Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunflowers and Meatloaf Cupcakes

Why, oh why, did it take me five years to grow these?
I've got the really big ones, the mediums, the one's that are supposed to be red... and they are spectacular! 
 The big ones are so tall. Here is one - to give you an idea - I am standing directly beneath this one looking straight up. It is so tall!
There are a lot of buds still on the stalks so I will have them for a few weeks longer. There are enough that I can cut some for me, for friends and still not worry about having depleted the lot.  I will have to figure out how to keep the seeds for next year. I definitely want to grow at least this many next year. 

 In other news, I had a fun food adventure.
We have many historic cookbooks at work and one came through the lab needing a box that was from a senior citizens community center in South Philly. There were several interesting recipes, but the one that caught my eye was "Meatloaf with Mashed Potato Frosting". Wow. And I thought - yuck!
Of course I brought this up to the room at large and Leah says, "oh yeah, I've seen that - like - meatloaf cupcakes. They put green peas on the top for sprinkles." And she was serious.
Leah is leaving us after five years to go to graduate school. I will miss her very much. She was a big part of developing the conservation lab. Under those circumstances, farewell parties must be planned... and of course what will I make? Meatloaf Cupcakes!   
I don't have my mother's meatloaf recipe, and quite frankly, while she was a very good cook, it is okay that I don't have this one. I've never missed it. But if I'm going to make meatloaf cupcakes they do have to be good. I browsed the interwebs looking for recipes and sort of compiled some basic ideas and then I remembered my trusty "America's Test-Kitchen Cookbook" This is the "Ol' Reliable" Cookbook. It gives you the basics and it always tastes good. So I decided that was the one I'd go with, but of course with my own twist. 

1/2 lb. beef
1/2lb. pork
1 onion
3cloves garlic
1 T thyme
1 egg
1 stale roll soaked in water and 'wrung' out.
1/2 t salt 
1/4 t pepper
1/4 c chopped parsley
1 med-small zucchini shredded
2-3 small carrots
(the veggies should total a scant cup)

Mashed potatoes ( your way)
1 bag peas (frozen or fresh - doesn't matter) 

Saute the onion, garlic and thyme, allow to cool. Combine all ingredients well. Line muffin tins with foil cupcake thingies. Divide mixture evenly. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes until they smell done. In the meantime, make your favorite mashed potatoes - (potatoes, 1T mayonnaise, salt.) When the cupcakes have cooled a bit 'frost' them with the mashed potatoes and top with the peas 'sprinkles'. These were a big hit for everyone who tried them. I was even surprised. And they are fun! A little meal all-in-one. :)

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