It’s spring, and I am feeling inspired. Everything around me seems to incite big ideas, projects to work on, thoughts I’ve never thought before. After going for a run last week I came home practically itching to jot down all the ideas I had come up with, in case I forgot them somewhere between unlacing my running shoes and making dinner, reading stories, and collapsing on the couch. Long drives, showering, and kneading dough create the space I need to move my thoughts closer to clarity, and closer to action.
A few weeks ago I checked out a new restaurant in town – The Canteen – which just so happens to perch above my favourite cafe in the city. The food was simple, well-crafted and thoughtful. It was absolutely phenomenal, really. I had a meatloaf sandwich and kale salad, and immediately felt the need to try to recreate the sandwich at home.
I’ve never really been a meatloaf-maker, and so I made this recipe up off the top of my head, throwing things into a bowl that seemed to fit into the “meatloaf schema” (how all good cooking gets done, no? Actually that’s probably true: my pysch nerd – Did you know I did an undergraduate degree in neuroscience? A story for another day – figures that just as we have schemas that help us order and make sense of the world around us, little shortcuts in our circuitry that associate objects and concepts with each other in a sort of automatic stereotyping, people who are comfortable making up recipes in the kitchen must have “food schemas.” Like, if I’m making something Thai, I’m thinking cilantro, sesame oil, peanuts, coconut milk: it helps me to know what foods work together and which don’t).
That was the most incredible diversion in the history of this blog. Bear with me….
I couldn’t remember everything that was piled on to my meatloaf sandwich at The Canteen, but suffice to say I likely had none of it my fridge when I made this sandwich. On artisan bread with a swipe of mayo, grainy mustard and old cheddar oozing down toward the plate, this version was good enough for today. I imagine, though, that some picked red onions would really make the flavours in this sandwich pop, along with the crunch of some bitter greens.
One more diversion, if you’ll permit:
Last month, I wrote about my decision to make one dish per month to contribute to the freezer at the Chebucto Family Centre, where I work. The food we collect there is given to moms and families who might be having a hard time putting healthy meals on the table. It helps make ends meet, between paycheques, between visits to the food bank. The outpouring of support (in the form of food!) from the community after I wrote the post was phenomenal, and the women who frequent the Centre have been enjoying some great meals and snacks. I doubled this recipe and made half into mini meatloaves, packaged them up and sent them to work, too.
Thanks to everyone who has been contributing to “the freezer,” it’s so helpful, and deeply appreciated.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced finely
- 1 13oz. can tomato paste
- 3/4 cup oat flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 teaspoons each oregano, thyme, garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Grease two loaf pans.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between the prepared loaf pans and bake 45-50 minutes, or until the tops of the meatloaves are browned and each is cooked all the way through.
- Serve with a side dish or in a sandwich.