On this visit Lady Baby’s mother and I talked about our fond memories of meatloaf from our childhoods. So I was delighted when Lady Baby’s mother’s mother, as she was leaving town, delivered pans full of “Vegetable ‘Meat’ Loaf” – without the hamburger and with many vegetables – for the Downtown Abbey staff!
It’s enjoyable to make, delicious, and brings back all the memories! The recipe comes from “Cooking Light” (here).
Begin by cooking vegetables:
Cut two large bell peppers (green and red) in half lengthwise, discard the seeds and membranes, and broil (at high) for 12 minutes skin side up (till blackened). Put the peppers in a paper bag, close it tightly, wait 10 minutes, then peel and finely chop the peppers.
Using two pounds of roughly chopped cremini mushrooms, place about a fourth of them in a food processor and pulse 10 times. Repeat three times till you have done all the mushrooms. Then in a large pan over medium high heat, sauté the mushrooms until the liquid evaporates. Combine the mushrooms and bell peppers.
Wipe out the sauté pan, add a cup of half-inch asparagus pieces and half-cup of chopped red onion and sauté until just tender (about six minutes). Add the onion mixture to the mushroom mixture.
Spread panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, in single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350° till golden. Add the breadcrumbs to the mushroom mixture and stir well.
Then add, and also stir well, a cup of chopped and toasted walnuts, two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, a tablespoon of ketchup, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, half a teaspoon salt, half a teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, four ounces of grated Parmesan cheese, and two large, lightly beaten eggs.
Whew! Spray a 9”x 5” loaf plan and press the mixture gently to pack. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
And the topping. This is not your mother’s ketchup topping from childhood (or at least not mine) – combine two tablespoons of ketchup, one tablespoon of vodka or vegetable broth (we used vodka), and a quarter teaspoon of Dijon mustard in a small bowl. When the loaf is finished cooking, spread this topping over it and bake for ten minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Some staff at Downtown Abbey added ketchup at the table, but I thought the loaf was savory and perfect. There were no leftovers. When I made it here, we did have leftovers, and the next day we took meatloaf (not) sandwiches on the ferry to Seattle – dressed with ketchup!