Domesticity R Us

January 15, 2013

Oops. Here would be a post written this past weekend, and delayed so I could upload photos. I just uploaded photos. Sue me. We have been domestic today.

The makings of Marcella's sauce. Do this.

The makings of Marcella’s sauce. Do this.

 Me and Lucy, that would be. I have spent a significant portion of today cleaning up this hobo encampment that purported to be my residence, and along the way managed to make some marinara and meatballs, a meat loaf, and a quart of garlic confit.

Don't let anybody tell you different. This is a metric assload of garlic.

Don’t let anybody tell you different. This is a metric assload of garlic.

I’d been eyeing these big honking bags of peeled garlic cloves at Sam’s. Because it’s just easier than whacking and peeling garlic cloves, you know? Or it ought to be. And I ran across a recipe — really, more of a technique — for garlic confit, and I thought, “Self? You ought to try this.” And self agreed that sounded like a fine idea.

So I cleaned the kitchen, living room, and office, which means now someone can walk into my house and not be frightened. I cleaned an entire garbage bag of stuff, much of which was old enough to vote, out of my fridge. (My bedroom is tomorrow. I have my limit, and I had reached it. But it surely does look nice.) Then I went to Sam’s and the grocery, in between rainstorms, and stocked the fridge back up.

Of course, by the time I went to the grocery at 3-ish, having skipped lunch and just eaten a couple of granola bars for breakfast, I was dying. So I came home and ate chips and cheese dip, promptly ruining my appetite, but I had to do something with the ground beef, the ground pork, and the bacon I’d thawed out.

So I made half of it up into six sizeable meatballs, which I fried, the oven being occupied with dehydrating tomatos. (Yesterday was co-op delivery day; we will have capreses tomorrow, yes we will.) So they’re somewhat misshapen meatballs. A vat of Marcella’s tomato-butter sauce is simmering away on the stove, to which the meatballs will eventually be added. That’ll be a couple of meals’ worth.

I love this sauce. It’s so flipping easy. You just dump four 15-oz cans of diced tomatos (or whole ones, if that’s whatcha got), a stick of butter, a whole, peeled and quartered onion, and about four or five whole garlic cloves into a pot, add some basil, bring it to a boil, cut it back to a low boil, and let it simmer 20 minutes. Take an immersion blender to it (or do it in batches in your blender or FoPro, if you’re of a mind to do that or don’t have an immersion blender, but if you don’t? Get you one, soonest, because they are immensely handy little critters and they’re not but 20 bucks) and smooth it out, onions and garlic and all, and put it back on the heat, with your meatballs in it, to simmer until they’re nice and done, probably another hour. 

The meatballs were a half a pound each of Mountain Pastures ground beef and ground pork; 3/4 cup Rice Chex cereal soaked in half-and-half; some basil, some onion powder, some garlic powder, a half-cup of grated Parmigiano, and an egg. I use the Rice Chex because it makes a pretty excellent imitation of bread crumbs; I bought a box at the grocery today and FoPro’d the whole lot of ’em. That’s $2.19 (generic Rice Chex) for twice as much gluten-free bread crumbs as what they sell in a plastic tub at the health food store for $3.49. If you ever needed gluten-free bread crumbs, this is the way to go.

These will likely get frozen in three separate portions of meatballs and sauce, for future dinners. I can have ’em over GF pasta, which leaves some to be desired, or over rice or polenta. (Read: grits.)

Easy, easy, easy. Good, good, good.

The remaining half-pound each of beef and pork got smooshed together with another helping of Rice Chex and cream, an egg, and some barbecue dry rub. I spread it out on six strips of bacon, coated it down with barbecue sauce, sprinkled it with some fried-and-crumbled bacon, and rolled it up. At that point, I slid it into a gallon Zip-loc bag and stashed it in the freezer. I can lay it out one morning before I go to work, let it thaw all day, then top it with more barbecue sauce and bake it when I get home from work. It’ll suffice for a couple of nights, if not more.

The garlic confit took longer than the recipes said it would. You put your garlic in a saucepan, cover it completely with olive oil, and turn your stove on its lowest setting. The recipes say it’ll take about an hour to get soft. It took mine two. No matter. It’s all confited now. That’s a quart, or about 1/3 of a three-pound bag of peeled garlic cloves. Allegedly this stuff lasts in the fridge. I hope to God so. It’s supposed to be very rich and sweet because of the long, slow poach. Smelled good. We’ll not be bothered by vampires tonight, no we won’t.

In any event, it was a day full of cooking for no more eating than I did. However, I will have plenty to serve should you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em show up for dinner. So c’mon!

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