This post will not be about bread. The batards above are actually weapons. Many things could have gone wrong: While more practical to let dough rise in the refrigerator overnight, that could produce a denser loaf. Maybe using a post-shower bathroom just doesn’t cut it as a “proofing chamber.” Not a lost cause, but not the light, open crumb I wanted. And I still have starter tucked in the refrigerator, ready for the next adventure. (If anyone has begun a starter and needs follow-up recipe suggestions, please let me know.)
Too heavy to eat alone, the bread served perfectly for sauce-mopping. And what to put in the sauce? Well, I finally had a good excuse to jump on the latest food trend: meatballs (they’re so hot right now).
Way before meatballs were cool, my friend Sydney and I made a batch as part of an elaborate Italian feast (this was part of our Food Outside of Our Ethnic Demographic Series, after the success of Chinese and Thai). We found this recipe somewhere online, and I can’t credit the source. All I remember is the one in my recipe binder is cut down from its original by 1/4 (!) which featured five pounds of meat.
adapted from the recipe card with the puppy on it
1/4 C shallots
1 clove garlic
3 T parsley
1/2 C bread crumbs (preferably Italian style bread crumbs)
1/4 C cold water
1 T olive oil
1/2 T salt
dash of pepper
pinch of cumin and cinnamon
a few grates of asiago
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork
Preheat oven to 325. Puree all but beef and pork in food processor. In a large bowl, mix meat and blended ingredients with your hands. Shape into 15-18 balls. Roll in flour. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium. Working in batches, brown meatballs, reserving the drippings and adding fresh oil if necessary. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 25-30 min.
CLASSIC TOMATO SAUCE
adapted from Sauce, published by Williams-Sonoma
Preserved drippings from browning the meatballs
1 clove garlic, crushed
approx. 2 C canned tomatoes (try 14.5 oz Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes)
2 T vermouth
3 T fresh basil, plus more for garnish
I also added fresh oregano
Heat the oil (drippings) in a large frying pan. Saute the garlic until golden-brown. Add tomatoes and their juice, crushing with the back of a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add vermouth, 1/2 t salt, and pinch of pepper. Simmer 15 minutes. Off heat, add basil and oregano. I like to have some texture in a sauce, so I saved out half, pureed the other, then mixed it back together to create a nicely-balanced sauce.
Special thanks to Travis (who ate 6 balls) for technology assistance.