ELLSWORTH — Author Carol Falkowski wants you to think outside the loaf pan when you’re making your next meatloaf.
“Meatloaf is very popular,” Falkowski said. “I love meatloaf. But I think it’s underachieving.”
Falkowski, who is the granddaughter of the late Ellsworth American publisher James Russell Wiggins, published “Meatloaf Outside the Pan” ($16.99) in October.
“I think its time for meatloaf to look as good as it tastes,” she said. “Think outside the pan and discover unprecedented, clever and inventive ways to sculpt meatloaf and decorate it with colorful sauces and vegetables.”
Falkowski lives in Mahtomedi, Minn. — the Gopher State — where winters are long. Her grandfather grew up in the Minnesota town of Luverne. She is the former director of the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ alcohol and drug abuse division and is known nationally as an authority on substance abuse.
“This book takes meatloaf to new heights and helps restore it to the place on the family dinner table that it so richly deserves,” Falkowski said.
“Unlike other cookbooks, this has one meatloaf recipe and 30 different ways,” to present the dish, she said.
Meatloaf can be formed into numerous shapes, including butterflies, shamrocks, bees, hearts and Santa Claus, to name a few.
Falkowski provides several photos in the book as a guide to help you create meatloaf art.
To create a meatloaf Santa, she says you can use either yellow squash or cauliflower as his beard.
For the squash version, decorate Santa’s face with sliced squash before baking. Use sliced red peppers for Santa’s hat, cheeks and lips.
For the cauliflower version, use sliced red peppers for the hat, cheeks and lips before baking. After baking and transferring to a serving platter, arrange cooked cauliflower florets for Santa’s mustache and beard.
“You don’t need special equipment,” Falkowski said. “You don’t need to be artistically inclined.”
The American still runs weekly poems written by Wiggins and she appears to have inherited her grandfather’s skill.
Consider this poem, which appears in the book:
“A meatloaf’s great for dinner, each and every night.
I do enjoy a meatloaf, every juicy bite!
I try to make a meatloaf as often as I can.
Nothing’s better than a meatloaf made outside the pan!”
To get a copy of “Meatloaf Outside the Pan” visit the author’s website at www.OutsideThePan.com.
The Basic Meatloaf Recipe
Recipe courtesy Carol Falkowski
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground Italian sausage
1 raw egg
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup dry oatmeal (or seasoned breadcrumbs, dry stuffing mix, crushed crackers or a combination of these totaling one cup)
½ cup diced raw onion
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh garlic (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 35 to 60 minutes until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees. The length of baking time varies depending on the thickness of the shape you make with the raw-meat mixture. The thinner the shape of the raw-meat mixture, the shorter the baking time.