Tag Archives: meatballs

Go for the BURN

It’s a summer for burn

There’s this Bern….

              

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Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., on Monday, July 25, 2016. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

 

         And the ever-present Sun-burn

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Not me – a total stranger via Wikipedia

The good on the Grill burn  – more like a char, really

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Charcoal Burn – it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s sneaking up there

And then there’s

Joanne’s Spaghetti Sauce.

I learned about this famous sauce from her son, Rick.

Back in the day, Rick was a pilgrim…..

Rick M WSJ Sally Rothemich

Rick McKee as a Pilgrim – as seen in the Wall Street Journal Nov. 29, 2012 – photo credit Sally Rothemich

We had some sort of pot-luck at work…I think it was charcoal burn….if not the first time, then later times. I witnessed this sauce on multiple occasions

Rick had a bag of groceries. He needed a pan for the sauce, and chopped onions and garlic and got them going, and open cans of tomatoes and sauce and threw them in.

He then wanted a frying pan. A HEAVY one. For the paste. To burn it.

Excuse me?????

A heavy pan to burn the paste in.

Yep, that’s what he said. That’s the secret.

Well, it’s no secret if the firetrucks come……make sure that the window is opened, turn on the overhead vent fans, and shut the door to keep the smoke detectors quiet. Fire extinguisher? Check and ready to go.

There’s a beautifully season cast iron skillet in the kitchen. If anything happens to it, all who touch it are doomed. Does he understand?

DOOMED! 

Rick puts the 10” cast iron skillet on the burner, turns the heat UP, opens the cans of paste and dumps them in. Wooden spoon in hand, he starts stirring, talking the whole while.

The darker you can get the paste, the better the sauce is.

Stir, stir, stirring.

It concentrates the tomato flavor. It releases the tomato flavor. It brings depth to the tomato flavor.

Stirring fairly vigorously.

Paste is already concentrated – frying it on high concentrates it even more.

Stirring, stirring, stirring.

The color changes.

This was in the long ago olden days before Alton Brown could explain about caramelization of the sugars in the paste, and who knows what else that high heat can bring out.

Finally, he says it’s done. He scrapes it into the pot of sauce, uses some water to deglaze the pan and adds that to the sauce, and turns the sauce down to a simmer.

After the deglazing, the skillet cleans up like a water glass.

He adds seasonings to the sauce and the kitchen smells DIVINE.

Like Sunday gravy. A visit to Italian side of the family.

It was good. Every time he made it, it was good.

Rick learned to make the sauce from his mother.

Joanne’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Cover the bottom of large pan with oil. Chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (cut garlic very fine). Add more garlic if so desired.

Cook in the oil over very low heat for a few minutes. (watch the garlic – it burns easily).

Add one large can of tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce. Add salt and let simmer.

Meatballs: 1 lb hamburger (or more if you want a lot of meatballs)

2 cloves garlic very fine, salt, pepper, add flavored breadcrumbs to own taste.

Add 3-4 eggs mix well. Roll in flour, fry til browned, let cool.

Fry 2 cans tomato paste.

Use high heat – in fact burn the paste. THIS is the secret.

Add to sauce.

Add water (2 cans or to own taste).

You can use the water to deglaze the meatball frying pan and add remnant paste to sauce.

Add Italian seasoning and sweet basil. Add meatballs. Let simmer 5-6 hours.

It always tastes better the next day.

 

* italics added by Rick

I got a copy of the recipe in 2009. Her family had it printed up to go with the Mass cards at her wake.

A recipe is one impressive memorial. You get to remember while cooking and again while eating.

And so in August, there will be one night that’s not quite so very hot, and I’ll see if I have tomato paste and bring out the cast iron skillet and go for the burn.

In loving memory of Joanne “Nana” McKee

August 8

1939-2009

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Filed under Recipe, Summer

For Calling Birds

When I was younger I thought they were collie birds – dog birds as it were …

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Lassie – best collie EVAH – just add some wings to make her a bird…..

Hey – there are Catbirds and Bird Dogs, aren’t there?

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Green Catbird of Australia

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English Setter trained as a bird dog

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Bird Dog was also a hit single for the Everly Brothers the year I was born

 

Calling birds isn’t much clearer

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Tweety Bird on a combination phone/alarm clock.

In some versions of the song, they’re colly birds, which just might be a black bird, colly another word for black, being related to coal, which brings us back to the collie dogs who herded sheep with noses that were black like coal…

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Colly or calling, these birds have it covered

There were no birds of any other kind at my sister’s table Xmas day. We just don’t do turkey or goose for Xmas; we’re a lasagna/stuffed shells/manicotti kind of crowd

There were 4 generations of family, all present and accounted for, 30 some odd altogether.

There was food, glorious food.

I had my list to pack and take:

Cinnamon Rolls (Grandma B’s recipe made by her grandson); Shrimp Rings; Sweet Potato Chips and Marshmallow dip and Dunkin Donuts  coffee & ½ and ½ (notice how much is store boughten – and I didn’t really make the cinnamon rolls, I just provided space and equipment, and there were issues with each this year, just to keep things interesting. The next time I make the dip I’mma gonna try cream cheese instead of the sour cream, a suggestion/variation that came up at the table, but with so many talking about soooo much, I’ve lost track of who, but sounds great.)

None of this food was lonely when it got to the party….

There were charmellas and cannoli, although the cannoli had chopped nuts on one end and mini chocolate chips on the other, so they seemed to be trying a little too hard. Not that it slowed down their consumption any.

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Charmella

cannoli

Nuts or chips – or melted chocolate dipped in chopped nuts

There were sugar cookies made from the package because that’s what we used to make, back in the dim dark ages, and no one is particularly fond of them (there is one brother who is a noteworthy exception) but we all expect them to be there and we all had one. Or two as the afternoon wore on…because it would be not quite as Christmassy without them;

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The infamous cut out sugar cookie of our youth. Which is why we still need to have it.

The Santas had spread out to almost life-size size in baking

sugar cookie santa Pillsbury

Much MUCH bigger then a hand…the heads were almost head size

and the candy canes were

HUGE.

sugarcookie candy cane Pills

These are what they were supposed to be – but they spread out MUCH MUCH larger. And still we ate them.

We’re blaming on the unseasonably warm weather…we had a serious conversation about turning on the AC Xmas day. We didn’t, but it was an option. Almost everyone mentioned that they weren’t wearing what they had planned, but something more LESS.

There were also oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies, and cookies with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries mixed together, a gingerbread house made for eating…..there was a point where I couldn’t see the other end of the table and I didn’t care…..Pies, lemon meringue and pumpkin and homemade  arrived and were made welcome.

It wasn’t all sugar….there was fruit, too. Covered in chocolate…..

edible arrangements boxes

Oh, yes.

But it wasn’t just sugar

Nonnie meatballs and sausages, made ahead and kept warm in a slow cooker.

Pulled pork (a new addition and very nice, very nice indeed) in a slow cooker – my sister is a genius! (She takes after me.)

Calzones – chicken, cold cut – something with peppers….I was saving room for the

Lasagna – and a bowl of sauce. Excellent Lasagna, not too cheesy, not to meaty, not too soggy noodlely – everything just right and very nice indeed. The sauce was also a good dip for the chips…..

This is just what I remember and not a complete list.

santa headband

It was not too hot for Santa headbands

and as for for calling turkey birds:

ClifftBoxCalls002

Hand made turkey call by Robert Clifft in Bolivar, Tenn. His Shop is called: ‘The Last Call’ . I read about him in my new  Xmas cookbook  Smoke & Pickles by  Edward Lee. More about Smoke & Pickles later……

 

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Filed under Christmas, Dinner, Holiday