Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Conversation (not) About Coconut

Some time ago my sister and I were having one of our lengthy reply/send email sessions (I really don't know why we don't use instant messaging...) which began with the topic of coconut.  During our exchange, she sent along a recipe for Coconut Bread and claimed that, toasted and drizzled with butter, it was simply to die for.  I was immediately sold on the idea, but sadly informed her that I don't own a loaf pan.  She suggested altering the recipe to make it a cake instead; a good idea, but the selling point for me was "toast" and "butter" which is hardly cake appropriate.

Fast forward to last Sunday when I happened upon a loaf pan at the local Euro-Store (like a Dollar Store, but not, because everything is regular priced - at well over one Euro).  Regardless of the cost, I couldn't stop thinking about the Coconut Bread; certainly it would be worth it.  I hurried home to send a celebratory email to my sister (who now worries that the goods won't live up to the hype) letting her know I was finally able to try.  I postscripted by adding my bonus excitement of finally being able to serve a good meatloaf.

"Speaking of meatloaf" she says, "I have this great recipe for Meatloaf Muffins that you should definitely try."  Oh!  Yes!  Err... I don't have a muffin tin.  She sent me the Meatloaf Muffin recipe anyway, with all of her notes, mentioning that a baking tray (I didn't even bother to tell her) would probably work out just fine.  Besides, I had a loaf pan now.  I could just make a proper meat loaf.

Saša and I spent a good portion of yesterday discussing dinner in that "I really don't feel like going to the store so whatever we decide needs to be made from what we have on hand" kind of way.  My mind was stuck on meatloaf and we had everything we'd need (or close enough, at least).  I naturally pushed the conversation in that direction until our rapidly increasing hunger plus far too long cooking time stacked the odds against me and nullified my plan.  My brain (or stomach) devised 'Plan B' and remembered my sister's muffins.  I rechecked my email and printed the recipe.  No muffin tin. No baking tray. I would figure it out.

glazed meatballs ready for the oven

I had not planned to blog about these little muffins (now meatballs), so I cannot share the process through pictures prior to the "just about to put them in the oven" point (above).  Instead I will provide the actual recipe, along with my sister's notes (and mine) for making these meat-loaf/muffin/balls which, of course, will depend on your receptacle of choice or availability. 

Meatloaf Muffins
2 lbs. ground beef (I've used 1lb and halved some of the other ingredients, I've also used ground turkey a lot too) (I used mixed ground beef and pork - a little short of 1 lb)
1/2 small yellow onion (I diced my onion and then completely forgot to add it to the meat mixture - it ended up as part of the side dish)
1 stalk of celery (I don't like green bits in my meat - omitted)
1 cup bread crumbs
(I don't really measure but I am sure I use less) (I hammered - yes hammered - 4 small pieces of dry bread, that we normally save to mix with the cat's food, into course crumbs.  Cat got scared from the hammering and probably wasn't happy that I pilfered her bread either.)
1 egg
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice
(Don't have any - so I use a few shakes each of lemon pepper, cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes and dry mustard) (Also didn't have any.  I used pepper, hot paprika, sweet paprika, vegeta, garlic powder, chili powder, dry mustard)
1 cup of BBQ sauce
(probably more like 1/3 cup in the mix and 1/3 cup for the glaze) (I didn't have any *sigh* - used some tasty spiced ketchup instead)
Worcestershire (a few dashes)
(I am generous in both the mix and the glaze) (Again, *SIGH*... did I even really make this recipe?  I used soy sauce and red wine - very tasty)
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
Salt and Pepper

Combine in bowl the meat
, egg, bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, spices and Worcestershire sauce. Dice celery and onion very finely then add to meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide mixture into 12
(I make 6 larger ones since I usually use closer to 1lb of meat) balls and place in lightly greased muffin/cupcake tray. (I made 6 large ones and placed them in a lightly greased casserole dish - shown in the photo above)

Combine remaining BBQ sauce with Worcestershire and dry mustard. Generously brush sauce on to the tops of each mini meatloaf.

Place in oven preheated to 450F and bake for 18
(I bake them for closer to 28) minutes. (I baked at a temperature which can only be described as 'on' for about 30 minutes).

If you are like me, your favorite part about meatloaf is how the edges cook to a well-done crust, sealing in the juices to keep the meat moist and full of flavour.  In forming these loaves into smaller shapes,  you end up with much more surface area.  This means more crust.  It also means more glaze.  In less than half the cooking time, these tasty balls of yum ended up being better than the loaf I had originally longed for.

meatloaf muffin adaptation

So this is what came out of the conversation about coconut.  And I still haven't used my loaf pan; I forgot that I don't own a toaster.

glazed meatballs, mashed potatoes, creamy corn


Rebecca said...

I was laughing all the way through your notes in the recipe. Your little meatball muffins look tasty! So glad they were enjoyed.

Now make the coconut bread!! And just 'toast' the slices in your oven, the butter won't care that it wasn't toasted in a toaster ;)

pollysplayground said...


I'll make this weekend (if I can wait that long).

Anonymous said...

I am going to try once again to post a comment.

I laughed out loud while reading this. And now I want meatloaf but we are having spaghetti for dinner tonight. Mom

Cassy said...

I baked at a temperature which can only be described as 'on' for about 30 minutes....

omg i thought i just might pee myself on that one. <3

Rebecca said...

I forgot to comment on your oven temperature settings ... reminds me of the days of our oven in Calgary that only worked on broil and only two burners worked, and they only worked on maximum. Now I remember why I let Roy do most of the cooking then!

pollysplayground said...

lol! you know, i can totally deal with the on/off oven, but i would completely fall apart without the fully functioning 4 burner gas stovetop.

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