The Ultimate Meatloaf

I am not going to beat around the bush on this one, but this meatloaf is the best, seriously. Growing up, I was never one for the meatloaf. I mean, what is the meatloaf anyway but a breadpan full of meat with ketchup slathered on top, a mix of vegetables, and breadcrumbs, right? Having grown, I have learned to love the meatloaf, in particular, the one I am going to discuss below. If you are truly looking for comfort, then come on in.

Blackberry Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Nearly 1/2 pound each of ground beef, ground pork, ground veal
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp of dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3 pieces of white bread, crust removed, torn into small pieces
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce

Cook time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Meatloaf with Barbecue SauceFirst preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of your ingredients, with the exception of the bbq sauce. Get in there, get dirty and greasy from the meat. Once combined, add to your bread/loaf pan which is typically 5×9. Shape into the pan, then add your sauce to the top, roughly a half cup. I used a honey chipotle sauce. Place in the oven for nearly one hour and 25 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool for roughly five minutes. In the meantime, warm up more of the bbq sauce. Remove the loaf to a serving dish, and drizzle the sauce on the top. Serve with your favorite sides. I served mine with mashed potatoes. Trust me, this one is really delicious.

The Corned Beef Sandwich

Corned Beef SandwichYou know those times when you constantly cannot get something out of your mind, especially when it comes to food? I am having one of those times, and you guessed it, the corned beef sandwich is taking over. I typically make corned beef twice a year, in the Spring for St. Patrick’s Day, and once in the fall. Making the corned beef could not be easier, and the result is spectacular in flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large corned beef
  • 2 bottles of beer, I use Harp
  • 3 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Water

In a large pot, add the corned beef, and rub it with the seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef. Add to this the beer, garlic, and bay leaves. You will also want to add water to the pot, enough to cover the corned beef.

Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for approximately 4-6 hours. Yes, you will have to wait this long!

Once done, remove, and slice against the grain into thin slices. Stack these high on a marble rye bread, and serve with swiss cheese, dark mustard, or a russian dressing.

Trust me, this one is good.

Tamales

TamalesThe tamale is a thing of beauty, and is something that tastes so natural and earthy to me. Having worked with masa in the past, I wanted to extend it beyond the tortilla, and therefore I came up with the notion of making the tamale. Making the tamale is a bit of a process (making the dough, choosing the meat or vegetable to stuff, and steaming), however it is one that is truly worth it. My wife has never experienced a tamale, and she loved it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of masa harina
  • beef broth (warmed)
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 cup of vegetable shortening
  • Dried corn husks (purchase from a supermercado or mexican grocery store)
  • Meat to stuff (I used my shredded pork)

First, rinse the about 20-40 corn husks, then place in a large dish to soak for roughly 30-40 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the masa, and to that add in all of your dried spices, stirring to mix well. In a separate mixing bowl, whip the vegetable shortening until it gets slightly fluffy. Add the masa mixture to the shortening and incorporate really well. Slowly add in about a cup or so of the warm beef broth. You basically want the masa mixture to be the consistency of a thick peanut butter. Add more broth if you have to.
Tamales with Corn HusksOnce the masa is ready, and the husks are done soaking, remove the husks from the water, and pat dry with a large towel. Get your steaming pan ready as well. I use a large pan, filled with about 4 cups of water, then put my steamer on top, covered with a lid.

Now, let the games begin.

Get a corn husk and lay it across the palm of your hand with the small end toward your fingers. scoop up about 1/4 cup of the Masa dough with a knife, and then smear it on the husk.

Cover about left 2/3 of the husk with Masa, leaving the other 1/3 on the right uncovered. Similarly, cover the bottom 2/3 of the shuck, and leave the top 1/3 uncovered. Do this the same for about ten of the husks to work in batches.

Now it is time to add the meat. Take about 1 tablespoon of meat, and lay it on the masa about an inch from the left edge.

I folded mine into purses or bundles, then shredded some of the husks to tie the bundles as we do not want them to unwrap during the steaming process.

Continue this process until you are done making the tamales. Bring your water to a boil, then reduce the heat a bit. Add your tamales to the steamer, cover, and let steam for roughly two hours. When you are ready to test, take a tamale out of the steamer and set it aside for roughly 5 minutes. The husk should unwrap easily, and the masa should be firm and fully cooked.

Now get ready to eat. Remove the tamales from the steamer, place on a large serving plate, and let your guests unwrap themselves. These tamale purses with so good. Serve with your favorite mexican sauce, or eat them plain.

A thing to note is that if you have plenty of leftovers, these can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or seal in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer for up to six months. I used a Foodsaver system that vacuum seals the food, so they can be stored in the freezer for a much longer period of time. When you are ready to cook them, remove them from the freezer, let thaw, then cover with a wet paper towel and cook in the microwave for 1 minute or so.

Salsa

Salsa with roasted goodiesLet me start by saying I have never seen my wife eat that much salsa before, at a restaurant, or out of a jar. I watched her eat this salsa, loving every bite. When I see that, I know I am doing something right. The spice, the flavors, the aromatics. Salsa is something that I have been experimenting with for some time now, as it is so versatile. This “first” batch is worth trying and making your own. Trust me, it’s all good.

Ingredients:

(50 minutes)

  • 2 large roma tomatoes, crisscross sliced near the top
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2 fresh jalapenos
  • 1 Guajillo pepper, dry
  • 1 Ancho Pepper, dry
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Salsa in a food processorThis might sound complicated, but only takes about 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. In a small bowl, add the onion, jalapenos, and garlic, and coat with approximately 4 tbs of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for nearly 35 minutes.

In the meantime, in a small pot filled with water, add the tomatoes, ancho, and guajillo peppers, and bring to a boil for roughly 10 minutes. The goal with the tomatoes is to get the skin soft enough to peel away. Once the veggies have cooked in the oven, as well as the tomatoes, let them all cool. Once cooled, peel the skin off the tomatoes and toss the skin away, squeeze out the garlic into a bowl, slice and get rid of ‘some’ of the seeds of the jalapenos, and get ready to rumble. Now do not remove the water from the pepper/tomato pan, keep this to add liquid to the salsa for texture.

For the peppers, including the jalapenos, slice them down the middle, get rid of the stem element, and remove some of the seeds, depending on how hot you want your salsa. Now I removed about 90 percent of the seeds for my wife’s sake.

OK. Toss all of this into a food processor, or blender, everything. Toss in a tbs of salt. Add your black pepper, cilantro, and let it blend. Blend to your texture, and add more of the tomato/pepper water to build this texture. You know how you like your salsa.

Now let it cool for a couple of hours, one hour in room temperature, one hour in the refrigerator, and let it go. Eat it with your carnitas, burritos, tacos, nachos, or an omelet. The fun thing is that you can make this your own. Go with it until you find it.