How can I improve my meatloaf?
Q: If I drain a can of chickpeas, can I freeze the liquid (aquafaba) to use later in desserts?
A: Resident aquafaba expert Kristin Hartke says it should work fine.
Q: Why are some of my meatloaves crumbly while others slice perfectly? I realize that my “recipe” varies some each time, but which ingredient determines the outcome? My basic formula is one pound or so of ground beef (20 percent fat), one pound or so of ground pork, one envelope of onion soup mix, two or three eggs, a half cup of ketchup and bread crumbs so the mix is not visibly wet. I bake it to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
A: Here are a few that come to mind:
A successful recipe typically calls for meats that aren’t too lean (20 percent is a bit low). The binder, in your case bread crumbs (fresh or dried?) is often mixed with milk or other liquid to make a panade/ mush that helps retain moisture during cooking - especially if you are starting with dried bread crumbs. The ones that don’t have a bread crumb or oats binder often will use cooked vegetables instead. The mix needs to be very thoroughly combined.
And I assume you give the meatloaf a brief respite before slicing; just like other meats, this rest allows juices to be redistributed. That said, I don’t mind a bit of crumble, and most often when I go to slice a crumbly meat loaf after it’s been refrigerated/ chilled, it cuts neatly. Q: My mother is coming to visit. I’m a vegetarian; she eats nothing but meatloaf and roasted pork. She doesn’t like eggs as a main ingredient; she also hates grain-based foods. Do you have any dinner ideas?
A: In this situation, I often default to pasta. Who doesn’t love pasta? Q: I’m looking for a meal that I can drop off at a friend’s home in the refrigerator for their return from a week at a family funeral. I am not a casserole fan and am drawing a blank.
A: Personally, I’d be the happiest man on earth if someone slipped homemade lasagna into my refrigerator after a trau- matic life event. It’s comforting, it’s hearty and it reheats even better.
Q: My problem with lasagna is the ricotta or cottage cheese. I don’t like the taste or texture. If I were to leave it out, how should I adjust a recipe?
A: Use Bechamel sauce instead.