We moved to South Florida eleven months ago. When you enter our apartment there is a 3′ by 5′ entrance with hooks for Calvin’s leash over top of a shoe holder full of flip-flops. You walk up a long wide flight of stairs to another 3′ by 5′ landing, turn right and take 2 more stairs to our living space. Nearly every night since we’ve lived here, I hear these words when JR opens the door, pats our loveable lab Calvin and starts up the stairs: “I hope that’s my dinner.” Translation through my ears to my heart sounds like: “I Love You Laura and whatever it is that you are fixing for me to eat tonight.”
The crock pot brussel sprouts, though amazing, prevented me from hearing that love. We are both veggie lovers. Brussel sprouts however, have previously only been agreeable to me wrapped in bacon or covered with cheese sauce until I found this wonderful crock pot recipe from Stephanie Dea. It’s true – they are the best ever, but they made my apartment stink. Even the next day I walked in the door and thought there must be a pile of sweaty socks and t-shirts overdue for a go in the washing machine. It was the residual sprout smell. I fixed the smell by carmelizing onions in my new birthday Calphalon pot.
I am fortunate enough to have a husband who really does love me and loves to eat nearly everything. That gives the experimental and creative cook in me a lot of permission. The best food love for him any night of the week is Rigatoni and Meatballs. Until 10 months ago, I could not make a decent meatball. Our Colorado friend Derek B did, and probably still does make the best meatballs I ever had in my life – but he’s got the secret grandmother recipe that happens only in his kitchen. Well Derek, I am happy to say that here in the land heavily populated by Italians, I found Marios. It is family owned Italian market and they sell meatball mix. It’s a mixture of ground beef, pork, veal and now that I have it I realize why I never made a decent meatball. I couldn’t without this mix! JR brought a pound home one evening with the rest of the ingredients Mrs Mario told him to put in the meat: 1 egg, about a cup of good bread crumbs, s & p, fresh garlic and the magic ingredient: pecorino romano cheese. I roll them up into generous size balls, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, then pop them in a good red sauce to finish them and season the sauce. Leftovers are amazing on a pizza.
To compliment this meal, I serve a bowl of grated parmesan and a cesaer salad. We discovered JR’s favorite Cesaer dressing is from Sysco, unfortunately we don’t have room for a gallon of it in our fridge. My solutions is to head over to the neighborhood Lindberger resturant and ask to buy some.
I receive love hearing the nearly nightly phrase.
I give it back to him with a meatball.