Friday Food. June.

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My family has made meatballs since I was small-ish. In time, I was expected to mix and cook the meatballs (and meatloaf) which my mother made with jar sauce. It’s okay – we’re not Italian. Her recipe is relatively simple (for either or both although I’ve changed up my meatloaf recipe cooking for my own family).

When I read Stanley Tucci’s 2021 book, Taste, I was a little astonished with how he described his family eating Friday night meatballs (his third favorite meal on Friday). In addition to his spices and bread, typical for his Southern Italian palate, they were rolled in bread crumbs, fried and eaten without sauce. That’s right. NO SAUCE. His family would add a green salad and crusty Italian bread with butter, and that was dinner.

Of course, they made many more meatballs than they needed for that dinner so they had plenty to add to Sunday’s sauce (ragu).

Fried meatballs with salad, no sauce, and Italian bread. Hmm. Okay, I thought to myself (and who else would I think to), maybe we’ll give that a try. And we did. My family wasn’t used to nude meatballs, as Stanley Tucci refers to them in his book, so we added a tiny, just a little bit of sauce for dipping, and they were happy. We’re planning on it again soon,

Our version of Stanley Tucci’s meatballs served with a small slice of leftover baked ziti. Delicious.
(c)2022

Other food things to enjoy:

The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody. I got this the first year I was married, and it was a lifesaver for someone who was a novice in the kitchen. Now that I’m a bit more advanced, I still use her recipes for perfect white rice, homemade cheesecake, cornbread, and other awesome and easy recipes. Ten out of ten would recommend.

Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna by Doris Roberts with Danelle Morton

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend The Fresh Market‘s Big Little Meal. It is a full meal that feeds a family of four for $25. A great deal that we avail ourselves to often.

Friday Food. Inspire. May.

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​Being home in isolation has given many of us the opportunities to cook more, enjoying old favorites, trying out some new recipes, maybe experimenting a little. Before pork became less available, we had a delicious pork loin. For some reason, I like chutney with my pork. It works as a chunky sauce or spread on a sandwich, like that. We had some oranges that needed eating, so I  made an orange chutney. It was lovely even if I was the only one who ate it.

A week or so later, we had some extra ground chuck, a blessing that is not happening this week, so I made some homemade meatballs for the next time we had pasta, an old standby for our family. After following the recipe below, I froze the meatballs, and will cook them as described at the end of the ingredient list after thawing them.

A friend of mine in Oklahoma is sending me (in about ten days time) a culinary chain letter. She’s making a starter, sending it to me, and I will be feeding it and then sharing it as well as making my own Friendship Bread. I’ve never worked with starter before, so I expect that I’ll be sharing the process with you once it arrives here.

Lastly, if you go on Twitter and follow the hashtag #RecipesForThePeople, Chef Jose Andres and his family cook very good, very simple recipes. Our family made the Angel Hair Pasta with Sauce that you can find in my COVID-19 Food post. On the Twitter hashtag, you will also see regular people like you and me (not internationally known, popular chefs) offering their own Recipes for the People.

One note: Cooking is not Baking. Baking is a science. The measurements of baking soda, powder, salt are specific for a reason. You really need to be a professional level of baker to experiment with baking in my humble opinion. I am not a baker. Cooking however can be very experimental. You’ll notice in the two recipes that follow that there aren’t any measurements. For something like these two recipes (and my meatloaf that I can share with any request at a later time) is generally a pinch, equivalent to a tablespoon. How much garlic do you like? Use a tiny bit less. If mistakes are made, it’s still good. You’ll learn what you like.

Enjoy!

Orange Chutney (see photo)

2 medium oranges, sliced, diced and crushed

Add juice from the plate to the bowl

Dried shallot powder

French peppercorns, ground

Ground cumin

Honey (about 1 TB, maybe a bit more)

1 TB Blackberry preserves

Nutmeg, grated on a microplane

Mix.

Serve over pork or chicken or spread on bread for a tasty sandwich!
Meatballs

Bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup)

Garlic

Pepper

Onion Powder

Penzeys Frozen Pizza seasoning (or use a mix of Italian spices)

In a ziploc bag, thoroughly mix these ingredients. Add fresh ground beef and mix it into the meat.

Saute meatballs in olive oil in a saucepan until brown. Add sauce (or ingredients to make your own sauce) and cook for twenty to thirty minutes.

Add to your pasta, then add a salad and a loaf of fresh bread, and you’re all set for dinner!