Thursday, January 19, 2006

shopping and a recipe

After having lunch with my in-laws yesterday, we headed to one of the outlet shopping centers just outside of Troyes. We had a nice stroll around the place, and happily it wasn't too crowded. We both came away with some new blue jeans - Steph with some fancy-schmancy Calvin Kleins and me with some good ole American Wranglers. We're hoping to go again at the end of the month when the prices are truly outrageous (50% - 70% off) to see what's left (often, not a lot!). I did spy a fun coat but I'd like to see if the price won't come down a bit more by the end of the month.

I had a couple of hours to rest before heading back out to Troyes for choir rehearsal. We heard the results from the event I attended this weekend. It seems they were actually competing for three open spots in the country. The candidate who won first place was not a surprise at all, but some of us were suprised to learn that one candidate that we liked very much was not liked at all by the jury. Well, that's why they get to be directors and I just get to sing in the choir (which suits me just fine!).

Yesterday, Pauline who writes about Leon's Life posed a question on her blog: she had 500g of minced beef (I'm ashamed to say I still call it "hamburger meat" - that's an American for you) in her fridge and no idea what to do with it. I offered up my mother's meatloaf recipe, and would like to share it with you (this will make up for keeping back my father's Italian sauce recipe!). This comes directly from an email she sent me after I first moved here, and I'll add notes in italics. This was one of my favorite dishes growing up, and if you do it well, it will be savory enough that it won't need a sauce to go with it. It goes great with a side of veggies and/or mashed potatoes.

Click "Tell me more!" to read Vivi's Mom's Meatloaf Recipe

1 lb uncooked 7% fat chopped meat obviously, 400-500g works just fine
1 egg
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs you can use day-old or 2-days old baguette, grated
3/4 cup skim milk I use demi-ecreme here

catsup (about one tablespoon)
onion powder

Spray a baking pan (I use Pyrex or Corningware) with Pam I butter it up - I'm so old-school since I moved to France!. Preheat
oven to 350. That's farenheight - around 200C is good. I just turn my tiny oven all the way down!

Scramble egg in mixing bowl large enough for all ingredients. (I use
about a 3 qt flat bottom one with two pot holders under one side to
keep ingredients together.)

Add milk. Stir.

Add bread crumbs, catsup, and spices. I image shaking the onion
powder, salt and pepper on individual slices....about 1/2 as much
pepper as salt. Be careful because the catsup is very spicy. Also,
be careful with the oregano...I would guess about 1/2 TB...too much
will be overpowering. Too much and it's too can add more
later. Stir well.

Add meat, breaking it up into small pieces as you put in the bowl.
Use your hand to thoroughly mix. I usually taste a small bit to check
the spices...add more if you want, but no spice should be
overwhelming. To form the loaf, tip bowl to have it against the
bottom and side and pat the top until smooth. Roll the loaf to the
other side and do the same. Repeat until it looks uniform. Roll the
loaf from the bowl into your hand, and (if it's not falling apart) pat
smooth. If it seems loose and you're not able to form it in your
hand, just roll it right in the baking pan. Pat it smooth into a
rectangle....I'm guessing it comes out to a little less than 8" x 4".
Try to make it so the middle is just slightly larger than the sides so
that the grease does not accumulate in the center.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. When the loaf starts to look brown and a
little crusty, it's done. Let it sit for at least five minutes before

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