So, my loyal readers will be happy to hear that I actually COOKED something yesterday. Well, attempted to, anyways.
When I was home in Windsor a couple weeks ago, my sister-in-law asked if I needed anything: money, food, etc. I told her I was not going to accept money for groceries, but if she had any food she was willing to part with, I’d be glad to take it off her hands (okay, I wasn’t quite so brazen, but I WILL take food from anyone who doesn’t want it, I’m no where near above that). She gave me two geese, some moose sausage, some venison sausage, a package of venison roast, a package of ground venison and two baggies of apple sauce (my brothers a hunter, in case you couldn’t tell, although I’m not so sure the apples gave enough of a struggle to call it a “kill”).
I decided to make a meatloaf with the ground venison. (On a side note, I’m wondering why deer meet is called venison, but moose is just moose. And why pig meat is called pork, and cow meat is called beef, but chicken is just chicken. Unfair, I say.) My good friend Neil at work gave me his own recipe for the meatloaf. I felt sure that I could make this simple, classic meal.
Alas. The problems began when I took the meat from the fridge, where it had been set to thaw overnight and all day. It was still frozen! BAH! So I nuked it for a bit, only to cook some of it in the process (of course). The second problem surfaced when I realized I’d purchased crushed tomatoes in a can, instead of whole tomatoes in a can. “Whatever,” I said, “I’ll just mix it in.”
I chopped up some onion and garlic, crushed up some soda crackers, added some parsley, oregano and sage, and an egg (I still don’t get that) and mixed it all up with the meat and tomatoes. Neil’s recipe called for me to “form a loaf” (I couldn’t stop giggling at this), and place it in the middle of a big baking dish with some of the juice from the tomatoes for basting. Well, MY meatloaf was not “forming a loaf”, so I pressed it into a loaf pan. I popped it into the pre-heated oven and waited for an hour, relaxing and reading.
The aroma of the cooking venison made my mouth water, and I had hope, if even just for an instant, that I could make something edible from scratch. However, after over an hour in the 375º heat, the loaf was still not cooked. From what I could tell anyways… see this is the problem I had- the meat still looked red, but I couldn’t tell if this was because it was raw, because it was venison and not beef, or if it was because I had mixed it with crushed tomatoes. I was completely clueless.
Meanwhile, Stef called me up and told me to come out for a beer. I couldn’t refuse, so I turned the oven off, leaving the loaf in, and took a three-hour hiatus from the kitchen at Boom Shiva, a new bar on Queen Street West (nice place- you should go). Anywho- I came home and the meatloaf was dried out, but still didn’t look cooked! I put it back in for another 40 minutes, and then, not caring if I got staphylococcus or salmonella or whatever it is you get from raw meat, taste-tested my creation. It was burnt on the top, crusty on the sides and mushy in the middle. Not very pretty to look at at all. But it did taste good! So my efforts were half successful. Meh.