I was in the other room but her voice can carry. I looked down at the shopping list. It said “parsley [flat] and celery.”
I went into the kitchen to face the music. She was standing there, parsley in one hand and the celery — which I had bought — in the other. She was waving them like mismatched green pompoms.
“I can explain,” I began.
“Really? You know I hate curly parsley.” She was beyond angry.
“I did not take the shopping list. I knew we needed parsley. I just got confused.”
“What about the shopping list?”
“I didn’t take it.”
“Why didn’t you call?”
“Didn’t take my phone. Can I help make this?”
“Yes. Leave the kitchen.”
Okay, maybe I should have taken the list. I just had an almost-senior moment in the store when I got there. All the way over, I had had the mantra “flat not curly” but when I got to the produce section all I could remember was “maybe flat, maybe curly.” It happens.
As for the phone. Well, don’t you sometimes just want to go out? With no agenda set in stone. With no electronic leash tying you back to everyone and everything. To just go out, and be free of contacts, contracts, and all that rigidity?
Is it possible to have two middle aged crises in your life?
We had bought this pack of ground meat with beef, pork and veal. It’s the perfect arrangement for a great meat loaf. Not too beefy. Not too rich. Difference with a style. Before I had left for the market, I had tried to find a recipe in one of our meat books. Suzen had sent me off to the store with an “I’ll take care of it” statement. Say, maybe that is what fried my brain?
After our parsley and phone discussion, I left her alone.
“I need you,” she finally said. The ingredients had been mixed together, put in a BIG metal casserole pan, and she needed ketchup poured on top.
Instantly I saw green. Lots of green chopped up but I could tell: she had really used that curly parsley. There were lovely green spirals in the meat mix. Should I say something? Thank her? Hell, chide her?
She was wearing rubber gloves. She would leave no fingerprints if she took some “executive action.” I decided to reduce my personal risk. I shut up and poured the ketchup.
This meatloaf isn’t just good. It’s great, truly great with a lovely smooth flavor. Tinted, of course, by the tones of the parsley, but I’m not going to mention that again.
Preparation is easy. Put everything in a bowl, and mix with your hands. It’s messy, which is why she was wearing those rubber gloves.
The next day? Toasted challah, some ketchup, a sliced onion, and you can have a remarkable meatloaf sandwich.
Suzen’s Triple Meat Meatloaf
Yield: about 2 pounds
- One package of three ground meats, beef, pork and veal (about .5 pounds each), total 1.5 pounds
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- ½ cup Italian parsley minced
- ½ cup catsup or to taste
- 2 large eggs
- Worchester sauce
- Tabasco Sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.
Mix together by hand all the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a large enough metal baking container. Top with more catsup and bake for 90 minutes.
Source: Suzen O’Rourke
Everybody probably recognizes the phrase “sufferin’ succotash.” The phrase was uttered by the cartoon cat Sylvester and at times by Daffy Duck. That was in a gentler time when F-bombs were not strafing our cultural environment.
“Succotash” itself is an Indian word from the Northeast meaning “boiled corn kernels.” The dish was once very popular, and perhaps a necessity, in depression-era America. Perhaps that is why it fell out of favor. Times got better and anything that reminded families of those sad times was left behind.
Well, these times are not great, but the flavors of succotash are wonderful in good or bad times. It’s appropriate to bring back this dish, updated a bit with some parsley and cream and that dash of lime juice. And, then, to prepare it, it’s just downright symbolic to revert to the dish’s origin: grill the vegetables to gain all the flavors that direct flame creates on the charring veggie skins.
Vegetables cooked in water are blah. We have the French to thanks for the butter and garlic techniques that infuse flavor galore. But this direct-over-the-fire technique is my favorite. At summer camp, I did hot dogs and marshmallows. I wish I had done succotash.
This dish is bright with color and flavor. Of course, you can experiment a bit and perhaps add some roasted peppers. As a side dish, succotash is a powerful complement to all kinds of proteins: beef, pork, chicken, and, yes, even fish. It’s versatile and a superb alternative to the “standard” potatoes or beans.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- ½ pound green beans, trimmed
- 6 scallions, trimmed
- 4 medium ears corn, shucked
- 2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, halved crosswise
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Brush the green beans, scallion, corn, and tomatoes with the 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a stove-top grill pan or charcoal grill over medium-high heat. Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until softened and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes for the scallions, 3 to 5 minutes for the beans, 4 to 6 minutes, and 8 to 10 minutes for the corn. Transfer to platter as they finish and set aside.
Seed and chop the tomatoes; transfer to a large bowl. Cut the kernels from the cobs and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Working over the bowl, scrape the dull side of a table knife down the length of each cob to remove as much of the corn “milk” as possible; discard the cobs. Roughly chop the green bean and scallions and add to the bowl along with, parsley, lime juice, and cream. Toss well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine