Harvest 2009, day 2

Cut all day today, just our combine still. Custom cutters may show up tomorrow or the next day, assuming we don’t get rained out tonight. Cut the fields around the house. This combine was bought used a couple years ago, but is “new” for us. It’s also a Case IH, which is different for us since we used John Deere combines for years. But the new combine is working well, even with the tough straw.

We went with solid stem wheat this year, since it is supposed to be more resistant to sawfly. Hollow stem wheat usually yields better than solid stem (Dad said the plant research guys think that may be due to the genetics of the seed stock, and not because the solid stem is taking so much energy and nutrients to build it might be taking away nutrients and energy from the seed), but that doesn’t make a whole lot of difference if the whole field’s fallen down because of sawfly. Which has happened to a lot of our neighbors who went with hollow stem, even those who went with hollow stem varieties that are supposedly less attractive to sawflies.

Swathers are in short supply, and pick-up headers (which are used to pick up  swathed grain and feed into a combine) are supposed to be rare as hen’s teeth.That’s mostly due to sawfly problems.

Still just our crew, fed six-and-one-half people tonight (one half because my sister took some home for her husband too).

Menu:

  • Iced Tea & Lemonade
  • Green Salad
  • Bread&Butter sandwiches
  • Delicious Meatloaf (with odd ingredients) (doubled batch, see below for recipe)
  • Italian Zucchini Pie (doubled batch, see below for recipe)
  • Oatmeal Cake (see below for recipe)

Recipes, in case anyone is interested, and for my own future reference:

Delicious Meatloaf Recipe(with some odd ingredients)

Originally posted July 13, 2009

This recipe is a modified version of the “Meat Loaf with Brown Sugar – Ketchup Glaze” that appears on page 451 of The New Best Recipe from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated, 2nd Edition, ISBN 978-0-936184-74-6 (Amazon.com link) — eagle-eyed observers will notice right away I’ve cut out the glaze. I’ve made other modifications too.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Take a cookie sheet with raised sides and line it with aluminum foil.

Ingredients:

  • cooked onions
    • 2 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped, approx 1 cup
  • 3 medium garlic cloves (or more if you like garlic), minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking 1-minute oats
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (can be either flat or curly)
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • liquid ingredients and seasonings
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or whole milk if you don’t have yogurt, but it tastes better with yogurt)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
    • 1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 8 0z bacon (or more) — see notes below about bacon

Put the oil in a skillet and use it to saute the onions until soft, about five minutes. Set aside to cool. If you like, you can saute the garlic with the onions, or add the garlic raw in the next step.

Put the ground beef, oats, parsley, and garlic (if not sauted) in a medium or medium-large mixing bowl.

Put all ingredients listed under liquid ingredients and seasonings (yogurt/whole milk, eggs, thyme, pepper, hot pepper sauce, mustard, Worcestershire, and salt if used) in a small bowl and whisk together.

If the onions have cooled, add them to the bowl with the ground beef. Add in liquid ingredients mixture. Mix all together in bowl until the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is starting to stick together, about 2-3 minutes if mixing with your hands (which is messy, but not as hard on my hands or as time-consuming as when I’ve tried using a fork to mix everything together).

Pour the meat loaf mixture out on the foil-lined cookie pan. Shape by hand into a loaf shape. There should be at least an inch of space between the loaf and the sides of the cookie sheet. If you have doubled or tripled the recipe it may be necessary to use more than one cookie sheet and cook it in two or more batches.

Place bacon strips across the top of the loaf.

BACON NOTE 1: This part of the recipe does not scale linearly with the rest. So if you double the recipe, you will not necessarily need to use 16 strips of bacon to cover the loaf just because a single recipe used 8 strips.

BACON NOTE 2: You can use uncooked bacon. But I personally prefer the precooked thin-sliced sandwich bacon you can now get in some stores, it’s not as greasy as uncooked bacon and I don’t have to worry about whether it’s fully cooked too when the meat loaf is done.

Put cookie sheet with bacon-covered loaf in oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches at least 160 F, about 1 hour. (Might be more in cases of double or triple recipes, depends on shape of loaf).

A fair amount of liquid will come out of the loaf while cooking, this is normal. When done cooking, this liquid and the foil lining for the cookie sheet can be thrown away.

Italian Zucchini Pie

One of Mom’s favorite recipes. A single batch can be made in a 10″ pie pan; a double batch fits well in a 9″x13″ pan.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

  • 4 c thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 2 Tblsp parsley flakes, or 6 Tblsp (or more) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbslp garlic powder
  • 1 Tblsp dried basil
  • 1 Tblsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c or 8 oz low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • crust for 10″ pie or (1) 8 oz can crescent rolls

Melt butter in large pan. Once melted and bubbling, add zucchini and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked and have lost some of their moisture.

Add parsley, garlic powder, basil, and oregano to vegetable mixture. Mix thoroughly and continue to cook for another few minutes. Turn off heat.

If you have not already done so, line an ungreased pan with the uncooked crust or the uncooked crescent roll dough, whichever you are using. Sprinkle with mustard powder.

Mix cheese and eggs together.

Mix cheese mixture with vegetable mixture. Pour into crust and place in oven. It is done when the middle looks set and knife inserted and withdrawn from the middle comes out clean. For a single batch this can take 20-30 minutes. For a double batch in a 9×13 pan, plan for 40 minutes or more.

Oatmeal Cake

Probably more properly called an oatmeal spice cake, but around here whenever someone refers to “oatmeal cake” this is the cake they are talking about.

I have made this cake numerous times for visiting friends, taking to potlucks, meals at home, etc. and I’ve never had a single complaint about the way it tasted. There were a couple times I knew people with nut allergies, but the solution to that is to replace the nuts in the topping with an equivalent amount of dried coconut.

Cake:

Heat oven to 350 F.

  • 1 c quick 1-minute oatmeal
  • 1-1/2 c boiling water
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Mix the oatmeal, boiling water, and oil together in a medium or medium-large bowl. Mix thoroughly, then let sit until warm or cool (but no longer hot).

Add brown sugar and eggs. Mix. Add nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix.

Mix together flour and soda, then add to oatmeal mixture. Mix thoroughly, then pour into a greased 8×10, 9×9, or 9×13 pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Take cake out of oven, but leave in the pan. Turn oven off. Put topping on cake while cake is still hot.

Topping:

  • 1-1/3 c chopped nuts
  • 1-1/3 c dried shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 8 Tblsp or 1/2 c melted butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 c canned milk (if you are using a 5 oz can of canned milk, you can use the entire can for this recipe)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients together in order given. Put on cake while cake is still warm from baking. Spread evenly over cake.

Broil with oven door open 2-5 minutes, until bubbling and brown. Time for this step will depend on a lot of different factors, such as how close the cake is to the broiler, how hot the cake and topping were to start with, etc., so this step has to be checked often and can’t be timed. WATCH THIS STEP VERY CAREFULLY, AS THE TOPPING CAN GO FROM BUBBLING-BUT-STILL-PALE TO BURNT IN LESS THAN A MINUTE.

Once topping is browned, remove cake from oven and let cool.

One thought on “Harvest 2009, day 2

  1. Pingback: Recipe: Zucchini Hamburger Casserole | C Good's Things

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