Cooking at Lodge – Day Nine

Breakfast was pretty basic this morning – sausage patties, bacon, smashed potatoes, biscuits and an egg and cheese frittata.  I was about halfway through making everything, when the hunting guide told me a couple of the people had left for home earlier this morning.  So, there was a lot of leftover breakfast food.  Then I realized that the rest of the group was packing to leave.  Apparently there were two different schedules, the guide and I had one, and the guests had another!  Wasn’t a big problem, but I had already put together the entree for dinner.  Unfortunately, you won’t see that picture, and it was pretty magnificent.

I was trying to use up some things in the fridge, and decided a stuffed meatloaf would be good.  I mixed beef hamburger and elk hamburger together with tapenade, spices, breadcrumbs, egg……Then I patted it out into a large rectangle.  For the filling, I mixed diced provolone, swiss cheese, and salami with eggs, ricotta, and parsley.  I spread that over the meat, then rolled the whole thing up.  Next I covered the whole top with bacon.  It was the exact length of one of the large aluminum roasting pans.  I’m telling you it was spectacular, and now…it’s in the freezer.  I’ll never know how it turned out, because the family that owns the lodge is there for the holidays, and hopefully will eat it.  So, just picture it in your mind as a slice is cut, and you can see a large pinwheel of hamburger and cheese swirling together.  It feels like I’ve lost a piece of art!  I don’t think I’ve ever been attached to a meatloaf before.

Notes after cooking at the lodge-

It was a great week and a half of cooking at the lodge, and lots of fun for me.  Don got a doggie bag every night, so he was pretty happy.  Dixie (our dachshund) got a doggie bag of the doggie bag so she made out pretty well.

One of the things I was reminded of on this latest cooking gig is how important it is to have a well stocked pantry.  It’s really hard to create, when you have very little to work with.    Once I’ve been cooking somewhere for a few days, I start creating a menu around what’s in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.  It’s been my experience that when you decide on a recipe or menu and have no flexibility, you end up getting really frustrated, and give up after a while.  For me, it’s a matter of looking at what I already have, and looking for the freshest and best in the market, and building what I want to do around what’s available.  For some good information on stocking your cupboard and fridge, click here for Pantry Essentials.

I said all that to say, there was very little to work with in the pantry at the lodge, so that was my first challenge.  The lodge is a lot more than five minutes from any grocery store, so not having what I needed would have been a big issue.  In addition, there were a few essential kitchen items I needed to bring, like bowls, microplane, whisk, and a food processor.  Luckily, I have a portable cart I keep pretty well stocked for cooking on the go.  After the first day, I developed a routine to get everything done on schedule.  And that’s when things started to click.

Hopefully, they’ll need me back in the spring for turkey season!