Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts

First of all, we need more horns. I can't claim to be at all musical, but I know what I like, and darn it, we need more horns! When I listen to music, it's alternative rock, and when THIS song came on my car radio on the way home from work tonight, I thought, "yeah, that's what I'm missing in my life--horns!" Horns but with maybe a little more variety in the lyrics. Maybe even no lyrics. Remember Tower of Power? What ever happened to them?

Also on my way home, between watching tail lights and head lights and lines on the road and bicyclists on the wrong side of the street in the dusk, I managed to notice that the moon looked kind of weird. Cool, but weird. Huge, for one thing, since it was just coming up. And it had a chunk missing. Then I started to recall something I had heard recently about it being too bad we were expecting storms all week here in Northern California because there was a lunar eclipse that we'd miss. Well, since the weather people told me I'd miss it, I decided not to get my panties in a twist, and I promptly forgot all about the eclipse until I saw this really weird, cool moon--then I remembered. And guess what? No storms this evening! And as I was watching the weird, cool moon, while trying to keep a watch out for suicidal bicyclists and other morons of the road, I was driving along behind a golf course, and out of the trees flew what I THINK was a large owl. Wow! Shades of Harry Potter!

And you know I'm ALL ABOUT entertaining you with superior photography, so once I got home, at probably the height of the eclipse, I rushed out to the backyard and zoomed in on the moon and was able to get this photo for you:

Total lunar eclipse as seen in Northern California. Good thing there were no storms to obsure my photography!

Oh, and my final random thought--or at least the final one I wanted to share with you tonight--is meat. Actually, come to think of it, I have several random thoughts about meat. Like the one where one of our attorneys, in his closing arguments at trial several years ago, spoke the immortal words: "In the bun of evidence, where's the beef?" Yeah, I still give him a hard time about that one.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, meatloaf. My old Italian grandmother had a meatloaf recipe that I still make today--literally TODAY--so I thought I'd share. Really, in our family, this is a meat-everything recipe, which I'll explain after the recipe. So, here's what you do. First of all you gather this stuff together:

And just in case my superior photography isn't quite what one would wish, here it is in plain English:

2.5 to 3 pounds of ground beef--lean is good.

2.5 to 3 cups bread crumbs, fresh (just toss a few slices of bread in the food processor)

1 cup Parmesan cheese. Oddly enough, the cheese that makes for the tastiest meatloaf is the old green container of Kraft Parmesan. It's pretty rare that I have that though, so we'll go with the semi-fancy-schmancy shredded Parmesan.

2 bunches of green onion. Cut off the root tips and about half way up the green stems and give them a whirl or two in the food processor, along with--

1 bunch of parsley. (Remove the stems first and wash before adding it to the green onions.)

You will also need a can of tomato sauce. 16 ounce or so, but I only had a BIG can, so I didn't use it all. And here's something that didn't show up in time for its photo--milk. (And just in case you noticed that cup of water just peeking into the photo on the left, you don't need that. That belongs to the cat. Don't ask.)

Then, here's the process. In a large bowl, mix the beef, bread crumbs, cheese, and green stuff. Add in some milk. It's hard to say exactly how much milk, but you want that meat mixture to be kind of mushy gooshy. Much softer than Playdoh. Use your hands--you want it to ooze through your fingers when you squeeze, but if you use too much, it won't really stay together in a loaf. I just pour some milk in without measuring, but I'm guessing it's probably somewhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup. Maybe. But here's what it looks like--and I should have probably added a little more milk if that's anything to go by:

Now, pat that baby into a loaf and stick it in a baking pan. Make sure you have some room around the loaf for liquid. Another photo for your enjoyment and education:

Now pour the tomato sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. I usually take the foil off the last 15 minutes or so, but it's not necessary--you don't want it to dry out anyway. I had a little mishap on my timing and mine got a little over done, but it was pretty good anyway. See?

Okay, now here's the "meat-everything" reference. We use the same mixture to stuff into bellpeppers for baking. We make meatballs out of it and drop them into simmering spaghetti sauce--no need to cook them first, just drop them in one by one and keep simmering for about an hour or so--yummy tender! My grandmother used to make it into patties and cook them in a frying pan, but really I'd rather just BBQ the hamburgers and forget the rest, but it's still something you can do--especially if you don't live in sunny California where it's almost always time for BBQ. We use just about the same recipe, but we brown and drain the ground beef first, substitute a couple cups of cooked Minute Rice for the bread crumbs, wrap it inside steamed cabbage leaves, and bake it (with tomato sauce on top) for some pretty darn good stuffed cabbage.

So, okay, there you have it--a few of my random thoughts for the day. Come on back tomorrow. I'll be here. Eating a meatloaf sandwich and reflecting on the wonders of the universe.


Julia said...

Hey, your picture of the lunar eclipse looks just like the one that I took!
Thanks for sharing the meatloaf recipe. I think that will be dinner tomorrow.

Sandy said...

Thanks for dropping by. And ... yes, that last wallpaper also reminded me of good old William M. I even almost commented on that but you did it for me : )

The meat loaf looks good. My old Italian grandma used to make the best pasta sauce but never a meat loaf. I'll have to try that.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

What a great photo of your lunar eclipse. You really nailed it!! LOL!!! And that meatloaf would be way better without those green onions. Really! Try it.
And are you sure you saw an owl or were you drinking while driving?

Eileen said...

OK, I think the last comment must have been right. You stoppwd and got that Latte before getting home.
The Moo is bright and round this morning. Eclipse all gone. You also forgot something last night. No email

mamaspark said...

Hey, we got to see that same sight in Michigan! But I watched it progress, no photos though. Maybe I'll have to borrow yours, = )
That meatloaf looks really tasty, might have to try it!

Su Bee said...

Wow - you got a far far better pic of the eclipse than I did, but that's exactly what we saw too!
OK - I'm making the meatloaf recipe because that's what "The List" says I'm making for dinner tonight anyway. Sounds Yummo!
Oh yea - remember Blood, Sweat & Tears for horns?? They had it good too.......

Pam said...

That sounds like a very tasty meatloaf - I think I might just need to try it.

I didn't get to see the lunar eclipse as I was at work - so I really appreciate being able to see your photo -LOL

Thimbleanna said...

Wow -- does that ever look good! I have a recipe that I use, but yours is very different, so I'm thinking I need to try it -- it is full of ingredients that I love. (And apparently poor Sharon needs to be schooled in the fine art of ONIONS!!! -- you mustn't leave them out!) Maybe I missed it -- how much tomato sauce? Small can? Large can? Personal preference?

Anne Marie said...

I know what we're having for dinner tomorrow night!! I agree, we need more horns...and I believe Su Bee was right about Blood Sweat & Tears!!!! Trumpets, lots of trumpets.

Tazzie said...

Ohhh yum! That meatloaf looks really tasty, and I think even I could tackle that one.
Thank you so much for sharing!

Greenmare said...

that is a great picture of the eclipse, it looked a lot like that in WI too except with snow on the ground.
Regarding your marvelous photographicf skills............ maybe you should not quit your day job? not just yet? but it looks like you could cook for a living!