Meatloaf (2)

The first memory I have of meatloaf is from grade 4. I met a girl who wasn't in my class but she rode the same bus. She was only the third Asian girl I'd met from my school and by chance she sat next to me one afternoon on our way home. We chatted about children's things, I'm guessing. Anyway, fast-forward a couple of days: she told her mom about me and her mom invited me over for a playdate and dinner.

Honestly, I do not remember that girl's name. Sorry! I do remember that she lived in an apartment building, she had a younger brother, her mother was Korean and her father was Japanese, and she was really girly. Like, she had such an impressive collection of Barbies and I was envious because my parents liked to buy me things like Legos and puzzles (which I still love, but hey, sometimes a girl wants to dabble in fashion and hairstyles).

The other detail I remember is that for dinner, we had meatloaf. It was my first time having this blob of meat covered in ketchup and I just fell in love. Apparently they had all different sorts of cuisines for dinner all the time, which by contrast to my household where we Korean food 99% of the time and maybe the occasional burger the other 1%, this was really cool to me.

Even though I shared a meatloaf recipe previously, I've since improved on it; it's since gone from something that's just a burger in loaf form to a really tender dish in its own deserved category. I've also improved on my food photography so I thought it was time for a little update.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb. ground beef
1 slice white bread, torn into pieces
¼ cup milk
½ onion
4 sprigs parsley
2 oz. mushroom
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 egg

½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons A1

Start by grabbing a food processor and pulsing together the onion, jalapeno, mushrooms, garlic, and parsley until everything is chopped fine.
Rip up the slices of bread and toss into a bowl and cover with milk. Leave alone for a few minutes until the milk has completely soaked into the bread.
To the milk-soaked bread, add in the pureed vegetables, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed pepper flakes. Give it a good stir. Then, crack in an egg and give it another good stir. Premixing these ingredients makes it less likely that you'll overmix the beef; overmixing will result in a tough, chewy meatloaf.
Add in the beef and gently mix. I find that using a fork is the best way to break up the meat and get things combined without going overboard. Sometimes I use my hands but I find that there is a tendency to want to squeeze, which is not a good compulsion. The mixture doesn't need to be perfectly homogenous but there shouldn't be large pockets of unmixed ingredients.
Form the mixture into a loaf-shaped mass in a pan.
In another bowl, stir together ketchup, Sriracha, and A1.
Spread this sauce all over the top of the meatloaf and then bake at 400F for 30 to 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 160F. Beef can certainly be eaten at a cooler internal temperature; however, this meatloaf mixture is v. soft and tender and holds up best when it's fully cooked through.
To go with our meal, roasted some peppers, onion, and mushroom and sauteed some dandelion greens.
This meatloaf is super tender, really hearty, but doesn't feel overly heavy thanks to the chopped up veggies mixed throughout. And honestly, does it get any more American than this? For goodness' sake, there's a plate of grilled cheeses just at the edge of the frame. I mean, I suppose it could. If we weren't eating off of huge plates with heaping helpings. But instead, we are eating off of small tea plates; as a family we are consciously trying to eat less meat (not only for our health but also for the environment).
Here's the recipe page: