Posts Tagged ‘Meatballs’

3rd February
written by Loren

IT’S SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!! This is like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and your first frat party all rolled into one. Throughout my whole life, this weekend has always been an epic party. When I was a kid my dad would take me to one of his friend’s houses out in the boonies and all the guys would stand around the deep fryer in the garage, watching crispy and golden delicious chunks of deep fried pheasant, grouse, walleye, and chicken-fried venison cutlets emerge from the bubbling witches cauldron of peanut oil while the game played on a projection TV. Side note: is there any better way to enjoy nature than deep frying critters?

But without a doubt, my favorite SB parties were in college. You get 15-20 guys together in a house, along with 15-20 cases of beer, and play beer pong and NFL Blitz for hours before the game even starts. And once the game does start, everyone picks a side and cheers for them as though they were your hometown team. Notice how I precluded the possibility of the actual home town team getting into the Superbowl, for we reside in the tundra – land of the Vikings.

So for this holiest of all weeks, we’re going with a trinity of appetizers: beer cheese dip, polpetini (tiny meatballs), and  a shrimp cocktail with honey chipotle cocktail sauce.

The beer cheese dip we’ve done before, here. Except this time I’m going to replace 25% of the cream cheese with sour cream.

The polpetini will be made roughly from:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork, veal or mild italian sausage
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

This is a slightly modified version of the Joy of Cooking recipe which has been previously posted. This time we’re going to roll it into smaller meatballs, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Then lightly coat them in either seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and fry them in a pan with just enough oil to coat the bottom. A minute or two each side should do, just long enough to get some good color. Then they go in the oven at 300 degrees, until a meat thermometer says they’re about 140 degrees inside. Take them out and let them cool a bit, then put them on a toothpick with a cherry tomato, small mozzarella ball and a leaf of basil. You can either roll the basil into a tight roll and skewer that, or kind of weave it over the meat, cheese and basil on the toothpick.

These are pretty good at this stage, but you can make them even better. Mix extra virgin olive with aged balsamic vinegar (which I happen to have laying around because my brother Danny knows EXACTLY what to get me for Christmas) at a ratio of about 3:2. Whisk this together and add it to a jar with a lid, then shake it up. Drizzle that over the tasty skewers, then top everything with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Now its time for the brand new recipe which I found on one of my favorite foodblogs, The Food in My Beard. Now, I love shrimp cocktails but my undying hatred of horseradish prevents me from enjoying the typical condiment associated with them. That makes this recipe perfect for me.

  • 1 7 oz can of chipotles in adobo
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 limes
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • cilantro

Take the peppers out of the can, split them open and remove all of the seeds. Add the peppers to a food processor along with the adobo sauce left in the can, the juice of both limes, the honey and the garlic. Process that until smooth, then add a few tablespoons of the cilantro leaves, and pulse a few more times. Once you put it in the serving bowl, you can garnish with a few more cilantro leaves. Serve with delicious shrimps. I’ll be buying mine frozen from the grocery store, because boiling my own would be just a bit too much work combined with everything else.

These look amazing... except for that red crap in the bowl.

One last thing to note about Superbowl food: the only acceptable choices in terms of recipes are the ones which you can make before the game starts. Several times in recent years I’ve done foolish things like deep frying snacks during the game or cooking something in the oven which needs to be checked on frequently. Remember, this is your last taste of football for the next 6 months, and your last taste of meaningful football for the next 7. That’s a long time to wait and I know I always felt pretty stupid after missing half the game to cooking.


[DDET Click to expand]

Dedicated readers (or maybe just the authors) will remember that at the beginning of the football season, I made 6 predictions for the 2011-12 NFL season. Let’s see how hard this NFL commentary business is:

  • Barring injury, Adrian Peterson will rush for 2,000 yards this year. While we don’t have the greatest O-line Minnesota has ever seen, the reports are that we have abandoned the zone-blocking crap which plagued us in the Childress era.
    • Outcome: Well this one obviously failed to come true, and I won’t even hide behind the hideous knee injury which ended AP’season and maybe permanently dimmed the prospects of his career. He wasn’t really close to the pace of a 2,000 yard season. 0 for 1.
    • As an aside, I am terrified about AP’s prospects for a comeback. He tore his ACL AND MCL. If you didn’t have a chance to see what happened in that game, check this out. Warning: you will feel his pain after watching that clip. Adrian is the most amazing running back I’ve ever watched. Pretty much half a dozen times every season I see him do something so amazing that I thank Odin that he somehow fell to the Vikings in the draft. And it seems like better than even odds that he won’t be anything special when he makes it back onto the football field.
  • The Colts will be in contention for the first overall draft pick by the end of the season. This team is GARBAGE without Manning. He ran the whole offense and he elevated a team that has drafted crap the last several years. (Sub-prediction: this will create endless ESPN contaversy about whether Peyton will allow them to draft Andrew Luck)
    • Outcome: NAILED IT ON BOTH COUNTS! Full disclosure – all of these predictions were written after the pre-season so there was already a hint of how god-awful the Colts were going to be, but that’s not going to stop me from claiming credit for this one. Seeing as how both prediction and sub-prediction came true, I’m 2 for 3.
  • The Houston Texans will finally make the playoffs. I mean, they kind of have to. Jacksonville and Indianapolis will be terrible, and I just don’t think the Hasselbeck-led Titans will steal the division away from them.
    • Outcome: Also correct. It’s intriguing to think about what would have become of this team if they hadn’t lost Mario Williams, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson for most of the season. Think about that! That’s arguably your best player on both offense and defense plus your starting quarterback, and they still won a playoff game. If the injuries had shaken out a different way, the Texans probably could have made the Superbowl. 3 for 4.
  • The Lions will still fail to hit the .500 mark. I know everyone is in love with them and they have certainly created a monster d-line, but Stafford is made of porceline and I still think they need another season to wipe out the stink of 0-16.
    • Outcome: Ouch, and I fall to 3 for 5. The Lions exceeded the .500 mark, made the playoffs and Stafford made it through the season without missing any appreciable amount of time. This team has lots of potential with an improving Stafford, Megatron hitting his prime and a solid core of Suh and Fairley on the D-line. They just desperately need a running back to make it through the season.
  • Lastly, the GB Packers will fail to make the Superbowl this year. Because they’re evil. Superbowl pick: New England over Philly.
    • Outcome: Ahhhh this is the sweetest one to get right. A Rodge was getting just a bit too cocky, and I’m glad the Giants came along to serve some humble pie. And that makes me 4 for 6. OVER .500 THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
I’m pretty excited about this year’s Superbowl. I love the rematch of 2007, I love any Supernowl featuring Tom Brady, I’m looking forward to seeing Belichick try to stop Cruz, Manningham and Nicks using his broke ass secondary, and I am super pumped for the prospect of seeing a pouty faced Eli Manning sulking on the bench after  he chokes away the game.


Please... no more of this.


5th October
written by Loren

In terms of classic tried and true cookbooks, the Joy of Cooking is right up there with the best. It’s the size of an unabridged encyclopedia and carries about the same amount of information. Recipe’s from scallop ceviche to saltwater taffy and everything in between, culinary techniques, chemistry lessons, cocktail notes, conversion tables, and cooking temperatures are just a small sampling of what you can find in this 1130 page tome. Whenever I have a particular idea in mind of something I want to try making, I can rely on two things: 1) The Joy of Cooking will have some version of that recipe I’m looking for and 2) That recipe will be a solid interpretation of the dish at hand, with good reasoning as to why certain steps are taken or ingredients used. The JOC recipe might not always be identical to the final version I decide that I like, but it’s always a good start.

To start what I hope becomes another recurring series on this foodiest of blogs, I’m sharing the Italian Meatball recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Ingredients are as follows:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano (I substituted 1/2 tsp of minced fresh oregano and 1/2 tsp of minced fresh sage. In hindsight, I probably should have doubled those amounts)
Mix everything together thoroughly with your hands, then form them into 2-inch balls. Dredge the meatballs with 1/2 cup of all purpose flower with a bit more salt and pepper mixed in. Then heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches, place on a baking pan and finish in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Now, these meatballs were pretty good. But they lacked a certain succulence and flavor which I normally associate with meatballs. This reinforced my preexisting opinion, for a really good meatball you need a blend of meats. My choice is to mix it half beef and half spicy Italian sausage. I also think the onion needs to be cut back a little bit. Overall though, this recipe is a great starting point, and the red wine definitely added a nice background flavor.