Comfort food for a cold P.E.I. day

Margaret
Margaret Prouse
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When you’ve spent hours shovelling snow, or playing in it, you build an appetite for food that will satisfy and soothe — comfort food.

It comes in many forms: soups and stews with deep, blended flavours, silky smooth mashed potatoes, hearty pastas, creamy puddings.

Meatloaf is comfort food, too, one that I hadn’t thought about for a very long time until my husband reminded me that we never have it. Here’s the recipe I’ll be using to make meatloaf this week. I have reduced the salt considerably to compensate for the generous amount of salt in the ketsup that I like to eat with it. Actually, my favourite glaze for meatloaf is a thin layer of ketsup spread over the top before baking.

Meatloaf

Adapted from Wattie, Helen and Elinor Donaldson: “Nellie Lyle Pattinson’s Canadian Cook Book,” Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1969.

700 g (1 1/2 lb) lean ground beef

250 mL (1 cup) bread crumbs

2 mL (1/2 tsp) salt

1 mL (1/4 tsp) black pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

15 mL (1 tbsp) minced parsley

1 egg

Combine all ingredients, mixing lightly and as little as possible.

Press into a greased 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan and cover lightly with foil. Meatloaf is done when a food thermometer, inserted into the centre of the loaf reaches 71 C (160 F).

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

If dry crumbs are used, add 250 mL (1 cup) of liquid. Vegetable stock, tomato juice or milk may be used.

Serves 8.

Mashed potatoes go well with meatloaf. I’ll liven ours up a little by stirring in a spoonful of bottled horseradish with a little butter and some warmed milk.

Other add-ins, as suggested on www.peipotato.org, that would also taste great are caramelized onions, cheddar and chives or roasted garlic and herbs.

For vegetables to go with this menu, we’ll have richly-flavoured roasted root vegetables.

Preparation could not be much easier. Just cut carrots, turnip, parsnips and onion into chunks that will all take about the same time to cook, shake them up with a shot of olive oil or other vegetable oil and some thyme leaves to coat, scatter them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast at 200 C (400 F).

Turn them once or twice, being careful to leave the browned surface intact, and continue roasting until they are tender and lightly browned.

Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired, or an herb mix or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar before serving.

This butterscotch pudding is easy to prepare and is, to my mind, tastier than pudding made using a boxed mix.

The original recipe called for 125 mL (1/2 cup) of brown sugar, but I find it sweet enough with a slightly reduced amount, 75 mL (1/3 cup).

Microwave

Butterscotch Pudding

Adapted from Topp, Ellie and Suzanne Hendricks: “Savoury Wisdom: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Two,” Prentice Hall Canada, Toronto, 2001.

250 mL (1 cup) reduced fat evaporated milk

250 mL (1 cup) 1 per cent milk

75 mL (1/3 cup) packed brown sugar

25 mL (2 tbsp) cornstarch

1 egg

25 mL (2 tbsp) butter

2 mL (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

Microwave method

(Note: cooking times vary with the microwave.)

In a 1 L (4 cup) glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe container, combine evaporated milk and 1 per cent milk, and microwave on 100 per cent power for 4 minutes or until hot but not boiling.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch.

Gradually blend in about half of the milk, then stir cornstarch mixture back into remaining milk.

Microwave on 100 per cent power for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture is thickened and has come to a boil.

In a small bowl, beat egg. Blend in a small amount of hot pudding, then stir egg mixture back into remaining pudding.

Microwave on 70 per cent power for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds or until thickened. Stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour into serving cups or bowl. Chill until serving time.

Stovetop method:

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan or the top of a double boiler. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch and sugar, and then add to butter. Scald milk (heat to almost the boiling point); whisk into first mixture.

Cook over medium-low heat, or in double boiler over hot water, stirring constantly until thick.

Cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or for 10 minutes in double boiler. Remove from the heat.

Beat egg. Add some of the hot pudding and stir. Return to the mixture and stir until the egg cooks and the mixture thickens. The pudding mixture will retain enough heat to thicken it after the egg is added.

Place saucepan over low heat, or place top of double boiler over hot water, and cook pudding for 2 minutes longer.

Stir in vanilla. Pour into individual serving dishes or a bowl. Chill until serving time.

 

Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by email at margaret@islandgusto.com.

Organizations: Ryerson Press

Geographic location: Toronto, North Wiltshire

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