The Meatloaf Bakery, which had an adorable display of individual meatloaves that looked like cupcakes. They were too clever to resist. The social media site that documented our evening is no longer in business. I can't even remember the site's name, let alone what we ordered that night. Nonetheless, when I was offered to the chance to review The Meatloaf Bakery's new cookbook, I bit.
Until I read this cookbook, I never realized how complicated meatloaf could be. I typically only make it once every year or two. I take ground turkey and mix it with an egg, some ketchup, maybe garlic powder, or mustard or whatever else I can grab. It often looks and smells like cat food and the boys tend to spend as much time turning it over with their forks as they do eating it. That's why I don't make it very often.
But The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook by the bakery's own Cynthia Kallile could change that. True, the recipes are more exacting. They involve chopping vegetables and, you know, actually measuring ingredients, but dang, they make some tasty loaves!
I must confess that I didn't follow the two recipes I made to the letter. For instance, I didn't realize that many meatloaf recipes call for milk; I substituted rice milk. And if a recipe called for cheese, I served it on the side for the family members who run short on lactase.
Also, I might have been deep into prepping Chili Chili Bang Bang, a southwest style meatloaf topped with cornbread, before I realized we lacked both cayenne powder and jalapeno. (Related note: I don't do spicy foods.) I tossed in some cumin and that worked well enough-the meal was a hit and perfect for a cold, winter night.
I also made the Herby Turkey Loaf, which is topped with herbed stuffing. To save time, I used packaged stuffing cubes instead of making my own. When mealtime was over, there was a not a crumb left on the pie plate in which it was baked.
That tells us two things: 1) These recipes are flexible enough to allow a bit of variation and still be quite tasty and 2) I am perhaps not a great person to review cookbooks. Seriously though, the results from The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook recipes were far better than anything I'd created on my own.
My boys have bookmarked a few more recipes they'd like me to make: The Omega-3 Loaf, cupcake-like servings of salmon loaf topped with Garlic Wasabi Potatoes, and Loaf-a-Roma, an Italian inspired, spaghetti-topped meatloaf cake. I'm putting vegetarian options on my list with recipes like the Nutty Veggie Loaf and the Yentl Lentil Loaf.
The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook includes recipes for sides, appetizers and extras such as the cornbread that tops the Chili Chili Bang Bang. It also includes several sauces that complement the loaf recipes.
This is definitely not your mother's book of meatloaf recipes and though the recipes do take a bit of prep, the results are worth it.
The hardcover book retails for $19.95. Check your favorite bookseller for availability.