So the picture is a little blurry (I was taking it quickly with my phone, and I’d had a couple of vodka tonics as pre-dinner libations, so), but I know how CPP always wants me to take pictures of what I cook and I never do it, and I was proud enough of this dinner to think to make the effort to do it.
So what you see before you is a three-pound meatloaf (with beef, veal, and pork, seasoned with sage, salt, and pepper, with carrots, celery, onion and garlic and parmesan, and then wrapped in thick slices of applewood smoked bacon, basically which follows the recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything), roasted Brussels sprouts (nothing fancy – basically, trim the veg and make sure everything is about uniform in size and then toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then bake at 375 until tender and possessing lovely crispy bits on the outer edges), and homemade mac and cheese (with Havarti, Gouda, and Butterkase cheeses, and with swiss chard hidden in the middle).
What you don’t see (because I didn’t get around to photographing these things) is the toasted cocktail-sized slices of pumpernickel bread spread with tapenade that went with the pre-dinner vodka tonics (the perfect combo of salty-umami of the tapenade and the savory-sweet of the bread – side note, cats apparently think tapenade is a delightful caviar-style cat-treat), the tomato chutney that I made to serve as a condiment to the meatloaf (I am decidedly against the “ketchup glaze” on meatloaf, but I found this tomato chutney recipe and thought I should try it…. and it is wicked crazy good and really did complement the meatloaf in spite of my general aversion to ketchup-related gilding of the meatloaf lily… though I should point out that “tomato chutney” is basically fancy ketchup, only chunky, but So. Much. Better. than ketchup and worth the couple of hours it takes to cook, and would be a delightful spread for a sandwich, or as a condiment for other dishes as well, or even great just spread on a cracker or as a dip for some sort of chip), the salad (which is in the covered dish in the upper-left corner of the photo, covered because I put it on the table unattended before the other stuff came out and I do have cats who like to investigate things) which involved arugula, orange segments, and roasted beets, with a homemade vinaigrette with cumin, and the apple crumble that I made for dessert, served topped with salted caramel gelato.
I am happy to report that after this calorific, indulgent meal, neither I nor my guests went into cardiac arrest, a diabetic coma, or similar. And yes, I have left-overs, but not as many as you might expect given the vast quantities of the food that I prepared.
Also: this was the perfect menu for what was one of the first true fall days we’ve had. Though it’s also true that what I served was dressed up cafeteria food, or a dressed up version of a weekday dinner that a 1960s housewife might have prepared. But whatever, it was delightful. As was the company.