I made my turkey meatloaf for Annie Birdie the other night, knowing that she loves it. We had plans to catch up; even though we live together both of us are always swamped with plans and other commitments. It has, indeed, come to making plans to being home at the same time.
Annie Birdie is a fantastic sport about this blog, allowing me to poke fun at her with extreme exaggeration and share things from our life with the interweb. Though I always find myself a bit uncomfortable sharing my feelings with the internet–I find my usual format of self deprecation and aggrandizement much more entertaining and comfortable–I feel like the least I can do is let the world know how much I love her.
Annie Birdie and I were connected through our mutual friend, the lovely Pagina. I was going through one of the most brutal times of my life, and Pagina thought to herself, “I know! Let me unload this emotional wreck on this poor unsuspecting fool!” Annie was looking for a roomie, I needed a place and Pagina assured me we would get along. We met, discussed our mutual love of “America’s Next Top Model”, and that was that; I was to move in within the month.
I admit, that at first, I didn’t quite know why Pagina thought we would hit if off so well. No doubt, I thought she was friendly, smart and welcoming, but we seemed different in a lot of ways. Turns out she just was warming up to me, which is 100% reasonable. I can be…a bit much. She began to open up to me, and I saw the true Annie: warm, caring, affectionate, funny, compassionate, razor sharp wit. And, hot damn, does this girl have a filthy mouth. Like, the kind of filthy that makes me hoot with laughter and blush with shock. Frankly, I think it is the vulgarity that really brought us together and the commonality that Pagina saw between us. Annie is so much more than this, though, and it would be impossible to try to capture it here. She is fiercely loyal and such a force in the world. She tolerates my shoes and nail polish bottles that litter the house. She is open and honest in a way I admire; I hope some of it rubs off on me.
I was nervous to move in with Annie, as I would have been with anyone; I was at a point in my life where another disappointment would have been unbearable. And now? It is sometimes almost unbelievable to me that I have only known her a year and a half. She knows my secrets and fears, laughs at my jokes and is one of my closest confidants. Knowing her has been one of the most unexpected surprises of my life; a lot of truly shitty things happened to create the circumstances that brought us together. I cannot imagine life without her. She is a true friend; I cannot thank Pagina enough for introducing us and, of course, cannot thank Annie enough for just being her.
She gives me her friendship, I thank her with this meatloaf. I think meatloaf kind of gets a bad rap; people consider it pedestrian and associate it with school lunches. This largely because it can be dry and lacking in flavor if not prepared correctly. A few things about this particular recipe make it anything from pedestrian. The high amount of (wet) vegetables keep it moist and flavorful without tons of fat and there is also a fair amount of ketchup. When piled upon a sheet pan, this recipe may seem too loose and runny, but it firms up. I use egg beaters often in place of the eggs; I have also used all white meat and whole wheat bread crumbs in an attempt to make it healthier. You cannot tell the difference at all. The ketchup on top of the meat, as well as the (small amount) of fat in the loaf creates a glaze like coating. (You can see the delicious run off on the pan below.) This is one of my most requested recipes, and it tastes even better straight from the fridge the next day.
For Annie Birdie…
Adapted from Gourmet
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (one medium onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice (i just dice a handful of baby carrots)
8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 lb ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.
Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables. Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)
Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.
Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.