I know, that title is an oxymoron to say the least... probably blasphemous to all you meat-and-potatoes people out there! If you've ever watched the TV series "Six Feet Under", it reminds me of the episode in which Lisa serves a tofu loaf concoction for dinner and Claire flushes it down the toilet. I might have done the same thing as a teenager. But now that I don't cook meat anymore (besides fish, but the idea of fish loaf makes me feel mildly nauseous), I've been determined to find a rough equivalent that both BFFT and I will actually touch with a 10-foot pole. Part of it comes from the fact that meatloaf was the first dish I ever learned how to make... and the only dish for quite awhile. (Actually, until I started grad school I could barely even boil water. Don't get me started on the specifics of my abysmal culinary skills. Then you might hear my egg-white story, which could scare you away from this blog and make you doubt my credibility forever! I'll save that for another time in the very-distant future, perhaps. ;-)) So I've always had a special fondness for it. Anyway, after a few attempts I finally came up with something blogworthy! The recipe is my own, but I did borrow certain parts from Moosewood Cookbook (they have a decent recipe for carrot-mushroom loaf) and my mom (who taught me how to make meatloaf so I could be a semi-decent housewife).
8 oz lentils (any kind)
8 oz carrots, grated or food-processed (is that a real adjective?)
1/3 to 1/2 c minced onion (any kind)
1/3 to 1/2 c minced pepper (I like to use Anaheim chiles but if spicy doesn't sit well with you, bell pepper is probably a good substitute)
1 c grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 c bread crumbs
3-4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger
2 t dried parsley
1 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to take
1/4 c milk (more if needed)
1. Put lentils in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
2. Mash cooked lentils with a fork, pastry blender, or other tool. (This step is important! Otherwise the loaf will fall apart.)
3. Grate or process carrots and cheese.
4. Combine all ingredients except milk in a large bowl.
5. Add as much milk as necessary to moisten.
6. Scrape mixture into a loaf pan.
7. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
This isn't the best picture. Okay, it borders on awful. (Once I get my own digital camera my photography skills will improve!) But do loafs ever look that appetizing anyway?
Picture notwithstanding, the loaf turned out so well that BFFT had no idea it didn't come from a recipe book! And Stella leaped onto the dinner table for a kiddie-sized (I mean kitty-sized... I really am a crazy cat lady!) portion as well, although there was no way that would happen. She's not allowed to eat people food. Here she is, if for no other reason to actually show you something pretty on this post. Wait, on second thought here's a picture of both Stella and Claude, plus some random ugly lady in the background. (BFFT caught me - um, the lady - on camera right after she got out of bed in the morning.) I didn't want Claude to feel left out, because after all, he's sitting at the top of his cat tree watching as I type this.
As BFFT and I like to say, Stella (the one on the right) is a 14 on a scale from 1 to 10. And Claude "has a great personality". He also loves to help me out in the kitchen... in other words, he can haz recipeez. Har-dee-har-har. (Oh my gosh, did I really write that? I am officially an old fuddy-duddy, or maybe just plain dorky.)
Now, off to a dinner party! I will try not to be too much of a dorky fuddy-duddy while I'm there.
(Oh, and for the record, I was just kidding about my mom teaching me to be a semi-decent housewife. I'm not even mediocre.)