Suzi's Blog

Meat Loaf Sandwiches

 

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You can say that it doesn’t matter. No matter how you do it, it will be fine.

Sure, and Hell did freeze over.

I did a google on “meat loaf sandwiches.” I happen to love them and actually, like many people, prefer the sandwiches the next day to the freshly made meat loaf out of the oven. You find, in this search, that there is diversity and passion. And some pretty strong opinions. It’s not that a meat loaf sandwich “can be …” It’s more like “it must have…” Or else.

Someone wanted just meatloaf on white bread. Period. Nothing more, because if the meat loaf cannot carry the load on its own, then the meatloaf is … Well, they used a four-letter word here. Nasty.

There’s the guy in Texas who says it has to be on Texas toast with gravy. And kimchi. Now, I think it is a fair bet that individual is a software guru, first generation, whose parents came from South Korea. That is not a derogatory statement, just an observation on the demographics of our world.

To begin with, what should the meatloaf be made of. People espouse the benefits of bison and turkey. Me? Well, I depend on Suzen and her secret, magic, marvelous combination of ground pork, beef and veal.

What should the bread be? Oh, how intense life can be. There are calls for white bread, rye, pumpernickel, onion rolls, focaccia, Kaiser roll, or just anything with grain.

Upon the bread, mayonnaise wins the plurality, but people do surprise with asking for butter. There’s chipotle and chipotle mayo. Ketchup, of course, and horseradish sauce. Next to mayo though, the advocates for gravy are loud and cannot be ignored without personal risk.

Pickles are demanded by perhaps half the respondents. Mostly on top, but some just want their dill spears on the side. Jalapeno peppers, sweet ones like in the pictures, are my favorite addition. Yes, that picture shows that red and green peppers have been added to the meat loaf itself.

Onions? Always a fight. In the meat loaf or out? On top of the mayo or ketchup or not.

Every combination imaginable is someone’s favorite. That means you cannot go wrong for yourself, but tread carefully when dining with friends. I suggest a large table, everything spread out, and plenty of knives. For spreading, not arguing.

Oh, if I am coming and you are putting up the table, you better have jalapenos there. Can’t be a meat loaf sandwich without jalapenos. Everybody knows that.

 

 

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Lime-Mint Freezer Pickle

When you surf the web, you won’t get wet but you’ll run the risk of being drenched by the wacky. Conspiracy theorists, religious fanatics, and devoted lovers of chocolate are everywhere out there. No, I’m not saying those three groups are equivalent. If you want to see real danger, try proposing limits on chocolate consumption.

Some of the doomsday theories are interesting. Like, the world is going to hell in hand basket and we are just a generation away from The Armageddon. You should buy gold.

Some of the theories just happen to have a layer of truth. You see, there are aspects of civilization that really are being lost. Here’s an example. Over eight thousand years of human progress in food preservation has been seriously compromised in just two generations. The culprits? Freezers. Megamarts. And the short attention span created by those electronic gadgets we have become addicted to. You know, if it’s important, you can do it in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

How did our city life ever get started? People stopped being hunters and gatherers. They put down roots, figuratively. By being able to grow food, and preserve it, there was a quantum change in human life.

Preserving food. If you grew up in the 50’s or even into the 60’s, you may remember a mom who during the late spring and summer and fall was constantly in the kitchen “putting up” food for the rest of the year. Jams and vegetables went flying into glass jars. Or metal cans. I remember a canning coop in Portland, Oregon, where you could take beans and carrots and “professionally” process them into stark metal cans.

When was the last time you preserved anything? Canned anything? Have you ever, ever done it?

See, it’s almost a lost art.

Except, it’s coming back. Over the past few years there has been a bit of a renaissance. Maybe it’s the recession. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s people reading the labels on the back of the jars and seeing all the “other stuff” that comes from commercial food. Look at The Joy of Pickling, the source of this recipe, for evidence that canning can be cool.

If you preserve it yourself, you control everything. You control flavor and color. The nuance of the spices. The amount of salt. The size of the onions or mint or pepper chunks that float in the jar.

And now, the canning renaissance has introduced new techniques, too. Instead of having to sterilize those glass jar and “process” the filled jars with boiling water — which does affect flavor and color — there are new and very much better ways to save your fresh food.

This recipe is for a freezer pickle. You don’t boil the jars before filling. Or after. You just use clean jars and freeze the pickles. Then thaw, taste, and wipe the tears from your eyes.

Simply put: these pickles are as good as anything you have ever had. I’m too modest to call them “the best” but, secretly, they are.

When we made these, Brian and I went into our garden, picked fresh cucumbers and mint and headed to the kitchen. From vine to jar was just a few hours. The combination of fresh produce and quick techniques is unbeatable.

Lime-Mint Freezer Pickle

Yield: 4 pints

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 small sweet ripe pepper, such as bell or pimiento, chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar

Preparation:

In a large bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the slat. Let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, and then drain them.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and stir well. Refrigerate the mixture for 8 to 10 hours.

Pack the cucumbers and liquid in freezer bags or rigid containers and freeze the containers.

Thaw the pickles for about 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Source: The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedric