You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Cooking’ category.

We ALL have them.  Its those little things that we do that make us, well, us.

My newest quirk is a little hard to explain.

DSC_6292

Well, actually, its easy to explain, just harder to Explain.

DSC_6295

Those things?  Yeah, those are part of my new daily habit.  Unsalted Kerrygold butter, MCT oil and locally roasted fair-trade coffee.

DSC_6293

The special butter is for various reasons.  You can read about the nutritional value of grass-fed butter vs. grain fed here, here and the importance of good butter here.

MCT oil takes a bit more explaining because I bet many people aren’t familier with it.  MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil, basically a fat that doesn’t have a long chain of fatty acid esters of glycerol.  It is found most commonly from Coconuts and Palms (Coconut and Palm oil are both MCTs)  There are lots of articles out there that extoll the virtues and uses of MCT oil in the athletic community, bodybuilding community and the low-carb (Adkins) community.  This blogger wrote a fantastic post with lots of links to studies regarding MCT oil and its usefullness.  I HIGHLY suggest taking a look if you are interested in more information.  I don’t care about the use of MCT for bodybuilding and I love rice, flavoured pasta and potatoes far too much to ever think about low-carb anything.  The BIG upside for me is that MCT’s are not digested by the liver or bile salts in general, they are absorbed directly and can be put to use in the body.  As someone who no longer has a bile concentrator in my body and who has been suffering with the digestion of nearly EVERY form of dietary fat, just let me tell you what a godsend discovering this has been for me.

You could also use coconut oil if you don’t have or want to try MCT oil.

DSC_6296

So now we see the addition of the third and final ingredient:  My own Port Townsend roasted coffeeMade in my fantastic vintage Regal Poly-Perk.

DSC_6298

Yes.  I am blending the coffee, MCT oil and 2 tablespoons of butter together.  On High.  For 30 seconds to a minute.

DSC_6300

This is the result:  Creamy, frothy and perfectly hot, thanks to the speed of the Vitamix.

How does it taste?

Well, thats where my quirk gets quirkier.

Its amazing.  Creamy, smooth and perfect.

And this coming from someone who has ALWAYS had at least 2 sugar packets in a regular diner cup or at least 2 tablespoons of Coffeemate in her home-brewed mug.  For years I have been saying that my concession to “fake” food was Coffeemate but no longer.  I don’t need the sugar and don’t miss it.  As for the flavours, I have tried vanilla and almond extract and both are lovely additions.

Before you wrinkle your nose at the idea of butter and an oil in your coffee, stop and think.

Do you take cream/half-n-half/milk in your coffee?  Butter is simply whipped cream.  Or over whipped cream, depending on your POV.

Oil?  If you put Coffeemate/International Delight or ANY other non-dairy creamer in your coffee, you already are putting oil in yours.  A highly processed oil and most likely a trans fat.  Mine is simply better for you.

Now for the big question:  WHY?

Because I figured I had nothing to lose when the nutritionist at work told me about it.  She told me that drinking this “Bulletproof Coffee” helped her feel full while she was IF-ing and/or low-carbing.  Considering that I often fast by accident (get ‘too busy’ at work for lunch and go for 10+ hours), the idea of something that would help give me energy without a sugar crash or processed food binge was very appealing.  Let me be very clear though:  I DO try to eat and have healthy choices around if I take the time to eat them.  I just have no sense of time and it passes me by without me being aware until I am ‘starving’ with an hour before I get to go home and make dinner.  With the sun shining these past few days, I have totally taken my lunch breaks and enjoyed the sun, and the lunches, immensely.  I don’t generally skip meals on purpose.  Just usually.  On accident.

However…for the past week, this coffee has totally carried me through from 8am to 3pm with NO hunger and complete ability to resist the candy and snacks that have been out tempting me at work.  I feel alert, boundless energy and really enthusiastic about life in general.  Granted, this could be due to the increase of Vitamin D but I’m going to give the coffee its due.

Interested?

Do your own research like I did.  There are tonnes of blogs about different peoples trials of buttery coffee.  There are just as many articles out there about the benefits of grass-fed butter and just as many of those about MCT oil and Coconut oil.

Think I’m nuts and that this is just another fad in the food world?

Possibly.

If you discount the yak butter tea that has been drunk in Tibet and China and Bhutan so long that it has “Traditional” in front of ‘recipe’.

I just know it works for me.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Advertisements

What do all these foods have in common?

1) They are all yummy.

2) They are all foods that I like.

3) They are all in season and available at my local farmers market.

4) They are all in the same family: Nightshade Family

Some people have problems when eating those foods in the nightshade family and sadly, I am one of them.  From experience, it is the alkaloids in the nightshades that causes my arthritis to flare and my sore hands are the testament to that.  What does this mean?  That I seriously limit my intake of the three foods above and also eggplant…off-season.  While I lived in Alaska, I had nary a ripe tomato so while they are available in the market or from my own plants, I indulge during the season and deal with the stiffness and soreness in my hands.  The most difficult part of it all?  That I am 31 and have arthritis.  Darn that perfect genetic storm of Nana and Grandma!

In honor of my sore hands, I give you a recipe that I created yesterday:

Stuffed Pepper Soup aka Sore Hands Soup

1 onion, diced

1lb mild Italian sausage

2 sweet peppers, diced

1/2winter squash, your choice, diced

1 14oz can stewed tomatoes

water

Bay leaf

Vegetable bullion cube

2 cups cooked rice

 

In a large pot, warm a small amount of olive oil over low and slowly cook the onion to brown.   Add sausage and cook completely.  Add peppers and squash and heat to slightly softened.  Add can of tomatoes and 2 cans of water, bullion cube and the bay leaf.  Cook over medium for 1 hour to let flavours marry.  Turn off heat and add rice, stirring to mix and let sit for 10 minutes to soften rice and warm thru.  Serve and enjoy!

We LOVED this lunch and, despite my sore hands today, I’ll have the leftovers for my work dinner tonight…with a Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen chaser!

Lucky me, I had to pick M up from the airport on the 30th and since we were so close to Seattle, and niece S wanted to go in anyway, we went to Uwajimaya, a HUGE asian supermarket. I found so many yummy things, a very cute present for M for Christmas and had a fun ferry trip back across towards home.

 

I have a few fond memories that many would call…odd…to say the least.  One of my most treasured memories is making calamari with my mum.  Now, I’m sure that some of you may have bought the pre-breaded calamari rings and either fried or baked them yourself but I am talking about making-from-scratch-including-the-dissection.

For some reason we had bought a box of squid (I’m sure I saw it and begged for it because it would be ‘fun’ to make it ourselves) and spent an afternoon cleaning, de-quilling, de-beaking, creating rings and making a squiddy feast.  I remember how she showed me how to do the cleaning so I would not burst the ink sacs and my curious mind actually focused on looking at the entrails and I won’t even talk about how excited I got when I cleaned a female squid full of eggs!  We made two different dishes and they tasted all the better because it was the whole experience that was savored.

Trust me, I do have a point here and it all links together:

 

This Holiday season, make a savory food memory with your kids.

Make a savory dish together that is partly fiddly, possibly hard to gather the ingredients for and required steps to make.  Include them in all the steps and take your time.

Do they like calamari?  Trust me, making your own from scratch is a fantastic memory.

Someday, when they are older, they might buy their own squid so they can repeat the experience themselves.  I know I did.

Did you know that there are only 24 more shopping days until Christmas?  20 if you are Hanukkah shopping.  Didja? Didja?  Didja?

Oh yes, it is that time of year again.  What am I saying?  Its been “that time of year” since October but the insanity and pressure of “Holiday Shopping” has and will only get worse.  I’ve been grateful for the past 3 years NOT to have cable service because I was spared the incessant jingles, scare tactics and pressure to buy, Buy, BUY!  However, I am noticing something as a childless adult…I’m not feeling the pressure, only the disgust at our completely commercialised western culture.

Want her love?  Remember what kiss begins with or what store to shop in to make the burly football player smile.

Want to make him cheer?  Buy tools or a red metal toolbox.

Want the kids to be happy?  Buy one of a zillion and a half toys.  Better yet, buy lots.

Despite the ABC World News push to have a “Made in America” holiday, ITS STILL ABOUT BUYING!  Now, I am in favor of creating jobs as much as the next person but really, I would rather save my money entirely, have a handmade holiday or give a family gift.

Here is my plan for a revolutionary holiday:

A)  If you feel like you MUST shop:

#1:  Before you shop for anything, purge your closets.  Go thru and clean out the clothes you don’t wear, the toys your kids don’t play with and the ‘things’ that you have around that are just gathering dust.  Give away to your local charity shop.

#2: Make a list of your NEEDS.  Do you/your partner/the kids in your life NEED a new winter coat?  How about boots?  How about underwear or socks?  How about diapers?  How about crayons or paper?  Parents, be honest, wouldn’t you rather your kid have new socks or snow boots that they can actually USE or a beeping, flashing, noisy toy that will drive you batty and run on hellishly expensive batteries?  I thought so.

#3: Make a list of your WANTS.  For me, I REALLY WANT a kitchen aid mixer, like really, really badly.  Mike really, really wants an Xbox with Kinect.  Keep it simple and keep it to the “Really, Really” wants.

#4: Make a list of your likes.  Do you like yarn, non-food or floral scents and the colour blue and red?  How about yellows and greens, fruity smells and hair products?  War games?  Chocolate?  Car toys?  Bicycles?  Horses?  BE SPECIFIC!!!  You can also make a very specific dislikes list but its easier to shop for someone when you know what they really like.

#5: Share those lists with your family.

#6: Buy accordingly.  Needs come first, then wants.  Consider buying only gifts that can be for the whole family instead of person specific.  The mixer will provide hours of kitchen fun and the Xbox hours of playing together.  We both win.

#7: Go volunteer for at least 1 hour for every ‘thing’ you buy.  Trust me, if you have time to battle the stores or search the ‘net for the best deals, you have time to help someone in need.

B)  If you feel crafty:

#1: Make nearly identical gifts for everyone.  I still think that the best year of my giving was when I made stained glass angels for everyone.  Using scraps and leftovers from my Mums projects, I changed the colour of the dresses, made some look left, others look right but made a bunch for family and friends.

#2 Knit/Make slippers.  Everyone needs slippers and wearing them in the house cuts down on the vacuuming.  Win-Win for everyone!

#3 Recycle containers and fill with other goodies.  I know I plan to make snowmen like Kristy did and fill them with mint hot chocolate or russian tea.

#4 Should time run out, give IOU’s!  Adults understand this more than kids so try your best to complete the kids gifts first.

C) Give

#1: Give of your time and skills.  Not only am I advocating volunteering but also giving of yourself to your family.  Offer to babysit the niece/nephew(s) while the parents go out.  Offer to do the laundry while your partner has some alone time.  Offer to make their favourite snack during Sunday football.  Give coupons and follow thru and all will be happy.

#2: Give to your favourite charity.  Heifer International is mine and, like always, I am giving a Knitters Gift Basket to a needy family in honour of my Nana.  What better way to share the holiday season than giving to people who are in true need?

D) Create traditions NOT around gifts.

Mike and I are really looking forward to having a feast like we did last year:

and watching Christmas specials.  I’ve got to work on Christmas day so nothing fancy for us but really, we don’t need it.

What are your non-commercial holiday ideas?

One of the main people who has had an influence on my tastebuds was JL, the mom of the family I worked and lived with in Bellevue, WA.  She is an AMAZING cook and I was very glad to learn from her.  The biggest upside?  The family is Korean which means that my food palatte just exploded with fun new foods.  Over the months that I was with them, I learned not only how to order in a restaurant but also how to decipher the labels at the Asian markets, both of which have been a HUGE help for me now that I am so far away from JL and her family.  Every once in a while, my head spins as I remember some of the amazing meals that I shared with the L Family:

Kimbap (Korean-style rice roll, kinda like California rolls) from the Grocery store.  The kids and I would pick up one after shopping and eat it on the way home in the car.  Perfect for little hands and simply popping into your mouth on the way.

Yakgwa…a deep-fried, honey soaked cake that I fell in mad, mad love with that was best when fresh, all soft and sticky but was still yummy and amazing when slightly dried out.  I searched every month for this sweet treat when I was in Anchorage and never was able to fidn it at my local Korean Grocery store but I FOUND IT this last time…and bought 2 packages and promptly threatened M with pain of death if he didn’t save and savor each and every bite or inhaled them.  Mine.  All Mine.  Unless I share with you.  Seriously, I nearly cried when I remembered how happy TL (the eldest child) and I would get over finding fresh yakgwa at the store…I miss her so much and I’ll think about her and how she is so darn grown up now

Kalbi was always a favorite, and who could blame me?  Very thinly sliced beef short ribs marinated in soy sauce, garlic and sugar and hen quickly grilled?  Heaven. On. Earth.

Jjigae (soup) in all its various forms…Kimchi jjigae, Sundubu jjigae (soft tofu) all served still bubbling and spicy…yum!  There was a restaurant that we would go that had the best Haemul sundubu jjigae (seafood tofu soup, mostly made with fish eggs) that I learned to love after a few tries.

Japchae made in J style was always something that I had a hard time turning away from…

Pajeon, a pancake-like food with lots of veggies in the batter.

Naengmyeon, a cold soup with buckwheat noodles, sliced cucumbers, carrots, hard boiled eggs…I searched for ages before I found the package that I recognised at my Korean Market and I am so glad to have it again in my pantry.

All the various Panch’an…oh Lordy…a little of this, a little of that…sweet, spicy, savory, soft, crunchy…little dishes of everything possible to complete the meal and nearly everything made with a dollop of gochujang to give it that peppery kick with a sweet undertone.  And Kimchi.  Always Kimchi and always different varieties of it.  And Kim, that lovely, crunchy seaweed seasoned with sesame oil and salt that is so addictive.

And then there are the dishes that don’t have official names…there is this world shattering chicken dish that JL would make with just chicken, potato, ginger, soy and something else…bring it all to a simmer on the stove and let it go…sweet and sticky and heavenly…I need to get the recipe from her!  The killer Black Cod that was so simply broiled…buttery and amazing.

I think the only Korean dish that I never really loved was Bibimbap.  A dish with nearly everything in it, raw egg cracked on top and then all mixed together to eat.  I don’t know why I never took to it…maybe I like eating everything separately too much 🙂

JL and the entire L family have been such a sustaining influence on me and my life…not just food-wise but they are always in my thoughts…and I’ll think of them even more when I make and eat duk gook (not quite the recipe I will use) for dinner tonight 🙂

Being a singleton who likes to spend a good deal of her time in the kitchen is, quite frankly, a problem.

Its not a weighty* issue though I will address that in the near future.  This is more of a consumption concern and while this too could refer to a well rounded issue**, its not where I am going.

No, I am delving into the major problem that 99.9% of the best reviewed cookbooks; the old standards, tried and true, splattered and well thumbed cookbooks that have been loved for generations,  focus on feeding a family of 4.  Most of the time they even include enough for leftovers or have terrifying numbers next to them.  Worse than 4 is 6.  8 is enough to make me groan and heaven help me when I see 12.  I don’t touch those ’12’ recipes with a 10′ pole.  Those numbers refer to servings and sadly, have very little to do with sane portion sizes either so it is easy to double those numbers with the use of a measuring cup, spoon or a scale.  I have a large-ish chest freezer (hey, when you have to order all your frozen (and all other groceries) for a 9 month period of time, you need such things) and while its moving closer towards emptying, the idea of making even one meal a week that would feed 4-6 people would mean that it would NEVER be empty and I would always be eating leftovers.  Not that I have anything against leftovers.  In fact, I usually make a large pot of soup on Saturday and then eat it for lunch or dinner through the week, adding little bits every day because soup/stew is always better as flavors meld.  Pease Porridge hot, Pease Porridge cold, Pease Porridge in the pot, 9 days old and all that.  Don’t worry, I always put it in the fridge right after dinner,  always bring it to a boil before eating and it never lasts 9 days.  Its usually a stretch to have any left by Friday lunch and by that point, I am so ready for a fresh start that its a joy to add that handful of noodles or rice that signal the end of the batch (anyone who has ever had re-heated noodle/rice soup knows about the sticky, icky mass that it can be).  No, I really like leftovers but I like cooking more and the heating of dinner, even a good one, 3 times to the cooking of it once just isn’t my idea of a good time in the kitchen.  A good time is playing with pots and pans and oven, chopping, mixing, shredding, braising, baking, broiling and seasoning to taste.  The hard part comes with learning how to do it on a small scale.

So what is a singleton or even a couple to do?  Cooking for 1 or 2 is really a skill, one that comes easiest if a person is A) willing to be creative, B) knows what flavours they like C) uses smaller pots and pans, D) doesnt think that cooking on a small scale is a waste of time and E) has a few good references to help along the way.  Lets take this alphabetically, shall we?

A)  Creativity.  If you want to try cooking that lobster, as long as you arn’t allergic to or have religious injunctions against eating of shellfish, GO AHEAD!  Its much cheaper to create a lobster dinner for 1 than for 4.  Want to try philo wrapped chicken?  Cinnamon in chocolate cookies?  A new spice?  Chicken gizzards?  DO IT!  You are the master/mistress of your own kitchen and there is nothing that you cant try.  Its only your taste buds that need to be appeased and really, a mistake over dinner for 1 or 2 is no where near as dramatic as a dinner fail for your family.  Besides, there is always peanut butter and jelly.  Be Fearless.  After all, its just food.  Unless you are trying your hand at puffer fish sushi or are adding arsenic to taste as called for in Lord Downey’s Mint Humbugs.  Then you can be scared.

B) What you like.  You know what you like and what you don’t.  What tastes go together and what doesnt is very much a personal variable and in cooking for 1 or 2, this is a good thing.  In the case of the couple, you know what you both like and its easy to just make one or two small changes in a meal to then have something totally different.  For me, garlic, lemon juice, coarse sea salt, a pepper mill (filled, of course) and basil pesto are staples.  I know that I can use these things, alone or in concert, with ANYTHING I enjoy eating and come up with a brilliant meal.  There are more days that I would like to admit where they are the only things that I use and I could honestly find them all blindfolded because they are so readily to hand.  My point is, if you know the spices and flavors you like, it is very hard to make a meal of any size that isnt to taste.  If you cook large, family sized dishes of pesto pasta with grilled chicken, you can make a small one because you know what it is supposed to taste like and how you like it.

C) Smaller for smaller.  This is quite a “duh” statement but because of its simplicity, it must be stated.  If you use large pots and pans you will make larger meals.  It never fails.  There is something ingrained in the mind of anyone who has cooked for more than themselves and a partner that makes us all look into a pan with more than enough for 1 and a bit leftover and say, “Oh, I need to add more of X”.  No matter what you are making, no matter how often you try, it is nearly an impossible habit to break while using large pots and pans and if you are one of the few who can cook for one in big pans, please let me know so I can venerate you.  The simple matter is that if you switch to using a smaller fry pan, a smaller pot for soup or veggies, use small loaf pans or 6 muffin tins, you will instinctively make less.  You have no idea how many huge pots of soup went into the freezer after a weekday dinner where I used the big pot.  When I switched to the smaller one, it was amazing!  I could actually eat it all in a few days and not get sick of it!  Wonder of wonders*****

D) Making a mess.  Another hurdle of singles cooking is breaking the mindset of making “all that mess just for me”.  I really think that this is why microwave dinners and take-away are most often associated with singles.  Its not a mess, its DINNER and really, if you think its messy to cook for one, try it on a large scale.  The peel from one potato is nothing compared with 20.  Sure you have to wash the cutting board whether you cut one or 5 but what does that matter?  Its faster to chop one of anything anyway so then you are left with plenty of time for the washing while pots/pans burble away on the range.  If you feel so very strongly about not wanting to make a mess for only one or two things, why not prep a bunch at a time?  Since I have to buy in bulk, it is very hard to get onsey-twosey of anything and it mostly comes to me frozen solid so my only way of dealing is to thaw in the fridge and then do the weeks prep work while one part becomes that nights dinner.  Example?  Chicken thighs come in 4’s.  I thaw, usually leave 2 whole for oven roasting, de-bone one and leave it as whole as possible and cut the other into strips.  The two to be roasted will become anything from Shake N Baked to 2 separate marinades and then baked that night.  One for dinner, one for lunch or dinner the next night.  4 days later, all the chicken is gone.  For me, this method is a titch more difficult with larger cuts of anything but thats why I only have roast over at other peoples houses.  I dislike thawing and re-freezing anything and for me to cook less than a whole 5lbs of pork/beef roast it would be a requirement.  While freezing cooked roast is always an option, I have not had the gnawing****** desire to roast anything larger than a Cornish Game Hen and I figure that I’ll cross that epicurean bridge when I come to it.  Many people do cook larger pieces, cut leftovers how they want to eat them later and freeze so it is a very viable option.  Think of the “mess” this way: You always get it your way.  No explanations needed, deletions and substitutions are always allowed and you know exactly what it looked like before it became dinner.  And this always makes washing a board and knife OK in my book.

E) And speaking of books…I will admit that I rarely follow a recipe to the letter.  More of guidelines rather than rules in my book with only one exception: Baking.  In my mind, the one book every single or couple cook needs is Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos.  This amazing book gives perfect instruction for making small cakes, one or two muffins, 4 cookies, small loaves of sweet bread, batches of icing for one cake and the list goes on and on.  Everything that I have tried has been scrumptious, flavorful and, best yet, the perfect size.  There is something to be said about making a huge batch of cookies but I would rather leave that endeavor to Christmas time and enjoy just one or two right now most of the time.  I made her almond pound cake while writing this post and it is calling to me from the stove-top.  There.  Better now that it has less of a voice to call with and is muffled behind plastic.

The other book that I use weekly is Going Solo in the Kitchen by Jane Doerfer.  This book has been with me since early 2007 and it has one claim to fame that had me from the first:  After nearly every recipe she gives uses for leftovers and /or variations on the theme.  Simple, quick meals that still can be elegant and reminds the single/couple cook that there are many special ingredients that are closer to fiscal reach when you are cooking for one or two versus four (like the lobster from A).

These books are my well-thumbed, splattered and dog-eared cooking tomes that have not only served me well as a single but also when cooking for a family of 6.  Its easier to increase a recipe than to divide it and I can see both of these being with me into whatever my future holds, be it meals for my 1 or, heaven forbid, 12.

*I truly hope you laughed at that pun.  I so rarely get to use them in daily conversations it means that you, my dear readers, bear the brunt of my witticisms.

**  Sorry, I had to continue the thread***.

***This is what comes from an unravelling mind****

****Does this mean my mind is frogging?

*****Miracle of miracles.  Sometimes you just have to break into song.  No apologies.

******More eating puns…

Cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cardamom…black pepper?  Cumin?

Together?

Really?

Yup, and its called Garam Masala.  The particular blend that I bought is from The Spice Hunter (www.spicehunter.com) and is salt-free (Just a FYI, it didn’t really matter to me).   You can find recipes all over the ‘Net to make your own from whole spices that you toast and grind yourself but this was perfect for me.  What drew me to this blend of spices?  The fact that I hadn’t ever used it, wanted something different to add to my spice cupboard and finally, that I have never met an Indian dish I didn’t like so, I reasoned to myself, I will enjoy this too.  Perfectly reasonable.

Heres the hitch: I didn’t read the ingredients list.  I had no idea that Garam Masala wasn’t just a specific name for a curry blend; honestly what I was expecting.  I knew there was something different about it, I just had no idea what.

Last night I was planning an experiment for dinner.  One of my joys of being single is the creativity allowed to me.  I don’t have to think about what anyone else would eat, just me.  My creation? I really don’t know how to describe it.  Originally, I wanted to make Dutch Meatballs but I didn’t have half of the ingredients.  Still inspired by the cooking technique of creating meatballs, browning in butter and then adding broth and simmering to be served with mash and veg and half wanting to do a twist on spaghetti and meatballs so I could use the other half of the spaghetti squash I had on Saturday, I got creative.  No chef would have ever tried this blend but it just hit my little spot this evening.

1lb ground beef, straight from fridge

1T Garam Masala blend

¾ c cooked brown rice

1 med egg

1T Sea Salt (Mine is a VERY coarse salt, add yours to taste)

½ to ¾ c water

3T Evaporated Milk

Garam Masala to taste

I beat the egg and GM together, added the rice and salt, mix then add the ground beef.  Mix well but carefully, you don’t want the heat from your hands to melt the fat in the beef.  Form into balls.  I made 20 small ones but fewer, large ones would be OK too.  If the mixture gets warm and melty, put into freezer for a few moments while you are prepping the rest of dinner.  In a large fry pan, add a few tablespoons of oil (mine was a blend of EVOO and Canola) and heat to near smoking.  Add meatballs leaving enough room to shake and move meatballs about and brown them evenly.  Drain any excess oil.  Turn heat down to simmer, add water, milk and GM to taste.  More water, milk and GM can be added if you want lots of “gravy”.  Cover and let simmer for 2-25 minutes, depending on how large your meatballs are and how long they need to cook through.  Mine simmered less than 5 minutes.

Remove meatballs from pan, taste sauce/gravy, adjust seasonings to taste and reduce sauce to desired thickness.

In the inspiring recipe, the writer said to serve with mash but since I had the spaghetti squash to finish, I heated that in the micro (a rare thing for me to do, I have this ‘thing’ lately about using a microwave for heating foods), scraped the veggie spaghetti from the rind into my bowl and seasoned with a bit of my trusty Lemon Pepper.  Stick with me here.  I know there must be some “Ew”s chorusing out there at the idea of lemon with anything milky, meaty and spiced with what most people associate ‘sweet’ spices, but when I tasted the sauce/gravy, something in me said it would be yummy with just a hint of lemon.  By this time, as my sauce/gravy had reduced to my liking, I topped the squash with 5 meatballs and poured the sauce on top.

At this point, any worth her salt food blogger would have a photo for you of the completed dish.  Actually, s/he would have pictures along the way too but since this is not normally a food blog, I won’t worry that I didn’t take any.  At first I didn’t because that would require another set of hands.  Those would be taking the pictures while mine were searching the cupboard, whisking the egg and GM, greasy with raw meat, shaking the skillet, turning the meatballs, scraping the squash or pouring the sauce.  I think the only one that I would have easily done on my own would have been the decorative shot at the end with an artful piece of parsley on the side of the steaming dish.  But I’m out of parsley, so that ones out too.  Besides, it all smelled so good that I was hard pressed not to eat it all before I sat at the table.

And that’s a good thing.  It would have been peanut butter for me if my creation had been less than edible and unsalvageable which has happened only once (knock on wood) thus far.  Even Sisu didn’t like it.  An Epic Fail so massive that I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it was or what I did, only that it was a long time at the stove and was so horrid that I’ve blocked it totally from my memory.

Back to my dinner…the squash with the hint of lemon really set off the meat and creamy-ness of the sauce and the spices blended with the brightness of the lemon beautifully.  If I were to serve it to company and make it a bit less hodge-podge or clean-the-fridge-like, I would serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, make a great deal more gravy and serve with carrots or green beans so that the lemon pepper can make an appearance.   So very yummy.  Enough so that Thursday will be the command performance of 5 more meatballs (the other 10 are in baggies and in the freezer for later days) and I was already planning cauliflower for a veg, another that is good with lemon pepper and very yum with cream sauce, and mash.  The Garam Masala shan’t be forgotten in the cupboard.  I can’t wait to play with this amazing blend of spices more in the future.

Coming soon: Detesting Daylight Savings