Perhaps unsurprisingly in this family, they're a little strange. But lovely.
On Thursday night, Jen and I decided on a whim to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes -- simple enough, and she has a favorite recipe which, when she initially described it, sounded like I had all the requisite ingredients: ground beef, milk, carrots, ketchup, oats.
The trouble began with worcestershire sauce, which I can't eat and don't keep in the house. No problem, we decided. We'll just season with garlic powder and salt, and it'll be a little bland but still tasty.
Jen was disconcerted when she discovered I only keep whole milk in the house. But we shrugged and poured it in. Then we asked Mara to grab out the oats, and when she handed us the container she found, we realized it had maybe seven individual oats left in it. So we ripped up some whole wheat bread into crumbs, folding it in.
Meanwhile, we also searched my pantry for potatoes, finding only a handful of fingerlings: not really appropriate to mash. Meh. We diced, seasoned, and roasted them instead.
Jen usually bakes her meatloaf in a glass dish, but I don't have one, so we poured the mix into a metal bread loaf pan. Forty five minutes later, and out came the LEAST. APPETIZING. THING. I HAVE EVER SEEN.
See that yellowish stuff mixing with the ketchup? It's not mustard. It's a pool of fat which collected on top of the browning meat; as the ground beef was extra lean grass raised, we could only imagine that the whole milk had done it.
We sopped up a little of the creamy fat pool with a paper towel, then tried to plate it. Plating didn't help.
It smelled like hamburger day in a school cafeteria, and looked, well, like an oily meat slab. The whole thing was so off-putting, in fact, it reminded us of the Weight Watchers recipe cards. So we styled the dish and photographed with a bright flash in an effort to capture the effect:
Snappy Garlic Carrot Meaty Loaf-Surprise!
The best part, of course, was that when we actually ate it, it was kind of satisfying, in the way those old school hamburgers were...
... nobody ever accused the Summers family of leaving food on our plates.