Friday, January 11, 2008

Pathetic with a side order of meatballs

I see [blah blah blah, stuff about a post I'm not transferring, blah blah blah] That is just pathetic. And sad. And did I mention pathetic? But we did meet Katie (our lurker). Hi Katie. :) And we met Alanna from Two Fat Als, who will now be focusing all of her energy (and that of the other Al, I assume) on figuring out how to get my kids to eat something.

Speaking of eating... (FABULOUS segue, that)

Last night I made meatballs. I do this every couple of months or so and freeze a bunch of them for quick meals. I make sauce, too, but I didn't do that last night. I'll do that over the weekend. Anyway, like I was saying, meatballs. You all want to know how to make homemade meatballs, Italian-style, right? Okay, then. I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, and it's damn good. I'll tell you the recipe, but I should add that I have NEVER followed it exactly. I ALWAYS add more garlic, because there's no such thing as too much garlic, and the meat mixture is always different, depending on what is available in the meat case at the grocery store the day I'm there. And probably a few other things that I'll remember as I'm typing this. And I ALWAYS double the recipe so as to have PLENTY in the freezer.

First, you want to gather your ingredients:

And those ingredients are (I'll list amounts for the single recipe, so use twice that if you want to double):
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
3 eggs (I use large size, what the heck does anyone use small size eggs for anyway?)
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (yes, you can use dry parsley if you insist, but it won't be as good)
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine (you'll notice my laziness has purchased ALREADY chopped garlic in a jar)
1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (just use grated Pecorino Romano, or an Italian blend of Romano and Parmesan)
3 pieces of bread (I've used white, whole wheat and this time potato bread - doesn't matter, though there are subtle differences in the taste of the finished meatballs)
Salt and pepper to taste (but don't go tasting the raw meat mixture, just guess; I always forget to put these in anyway)

You will not need the baby oatmeal, that was just there. Although, it could add an interesting twist. Feel free to try it. Anyway, it so happens that I went to the grocery store late at night (as usual) and had to take whatever ground meat was available (as usual). Usually, that means I end up with half beef and half pork, but this time there was actually ground veal on the shelf. There was only one package of pork and one package of my preferred 95% lean beef (I also had to get a package of 90% lean). So my meat mixture ended up being 1/2 beef, 1/3 veal and 1/6 pork. In any case, what you do is mix your meat and eggs. Add your chopped parsley, garlic and grated cheese and mix it up some more. Then wet the bread and squeeze out the water. Mix it into the meat mixture. If the mixture feels too soft (I don't KNOW, just use your judgment) add some dry bread crumbs. I've only ever added the bread crumbs once, and I don't really know that I needed them then. By the way, you are using your hands to mix. And it is dadgum cold. I have to keep stopping and rinsing my hands in warm water to stop the PAIN from the cold. Maybe if I had one of those fancy industrial sized mixers with a bowl... But I digress (I do that a lot). Your final mixture should look something like this:

Now, according to the recipe, you now shape into balls and either fry in very little oil with some garlic or place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then you put into your sauce to finish cooking. I don't do that. Because it is a rare occasion indeed (in fact it has NEVER happened) that I am making my sauce and meatballs at the same time. What I do is this: I put my meatballs in a mini-muffin pan (isn't that an AWESOME idea?):

Then I bake them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. The meatballs are done then (I guess mini-muffin size is smaller than whatever size the recipe assumes you'll make). Cool them off and store them in freezer bags in your freezer until you are ready to use. Then you can take them out and throw them in some sauce to heat up when you need a quick and easy meal (you can thaw them first, but that step is not required). The cooked meatballs look something like this (I didn't realize my picture was blurry until this morning, and the meatballs are already frozen, so you'll have to imagine what they'd look like in focus):

Oh, and by the way, my two picky eaters WILL NOT EAT these. But the rest of us will, and they are oh so delicious.

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