Saturday, April 9, 2011

Family Dinner Series Week Sixteen

Remember when I planned that whole homemade Italian feast for Family Dinner Series Week Fifteen, only to suddenly remember it was Mardi Gras?

Well, I certainly wasn't going to waste all of my planning efforts!

Instead, I moved the project to Family Dinner Series Week Sixteen, wherein my house, clothes, and hair, all smelled of onion and garlic for a week and a half.

Preparation for the Tuesday night feast started Monday evening around 5:20 when I hit Hannaford on my way home from the office. One of the harder parts of Family Dinner is that before its existence, Uncle Bud and I didn't cook. Like... at all. That means that each week, not only do I have to shop for the meal's main ingredients, but also the supplementary ingredients that most households keep on stock in their cupboards. Things like sage, and thyme, and even tomato paste!

I really can't wait for the day that all this early investment pays off and I find myself with a full spice rack. Because according to everyone's favorite budget watch at, the Hannaford "slice" is overpowering my "pie."

By the time Uncle Bud rolled in I had ingredients spread over the better part of the kitchen counter AND table. I even had my rubber gloves in place, ready to tackle the ever-intimidating ground meat. With an RSVP list of six, I had bought two packages, not realizing that the amount would yield me approximately 745 turkey meatballs.

"When I'm done, do you want to grab a drink at the Restaurant?" I asked Bud. He agreed, before shuffling off into his room for a post-work nap.


And despite the absurd hour, and the delicious aroma of simmering sauce, I really needed to get out of the kitchen. I woke Bud up from his "nap", and downtown we went. Where I provided the few lingering Restaurant go-ers with wafts of Italian cooking, seeping out of my every pore.

Luckily the hard work paid off, and the next night's meal was a success, despite the few stems cooked into the meatballs.

Hey! I never learned how to chop fresh spices!

Our guests were all good friends making repeat visits to the meal, and very forgiving of my red-rimmed tired eyes. Adam and Frazz arrived with a bottle of wine, and Fitzy brought his new lady friend, and a German chocolate cake, which spurred a lively discussion of combating pasteries.

And there were enough extra meatballs for both leftovers... and frozen leftovers.

Conclusion? When new to the kitchen, ignore both the "prep time" and "number served" in any recipe. Instead, round up. To the nearest 10.

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