Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spaghetti & Meatballs

A couple of years ago my sister and her husband invited my wife and me over for dinner. When we walked into their house our noses were bombarded with the smell of deliciousness. Tim was making us meatballs. He graciously gave me the recipe and now I am giving it to you. I made it when we were up in the San Juan Islands this past weekend and we went to our stomachs' limit on this one. The secret to this recipe isn't the jarred sauce (choose whichever you prefer) it's letting the balls of joy simmer away for 3 hours, flavoring the marinara and making everything taste so good. Be cautious when you make this. You can easily eat too much.

Tim's Meatballs
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. hot Italian sausage (casing removed)
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 T garlic powder

1 diced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary & thyme

  • Mix the first five ingredients together by hand. Be careful not to overwork the meat.
  • Form the mix into balls about the size of a small egg.
  • Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large-bottomed pan (one that can also accommodate the sauce later) on medium low heat.
  • Lightly brown each side of the meatballs. If your pan isn't big enough to fit all the balls with a little space around them, do this in two batches.
  • After all the meatballs are browned, transfer them to a platter to rest.
  • Saute the onion in the same pan (with the oil & meat juices).
  • When the onions are translucent, add the garlic.
  • When the onion & garlic are sauteed, pour in 2 jars of a simple tomato sauce and 1 can of crushed tomatoes.
  • Put the meatballs back into the sauce along with the fresh herbs.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil then turn down to low.
  • Simmer the sauce for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking on the bottom and burning.
  • Serve with spaghetti and plenty of garlic bread for sopping up the sauce. So good.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Jucy Lucy Burger

Ever since I heard of the Jucy Lucy (when "Man vs Food" visited the Twin Cities) I've needed to try my own version. Stuffing the cheese inside of the burger, keeping it warm and gooey with every bite, makes the Jucy Lucy unbeatable. When you buy the meat, splurge for the more expensive, higher quality ground beef. It makes a huge difference. You can use any cheese inside with a perfect friend on top. The combinations are endless; blue cheese & bacon, swiss & mushrooms, pepperjack & roasted peppers...all inside of these homemade hamburger buns. Here's the first couple attempts at my version. I'll definitely be trying more.

Jucy Lucy Burger
(Big thanks to WasabiBratwurst for the perfect seasoning ratio)
For the Classic Cheddar Lucy...
1-1/2 lbs ground beef
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
4 thick slices cheddar

For the Feta Lucy...
1-1/2 lbs ground beef
3/4 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 t dried oregano
1/2 t garlic granules
4 T feta

Mix the meat and spices with your hands. Divide the meat mixture into 3 oz balls, two balls per burger. Each recipe makes about 4 burgers. If you don't have a scale, eyeball to the size of a large meatball.

Flatten each ball into thin patties that are a little larger than the bun. Sandwich the cheese in the middle of the patty and seal by pinching the edge with your fingers making a meat flying saucer. Make sure to seal it well. The last thing you want is all your cheese goodness to leak out all over your grill. You'll get a better seal by using a piece of wax paper to finish this step.

Rub each side of the patty with a dab of vegetable oil to prevent it from sticking to the grill and barbecue the burgers over medium high direct heat for about 7 minutes. Flip and grill for an additional 5 minutes.

Put them on your hamburger bun with all the fixins you like. I enjoy burgers with minimal toppings, so I had my cheddar Lucy with mayo & avocado and the feta Lucy with sliced tomatoes. Delicious!