"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, April 23, 2007

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce and Fried Artichokes

You heard me right. Fried artichokes. This is one of the recipes that has intrigued me ever since I got the cookbook. Who has ever heard of such a thing? The Italians, apparently, where they serve them fried whole and flattened in the shape of a chrysanthemum.

Although the recipe takes you through some elaborate cutting and trimming, I threw caution to the wind and decided to fry mine whole too. I happened to have some baby purple (!) artichokes and liked the idea of the flower shape. I figured the smaller artichokes would do better in that regard.

Well, they came out looking more like pine cones than chrysanthemums (and sadly the purple color was lost). I wasn't at all sure I was going to serve them--the outside was a little too crispy/burnt, the insides a little too overdone (the heart)...I tasted one whole, then another trimmed, and then I gave one to L., the S.'s visiting granddaughter. She flipped over it, so I served the rest up with dinner, where they were enthusiastically consumed.

I'd like to try this recipe again "the right way" just to see if the results are dramatically different. Anybody who does likewise let me know what you think.

The Meatballs in Tomato Sauce were nothing surprising but a great meal nevertheless. I can think of a few refinements, like adding an egg to the meat mixture, which was a tad loose. Part of that was also my fault because although I only had 1.17 lbs of meatloaf mix I used the full complement of milk-soaked bread crumbs.

I don't think I've ever made Italian food for the S.s--for one I know they don't like pasta, but I think it's also a reflex from cooking for my parents. My dad can't tolerate tomato sauce because it's too acidic. I served these meatballs over leftover mashed potatoes from Miranda's shift, and Dr. S. and his son-in-law E. were especially pleased with the result. It's nice to know the left-overs will be well received at some point!

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