Monday, February 7, 2011

Sweet Sour Meatballs

I love to see the wafting of snowflakes from the sky on a winter's day as much as anyone...
but enough is enough already!
I've been hearing rumors (or possibly wishful thinking) that THIS is DEFINITELY the LAST snow of the season.  That malicious gossip was first spread two (count 'em) storms ago.
I don't think this storm system is going to lay much down.  The weatherman guessed 1 to 3 inches.  As long as the roads stay clear, I'll survive.  But please....NO MORE ICE!!!

To keep from going completely cabin crazy, I worked on another one of Grandma's recipes recently.
It wasn't one of my favorites and it certainly needs tweaking, but maybe you'll want to play with it a little more than I had time for.  I'll post suggestions at the end, as usual.

So recipe experiment #6 from Grandma's Private Cookbook~~
 I always like to assemble all the ingredients I use so you see what I tend to reach for, brand-wise.  Nothing fancy or high end.  All usually accessible in your local grocery.

 I did decided to try some Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals I recently purchased at Trader Joe's.  Couldn't really taste any difference....they were just "pretty".
I will tell you though, I buy nearly all of my spices (and especially cocoa powder!) from Penzey's.  Their products are far superior to the grocery store varieties, in cost, variety and freshness.  I usually buy the products in bag form and store them in my basement cupboard, refilling the store bought jars as needed.  Such a deal.  Look for them online and locally.

 My assembly line ready...
And meatballs rolled...
I can finally dive into the mechanics...there go the onions!

And the meatballs...

After you're done simmering...you can relax...and eat...(before the clean up)

The rewrite (adjustments in red)...

Sweet Sour Meatballs
1 lb. hamburger or ground pork
1 egg
1 quart water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
4 peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
1 t. salt, or to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 quart tomatoes, drained
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
cornstarch, to thicken

Mix the meat and egg, forming 1 inch balls.  To the water add all the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and cook a few minutes.  When boiling add the meatballs, simmer until meat is done, then thicken with the cornstarch.


NOTES~~
1.  What on earth is a clove red pepper?  I could have used chopped chiles, but somehow I don't think Grandma had that available to her.  So I substituted 1/8 t. red pepper flakes.
2.  I used 1 quart of home canned tomatoes, Grandma didn't specify an amount.
3.  You'll get 28-30 1-inch meatballs.
4.  This was very watery.  Maybe a quart of tomatoes wasn't a good guess?!  With a quart of water I felt it needed all those tomatoes.  The flavor needed something...more intensity.  Maybe try a can of tomato paste?  Or cooking it down?  Celery?  Tomato juice instead of water?  Add a can of tomato soup?
5.  I would strongly suggest using corn starch instead of flour.  The flour just didn't thicken this nearly enough for my taste.  The next day I thickened the leftovers with cornstarch.  It worked MUCH better and helped to slightly intensify the flavor.
6.  About the bread mentioned in Grandma's recipe...maybe it was used as an additional thickener?  The idea of it made me squinch my nose, so I left it out.
 
As I mentioned above, the flavor has potential, but is only half way to the finish line.  Something to work on during another storm, I guess.  Seems like every other recipe is a dud, but I'm going to keep plugging through more of these.  Gives me something to do, I don't get out as much as I used to since the knee surgery.  S'all good though.

Stay warm!  Spring is just around the corner!...right???

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