When meatloaf met embutido, and they marry


It’s curious how some Filipinos declare that they don’t really like meatloaf, but they do like embutido. I don’t get it. Embutido is a meatloaf. And I wonder if the preference is cultural. Is it the familiarity of the name that brings back memories of Christmas and fiestas from one’s childhood? Is the preference then in the context of comfort food?

Or is it the peculiar way that embutido is seasoned? Unlike most Western meatloaves, embutido is sweet with a little tanginess.

Or is it the insane amount of eggs that go into the embutido? There were no ovens in the Philippines until the American colonization so baking was never a traditional cooking method. While Western meatloaf is traditionally baked, Filipino embutido is steamed. The steaming process does not remove excess liquid from the meat mixture and it therefore requires a lot of eggs to bind it together. Without all that egg, the embutido would be too soggy for slicing.

I love embutido. I grew up with it and I love it. But there came a time when I wondered if the embutido would taste better if the natural flavor of the meat weren’t drowned by all that egg. I experimented. One time, I added powdered cream of mushroom soup to act as binder so I could use less eggs. Another time, I baked the embutido using improvised “steaming pans.” Both worked. But, honestly, the baked version was better. And I never really went back to steaming.

In this recipe, I prepared a ground pork mixture a la embutido, packed it in a small loaf pan and I baked it, Western meatloaf style. It looks every inch a Western meatloaf but, in flavor and aroma, it is embutido all the way. »

Spaghetti a la stroganoff


The best ground meat for this dish is sausage meat. Buy sausages, peel off the skins, crumble the meat and fry in butter. Or you can create your own sausage meat by seasoning ground meat and letting it marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours. Season with what? The usual salt, pepper and a bit of sugar -- and a good … »

Meatballs a la Parmigiana


Basic things. Meatballs, tomato sauce and cheese. Put them together and you have this dish. But to make this dish really, really good, you have to have great meatballs (good quality meat is essential), a very tasty tomato sauce (I made my own) and a rich cheese that melts well. If you have all that, making this meatball … »

Cheesy meatballs and potato casserole


It's always inspiring to take photos early in the morning. Not dawn early when the light that filters through the dining room windows are still too dull and grayish. But between eight o'clock and ten o'clock, the hues are just perfect. Soft and dreamy. It was fortunate that this baked casserole came out of the oven at just … »

Toast with sausage gravy


The easiest way to make sausage gravy is to buy sausage (no, not canned Vienna sausage), peel off the skin, crumble the meat and cook it. There are enough sausage varieties and flavors to create any gravy flavor -- sweet, garlicky, hot, spicy, salty...But if you want more control over the sausage seasonings, then, you … »

Chili and garlic burgers with vegetables fried rice


In the white chocolate, lemon and poppy seed cake post, there was a question about whether poppy seeds were added to the cake for appearance or taste. I told her it's 90% flavor and 10% appearance. Come to think of it, the visual appeal of poppy seeds is just coincidental.It's a very Generation Y question, I suppose. In … »

Spaghetti with ground pork and black olives


I learned two valuable lessons today. First, when you run out of sausages to cook with your pasta, use plain ground pork and season it as though you were making sausage. Brown the meat well over medium heat so that the cooking is prolonged a little, giving the ground pork more time to absorb the seasonings and for flavors … »

Cheese-stuffed meatballs


Meatballs may sound boring and common but if soft warm cheese oozes out when you bite into one, I doubt very much if the meatball will qualify as boring or common. And if the meatballs are made with a good mix of herbs and spices, the better they will taste. A sure hit at children’s […]The post Cheese-stuffed … »

For a potluck party: meatloaf under wraps


In cooking meatloaf, “under wraps” usually means the meatloaf is enclosed in mashed potatoes then baked until the top of the mashed potatoes is lightly browned. I’d have done something like that but we were bringing the meatloaf to a potluck party and it would be a headache transporting the thing. The … »

Burgers with cheese and mushroom sauce. And homemade potato chips.


When entertaining, it is usual for the host or hostess to choose dishes that impress. And “impressive” is commonly associated with expensive ingredients or dishes that are complicated to cook, or both. I don’t subscribe to any of those beliefs. Entertaining is about the company primarily and the food is … »