I promised the other day to write a post about the dearest beloved's favorite birthday meal and to give a sneak preview of what's to come on the blog, and then yesterday I was kinda too beat to blog. So, today is the day!
Because Eve's birthday is in January, I almost always make a mix of roasted root vegetables. That's a given. Sometimes I do a balsamic version, and other times I just let the natural sweet roasted caramelization and a little salt and pepper make up the flavor profile. This year I went with parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, red russets, celery, onion, garlic, and fennel. The garlic and fennel--deep, sweet aromatics--are a perfect complement to the other vegetables. And, really, I would spread roasted garlic on just about anything, so I always put in extra cloves. Cut the veggies in uniform sizes for even cooking, mix with a little olive oil & salt & pepper, cover them and bake at 375 for a bit, uncover and broil on high until they look roasty toasty. Eat them with our vegetarian comfort food specialty, fake meatloaf.
What is a fake meatloaf, you ask? There are many veggie versions of meatloaf--but usually they are legume-based or soy-based versions of the real deal. The soy meatloaves are easy to make and throw in the oven. I use Lightlife Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein, whatever breadcrumbs are in the pantry, an egg, garlic powder, dried herbs--tarragon is nice, garlic in real or powder form, and some dried mustard. Mix it up. I have, on occasion, sauteed onion, carrot, and garlic and put them inside the meatloaf. The thing about fake protein is that is already has so much of this stuff in it to make it taste like something that you can't actually change the flavor of it very much from the inside. So, instead, we sauce it up. Using ketchup, brown sugar, dried mustard, and some veggie seasoning, make a sauce. Make enough to cover the bottom of your meatloaf pan and to generously cover the top. Have I mentioned that I am annoying and don't measure stuff? Well, it's true. So I can't really tell you how much of any of this I actually use. But you will see it take shape as you go along. Cover and bake at 375 for about half an hour. Then, along with your vegetables, uncover and broil this on high for 10 or 15 minutes. Getting the sauce to almost caramelize is worth the effort. I mush the meatloaf flatter than normal in a casserole pan because it ends up kind of reminding me of barbequed ribs, but it's ok to go traditional, shape it like a loaf, and bake it off that way.
Dinner is served:
The weekend after next, a good friend of mine will be teaching us how to make world's most fantastic sourdough bread--so stay tuned for that. And I bet I'll be putting up a post about making macarons soon. Having fun yet? I am.