How Sam developed a fondness for Brussels sprouts and Stacey learned to like meatloaf.
“How about Brussels sprouts with lunch?” Stacey asked.
Sam took a moment to pause, which Stacey correctly interpreted as a polite way not to shoot down the host’s menu idea.
“Well…sure,” Sam replied slowly, explaining that she’s never been quite a fan of the little green veggies that are currently in season.
This is scary territory, for guest and cook alike. Fears such as “will I have to spit out the food into my napkin?” or “what if my guest goes hungry because they hate my cooking?” run through your minds.
But, gee whiz, it’s just one meal! So Sam helped herself to a small serving of Brussels sprouts at first…and then a larger one. And it wasn’t enough for Sam to enjoy them at one meal; she then purchased more at the grocery store to prepare them for her family. We had a food convert!
In just a few days time, little did Sam know that she would offer Stacey a recipe that would spur another food conversion. Meatloaf. Just the word “meatloaf” strikes fear into Stacey’s heart. But this “un-recipe” for meatloaf – a few squirts of ketchup here, a diced garlic clove there – made in muffin tins was surprisingly delicious. The meatloaf concoction actually closely resembles one of Stacey’s hamburger recipes. Mix meat with tasty ingredients, pop them into individual muffin tin servings and voila! – MEAFINS!
Here are the “un-recipes” for the dishes that made each of us food “converts.”
Rinse Brussels sprouts, slice off just the bottom of each vegetable and then halve or quarter them. Place in mixing bowl, sprinkle with cooking oil and salt, then toss. If roasting, set oven to 400. Sprinkle pan with a little more oil, spread sprouts on one layer on the sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. Check the pan and roast until sprouts are brown and soft.
If sautéing, heat a nonstick pan to medium, add a dash of oil and then sprouts. Move them around every few minutes until browned and to desired softness. For serving size, figure about 1 cup of sprouts per person.
Meafins (aka individual meatloaf muffins)
Mash 1 pound of ground meat (Sam used lean turkey, Stacey used lean beef) with one finely diced garlic clove, half a diced onion, 1 egg, about ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs, a few squirts of ketchup, one big squirt of mustard, salt, pepper, a dash of brown sugar. Mix all ingredients together, then smush down into muffin cups that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 until they are brown on top and juice runs clear – 20 – 25 minutes. Part way though cooking, you may add a topping of ketchup mixed with brown sugar. You can also garnish them with sautéed mushrooms or caramelized onions. *Note about the meat: The leaner the better. 80/20 ground beef was too fatty for the recipe. 93/7 or 90/10 would be a better choice.
Have you been put on the spot by a host who served a food that you just can’t stand to eat? Did you eat it anyway? If so, how did you like it? Tell us about your food “conversions!”