beef

Day 188: Eat your body weight in ribs, then come home and cook

July 7, 2007

After a great afternoon eating mountains of beautiful barbeque ribs, potato salad and watermelon, with copious amounts of fun in the sun for the little one, we had to come home and cook. We got our very tired toddler to bed and set about making Involtini all’Enotec’Antica with Gnocchi, which is meatballs wrapped in radicchio with gnocchi, served in a tomato sauce. The last thing we felt like doing was cooking, especially as the kitchen is now beyond melting hot. However, cook we must, so we just had to get on with it without sitting down.

This meal is not difficult, but it did seem a little complicated process-wise, as we were so tired we were about to fall down. Basically, the meatballs are made with ground beef, parsley, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, egg and bread crumbs, mixed together and formed into ovals. They are then wrapped in radicchio leaves and set to simmer in the tomato sauce, flour, butter, stock and wine mixture that should by now be simmering. We couldn’t find a head of radicchio, so we had two options. We could either wrap the meatballs in red cabbage leaves or patch together a series of baby radicchio leaves from a bag of mixed salad. We tried both methods and went with the multiple wrappings of the baby leaves, as using the cabbage was like wrapping an egg in a block of concrete. Meanwhile the gnocchi should be cooked and drained and tossed in the tomato sauce with some cheese before serving. We had to give the meatballs about 10 extra minutes to make sure that they were cooked inside, and I had to tamper with the tomato sauce. I added more tomato and a sprinkling of sugar because it tasted too much like thickened, acidic beef stock, which is not necessarily a good flavour.

Many of the radicchio leaves broke free from there moorings on the meatballs and went free forming in the sauce. There was not much to choose between the intact wrapped balls, and the bald ones. Ultimately the taste addition was like a piece of wet lettuce in hot food, which certainly didn’t seem to justify the extra effort. The meatballs themselves were very rich, dense and good, with the garlic and cheese shining through. The gnocchi was fine, Baby A will enjoy her lunch tomorrow if she is in the mood for eating. The tomato sauce was blander than bland. It tasted like it came out of a tin, which it pretty much did. It really could have benefited from some onions and garlic, maybe some mushrooms and olives. Even some frozen peas; especially some frozen peas. Overall, this meal is ok, nothing wildly exciting, but the meatballs are a good recipe.

Tomorrow we are meeting up with friends for the afternoon then coming home to make Veal Scallopine with Dijon Sauce, Asparagus, and Avocados. This is an uncharacteristically busy weekend for us, but it’s been great to get out and about and not spend all our free time at the park. Baby A had a whale of a time today playing in the yard with sprinklers and a paddling pool and a sandbox, I think she will be well-suited to life in a house rather than a condo. We are still trying to get our heads round it. Also it was great that the older kids played with her and that we were able to have real life adult conversations, without having to intervene in toddler wars of the wills. The birthday boy had a pleasant if uneventful day. He got a birthday phonecall from the man at the car dealership were we bought car a few months ago, which was nice in a slightly weird sort of way. Still, at least someone called. The wee one made a card with crayons; we look forward to a few years of instant presents made by the kids. The cupcakes I had planned to make today never happened, it would have been inhumane to put the oven on while the little one slept. She still woke up melting hot and drenched in sweat. Today on the way home she said “I don’t like it when it’s hot” probably her longest sentence yet. I couldn’t agree more.

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