not normally think to put together.  But when you hit on it…wow…it can really rock!  Just like this meatloaf recipe above.

The Black Buffalo is a cocktail kind of like that.  It contains ingredients that I like, but I never thought of putting together in a cocktail…but it will blow your socks off…just like the above meatloaf recipe.  This is something I put together after seeing an “inspiration” in Imbibe magazine called Bufala Negra.  I have altered it a little bit, but I like it this way.  These ingredients alone make you think…hmmm…but together they may inspire you to make another unique cocktail yourself…kind of like the Irish Booty from the previous post!  So, my love of the Buffalo, and my enjoyment of this drink, I present you with…

The Black Buffalo

1 1/2 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon
4-5  basil leaves
1 brown sugar cube, or a tsp of brown sugar
1/2 oz. balsamic syrup (see below)
2 oz. ginger beer

Muddle the balsamic syrup, basil and sugar cube in a shaker. Add the Buffalo Trace bourbon and ice and shake hard. Strain over a single large ice cube (see: cue ball ice cubes in the MoMA website)  into an Old Fashioned glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with basil leaf.

Balsamic Syrup

Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup simple syrup (1:1) in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for one minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

(NOTE: You can buy Balsamic syrup at some stores…I tried using this  and it worked just fine…also easier.)

And actually, these two recipes go together pretty well.

Sometimes, a mix of things, unexpectedly, make for a great outcome.  Relationships come to mind.  You meet great people from unexpected places…and can create friends for life.

Dogs come to mind also…I/We have found that sometimes a mixed breed dog can provide an unbelievable result for you and the family…loyal and…well it doesn’t really matter what else.

If I said, don’t judge a book…never mind, I just won’t even say it.  But surprises are all around us.  Around every corner we can be astounded.  Surprised.  We can smile…and that is a good thing.  Smiling…especially with someone who is special to you and someone you call a friend.

Here is to Wolfgang Puck…Black Buffalo…You…Me…and Life…Meatloaf…and meatloaf

Let’s make sure we enjoy it and each other…while we go back for another slice of meatloaf!  The good kind, not mystery meat!

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Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It is extremely interesting for me to read the blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more on this blog soon.

    Mary Stepman
    jammer mobile

    Like

  2. Bahahaha Blake and Mambo #5. Shocking. Bet he’s embarrassed he liked that one.

    Like

    • He prob wouldn’t admit to it…

      Like

    • he might not admit it

      Like


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