It’s still colder than cold outside.  Spring has not sprung.

I have all sorts of plans for the coming warm weather… Lots of salads, of course, but I also want to play with a “BBQ Sauce of the Week” idea… There are just so many BBQ sauce ideas out there that I think it might be fun to see just what I can come up with.  I want to redo the Root Beer BBQ Sauce  – it just didn’t have enough of a root beer kick, and I’m thinking different fruits – peaches, definitely – and different chilis, some regional differences…  the possibilities are pretty endless and should keep me busy for a while.

But that’s tomorrow – or, next month.  Whenever the weather starts getting better.  In the meantime, it’s winter food.  Meatloaf.

Meatloaf is a non-recipe meal, generally.  I just put stuff together and that’s that.

But every now and again, I need to do something just a little bit different.  I started hunting through old recipes and found this in an old Gourmet MNagazine:


Gourmet | February 2008
Ian Knauer

This is the perfect antidote to the Sunday blues, not least because there will be enough left over to pack sandwiches for Monday’s lunch. A mix of beef, pork, and bacon ensures meatiness, with Worcestershire sauce, chopped prunes, and cider vinegar added for good balance and occasional suggestions of sweetness. Because the loaf is baked without a loaf pan, there’s plenty of well-browned crust to go around.

Yield: Makes 6 servings with leftovers
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 1/2 hr

  • 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Garnish: cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, then cook until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Add to bread-crumb mixture.

Finely chop bacon and prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix together with your hands.

Pack mixture into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 155°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe, but it was my base.

I didn’t use bacon, prunes, ground pork, or parsley.  I more-or-less followed the rest of the recipe, using three pounds of ground beef, three carrots and three stalks of celery.

I also didn’t bake it in a baking dish.

It really came out good.

And I baked bread.

I’ve been a bit remiss in my artisan bread-baking and thought it time to get back into it.

The bread is just super-easy to make.

  • 6 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 3 cups water

Mix all ingredients, cover, and let rise three hours.  At this point you can punch it down and refrigerate.

When ready to bake bread, cut off 1/4 of the dough and for into a ball.  Place on cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet or bread peel.  Let rise 30 minutes.  Cut deep slits into dough with very sharp knife.

Preheat oven to 450° with pizza stone on middle rack and rimmed sheet pan on bottom rack.

Slide dough onto hot pizza stone and immediately add 1 cup of hot water to sheet pan.

Quickly close oven and bake for 30 minutes.

You can add different flours to the basic recipe.  I usually do 4 cups white to 2 1/2 cups whole wheat.  Today I did 1/2 cup rye and 1/2 cup buckwheat to 5 1/2 cups white.

It came out great.