Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the contradiction of gluten free, vegan meatloaf.

Ok, everybody loves meatloaf. It is such a comfort food, bringing back warm and fuzzy memories of mom's meatloaf and her home cooking-even if she never made meatloaf in her life. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes are proof God loves us. However, while Leslie eats meat, she can not have eggs or gluten, which are traditionally a part of the meatloaf mixture. We experimented with some rice crumbs and some hemp milk, trying for a gluten free panade. Again, what is it with rice that it makes everything taste weirdly healthy? It also gave that meatloaf the consistency of a curing adobe brick. In my search for alternatives, our friend Becky (who also cooks gfree for a friend) suggested trying oatmeal. Oatmeal? Really? She swore you didn't taste the oatmeal, and during the baking they just meld with the meat. She didn't have any suggestions for the eggs and I while I thought about egg replacer, I didn't think its properties would mesh well with meat. Then I was reading over Cybele Pascal's fabulous book and her suggested substitutions for eggs and had an eureka moment. She lists prune baby food; basically prune puree with a bit of water. Hey, I have a recipe for roasted pork loin with apple and prune compote- this could work! So we experimented; the result? We were wowed. And learned that I need to work on my food photography-no matter what we did, meatloaf just didn't look tasty in my amateurish pictures. It looked like a lump of brown that was just looming evilly over the green beans. Maybe pictures of meatloaf always look good because they photograph fake meatloaf; isn't a sad thought that we've always been drooling over painted Styrofoam?

I also posted this on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

G-free &Egg free Meatloaf

2 lbs of ground meat (we used a meatloaf mix of beef, veal&pork. we heart our butcher. you may choose as you prefer)
1 onion, chopped.
1/2 c plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats (certified g-free, of course)
2 2.5 oz containers of prune baby food. (we used Gerber-you want just prunes&water)
2 tablespoons of Italian Spice Mix (feel free to adjust and use individual spices)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF

Saute the onions in a tablespoon of veg oil (we used grapeseed) until they are translucent. Meanwhile, while they are cooking, add your ground meat to a medium bowl. Add in seasonings and stir. Add in the oats and prune puree and stir. Now that the onions are done, add them in too. Stir well and make meat into a loaf shape and place on broiler pan; I like free form meatloaf. Or you can dump it into a Pyrex pan, of course. Now I like a little ketchup spread across the top of the loaf; Leslie is of the anti-ketchup group, so do as you will. Bake for 30-45 minutes or so, until it smells divine and is looking brown and crispy on the outside(if you use ketchup, it will look brown and crispy too). Obviously, serves 6 with mashed potatoes and green beans.