Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Meat"loaf, thoughts, excuses, and whatnot

I told myself when I created this blog that I would never let it go this long without an entry. And of course I did. Oh well. I've been dealing with a lot of family and other personal stuff lately. My redneck grandmother just passed away, and I have been doing what I can for my redneck family to give them all the white trash support they needed.

Anyway, I thought I should post a recipe for meatless meatloaf and give a few thoughts on making it. Faux meatloaf is something I have been trying to perfect for a while now. I could always manage to make it taste pretty good, but I could never really get the consistency right. It was always too crumbly, falling apart whenever I tried to cut it with my fork. I got a couple of more ideas to try out after having a really great fake meatloaf at a vegetarian restaurant here in Saint Louis. It tasted great, and didn't fall apart when eating it. I asked our server how it was made and he said with just a handful of ingredients.

I think the problem with my meatloaf before was that I was simply putting too many ingredients in it. I was basically trying to copy real meatloaf recipes, and they would add lots of stuff like ketchup or barbecue sauce, which would loosen the consistency, which was easily made up for by adding eggs. Egg substitute, in my experience, simply doesn't work all that well. So first I simply stopped adding anything to the mixture that would make the final product too loose.

The other end of the consistency issue is to find something better to bind it, and I think I found a pretty good solution to this. Instead of adding regular bread crumbs I used crumbs made from a bagel in a food processor. Bagels are sticky enough that the crumbs do an excellent job of holding the mixture together.

Finally, one thing i was doing with my "meat"loaf was simply making it too high. You don't want to loaf to be more than two inches thick. This makes it much easier to cut.

Okay here is a recipe that should make you a pretty good vegan meatloaf:

  • 16 oz of fake meat (I used Match, but Gimmie Lean, Boca Crumbles or even TVP should work fine)
  • Half a medium onion, diced
  • Several (4 or 5) cloves of garlic, minced
  • Bagel crumbs from one bagel (made in a blender or food processor)
  • One tablespoon (several sprigs) of finely clopped fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Liquid smoke
  • Ketchup or barbecue sauce (for the glaze)

Saute the onions in a pan, adding the garlic after they start to caramelize. Set aside and mix together all the ingredients except for the ketchup for the glaze. Form into two elongated loaves, about six inches long, two inches wide, and one and a half or so high. Form a shallow channel down the middle going the length of each loaf. Add your glaze, spreading generously on the top and on the sides of the loaves.

Cover with foil and bake in a greased making dish or cast iron skillet at 425F for an hour. Take out and remove the foil and add more ketchup glaze, and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes and that's it.

I really like the flavor of rosemary in this dish. I'm a fan of rosemary anyway (it's probably my favorite herb), but it goes especially good in this dish. This "meat"loaf goes very well with salad, mashed potatoes, rice, or pretty much anything nice and starchy.