It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!
After “Sticker Shock” of $10 / pound lamb mince (ground) at Lucky’s Market, I managed to find $7.50 / lb at Smart & Final. Frankly, with the sudden rise to $10 happening at some stores, and chops pushing $17, I suspect I may be priced out of the market shortly.
I’ve started to look for “Australian Lobster Tail” as it might be cheaper ;-)
We’ll see if I can scrounge up more cheaper lamb next week, or not…
So this was made as a simple 1/2 pound “Salisbury Steak” for each of us. I used dehydrated onion chips from my inventory as I forgot to buy onions… These were rehydrated by soaking in 2 units of water for each unit of onion and left to stand for about 20 minutes. Then fried OK in olive oil. Piled on top of the mince steak as a topper.
A light sprinkle of garlic granules was added to the meat patty in the cook. 4 minutes a side on medium in a cast iron skillet.
For sides, we had a simple salad and fried potatoes. The spuds were cut into french fries and into an electric skillet deep oil bath at 375 F for about 8 minutes. (When they stop spitting out steam and get quiet they are done ;-) The oil used was 90% beef tallow and 10% coconut oil. It works very well and is nicely flavored.
The salad was a mix of Romaine & Butter lettuce, sliced olives and sliced mushrooms, with Ranch Dressing.
Nothing particularly spectacular. A very nice Cabernet Sauvignon from Yellow Tail. This is one of the more common wines in the bigger grocery stores. One presumes because they can deliver in volume. It was what they had on the shelf in Smart & Final. $10 for 1.5 L jug.
Very drinkable but nothing to make it stand out from any other Cab. I’d never turn it down, and the bottle drained fairly quickly, but other than saying “Yeah, nice Cab”, I don’t have much impression of distinction about it. No impression of “chocolate” or “deep fruit” or all those other wine snob terms. More like an Italian table wine. Meant to be enjoyed right now and not fussed over.
It went well with the lamb, and I’d be happy to drink it with anything from a hamburger to Prime Rib, or from Lasagna to Pepperoni Pizza.
Hey, hey, E.M. – I made a Costco run earlier this week and I remembered to check the lamb & grass-fed beef. Yup… Australian.
The T-bone lamb chops were $7.99/lb. So what’s with the big price difference between your stores and the Midwest, which further adds to the transportation costs? It seems backwards to me, although purchase price and delivery guarantees are probably involved somewhere in there.
Before you even wrote about your dried, minced onion I was going to ask if you had ever tried onion ‘burgers’.
I think the recipe is on the box of Lipton Onion Soup, but onion burgers are an old classic. You mix a packet of the onion soup mix, which is just dried, minced onions, some powdered bouillon and some other seasonings, with a pound or two of ground beef and then make up the hamburger patties for the grill.
The other two classics made with the onion soup mix are meatloaf and chip dip, where the soup mix is added to sour cream.
Which brings me to a suggestion for a different dish to try. Have you ever considered a lamb-based meatloaf? I’m thinking there are some possibilities there, maybe chopped leaks mixed in, a touch of garlic, salt, pepper, and some rosemary. I dunno. I might give one a try.
As our price rise was rather sudden and only a couple of weeks back, it might just be the wave is still working east from the California ports landing zone. Basically some warehouse in Arkansas still has stock they landed a while ago sitting in their freezers and haven’t ordered any replacement yet so don’t know about the stock reduction… While the one in L.A. sold out and can’t get more (thus my COSTCO being stock-out on lamb).
I’ve seen other price waves like that as inventory impacts sweep across the turf.
There’s also the possibility that the S.F. Bay Area has just made itself so problematic that it is like the prior problem we saw with Turkey Prices. We get ours shipped from the Port Of Long Beach most likely, and that’s a long truck drive up here for a modest sized market ( about 4 million). I’ve not checked lately (as I’m mostly ignoring him / it…) but in January at least Gov. Nuisance still had his night time curfew in place – that makes being a long haul trucker hard…
Can’t move during the day due to traffic being at a halt. Can’t move at night due to curfew. What do you do? Haul it to Phoenix instead… ( Both SF & Phoenix about 6 hours from L.A. but for Phoenix you get over the border fast and into relatively free Arizona…. and can order dinner at a sit down restaurant, drive at night, stay in a hotel, etc…)
But that’s speculation on my part. Mostly I’m accepting the word of the Australians in our little group here who said it was drought and shortage of lamb there, too.
Hmmm… Remembering the Turkey Experience… When I went to the rural area about 50 miles away the prices were closer to normal / rest of nation. I’m bored and tired of sitting in the house… Maybe I need to make a quick run in the car to The Country and see if they have lamb at decent prices? (Do note that Premium for the Gas Mercedes and Diesel are both running on the edge of $4 / gallon here now, post Biden. So $3.75 at the cheap places, $4.15 at the pricier ones. A joy ride is not free and adding $16 to a $7 pound of lamb would be an issue… OTOH, If I do a full stock up grocery run… ;-)
Sidebar Speculation on local ports:
We do have the ports of S.F. and Oakland, but S.F. is basically a tourist trap now and Oakland seems to mostly unload containers for further inland (not a lot of warehouses for distribution last time I looked, but that was decades ago). Most of the big distribution centers are built out on cheaper land in the Central Valley or other more remote areas. Often along I-5 (Tracy and The Grapevine both growing distribution hubs). So I think low volume things (like lamb for S.F.) likely are taken from a giant ship load landed at Long Beach and separated at a distribution hub down there somewhere while Oakland will be doing things like Japanese Cars for the west and the assorted TV Sets & Clothes and such for big retail. No refrigerated warehouse needed and big shipment volumes for N. California and into Nevada / Utah.
Long Beach has year round rail to the rest of the nation, while SF / OAK have the problem of Donner Pass and winter closures. Were I planning my distribution, I’d plan it to avoid Donner Pass and just “vision” Northern California as a spoke off of a So.Cal container distribution point. Run shipments up I-5 or maybe the rail over by Fresno / Sacramento inland. Which means SFO is a pain… (Note that Amtrak even discontinued their L.A. to S.F. to Portland & more run with a “bus bridge” in the middle of the L.A. to SF line somewhere or other. Last time I took rail from Riverside to San Jose, it was a big Bus Ride to the central valley, a shot of train to about Stockton, then another bus ride to San Jose – so something isn’t good on the coastal rail between SFO / LA…)
Essentially the San Francisco Bay Area is hostile to “dirty work” like ports, trucks, freight trains, and warehouses and has driven a lot of it away. Which may just mean we are now a backwater delivery stub who get service last…
Oh, and per meat-loaf:
Had not thought of that one. OTOH, my memories of childhood meatloaf are a thick layer of catsup over something nondescript… so not high on my go-to list…
I did make a batch of Lamb Burritos and they are quite good. Note that the refried beans swamp the lamb flavor a little and they taste more like regular beef… so I made my second one without refritos added and it was nicely lamby ;-) Used the dried onions for that, too.
Oh Yeah, Onion Soup Mix… I made dip with it once. And I remember a BBQ Onion Burger from about 50 years ago. I’m mostly just a “sautee real onions” kind of cook though. I have the dried onions as part of prepper stores, but now that I’m using them for more than soup sprinkles I’m finding they work pretty good.
I’ll try adding some to fresh ground meat and just going straight to the pan and see if they rehydrate enough that way (they ought to).
FWIW, about 20? years ago I made my own dried soup mix using bullion, spices and dried onions… It was OK and made an acceptable French Onion Soup analog, but I didn’t keep doing it ’cause I almost always have fresh onions in stock… It was more proof of concept (and worked… so I’ve got a big tub of bullion and one of dried onions along with 25 lbs of bread flour and a 1/2 gallon of ‘cheese powder’… In other words: Mediocre French Onion Prepper Soup Analog to excess ;-)
Yellow Tail was developed for the Casella family winery to enter into the bottled wine market—having previously supplied bulk wine to other wineries. Yellow Tail was developed in 2000 and was originally marketed to export countries. It became the number one imported wine to the United States by 2011. In 2005, Yellow Tail sold more wine in the US than all the French producers combined.
Casella are based in the Griffith Irrigation area. Sunshine and lots of water can result in very big yields** (but some loss of flavour) and operate on a giant scale; in fact Casella produce 3-5% of all the wine in Australia. They have expanded into other regions by purchasing small quality producers, but these aren’t sold as Yellow Tail.
**When yields aren’t excessive then some rather good wine comes from the area, from a number of vignerons, but it priced rather higher.
For Oz Lobster tail, just take a Maine lobster tail and turn it upside down!
Side note, the Suez Canal issue is NOT impacting trade between Oz and the West coast at least!
We first encountered Yellow Tail in England,, when a friend of ours brought some with him. A lot of it was being sold the remaining time we were living there; presumably still is.
I checked lamb prices in our local supermarket (in Victoria, Aus) last week; crikey! Not buying it atm.
Meanwhile, our various sheep continue to eat themselves silly as the freezer is full of other stuff! :( The two erstwhile wethers are now big fat mutton!
I like mutton. Stronger flavor than lamb… and I like the flavor…. Also like goat. Had a leg of goat once. Reminded me of mutton with a nice strong “lamby” flavor to it.
Found goat at a Halal meat market in Orlando. Maybe I need to visit the Halal markets around here….
In another comment, I’ll write up my #1 recipe for meatloaf. Anyone who has my meatloaf is spoiled for what other people call meatloaf and never again look at meatloaf the same way.
Maybe I should post the recipe on the alien thread. It’s really that different and really good., I have considered opening a shop called, Just Meatloaf to sell the stuff. I do quite a few variations on meatloaf, but I think it’s time to add a lamb variant to my repertoire.
Meanwhile…. in Indian Shores, Florida, one of my favorite restaurants is Salt Rock Grill. If I was told to pick a restaurant because it would be the only one I’d be allowed to eat at for the rest of my life, I’d strongly consider Salt Rock Grill.
We go there once or twice every time we are in Florida. It’s a white linen tablecloth place. I think Michelin has missed it for some reason. Otherwise, it would have a star or two or three. It opens at 4:00 pm. Be there at 3:45 pm if you want to park in the same county. They are on the Intercoastal and have a dock at the rear. Usually there’s an open slip there, but my F-250 doesn’t float, so I just get there early and park in their lot.
Hit the link, and about halfway down you’ll see their Mile High Meatloaf. It took several years before I finally managed to order something else off their menu.
It’s IN-S-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-n-e!!!!! A 3″ slab of really, really good meatloaf topped by a h-u-u-g-e double-glop of garlic mashed potatoes AND enough onion straws to choke a mule on top of that .
Here’s the link for their Early Bird Menu (note: pdf format)r .
Click to access saltrockearlymenus.pdf
Here’s the link to their site.
Mmmm…’Kay. Here we go.
Spiraled Meatloaf – the usual version (Note: I never measure anything and I add some ingredients to eye or to taste)
I am assuming anyone making this from my less-than-exact instructions is experienced in making meatloaf, so how much egg and breadcrumbs to bind the mixture is pretty much the same as for any meatloaf you are used to making. This post is a bit long because a lot of this is technique for the spiral and has little to do with run-of-the-mill meatloaf making.
50/50 Hamburger/Italian Sausage (Sweet, Mild, or Hot as you like it)
Green and or Red sweet pepper – 1/8″ dice
Onion – 1/8″ dice
Italian Seasoning (a mix of oregano, thyme, & whatnot, and every brand is about the same mix)
Fresh Basil, if I have it – finely chopped. Skip it if you only have dried.
Bread Crumbs, Italian Seasoned if you have it, else Plain and add more Italian Seasoning
Garlic powder – to the tolerance level of the people eating the meatloaf – zero to a lot
Crushed Fennel seed – to the tolerance level of the people eating the meatloaf – zero to a lot
Spaghetti Sauce or Marinara – A little bit to mix into the meat mixture and save the rest for the assembly operation
Note: NO salt – I generally cook without it and let people salt to their personal taste afterward
All of the above is to make the meatloaf mixture. Put it in a bowl and mix well.
Sliced lunchmeat ham, the rectangular type that’s about 4″ x 7″ or 8″
Shredded Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago – At least use the mozzarella, but I usually get an 8oz package that’s a mix of all 3. Figure on about 6 oz or so per meatloaf.
And the rest of the marinara or spaghetti sauce
Some Assembly Required
(This is just like making a cake roll, and a cake roll baking pan can be handy to get your thickness right and the width and length right, or at least close. I recommend trying this first with just the meat mixture so you can get the L x W x T dimensions right for your pans. Then you can roll out the practice run again and use the ham, cheese, and sauce. Use a bit less mix ’cause the ham will add a little more bulk than your practice run had.)
Lay out a nice, long strip of waxed paper, about 2 feet long, and longer can be helpful
Roll or press out the meat mixture onto the waxed paper –
– about 3/4″ thick
– about 18″ or so long, depending on how deep your loaf pan is.
– width a bit over a 1/2″ wider than your loaf pan so the edges will seal when you put it in the pan
Spread out a thin layer of the marinara or spaghetti sauce over the rolled out meatloaf mixture
Sprinkle just a little bit of the shredded cheese over that
Lay the ham on top of that, side to side and bottom to – Stop! – about 2″ – 3″ or so from the top. As you roll up the loaf the ham has a tendency to squeeze forward.
Add more Shredded cheese, a nice layer this time.
Start rolling up your layered work of culinary art by lifting the waxed paper and rolling the meat/ham/cheese forward into as tight of a spiral that you can get. Air gaps don’t work out well when it’s cooking.
When you’ve got it rolled up completely, the seam will naturally be on the bottom. The extra waxed paper is helpful here. Pick up the top bit of waxed paper and roll the spiraled meatloaf backwards until the seam is on top. Seal the seam up or all your cheese will melt out during cooking. Seal up the sides, too.
Turn your loaf pan upside down and fit it over the meatloaf. Note the seam is then on the bottom of your pan. Ideally, the roll will be just a bit wide so when you squeeze it into the pan, the ends seal even better. Now you have waxed paper at the bottom to hold the loaf in place to flip it over for cooking. My waxed paper isn’t very strong, so I hang onto the paper and roll the pan to its side and then upright.
Spread a bit of sauce over the top and sprinkle with a bit of the shredded cheese, if you like, or if you like a crispy-browned top, just brush the top with a bit of olive oil.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375(F) for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on how your oven cooks and how big the meatloaf is.
Some people do their meatloaf at 350(F) for an hour or so.
If you get a tight roll it cooks a smidge faster than a regular meatloaf because the ham and cheese don’t need cooking, unlike an all meat-mix where everything needs cooked through.
When it’s done, let it stand longer than usual, I’d say a half hour. If you slice it too soon, all the melted cheese will run out and you won’t have a pretty spiral. Use a sharp, slicing knife to make sure you cut through the ham without tearing up the meat mixture.
The slices should be an attractive spiral when plated.
Here’s one that looks like it was done with pepperoni.
The variations are endless, but you need to get the technique down and I was also giving y’all the ingredients for my favorite flavor profile.
Never had goat, until I went to Mexico and saw it on the Menu (for tacos – I asked). It is quite tasty. More flavor than beef. I always try something new when I see it. But I knew what Lingua was. And ordered it right away. My BIL asked me if I knew what I was ordering, and I told him yes – Tongue! And I grew up loving it as when I was young it was a cheap cut of meat that no one likes (tastes a little like Corn Beef) and we were poor! The way my mother cooked it was soooo good! But I like it any way it is cooked. A shame that none of us kids learned how to cook it. By the time we were grown, damn Yuppies had figured out it was a healthy cut of meat.
@HR – Yep! Had that and it is good as well! Damn!!! Making me hungry for comfort food!
Well I know what I’ll be making… Don’t know when, but it’s gonna happen!
We used to occasionally have “Tongue Sandwiches” in the restaurant IIRC. (Had them somewhere… and I think that was it). Small farm town. Local butchers. Every part had to be used for something and it wasn’t sent to dog food companies.
Menudo was interesting. Texture is a bit odd, and the basic flavor is sort of nothing (so you spice up the soupy bits to give it some… tripe…)
Steak & Kidney Pie was something my Mum made some times. Try finding kidneys in the grocery store now… We also had beef heart in gravy and all sorts of other stuff. I really like liver & onions but even liver is getting hard to find. Just don’t cook it to shoe leather and it is quiet nice. As soon as the pink is gone, out of the pan!
What you find now in butchers departments is very dull in comparison to a real butcher shop. (I remember a glass 5 gallon crock of Pickled Pigs Feet and a full pig head on display with the brains available for making “scrambled eggs & brains”… )
Oh Well… at least the dog food is better now ;-)
Hey, there are a bunch of recipes for spiraled meatloaf online if you want more exact measures of ingredients.
When I make meatloaf, I usually wind up with 3 or 4 of them. I have 5 loaf pans. 3 are metal and 2 are glass and only two of the pans are the same size. That’s where making these a few times comes in to get the W x L x T so the spiraled loaf fits right in your pans.
The good news is, even the mistakes are delicious 😊
P.S. I gotta try that peperoni version!
P.P.S. I hadn’t thought of it, but seeing that peperoni version, I suppose some 1/2″ strips of ham could be pressed into the top, perhaps on a diagonal or a lattice weave, to give the presentation some snootiness factor.
EMS: “After “Sticker Shock” …”
Lamb loin chops (“T-Bones”) are $A25+ per kg, call it $A15/pound.
Correct for exchange rate.
Sounds about right.
Drought followed by flood tends to thin the stock on hand, pushing up the price and here we are.
HR: “Spiraled Meatloaf”
I quite like making a “3 meat” meatloaf – beef, pork and chicken mince, equal amounts, plus same again of breadcrumbs, then add spices etc to personal taste. All mixed as one “big lump”. Very rich and satisfying, you only need about half per serve of what you would of a “one meat” one.
Adding chicken mince tends to give you a more “solid meat” result than the more “grainy” beef one.
per layered and mixed meat loaf…
I’m reminded of TurDuckin…. Now put a small ham inside the chicken that’s inside the duck that’s inside the turkey… and then wrap the turkey with bacon…
Sandwich ham makes really nice material for decorative ham bits. One meal I make is just “stuff on a stick” with various things stuck with toothpicks. Cheese, ham, cheese wrapped in ham, olives, olives stuffed with cheese wrapped in ham, ham on tortilla rolled up and sliced into bits on sticks. Pepperoni layered on ham on cheese slices rolled up and stuck with sticks then sliced to separate. Etc. etc.
Some are “vegetable” too. Like avocado bits and cream cheese inside ham or lettuce wrapper. Green Onion wrapped in ham / cheese / whatever then toothpicks every inch and cut into pieces.
It is kind of like various hors d’oeuvres ( horse doovers? I don’t want no horse meat! ;-) but also sort of like making variety sushi rolls without fish and rice ;-)
Sandwich ham works really well for that, as does very large slices of pepperoni and other lunch meats. You can also wrap them on / poke with pretzel sticks but the spouse doesn’t like hard crunchy things so I’ve not been able to explore that one as much. Oh Well…
Yankee Sushi? Something like that…
When I first began working in my Dad’s sheep shearing gangs ( in the North Island of NZ) aged about 8, I swore that when I grew up and left the family home and business I would NEVER EVER eat mutton again. All of the meat we consumed were broken-mouthed ewes, otherwise known as ‘shearers’ tucker supplied as per the contract with the owner of the property. I had my baptism of fire as a Shearers cook at the age of ten, when a cook for one of the gangs went awol on the eve of the ten-man gang being shifted onto a new job.
Strangely, as I grew older and found ways to make a living that didn’t involve sheep, mutton (not lamb) became, in my view, unbeaten for flavour.
As to Meat Loaf, lean Mutton mince mixed about 50/50 with sausage meat is great!
Tongue! I won’t eat anything that’s been in an animal’s mouth.
Give me an egg instead.
I was taught in grade school that the Buffalo (American Bison) were hunted nearly to extinction because of the East Coast market for tongue.
It seems tongue was a delicacy and the Eastern hotels and restaurants had an insatiable demand for tongue.
As we were taught, huge numbers of Buffalo were shot and their tongues removed for market. The rest of the carcass was left to rot. The buzzard population at the time must have exploded!
Ah! Here we go. The link is a bit simplistic and only slightly preachy. The other thing I remembered from grade school is that later, crews were sent out to gather the bones of those wasted Buffalo so they could be ground into fertilizer. It’s mentioned in the linked article.
@EMS – LOVE Menudo! But you are right, the tripe has no flavor of its own. It is there to hold the flavor of the soup (kind of like a sponge). Down south (southern California) they make it with hominy – which serves the same purpose – hold the flavor, not add to it. I prefer Menudo over Pozole because the latter adds the pork flavor to it. It is fine, but the pork flavor competes with the spices. You cannot get real menudo back east. But what passes for it, will tide me over until Nuisance is out of office.
@EMS – Your “TurDuckin” reminds me of Shawarma! Except they do not use ham (it is Jewish, but also Muslim). Usually Lamb and Turkey (or chicken) wrapped around a spit and roasted! I had some at a Jewish festival and it was very tasty!
@HR – I was taught they were hunted to extinction for their pelts. After skinning them, the carcass was left to rot on the prairie.
@philj – I saw that about the hides in that little brief history, but I didn’t remember that part from grade school.
What surprised me about the hides was the mention of using the hides for industrial belts. I actually worked in an old factory that had the overhead pulleys on shafts that ran the length of the building. The leather belts would drive the machinery under the pulleys; lathes, mills, saws, etc. The old steam engine that drove the shafts was still in a basement of that building.
I worked at another place that did very heavy-duty sewing. The machines each had an electric motor, but they used a heavy leather belt to drive the needle. Oh, and then there were those old treadle sewing machines that our mothers and grandmothers had. Heck, every house had one until people started to upgrade to electric sewing machines in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.
We had a treadle sewing machine at our house growing up, and my wife used it when we were first married. Mom gave it to us because we didn’t have a sewing machine. We gave it back to mom after getting a compact electric machine.
Anybody who has ever worked with leather drive belts knows what a hog ring is and how to repair a broken belt. Come to think of it, I don’t have my hog ring pliers any longer. I wonder where they got off to?
I remembered the tongue info because mom would fix beef tongue now and then. It wasn’t exactly cheap but it wasn’t exactly expensive, either. I think a chuck roast was cheaper than tongue. Ya gotta figure, there’s only one tongue per head of cattle, but you can carve a lot of steaks and roasts out of one critter. Tongue is also quite tender and slices nicely. I don’t remember the flavor, so it must have been pretty bland stuff for a kid not to notice or care.
@HR – yea. And the dominoes fall. Most of those belts were leather. But now we are Vegan! The idiots of the 21st century
An amazing difference with cfa wethers if they have been tender stretched in a cold room for about a week. Haven’t tried ewes.
Rhoda – Re “I won’t eat anything that’s been in an animal’s mouth.”
Think where the egg has been