Make Friends With Chefs and Get Goetta

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A gentleman of leisure may certainly enjoy cooking, but as the lifestyle tends to lead one in many different and lackadaisical directions, with the cultivation of many different hobbies and interests, I suspect that there are relatively few who truly learn to master the art and science of the kitchen.  This is why, my friends, it is so important to cultivate friendships with experts in various fields of leisure and gastronomy: what we lack the willpower to do, we can have others do for us, and then we simply make up the difference by giving them the canvas of our palettes upon which they may paint their culinary masterpieces.

Such was the case recently, when I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the rustic home of one of the fine cooks from the kitchen of Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge out in the scenic Applegate Valley, where guests were pried open and then filled to the brim with delicious cuisine.  I had the foresight to bring with me a couple bottles of Bison Farmhouse Ale, which I am happy to report tastes far better than that original bottle of mine seemed to suggest.  After finishing breakfast and the first bottle, we all sat around stuffed and groaning, while the cook told us, "Nobody leave!  I'm going to start working on the next meal."

So how does one make friends with chefs?  And should one, really?  Are the stories really true?  Yes, chefs and cooks tend to be crazy, maniacal people, but they are also artists.  It's just that they're forced to be artists at extremely fast paces, repeating the same processes over and over again.  They're usually delightfully quirky and many of them are eager to cook in their off hours, as well.  One head cook once told me that every morning before heading in to the restaurant, she cooks a gourmet meal for her boyfriend, and that in the several years they'd been together, she'd striven hard to avoid repeating her dishes.  Can you imagine that?  A different gourmet meal every day!  Maybe I should change the title of this entry to "Marry a Chef and Get All The Food You Want."

Well, one of the culinary delights that I had on this most recent trip was goetta, a savory, meaty oatmeal dish somewhat similar to a cross between meatloaf and breakfast sausage.  I've looked around on the web and found a number of recipes for this delicious treat, but here's the one that I was given.

1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
2 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
3 tsp salt
1 onion

First, chop the onion, then brown it with the meat in a large pot.  Once it's all browned, add the water and all the other ingredients.  Boil for two and a half hours, then pour into loaf pans and let cool.  I suppose after cooling, it's set into a sort of loaf, which you can then slice and fry until browned.  Serve with ketchup or maple syrup, poached eggs, and toast.  Plus, it keeps well when frozen.  Enjoy!

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