Monday, January 4, 2010

Let's talk about meat

My son didn't nap today. He's a good napper, and that leaves me time to do things - like this. And I get emotionally attached to the things that I want to do - like this. So when he doesn't nap, or when I have to drive him around so he sleeps, I don't get to do what I want ....

Fighting ... urge ... to ...

talk about staying at home with the boy....

Let's talk about that meat. Specifically, meatballs. I simply love making meatballs - patties of any sort, really. I don't know what it is. I used to detest getting my hands into anything. "Uhhhh! The dough is stickyyyyy!" Now I happily cast aside spoons, remove my rings, and cut back my fingernails in anticipation of making patties of any and every kind. I actually had my nails a bit too long for these particular meatballs and got some ground chuck under them. Gross. And, have you ever tried to get meat out of mille grain? Not easy.

But I just adore throwing in seasoning ... maybe some onion and garlic ... maybe a few breadcrumbs or, in this case, rice! Yes. Uncooked white rice went right into the balls and the little grains plumped right up in the cooking time in the soup. Genius!

How does one brown meatballs? The recipes always say to "brown all sides." I may misremember (bless you, GW) my geometry, but I'm pretty sure spheres don't have sides. I usually brown them as a sort of plump pyramid.

This recipe is from my father, although he doesn't know that I have it. I actually photocopied his recipe book. He has a binder with all of the recipes that he either made up or took from magazines or the newspaper. Lots of good ones. I have a similar binder of my own creation, as well as a copy of my dad's. So, as I said, one of his: Mexican Meatball Soup. What makes it Mexican, I suppose, is the seasoning: oregano and chili powder. Might be a stretch. A delicious stretch.

I guess the tomatoes, peppers, corn and zucchini (?) are all American ... and since the vast majority of the geographic area known as The Americas, especially the part that produced the aforementioned vegetables, once belonged to Spain ... and part of that then became Mexico, then that also makes it Mexican. Sure.

This particular ground beef came from our supply in the freezer. It is 1/4-steer's worth of meat, in fact. In the freezer, that is, not the meatballs. I got talking to a guy at a farmers market this summer and thought, "Well, shucks, grass-fed, free-roaming beef in WA? Family-run business? Sounds like a great reason to get a big ol' freezer and a quarter of a cow." It is so family run, in fact, that the dad is the cowboy and the sons are the cowboys-in-training. The mom runs the business end, usually manning the farmers market booth so she can chat up the clientele, as well as phoning, emailing, and keeping the records. Oh, and they are definitely country folk. When we showed up at the appointed time and place, with our coolers, to pick up our order, Amy (alone!) was working her way through a serpentine queue of customers, chatting up every single one as she crossed them off her handwritten in a spiral notebook list. I kid you not. It was somewhat quaint. But the city (suburban) girl in me just wanted to elbow my way through everyone and rearrange everything so as to make it efficient. Hey, I happily made friends in line for over an hour, but would I have liked a 5-minute drop-off on my doorstep instead? Perhaps.

What does 1/4 steer look like all packaged up and ready to go, you ask? I think the two boxes we got both weighed 30lbs. 40lbs.? One was all 1lb. tubes of ground chuck; the other was different cuts like sirloin, filet mignon, short ribs, etc. The ground chuck seems endless. And I haven't used nearly enough of the cuts - a couple steaks and some ribs. Besides, how many servings of beef should one have per week? This cow has eradicated my anemia, I must say.

I made the this soup with Sam running around my legs - quite an accomplishment. I usually have to wait for Josh to get home to finish, or heck!, even start dinner. It was nice to have it done when he got home so that we didn't have to eat at 9pm.

I had a different vision of being a stay-at-home mom. Uhhhh.


... fingers ... want to talk ...

about ... today

and lack of Me Time ....

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