Sunday, January 2, 2011

Comfort Food

As a kid, I felt like the term comfort food was frequently misapplied. I found nothing particularly comforting about mashed potatoes. Fried chicken and meatloaf weren't terrible, but the announcement that that was dinner didn't fill me with a sense of well-being or anything. I always thought comfort food should apply solely to Chocolate Cake or Apple Betty or maybe Ice Cream. Perhaps my penchant for chocolate cake and ice cream is the reason that, this New Year's, I've started out on a diet again.

Having recently read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, I am rethinking my approach to this year's gastronomical adventure. I don't want to fill up on low-fat this, and no-carb that. I would like, as he so elegantly puts it, to: "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." So, some of the things I plan to eat hardly look like diet food. They look a lot more like comfort food. I am following Weight Watchers Online, but mostly for how much to eat, not really for what to eat.

Anyhow, all of this brings me to this recipe that I simply must share with the world. Over the holidays, my step-mom gave my sister Shazam and me a stack of old cookbooks. So, I've been perusing them looking for things I'd like to try out. Well, I was paging through one called Italian Cooking Made Easy and I ran across this meatloaf recipe.

This meatloaf is comforting. It's delicious. It's not anything like the meatloaf I grew up eating. And, it's easy. So, without further ado:

Meat Loaf (Polpettone)
4 slices Bread, trimmed
1/2 c. Sherry wine
1 1/4 lb. Veal, chopped *
3/4 lb Beef, chopped *
2 Eggs
1 Onion, grated
1 clove Garlic, crushed *
1 Tbsp Parsley, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Tomato Sauce
1 cup Tomato Sauce, seasoned

1. Soften the bread in wine.

2. Mix bread and everything else except for the 1 c. of tomato sauce in a big bowl. Blend well.

3. Grease a loaf pan (I used non-stick spray) and sprinkle it with bread crumbs.

4. Turn in the meat mixture.

5. Bake at 350 for about an hour and a half.

* The original recipe also called for ground pork, but I just couldn't find any. Blame the giant blizzard that hit Brooklyn last week. So I upped the amount of veal and beef. Also, they called for 1/2 a clove of garlic, but I just couldn't waste the other half of the clove! And I served it with oven fries, green beans and salad. They suggested spaghetti, but I'm just not that Italian.