03 March 2011

Itza Meatball!

Hi, Baby!
I finally "manned up" as your Daddy would say and went for a long walk with Harley.  They keep the cemetery well-plowed, and we had it all to ourselves. The snow is almost four feet deep up on the hill, but the temperatures are flirting with the 40's this afternoon because of the sunshine.  The crisp air and much needed exercise cleared my thoughts and lifted my mood considerably.  Harley is sacked out in front of the stove and looking like he just ran the Iditarod...such a funny dog!

I'm sending you a recipe my home ec teacher had us copy out in high school, Leadership Conference Meatballs.  The sauce is from my friend Fran who is passionate about authentic Italian cuisine.  She wouldn't approve of the meatballs at all:  they're sturdy enough for a sub sandwich (which is how they're served at NELC) or a crockpot recipe, and you can make literally hundreds of them in a couple of hours if you use a #50 cookie scoop.

Fran's sauce
Good quality cold-pressed olive oil
1 medium yellow onion (use 1 large if doubling recipe)
2 cloves garlic minced, or more to taste.
Preheat stock pot over medium heat.  Pour in enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan.  Chop onion coarsely and fry over medium heat in oil.  When translucent, add garlic.  Do not allow onion or garlic to brown.
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Add and fry for 1 minute until the aroma releases
1 (28 oz) can ground peeled Pastene "kitchen ready" tomatoes 
1/2 can water
8-10 leaves fresh basil, minced
1 shake oregano (I substitute marjoram since we hate oregano)
Add and bring to a boil.  Add meatballs if desired, and reduce to simmer for 90 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Mom's note:  I add 2 Tbsp sugar along with the other spices. Don't tell Fran!!!!

Leadership Conference Meatballs
1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 Tbsp dried onion
3/4 cup flavored bread crumbs (I like Pastene Whole Wheat Italian Crumbs with Romano)
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a cookie sheet.  Mix all ingredients except sauce and shape into golf ball sized balls.  Place meatballs on cookie sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, shaking pan halfway through to brown meatballs on the other side.  Drop meatballs into simmering sauce and poach until they are cooked completely through.

These meatballs also work wonderfully for fancy event buffets.  Corral several nice looking crockpots or use a chafing pan.  Be sure to put frilled picks out if there is no cutlery.  You can fit up to 1-1/2 recipes of these meatballs into each recipe of sauce.

Cocktail Meatballs
Baked meatballs, 1" diameter
1 can cranberry sauce
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Whisk together cranberry sauce, juice, sugar, dry mustard, cloves, and Worcestershire.  Place meatballs in crockpot and pour cranberry mixture over top.  Heat on low for 3-4 hours and hold warm until needed.  I always think of Grandpa Rhodes when I make these.  He must have eaten a pound of them at his granddaughter's wedding and kept winking at me and saying: "My, those are tasty little rigs!  Don't tell on me."

My time is short today.  Both of your brothers have influenza, and Matt is struggling with his asthma.  We had to make a run to the clinic so he could start a round of prednisone.  Hopefully this is the worst of it.


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