If you make old-fashioned meatloaf, you just have to try a meatloaf pan with a lift-out liner. The liner keeps the loaf about 1/4 inch above the bottom of the pan, preventing the meatloaf from sitting in a pool of grease but keeping the meatloaf moist via heat from the warm liquid.
The picture is of the Baker’s Secret pan I use, with an enamel rack. It’s not longer available, but there are similar items on Amazon.com from Chicago Metallic, I strongly recommend the ones with the long, narrow liners — the finished meatloaf lifts right out and doesn’t have to be pried out of a liner pan.
So, speaking of the meatloaf itself: Last night the Scholarly Gentleman made a beef/pork meatloaf that included…toasted pecans. The result was very good, but very rich. This is meatloaf for company — reminded me quiet a bit of kibbeh with pine nuts.
The discovery that my wonderful meatloaf pan is no longer available brings me to my latest vintage kitchen gadget: The Hamilton Beach Crock Watcher crock pot with Auto-Shift!
The Scholarly Gentleman likes to make bean soup with ham hocks and also slow-cooked chicken thighs. My response to this has been “so use the stovetop” but we have kept our eyes open for a mid-size crock pot.
Fortunately, we live in a Scandinavian neighborhood where estate sales are a treasure trove of Dansk teak, stainless steel, crystal, and superb cookware (especially Nordic Ware ebelskiver pans). Today we spotted a 60s-era crock pot in pristine condition, complete with original instruction manual, for $8. The Auto-shift setting allows you to start it on high and have it automatically turn itself down to slow cooking after 1-3/4 hours.
Veering from the practical to the frivolous, I dropped $5 on a Bialetti Creme Brulee Set — four white ceramic ramekins and a little butane blow torch.
While rationales like “Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to cook [insert ridiculous dessert here]” rarely work for me, the fact is that creme brulee is the dessert the Scholarly Gentleman and I are most likely to order when we go out. So perhaps it does make sense to try it at home. Once again, I discovered that this item is no longer available (original price: $35), but that it got 5-star reviews on Amazon when it was and that this basic Oggi set appears nearly identical.