One of the sobering realities of post-college life is that your friends, once concentrated within reasonable geographic boundaries, tend to disperse themselves all over the damned place, forcing you to once again establish new ties in a new hometown, making friends by testing your awkward and/or inappropriate jokes out on crowds of relative strangers. The Red Cup crew certainly suffered this fate for a while, but for now at least, three of us live within one city's limits. To tide us over during the Rebels' non-sports season, Ivory Tower, JUCO, and I have decided to take advantage of our close proximity to write about culinary delights.
This week (last week, I know), JUCO made meatloaf, Mrs. JUCO made corn casserole, and I made bloody marys.
Smeargle's Meatloaf (prepared by JUCO)
This meatloaf recipe was concocted by the strangest Cup contributor not residing in a ranch-style house in Arkansas:
I came up with this recipe in my feeble attempts to repeat Ajax's Matty Mom's Meatloaf. I finally just gave up and took my own measures to make my own spicier counterpart. (if anyone out there knows how Ajax makes theirs, please enlighten)
1.5 lbs. ground beef (the leaner, the better, shit gets greasy)
0.5 lbs. Hot Andouille OR Jalapeno/Cheddar sausage (I use a brand with a pig logo, Southern something...)
half a large onion (or all of a smalle one), diced
whole green or red bell pepper, diced (I prefer red, remove seeds)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (italian seasoned or not, but I prefer italian)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons (4 cloves) minced garlic
1.5 cups Habanero shredded cheddar cheese (can be found at Kroger)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional...for an extra kick, a little goes a long way)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 and spray loaf pan with cooking spray. (If you make a lot of meatloaf like myself, I would invest in an actual meatloaf pan. It's actually 2 pans: the top pan in which you put the loaf and a bottom pan in which to place it. The meatloaf pan has holes at the bottom for the grease to drip into the other pan. It's a lot healthier and there's plenty of grease left to keep your loaf moist.)
Ground the sausage in a food processor. This usually takes up half the sausage link. I cut up the other half and cook on a skillet and serve with cheese and BBQ sauce as an appetizer while the meatloaf cooks.
In a large mixing bowl, combine meats, diced onion and bell pepper, bread crumbs, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, garlic, egg and cayenne. Using your hands, mix ingredients. Don't overmix, but make sure all the ingredients are dispersed throughout the meat.
Take 2/3 of the meat and place into loaf pan. Form the meat into a meatloaf "boat" in the pan, pushing up the sides and making a swimming pool for your cheese.
Pour 1 cup of habanero cheese into the meatloaf pool. Set aside remaining 1/2 cup for later.
Use rest of meat to form a top layer. Make sure you connect and seal the top section to the sides thoroughly so that no cheese can escape.
Place in oven for 1 hour. Last 15 minutes, sprinkle rest of cheese on top and zig zag some ketchup on top of that. Enjoy!
The main dish in our most Southern meal so far was, by all accounts, pretty tasty. Meatloaf is one of those dishes that can be really dull if not executed properly, and this one delivered on the weight of shitloads of spice and cheese, as well as some really excellent sausage. I remember back in my college days that Ghost had a pretty stellar meatloaf recipe of his own, and I'm sure he'll be tempted to chime in on what's wrong and/or right about this one.
Because Ivory Tower had just finished the bar, we decide not to shoulder him with the incredible burden of preparing a side dish. Delegated to JUCO's wife, we had a Paula Deen inspired corn casserole...
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.
I'd recently been to Oxford, and stopped for lunch at Ajax. I was (as always) disappointed that I couldn't get everything that I wanted on the menu, so I was excited about this combination of main dish and side, both of which felt a lot like pulling up to 118 Courthouse Square. The casserole was really buttery and sweet, with a really light texture that belied the ridiculous amount of butter and cheese. You could easily add some more vegetables to this and have something else entirely that would be really good. Also, though I enjoyed the sweet version of this casserole, I'd probably like to try it with some saltier ingredients to see how it changes.
WW's Bloody Marys:
After hearing about the menu for tonight, I tried to come up with an awesome drink pairing. Bloody Marys sounded good (though I'd never really enjoyed one before), so I looked up several recipes and combined the elements that I liked.
64oz. can of tomato juice
4oz. orange juice
2oz. olive juice
1/2oz. Louisiana hot sauce
10 dashes Angostura bitters
A few shakes of garlic salt
A good bit of fresh black pepper
Pickled green beans for garnish
For the Potent portion of this Potable, I picked up a fifth of Cathead Vodka, distilled in nearby Gluckstadt. I first ran across Cathead at a music studio, trying to take the edge off of a coffee buzz before recording some horn tracks for a friend's band. We all passed the bottle around and took straight from it, and we were all in agreement that this was a most excellent spirit, not what we were expecting at all. It has a smooth, subtle finish, and I'd highly recommend it, for cocktails or just for sippin' on.
Anyways, given the ingredients, you know how to make a Bloody Mary; just mix all that shit together, pour it over some vodka, and shake/stir it up however you like, with whatever garnish makes you happy.
Everyone seemed pleased with the results, noting that the mix had plenty of spice and flavor. I enjoyed some of mine, but to this day, I can't really finish a whole Bloody Mary; the tomato juice really starts to taste bad after a few pulls. Regardless, I'll be tempted to mix a batch of this stuff for the Grove one Saturday and give it another go.
As always, hope you enjoyed the meal this week as much as we did; let us know what you think.