May 2008 Archives

Tea please?

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This story comes from Kim, talking to my mom earlier at my house:

Mom: You know, if you had half & half, I'd have tea.
Kim: We have half & half.
Mom: Oh. Well, if you had Equal, I'd have tea.
Kim: We have Equal.
Mom (thinking about it): I don't think I really want tea.

Maybe it's the tea...

'Fraidy Cat

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Today, walking into the basement, I was brought up short halfway down the stairs by what was clearly a tiny mouse in the basement. He had likely come in from outside and was lost in our basement. However, in the interest of not having MICE instead of MOUSE in the future, and not having our pantry raided, and also not feeling that I was personally quick enough to trap a mouse, I stood stock still trying to figure out what the most reliable way to get rid of a mouse, dead or alive, would be.

Cats, of course. We have two, Linus and Lucy, and if I am correct it is the female cats that are much better mousers than the males. In my experience here, at least, Linus is a complete wuss, so I walked quietly upstairs and woke Lucy from a sound sleep on our dining room chair. She grudgingly let me pick her up and I carried her downstairs (where she's never been--we have a self-closing door blocking the basement from the cats). We got to about the same point that I had gotten to before and there, behold, the mouse still sat. I lowered Lucy to the stairs and pointed her towards Mr. Mouse.


She whined and looked back at me. I urged her forwards, pointing and most likely pointless talking to her. I pushed her another step down.

Nothing. More mewling and she took a step forward. At that point, she saw the mouse moving. She stopped and stared...and turned around and whined at me again, then walked up the stairs to me.

Undaunted, I carried her almost all the way down the stairs and put her right near the mouse. She looked at it. It probably looked at her (hard to tell...). And, with a bravery that belies the true nature of our cats, she whined at me and walked back up the stairs.

At this point, I gave up, found the vacuum cleaner, and eventually cornered and sucked up the mouse. As it was a shop vac, I took the mouse back outside and tossed it into the garden. I believe it's mostly dead (it was breathing, but barely), but if it's alive it can go free.

The cat, I glared at for a few hours, then went back to petting as she slept on the dining room chair. Fierce, that one.

Best. Meatballs. Ever.

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The whole family loves meatballs & spaghetti, but neither Kim nor I can make good meatballs to save our lives. So yesterday, when I was told that Kim would be making meatballs & spaghetti for dinner at Katie's request, I decided that it was time to figure out how all those yummy italian restaurants make the big, fluffy meatballs I get on heros all the time. If they can do it, so can I.

A bit of research turned up a slew of recipes, but I chose one on Chowhound that seemed workable. The trick is plenty of breadcrumbs (I sort of knew this) and lots of milk (I didn't know this one). Here's the recipe, modified slightly by me:

1 lb. Ground round
1 lb. Ground pork
3 large eggs
1 1/2 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Cups bread rumbs
2/3 cup grated Romano or Parmesean
1/4 cup dried basil
1 tsp salt / 1 tsp pepper

What I did was add all ingredients EXCEPT the meat and made a sort of breadcrumb soup. Mix that until smooth and then add the meat and mix thoroughly. The mix will be sort of wet, but that's OK.

In a large pot (I used a big Le Creuset), I put in 2 full jars of good tomato sauce, and a can of "plain" tomato sauce (just to add volume so the meatballs get covered), and set over low heat. Roll into golf ball or slightly larger sized meatballs and drop right into warm sauce. Simmer for an hour or so and serve over spaghetti.

They were moist, light, and had tons of flavor. Kim loved them, as did I. Took a few, some of the sauce, a bit of grated mozz, and made as good a hero as I've had anywhere. Katie said they were "a bit soft" for her, but she ate them. Ellen, of course, wouldn't try them.

I'm thinking that next time I might brown them lightly and then put them in sauce. I think i'd have to simmer them longer if I did, but it might add a firmer crust. Worth a try.


Definitely brown them first. Roll them into golfballs, brown on all sides, and then drain on paper towels. I make a batch of 60 or 70, and then freeze them in groups of 11 or 12. I warm them up by just dropping them in sauce, frozen, and slowly reheat them with the sauce.


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This page is an archive of entries from May 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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