I’ve been under a fair amount of stress lately. I mean… there is a lot going on in my life: School started last week, and there are scheduling changes taking place that we all have to get used to; Soccer season just started (we racked up a tie L), which means two practices a week; Girl Scouting resumes tomorrow night; and Kanye West and I have a personal beef going on. With all of that going on, I am sure you can understand why I am stressed out. Add to all of that, it’s the end of the quarterly training cycle, and all of the shooter-come-lately types are emerging from the woodwork to reqaulify with their pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
When I am feeling stressed out, I tend to make comfort food items for dinner (which may be the death of me), tonight is no different. Tonight I am making Meatloaf A` la Gunfighter. Now, I totally cribbed this recipe from my 2nd best girl in the world, Paula Deen, but I have a theory about recipe ownership. You see, I believe that after the second time you make a recipe, learn it’s high points, and discover ways to change it to suit you, it really isn’t the recipe of the originator. So, this is my recipe, now… which doesn’t mean that I don’t still have mad Gunfighter love for Paula Deen. Paula, if you are reading this, please know that I love you baby, and I am just waiting for you to say the word (just don’t tell Mrs. Gunfighter… she probably wouldn’t appreciate it).
Where was I? Oh. Meatloaf. Right. OK, let’s get this party started, shall we? First , you have to lay the ground work for a good meatloaf, which means you have to go get the stuff to make it. I already knew that I was going to make meatloaf sometime this week, so Sunday, after church, I went to Wegmans (awwww yeah!) and bought a package of meatloaf mix (ground beef and veal) and a package of ground turkey. I also bought some bacon, and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I bought a few other things as well, but one thing I have to remind you to get is this: a large bottle of red wine. Now, I don’t mean spend a large sum of money on this wine, because yours truly is a Philistine when it comes to wine… get the big screw-top bottle.
OK, now go home, and clear the decks for cooking like a gunfighter! (NOTE: You don’t have to own any firearms to do this)
Get out your wine, and pour yourself a glass. Go to the stereo and put on some music (I started with Chris Sligh tonight, and then moved on to the Christian/Gospel play list on my Blackberry)… you can listen to whatever you like… I suspect that I will be hitting my Led Zeppelinplay list before I’m done. Anyway, music is set. Let’s cook!
Get out your favorite frying pan, and the package of bacon. Fry ten (Yes, I said ten) slices of bacon until crispy. Get out a big-ass mixing bowl and put in your meatloaf mix. Next, add two eggs… or three if you like. Add a heaping tablespoon of pesto. Add a cup of Italian bread crumbs. Add a quarter cup of spicy mustard (I used a horseradish/Dijon combination), salt and pepper, and one and a half teaspoons of
Take a moment to think about your saintly grandmother as you listen to David Phelps sing “How Great Thou Art” (her favorite hymn), wipe away a tear, and continue.
Add a few vigorous dashes of Worcestershire sauce; crumble the six pieces of crispy bacon (yes, six. Because you ate two, and gave two to your darling bacon pirate of a ten year old child), and add of a handful of the cheddar cheese.
Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
Um, to review. Have wine, put stuff in a big bowl, mix thoroughly, but gently. Preheat oven. Maybe you should preheat the oven first. Anyway, you are at the point that you are going to do something important: It’s time to improvise. As you listen to TD Jakes sing “Give Thanks”, add things that you might like. I added a few more splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a little tobacco sauce, about a cup of French Fried onions, and some more cheese.
This is the point in the recipe where I have to give you a warning, my friends. If you are trying to blog while you cook, please make sure that you wash your hands frequently, lest you make a real mess of your laptop.
OK, meatloaf assembled… I hope I didn’t leave anything out. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray (I used Wegmans Olive Oil spray), put that bad-boy in the oven, covered with aluminum foil for thirty or forty minutes. After the timer gives you the beeps, remove the foil, pour off the (considerable) excess fat, and season as you please. Put it back in the oven for ten minutes. After the ten minutes, spread Ketchup/barbecue sauce/spaghetti sauce or whatever you like, over the top of the loaf, and put it, uncovered back in the oven for 15 minutes. Go back to your lap top, and finish off your blog post as you listen to Hillsong United sing “One Day”.
OK, this part is important. When your child has finished her dinner, had a little TV Time and has gotten ready for bed, pause and have some quiet time. Tell her that she will always be daddy’s (or mommy’s) girl, and send her to bed with a blessing.
Just as you type this, and your meatloaf is ready to come out of the oven, your spouse comes home from a church council meeting. Feed your tired, cranky spouse, and then send her off to bed to the lilting, soft, modulated tones of Nancy Grace, and Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen”.
Now, go clean the kitchen and then fall asleep in front of the TV.
That, my friends, is cooking like a Gunfighter. Improvisation and joy (and wine).