Well, much to my surprise, one of the farmers, Mr. Harris, had exactly what I was looking for, so I quickly pulled out my cash and bought some purple-hull peas, okra and new potatoes from him before they all disappeared.
The market was very busy and folks were snatching up the okra and purple-hull peas as fast as Mr. Harris was putting them out. So I hurriedly paid for my goodies and quickly made my way to the car before somebody decided to come after me, knock me in the head and make off with my beloved fresh vegetables.
It was so hot that day, that I didn’t want to leave them in the car, so when I got to work I carried them inside our air-conditioned office in effort to keep them cool until I take them home. Needless to say, I had to keep a close watch on them throughout the day, because the girls in the office will mob you over fresh vegetables.
Immediately when I got home that evening, I got out my favorite paring knife and cut the okra I had bought earlier in the day. Then I sat down on the couch with a big bowl for the peas and a box for the hulls and began shelling those beautiful purple-hull peas.
And Mr. Harris, just so you know, they were beautiful. Only three or four peas in the whole mess (Southern slang for bunch) had bug bites on them. Which, as many of you may know, is very unusual.
When I finished cutting the okra and shelling the peas I put them in plastic freezer bags and put them in my refrigerator where they stayed until I got ready to cook them that weekend.
As you may imagine, I was so excited when I got up Sunday morning and started cooking. I had invited my son Jason and his wife, Jenna and my youngest Cory over to eat around 4 p.m., so I put the peas and new potatoes in my slow cookers (I have three) and set them to cook slow and low.
My mouth was already beginning to water, (I could just taste those fresh vegetables), but I needed to figure what kind of meat I was going to fix to go with them. I had all the ingredients to fix my “Kitchen Sink” meatloaf and some cornbread to go with the peas and potatoes.
But I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen anymore than necessary. It was only eight o’clock in the morning and it was already getting pretty warm outside.
I knew if I turned on the oven to cook a meatloaf, things were just going to get that much hotter.
Well, the boys want cornbread with their peas and they love meatloaf as much as I do, so I either had to suck it up and bear the heat, or come up with another plan.
While I was standing in the doorway looking out the window at the birds eating in my yard, the idea hit me right between the eyes! “GRILL IT!”
There on my porch sat my brand new charcoal grill/smoker, which had only been used one time. So I came up with this bright idea to cook the meatloaf and the cornbread on the grill.
I knew it could be done, I just had to figure out how. So I set about putting some charcoal on the grill and set it ablaze, while I mixed together the ingredients for the meatloaf and cornbread.
When I thought the grill was hot enough, I placed some foil over the grill rack and put the mini-meatloaf burgers I had created on the foil. Then I filled two of my muffin pans (I have four in various sizes) with cornbread batter and placed them on the grill’s warmer shelf and closed the lid.
I was so proud of myself. I thought I had done really big. I had dinner cooking without having to heat up the house, and things couldn’t be more perfect.
Well, as the old sayings go, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and so on and so on!
When I went back to the grill a few minutes later to turn my cute little meatloaf type burgers, I was crushed! My beautiful little meatloaf burgers were falling all to pieces! And the way things were looking, it appeared we would probably end up eating scrambled meatloaf instead.
But, as usual, I wasn’t going down without a fight or give up that easily.
I managed to kick in my brain’s quick-think-on-your-feet mechanism in gear and came up with a solution to my problem.
MacGyver would have been so proud of me, as I raced to the kitchen, grabbed my stone baking sheet out of the cabinet, raced back to the grill, transferred all my meatloaf to the baking sheet, removed the aluminum foil and put the baking sheet on the grill.
“Voila!” Things were back on track once again! So I thought.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, the stone baking sheet worked perfect, the cornbread turned out great (even though it stuck to the pans because I didn’t grease them enough) and the peas and potatoes cooked to perfection in the slow cookers, but I had forgot all the okra I got at the farmer’s market to fry. So I ended up heating up the kitchen after all.
But the kids made me feel better about my near disaster, by saying everything was delicious. In fact, Cory said it was probably the best meatloaf I had every cooked.
Which is saying a lot, considering how they describe what is in my meatloaf when someone asks me for the recipe. Hence it’s name “Kitchen Sink” Meatloaf.
I have agreed to share my meatloaf recipe, but it is for the oven version, not the grilled version. I’m still trying to perfect that recipe before I share it with anyone.
What you need:
2 pounds ground round or chuck (less fat/holds together better)
1/2 cup crushed crackers
1/2 cup Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
1/4 cup Sweet Baby Rays “Sweet Vidalia Onion” Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 tps salt
1/8 tps black pepper
1/8 tps garlic powder
Pinch of dried Rosemary, Thyme and Savory
•Preheat oven to 350 degrees
•In medium bowl, mix together the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce. Set half aside.
•In a large bowl, mix the ground round or chuck, crushed crackers, bread crumbs, onions, salad dressing, salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, savory and the other half of the ketchup/Worcestershire sauce/barbecue mixture together.
•Make into individual mini-loaves, place in deep-sided baking pan and bake in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
•Remove from oven; drain off excess fat, pour remaining sauce mixture over each loaf and return to the oven for 30 minutes or until sauce is set.
•Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes, and then serve with either purple-hull peas, fried okra, boiled new potatoes, coleslaw and cornbread; or mashed potatoes, green beans and a salad.