That basically sums up last week for all of us. Between stomach bugs and head colds, everybody felt pretty beat up. Luckily, nothing helps lift your spirits like comfort food. Digging through our archives, we came across a recipe that Megan had never tried and that I only tried once, but with great success. Tyler Florence’s “Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish,” which was met, the only time I tried it, with great fanfare and accolades for the chef and guests demanding (not asking for, demanding) me to give them the recipe. Which I did. Without claiming it to be mine.
Actually, one of the best things about cooking and baking and all things kitchen is the sharing between chefs, amateur or not. Each week we get people offering new ideas or solutions to old problems we faced in our (my) culinary disasters, and that’s what we love about cookies: everybody just wants everybody else’s meatloaf to kick ace.
I was on full daddy duty this week, since Cara had a previous engagement, so Megan spearheaded the gastronomy and I took charge of the wine selection. Megan fared better than I did, unfortunately. (Well, fortunately, but … oh, you know what I mean.) Also unfortunately, she developed a massive head cold late in the afternoon and so was unable to truly enjoy all her work.
On the menu: Tyler Florence’s Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, Mashed Potatoes, Chocolate Chip and Banana Bread
This is a great recipe and one that you can rely on in a pinch. The only alterations we made were excluding the pork for just beef and dried thyme for fresh. Fresh thyme can be hard to find down here. Also, Megan spiced it up a bit more than the recipe calls for.
What makes this dish so special is the flavour that it brings to an unfairly vilified North American staple. True, we have all eaten our fair share of lousy meatloaf. This one makes up for it. The relish keeps everything moist and is a welcome alternative to gravy. The bacon on top lends a savouriness to the meatloaf without overpowering the entire dish.
If you are in the mood for an amazing dinner that makes you feel warm from the inside out and puts you in the holiday season mood, I highly recommend trying this one out. It makes up for Tyler hosting one of the worst-named shows in television history. (“The Great Food Truck Race?” Seriously? Who thought that was the best name available? It’s just terrible.)
Wine: Faustino V, Reserva, Rioja, Spain, 2005, $257 MXN
This wine … well, let’s just say it serves me right. Feeling a little Faust-ish myself on Sunday, I thought that this wine would play nicely into my mood. And it did. I traded a few moments of earthly haughtiness for a wine that would leave me feeling actually good. In short, I sold out to pettiness.
Now, this wine wasn’t a total waste of time. Deep claret in colour, this is an earthy, musty wine with a smooth finish and lingers just a little on the palette. Anise, lavender, and Something dominate. But it’s that Something, that intangible quality that kept us from truly enjoying this wine. For the money, we just couldn’t figure out what was up with this wine. The Something, the Escaped Flavour, the Missing Link, kept this wine down, in our opinion, from being … well … something. And this is not, as some detractors have put it to me in the past, criticism for criticism’s sake. We like plenty of wines, and this wine had some good qualities. We just felt that it was also missing some key qualities that would have made it gushable.
Yes, that’s a word. Gushable: having or possessing the quality that makes one rave on and on about … (All right: it isn’t. So what? Your face, that’s what.)
Cara and Rene’s parents are now in town, and we are getting furniture, I’m told, soon. Next week. In other words, everything promises to be much more normal next week.
Keep the comments and emails coming!
* Yes, we know the date is wrong on the photo. Megan has a huge head cold. Leave her alone.