06 June 2010

The contraption: Olive and lemon meatballs with tomato sauce

Computers. I love them and hate them all at once.

As a writer and editor I love how they can make my lot a bit easier—distributing drafts, tracking changes, sending off the final version—its all easy, peasey, pudding and pie. Add the Web and all the electronic loveliness that comes with it, and there’s little doubt that this collection of plastic and wires is rather spiffy.

But when things go awry…say when my wretched ISP goes down, speed becomes a crawl (thanks to multiple “critical” patches) or for whatever reason an app no longer does what it’s supposed to…and I just want to chuck this thing out the window and go back to quill and ink.

This is one of those moments. My six year old laptop is now showing signs of age…grindingly slow, Sahara-like heat and now it just shuts down whenever it gosh-darned feels like. These I can handle. What I’m having issues with is the spontaneous key-popping.

Yes, key-popping. There I am, happily Tweeting or emailing and all of a sudden keys started flying off and clattering all around me. Square tiles jettisoned like quills off a territorial porcupine. Right now the bane of my existence is the letter “I” that keeps leaping off ¡nto the w¡ld blue yonder.

Well, until I can afford a new machine, Zippy will have to be mended. A keyboard transplant is in the works and for the next while I’ll be computer-less. I hope to have Zippy back before long, but it all depends upon how long it takes my repair shop to get in the replacement part.


Before I take this machine off to the shop, here’s the next part of my slow cooker series. Enjoy…

This is what I’ll call a “transition recipe,” the type of recipe that bridges warm and cool weather, one that’s just hearty enough to feel fed, but not so much to leave you feeling lethargic. It’s also a bit of a transition from the slow-cooked meats that marked my earlier slow cooker adventures.

I must admit that when I saw slow cooker meatball recipes, I really didn’t see how a slow cooker made the process easier for the home cook. You still have to make and cook the meatballs separately as well as start the sauce off on the stove. Really, it would be much simpler—including a couple fewer pieces to wash—to do it all by stove top.

Regardless if you use a contraption or a covered Dutch oven, this isn’t a bad recipe. Adding lemon and olive to the meat mix adds an earthier but at the same time a bit of a refreshng flavour to the meatballs.

Olive and lemon meatballs with tomato sauce
Adapted from Sara Lewis’ Ultimate Slow Cooker, p68
Serves 4

50g (0.5c) chopped black olives
grated rind of 0.5 lemon
500g (1lb) ground beef
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onìon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
375ml (1.5c) canned, puréed tomatoes
125ml (0.5c) chicken or beef stock
0.5tsp dried basil
dried chili flakes (optional)

Mix olives, lemon zest, beef, salt and pepper together. Form meatballs (this recipe will form about 20 tablespoon-sized meatballs). Let rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Fry in olive oil until cooked. Set aside.

To make the sauce, sauté the onion in the oil and beef drippings, add the garlic, tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper. Let come to the boil.

Transfer the meatballs and sauce to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. About an hour before it's done, stir in basil and pepper flakes and continue cooking.


I'm a quill for hire!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button



This looks comforting and delicious! I have the same love/hate relationship with my computer!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

So wonderful when they just do what I tell it to. Unspeakable when it doesn't.

Love the meatballs. Will look for this book, like the sound of that.

Anonymous said...

I've added you to my blogroll Jasmine!!