There’s lots of vroom vrooming going on in my neighborhood today marking the first appearance of the development- wide landscapers who have resumed weekly mowing and trimming of yards for the season. This is cause for some optimism, though my earlier overly enthusiastic notions from last weekends heatwave caused me to ignore this year’s frost date warning, and hence early this morning required tugging out from deck containers some those varieties of basil, patio tomato, and the grape plant, Pixie, temporarily now stationed in a bright corner of the sun room.
Despite my slight annoyance with the plunging temperature, still, the sun is brightly shining, and, I’m looking forward to the big evening ahead at our International Ladies Group get-together Dinner tonight at Jaya’s. I’m so excited to see everyone, and have barely eaten a thing all day saving up plenty of room for all of the wonderful Kerala Indian food that Jaya prepares. Over this past twenty-three years there is one certainty upon any event in our sharing of foods from everyone’s native countries, we all eat, a lot.
Today I have prepared Grilled Meat Loaf, Mushrooms, Spinach, Cheese on Sourdough, a sandwich whose components can be made in advance, and are easily assembled and grilled to order simply by heating up and cooking in the Panini grill. The extra topping of sauteed kale and melted cheese over the juicy stuffed meatloaf really brings it together in the crunch and depth of flavor- hot sandwich category, leaving me feeling guilt free, that is, for those in the household not as lucky as me, to be savoring an evening of wonderful Indian dishes of Kerala.
- 2- 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup bread crumbs, more or less to desired amount
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- couple pinches each, coarse kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder
- 1 pound crimini mushrooms, any large stems removed, thinly sliced
- 10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed drained
- 2 slices sourdough bread for each sandwich
- 2-3 tablespoons butter, more or less, for cooking mushrooms, plus, softened butter for spreading on the outer side of each sourdough slice before grilling sandwich
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 slices cooked stuffed meatloaf, per sandwich
- 2 tablespoons sauteed kale, drained well, for topping sandwich, optional
- a pinch or two each, coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper when cooking mushrooms, spinach, and kale
- 2 slices thin provolone or swiss cheese
- Heat a large size saute pan on medium temperature, add in butter, swirl to cover pan then drop in mushrooms, stirring around to avoid pan crowding, cook mushrooms without disturbing for around three to four minutes, toss the pan, cook another couple minutes until mushrooms are fully cooked, and with no liquid, sprinkle with salt and pepper, transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate, let cool. Wipe out saute pan, add in 2 tablespoons olive oil, warm for a moment then add in the fresh spinach with some water still clinging to the leaves, saute on medium heat until fully wilted and cooked about three to four minutes, transfer to a colander, press down using a spatula to rid of water, let sit to cool, squeeze remaining water out of spinach, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, stir through. If using kale to top sandwich, wipe out saute pan, add the other two tablespoons olive oil on medium heat, cook kale a few minutes or longer until wilted and with no liquid in pan, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, stir through, set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl combine all of meatloaf ingredients together well. Using wet hands form a sort of rectangle with one-quarter of the meat mixture, set into the bottom of the greased loaf pan, press down spreading evenly across loaf pan, repeat with the other loaf pan. Spread half of the mushrooms on top of meat in each loaf pan, top evenly with the spinach. With the remaining meat, shape two more rectangles and lay on top of the spinach, pressing to evenly cover the spinach mixture on each. Place loaf pans onto a cookie sheet and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool, un-mold cooked meatloaves by running a plastic spatula all around then turn over onto a tray. Refrigerate meat loaves until using. Loaves may also be frozen for future use.
- Heat greased Panini maker on medium high heat, or if using a saute pan use low heat, add a couple tablespoons butter, using a heavy surface such as a cast iron pan for pressing down on sandwich while cooking. Butter the outsides of each slice of bread, two per sandwich. Top with two slices of warm stuffed meatloaf onto the un-buttered side of bread, spoon on a couple tablespoons sauteed kale, top with two slices of cheese, cover with a bread slice. Place sandwich on Panini grill, medium high heat and cook for three to four minutes depending on grill, rotate sandwich for desired grill markings, close lid and cook another 3-5 minutes to desired golden color. If grilling using a saute pan, cook sandwich in butter on very low heat with a heavy pan on top, turn sandwich after three to four minutes cook another four to five minutes or until desired golden color.