From the Deck Hands

  • 2021-03-28, 06:00 AM (update 2022-10-23, 12:54 PM)
  • Jo Petteruti
From the Deck Hands
Spilling the Tea -- Will Work for Meatloaf

had guests in town from RI for a week in February, my friend Vickie and her dad Ray. Vickie and I have been friends since the early 1980s, when we worked together at Blue Cross of RI as junior programmers. A few years ago, she bought the house next door to me as a second home which is currently undergoing a complete renovation. She’s been out to visit many times, and loves Nevada almost as much as I do. She’s looking forward to retiring this year or next, then plans to vacation here often. She’s also hoping that her folks might like to vacation out here. Food is always involved when Vickie and I get together, and wine too. We will typically go out to eat a few times for lunch or dinner. Vickie has made some friends here, so we do have to get out to see them too, and naturally more food and wine is involved. We’ll also cook at home a couple of nights. I love to cook and she’s an excellent helper – and an excellent wine pourer too. I’m Italian and wine goes with everything, you see. And you don’t spill it, or at least you try not to. My mom would jokingly say, “Spill the blood, but don’t spill the wine.” Here’s to you mom. We planned a night to cook and I invited a local friend of mine, Carl, to join us. Ray is 81 and can only eat soft stuff due to some dental problems. Carl is a few years older than me and is avoiding carbs in his diet. Vickie and I realized that dinner for the four us could only be comprised of proteins and vegetables to meet my guests’ dietary needs. Vickie is five years my junior and she and I can eat just about anything - and we do. We decided to make meatloaf – soft enough for Ray, and no carbs for Carl. We sauteed some chopped onions, mushrooms and fresh garlic, then folded those goodies into our meatloaf mix along with a couple of eggs, some grated pecorino cheese and spices. I normally add a little breadcrumb too, but skipped that for Carl. He offered to make his special mashed cauliflower that looks just like mashed potatoes and tastes wonderful. We wound up with this three-pound mamaluke meatloaf creation that we baked for over an hour until it was golden brown but still juicy. We served it with Carl’s mashed cauliflower, a tossed salad and deviled eggs. The food and company were marvelous, and the conversation flowed. Ray thought the cauliflower actually was mashed potatoes, saying at one point, “These potatoes are really tasty.” We all laughed when we told him it was cauliflower. He was surprised and told us that he had never had it prepared that way but that he did really like it. I guess he did a little bit, he went back for a second scoop. A few days later, Carl sent me an email thanking me for dinner and telling me how much he enjoyed meeting Vickie and Ray. He then offered to help me with this rather large fence issue I’m having that I had previously shown to him. I have over 550 feet of fencing that surrounds most of my property. The south and east sides of the fence have developed a lean and the redwood is actually starting to come apart. I certainly don’t have the skills to build and replace the 150 or so feet of fencing for those two sides. So, that leaves me with just taking those two sides down, which will still be quite a bit of work. And this old girl isn’t up for too much physical labor anymore. So, when Carl offered his help with my fence issue, he said, “I’ll work for meatloaf!” Well, that could mean a number of meatloaf dinners given the amount of labor required. But that’s just fine because it's an offer I won't refuse.

Jo Petteruti



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