I would like to introduce you to our friend Caleb.
|Photo by Tim Swensen|
Caleb is good at many things. As you can see, he plays some sweet guitar. It was actually because of this guitar playing skill that Paulo and I became acquainted with him. He plays guitar, my husband plays drums, we go to the same church, and so praise music and friendship started flowing at the same time.
Something else Caleb is really good at is cooking. Like, really good. Straight-up-gourmet good. He talks about ingredients I have never heard of before, and I just nod my head like I know what he is talking about, but really he could be speaking in Mandarin. The few times I have helped him in the kitchen I was keenly aware of the fact that my chopping or dicing skills are lacking. He cuts his veggies with such precision and speed, while I on the other hand chop in the roughest sense of the word. (Really, it is going to taste the same anyway, right?) When we eat at their house the table is beautifully set (I think this is where his wife brings her talent in) and the food is plated just so. When they come to our house I put all the food in the middle of the table, toss some mugs of juice on the table, and tell everyone to dig in.
You know what? That is OK.
It is good to have the opportunity to eat fancier cooking with the food set out in a gorgeous display and it is good to eat family style, with laughter and jokes the center of attention rather than the food itself. Both ways are beautiful, and both ways are necessary for the human soul.
A few months back I discovered a terrific recipe for meatballs, juicy and tender, full of flavor, covered with an equally delicious cream sauce. Caleb, upon hearing about it, decided that he needed to try some of these meatballs and so the four of us got together: Caleb and Tiffany to cook while our significant others enjoyed the meal with us (and later washed the dishes -- oh the joy of being the cook in the family!).
A few days before we did this a co-worker and I were talking about cooking and she asked, "Do you know how to make a roux?" "A huh?" I responded. Clearly I did not. Or at least I didn't think so. That is until this night, when I was telling Caleb to melt the butter and whisk in flour... "Oh, we're making a roux..." I had no idea. I guess I am a gourmet cook after all and I didn't even know it! :)
Recipe from the Taste of Home Cookbook
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- CREAM SAUCE:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- In a large bowl, combine the egg, milk, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oats, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. Roll in flour, shaking off excess.
- Place meatballs on greased racks in shallow baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs; bake 12-15 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink.
- Meanwhile, for sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add broth and cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
- Drain meatballs on paper towels; transfer to a serving dish. Serve with sauce; sprinkle with parsley.
COST = $8.30 PER SERVING (4) = $2.08
Plus Mashed Potatoes and Salad ~ $3.05 per serving