Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm a nerd. I love calc, I went to orchestra camp for six years, I play chess and one of my favorite places to be is in a bookstore.

This pretty much sums me up: "It's pathetic how much significance I attach to the Times puzzle, which is easy on Monday and gets progressively harder as the week advances. I'll spend fourteen hours finishing the Friday, and then I'll wave it in someone's face and demand that he acknowledge my superior intelligence. I think it means that I'm smarter than the next guy, but all it really means is that I don't have a life." David Sedaris. "Solution to Saturday's Puzzle."When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

Why the discussion of being a nerd? Because it follows me into the kitchen. Prior to baking or cooking for someone, I have to research whatever it is that I plan on making. I look at recipe after recipe and it must include pictures to justify making that recipe. Then I read food blogs and chowhound.com to find the best techniques and methods. This won't satisfy me though and I will repeat the process one more time to ensure that I have a foolproof recipe that will be mastered based on my acquired knowledge. With that said, meatballs: I will conquer you.

After reading many recipes and tips, here is what I learned:
  • The beef-veal-pork trifecta is key. I feel bad for the baby cows, too...but not bad enough because including their goodness in the recipe helps ensure that the meatballs are tender
  • Overhandling the balls when you're forming them will make them tough so use a light hand
  • Using a panade (bread soaked in whole milk) will keep the meatballs moist
  • Just use the egg yolk to help bind the mixture. The egg white makes the meatballs gummier
  • Add parsley and pecorino romano to the meat mixture for flavor
After reading many blog posts on meatballs, I went with the recipe on Use Real Butter, who got it from Lorna Yee, the author of The Newlywed Kitchen cookbook and the blog, The Cookbook Chronicles. I found that recipe to be the closest to recipe that my friend Rob uses. Rob's recipe comes from the best source, his Italian grandmother, and he recently made some for me. After eating them, I knew that I had to add Italian meatballs to my list of go to comfort foods. I've made Asian style meatballs but never Italian so I wanted to use a recipe instead of using Rob's "a little here, a little there" method for my first go around.

I love to eat comfort food. Give me heavy, warm food over something light any day of the week. Now that the nights are getting colder, there is something to be said about the joys of comfort food. When you combine it with a glass of wine and a friend, you get nothing less than a perfect fall evening.

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