Thursday, March 24

Vegetarian meal loaf GF Nut Roast

Casserole that is dairy free, meat-free and gluten-free?  Can I make that for a funeral meal the church lady calls and asks.  Heck Yeah.  Thanks to Grandma Ilene's recipe file.  I love that woman and her enduring tenacity for getting through tough things.  If she can, I can and thanks for that legacy Grandma.

Here it is, my favorite of Grandma's recipes, Nutroast.

Last posted 11-19-2014 and before that?  12-2-10 - back when I was planning my holiday plans and recipes.

The Cake Wreck that I posted last week (Cherpumple) is just one sample of the diversity of food.

I thought I'd stick with tradition this Thanksgiving and fix something this year that has been a staple in my food memory from the time I was a child. It wasn't Thanksgiving or Christmas without this delectable dish. My nearest and dearest friends will all remember the nut roast at Sunday dinner.

My grandmother got the recipe from Cookie--yes, for real, Cookie, a camp chef that traveled with the men who worked in the lumber camps up the Mirror Lake Highway. My gramma cooked for the men and slept with her new husband in a log cabin and there were nights when he would jump up and shoot dead the mice that were bothering her.

The biggest challenge she discovered with being a brand-new sixteen year-old bride (like cooking and cleaning for a herd of men wasn't hard enough,) was that her husband was a slaughter-house vegetarian. He couldn't even eat food prepared with lard and would only eat eggs if they were fried in butter. So, this dish was truly a godsend to her budding recipe file.

My father was also a vegetarian and so this dish prospered in our house, but the recipe evolved with just one generation. My cousins make and eat it, but they call it nutloaf and I won't make it with the tomato sauce topping. (I have an aversion to ketchup--I'm sure it's somehow slaughter-house related.)

So this Thanksgiving, I'm making it, mostly for nostalgia, but also because the other tradition of Nut Roast is that it a qualifier for new potential family members, and the boy-friend is coming for Thanksgiving. If he doesn't like Nut Roast... well then. That's all I'm saying.

Two large potatoes, one large carrot, one large onion, and a big handful of walnuts, ground together in a meat grinder (What other use would a vegetarian have for a meat grinder, but I'm sure a food processor would work.) G-f crackers, oatmeal or corn flakes are added as binders and a couple of eggs, and salt and pepper then the whole thing is pressed into a casserole dish and refrigerated for a day. It is baked for a couple of hours the day of and in the last hour, ketchup or tomato sauce is slathered over the top to bake.

It's obvious to me that I'm going to have to call Mom for the details as it's been too long. Don't forget the salt. Salt is essential and for all that I made, a generous two teaspoons wasn't quite enough, but people salt after anyway right?   

Reality Bite:  Autocondimenters are the bane of chefs the world over. 

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