In my kitchen. I bang pots, throw pans, tap spatulas with ladles in the air like drumsticks counting down before a particularly raucous set. I go wild. Learn my spices like times tables, read cookbooks like Bible passages, talk to my ingredients as I would old friends. “You look so good dressed in beurre blanc.” And “Peanut Buttter, have you met chocolate?”
In my kitchen. On any given day, this is what you’ll find: a marble countertop, with visible slicks created by ever-softening sticks of unsalted butter. Two cookbooks splayed open, bindings revealing their strings. My poor laptop, the third of the cookbooks and sleekest by far. No offense, Silver Palate. The screen forever spotted with olive oil, the ‘A’ and ‘S’ keys separated by only powdered sugar glue. Must have been that time I wanted to make paste. I think.
Five cabinets opened. Spices, caps off, rowed in order of closeness to my heart. Cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and ginger.
My fridge- just begging for a family. A justification for the ketchupy fingerprints, the greasy handling of stainless doors. This level of excess only found at Costco.
My floor, a makeshift beach. White sand of sugar and salt. Not every pinch should be thrown over my left shoulder for good luck.
My oven, so warmly spiced and scented that I want to crawl inside from time to time. Sit on the middle rack next to a cupcake tin. I’d like to insert myself into the center of the cake, save the toothpick for another task.
Me, in powder blue pants, pilled with wear and years of lazy Sundays. Okay, lazy Tuesdays too. My tee shirt, so stretched it looks as though I’m trying to own that one shoulder look. If only.
My face, bare but blushed. A flush of rose, moving towards rosacea, from getting one smidge too cozy with a just-baked popover. Steam really is dangerous.
My hair. No words.
I am home here. In my kitchen.
The Meatball Sub
(makes 2 sandwiches)
For the meatballs:
- 1 slice whole grain bread
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 TBSP grated parmesan cheese
- 2 TBSP milk
- 8 oz lean ground beef (I use 90% lean ground sirloin)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1, 15 oz can of tomato sauce (just plain pureed tomatoes)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- pinch salt and pepper
- 2 split top hot dog buns
- 2 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella balls, sliced, or 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Make your bread crumbs: Tear one piece of whole grain bread into pieces and place it in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until it has become fine crumbs.
Add the breadcrumbs to a bowl with 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 TBSP grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Whisk to combine.
Add 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef (ground sirloin is great) and 2 TBSP milk. Use your hands to mix it all together, just until it is well combined. Do not overwork your meat or the meatballs will be tough.
Form the mixture into balls. I made six because I like them larger.
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the meatballs and cook for about 7 minutes, just to brown them on all sides.
Get your sauce ingredients ready: 1/2 cup chopped onion (1/2 of a small onion), 1/2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms, 2 minced cloves garlic, 1 can tomato sauce (just tomato puree), 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp dried basil.
Add the onion and stir, letting them soften for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to let your garlic burn.
Pour in the tomato sauce and spices. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
Once the mixture comes to a simmer, turn the heat to low and let it bubble for about 10 minutes, just for all the flavors to combine and the meatballs to cook through.
Preheat your oven to broil. Toast a regular hot dog bun until it is a light golden brown. Place the toasted bun on a small baking sheet and spoon two to three meatballs in the middle. Top the meatballs with more sauce and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. I used fresh buffalo mozzarella halls and sliced them into thin circles. Broil for about 1 minute, or until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
Serve with a big green salad, because green looks good with red.