Wednesday, October 5, 2011
getting into the sauce
During one of his early-morning trolls of the internet Mr. C found a recipe for The World's Best Meatballs. It calls for 12 cups of rich tomato sauce. Admittedly, the recipe makes enough for 12 people, but I needed to replenish my store of sauce anyway, so Saturday was the day.
I started with a trip up to the Saturday Farmer's Market for all the fresh ingredients.
I particularly like these end-of-season tomatoes; big and juicy and very acidic. Red and green peppers in abundance. A big jalapeño for a little snap. Piles of yellow onions. A head of garlic. Half a bunch of basil. Olive oil, salt, pepper, a few red pepper flakes, some dried Italian herbs.
Next I found the big pot I always use, even though this batch is not going to be as big as my usual 30 quart endeavor.
I used to make enough to last us two or three years, pouring the sauce into jars, putting them into a water bath for half an hour, then vacuum sealing them. Not this time. Maybe the extra will go into the freezer.
Then I got out my favorite tools.
These are a sturdy chopping block, three good, sharp knives, and my food processor. Makes it all so easy. All the chopped veggies go into the pot, simmer for three house, and I'm ready for the meatballs. But first the sauce has to sit a couple of days to "ferment" and meld the flavors. The meatballs will come when the rain does.
Well, the rain came and so did the meatballs. Four meats (beef, pork, turkey, bacon), herbs, onions, garlic, parsley, cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Mush it all together, let it sit for a few hours, then make the meatballs. Half a cup each, more or less. Brown them first, then put them into a casserole dish, cover with the (now nicely seasoned) tomato sauce, bake an hour and a half.
Then it's time to serve them up with crisp veggies and a hunk of sourdough bread to sop up the ambrosial sauce. Pour a little Zin. A meal sure to keep the cold and wet at bay.
After dinner I watched the first couple of episodes of The State Within, a chilling BBC political thriller with a fine cast that includes Jason Issacs as the British Ambassador to Washington and Sharon Gless as the Secretary of Defense. There are enough twists and turns in this series to satisfy the pickiest of conspiracy theorists. Several thumbs up.
I just caught sight of the announcement that Steve Jobs has died. I have never owned anything except an Apple. Never will. RIP, you amazing genius.