Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Classic home cooking

There is nothing better than home cooked comfort food.  Recently I went with some friends to a place called The Meatball Shop which is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Along enjoying spending time with friends the food was awesome!  As the name suggests they make meatballs, but not just any meatballs, they make the BEST meatballs and sauces that are just divine. 

My friend opted for the classic dish which is four good sized beef "balls" with classic marinara sauce and a side of greens.  Her BF ordered the special which was, get this, RUEBEN style "balls" yes my friends, it was pork, corned beef and sauerkraut with Russian dressing on top, UNBELIEVABLE, I have to learn to make this dish.  As for me, the indecisive one, I went for the meatball sliders so I could sample different sauces and ball styles (gosh that sounds wrong....haha).  I ordered the spicy pork, chicken and classic balls along with the Parmesan cream sauce, pesto sauce and classic marinara sauce.  Now I don't have an absolute favorite but the spicy pork definitely stands out in my mind and on my pallet.  I had a side of creamy home made pollenta, quite nice but the meatballs were the star of this meal.

Since the place also makes their own ice cream and cookies we had to try them too, we split an espresso ice cream and chocolate cookie sammie, it was delightful but again I say it was really a meatball kind of meal.  

With this meal still fresh in my mind i decided to make a pot of sauce and some good down home classic meatballs.  I don't have a set recipe and like to switch things up here and there, the basic idea remains the same though.

Here is what i did for the sauce, whenever i have fresh ingredients I always opt for that:

Couple of cans of diced tomatoes (I use fresh when i have them on hand)
Small can tomato paste
Basil (I had fresh on hand so I minced and used that)
Garlic (don't be shy about this)
To cut the acidity you can add a carrot and pull it out when the cooking is done
Opt A. Splash of balsamic vinegar
Opt B. splash of red wine

Cook slow and low until the desired thickness and flavor is acquired.

Here is the basic meatball recipe I used.
1 lb. ground sirloin (90% lean)
1/2 C seasoned bread crumbs
basil (again fresh minced)
1-2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
this recipe also recommended onions but i took them out because they made the balls too lumpy.

Mix and ball the meat up.  Here's the twist that a lot of people are afraid to do and end up affecting the finished product.  Put the uncooked balls DIRECTLY INTO THE SAUCE!!!  It will not kill you, but browning those balls either stove top or in the oven first will kill the flavor of the balls.  The sauce gets hot like boiling water and will kill any possible bacteria that the meat may have.  Give it a try, you will notice such a delicious difference.

I have lots of ideas for other meatball recipes after being at the Meatball shop so stay tuned for more delicious ideas on this finest of comfort foods.

Ta ta

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