Grandma’s Meatballs

I haven’t been cooking a lot, which is a little odd, because it’s been rainy and pretty cold here in Los Angeles and that is the best time to cook things because cooking implies heat and heat is something we usually have here and when we do, I usually want something not hot.  Except for steak. I can always be talked into steak.

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But last night I was in the mood for meatballs so I decided to make them.  I also remember I was going to tell you how I make them, which is to say, how my Grandma taught me to make them, but then I realized I had already given the recipe out on Facebook, which sparked an all out war between my friends, Italian or not, on whether the accompanying topping for meatballs and pasta is called sauce or gravy.

Months later, much like all of the Trump “discussions”, the war continues.

So I went back into Facebook to find my original recipe, but this time I am adding the photos I took last night, so now you can all follow the bouncing meatball.  The blue type is from the original post, with some editing of the use of the word f*ck, because this might be read by people other than my FB friends and I don’t want them to get the wrong idea about my use of profanity.  Well, profanity in public, anyway.  The regular type is notes I added when I wrote this.

It began with an innocent request from my friend Robin Cooper.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-8-32-01-am If it not a bother can you share your recipe?

December 6, 2016 at 5:33pm

 

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It’s Grandma’s so nothing is really measured. 

Get some stale Italian bread (you can use bread crumbs from the store if you’re not Italian)

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(Last night I used a stale roll I had in my breadbasket. Sometimes I just don’t have a loaf of Italian Bread laying around. When I’m desperate, I will toast white bread and crumble it, but it is never quite the same)

 

Crumble it in a bowl.

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(And by crumble I mean just smush it between your hands. There will be large bits and small bits. Don’t try to make them all the same size.   If you want standardized breadcrumbs, just go buy frozen meatballs and be done with it.)

 

 Add enough water to moisten.  

img_3435(I use a handful of water at a time. If I make a small amount of meatballs, it’s usually one handful. If I make more, it’s 2 handfuls and maybe a flick or water. A flick is when you wet your hand and flick what’s on it in the bowl.  My Jewish friends call this a schpritz, but that’s a little too much water and what do they know about making meatballs, anyway.)

 

Grab about a pound of chop meat. Not the lean kind. 

If you have some (not a lot) of sausage meat or ground pork throw it in. 

If you have some veal (f*ck that – who has veal lying around in the fridge anymore? Don’t buy it, it’s too expensive for meatballs)

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(I thought I had a lonely Italian Sausage in the fridge but I did not.  If you want people to think you went through the expense and trouble of adding pork and you don’t have any, just add a little fennel seed, which you should have in your pantry.  Then it will taste like you added pork which is probably good enough for your non-Italian guests.)

 

img_3437(I usually make a hamburger patty first because a pound of chopped meat makes too many meatballs for me and I hate anything that’s frozen, even homemade frozen meatballs, so I make a hamburger to have the next night.  If I have to freeze it, it’s ok because I am used to eating frozen hamburger patties here in the United States)

 

Add some salt & pepper. 

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(I know “some” is a relative term, so I took a photo to show you. I have small hands because I am short. If you have big hands, find someone in the house who doesn’t and have them add the salt & pepper )

 

Add some crushed garlic. 

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(Last night I couldn’t find the big knife to crush the garlic.  Italians just take a big knife and whomp the clove with it. I used to have a garlic press but that just took too long and was a pain in the ass to clean, so I just sliced and diced it into teeny tiny pieces.  It tastes exactly the same.)

 

Add some cheese – grated Romano or Parmesan. (Don’t ever ever ever use the stuff in the green can. I don’t know what the f*ck is in there but it’s not cheese)

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(We had the best Italian market in Glen Cove called Razzanos. I’m pretty sure it’s still there. There was always a very large plastic bag of grated cheese from Razzanos in our refrigerator. This is from Ralph’s supermarket from some guy named Murray.  Not an Italian name but the cheese was grated fresh and  pretty good.)

 

Add some basil. You can use dried but fresh is better. 

img_3442(Once I got really lazy and bought the stuff in the tube.  It was a mistake I will never make again.  When I read the ingredients, the first one listed was Cilantro.  Cilantro is Mexican, so my meatballs tasted more like Albondigas, which I hate because although they look like meatballs, they are not really meatballs.)

 

If you’re not Italian you can put in some oregano. Italian’s know oregano is not Italian it is Greek but non- Italians think it is and expect to at least smell it. Don’t disappoint them. 

(I just don’t use oregano, so I didn’t take a photo.  I know they use it on Pizza and I guess there it is acceptable, but this is about meatballs so I just leave it out)

Throw in an egg. Yes, an egg – you’ll thank me later. 

img_3447(I hate eggs, so making meatballs is a bit annoying to me because I have to go an buy a dozen, or if I’m lucky and they have them, a half dozen and then I have to do something with the rest of the eggs. I used to make Boxed Brownies, but now I don’t like the taste of the Box. It’s a problem, but it’s a First World Problem so I don’t mind so much.)

 

Mix everything together- not too much because it makes the meatballs tough. A light hand – like something you would do with men’s meatballs. If you do that kind of thing. If you do do that kind of thing you’re a puttana. It’s where the dish Puttanesca comes from. It means slut. Puttanesca is anything left in a slut’s refrigerator on Sunday. Usually nothing except martini olives & cheese. (So now you know)

(I didn’t take a photo because my hands were full of meatball mix and I am assuming you know enough about cooking to know how to mix with your hands.  If you are the kind that wears gloves when you cook, then I can almost guarantee you that your meatballs are terrible.  Cooking is love and love comes from the heart through the hands.  Wearing gloves limits the love.  Ask any man.)

Put some olive oil in a pan. Don’t use vegetable oil and don’t ever call it evo. Only Rachel Ray calls it that & she’s very far removed from being Italian. I also heard she’s a slut. Heat the oil. Even non-Italians can do that. 

(This is where my friend, Robin Cooper chimed in. I don’t know why she thought I called her a slut.  To be clear, I called Rachel Ray a slut, which might be a mistake because I’m sure she has far more many attorneys than I do, but I included it because maybe someone from the Food Channel or SNL is reading this and I think it would be a great idea too, unless SNL wants me to tape this in NY, which is a problem because my horse lives here. But thanks, Robin)

 

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Suzy- maybe you should video tape this and do a spot on the food/travel channel or SNL . Being a Jew I didn’t know about oregano being Greek and not Italian. Hmm. Thanks for giving out the recipe and calling me a slut (puttana). 

December 6, 2016 at 7:02pm

Slice garlic so thin it dissolves in the the pan before burning. Burnt garlic tastes like crap. If you can’t slice it that thin do the best you can but watch it and take it out before it starts to brown. If you can barely smell it, take it out. It infuses the oil. If you can smell it, it’s too late but if you’re not Italian you won’t know the difference so just take it out as soon as you can. 

img_3451(The scene in Goodfellas when they’re in prison slicing garlic with a razor always confused me.  No one in my family ever used a razor blade to cut garlic.  We are Sicilian and know our way around sharp knives. Still, I just loved that movie.)

 

This is when my friend, Jeff Quattrone jumped in.

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The garlic infused oil is a nice touch.

December 7, 2016 at 4:16am

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We never called it infused. We are Italian. Infused is a word for non-Italians. We just threw it in the pan and swirled it around for a bit. Not too long. Then we pulled it out with a spoon. Infused is a word trendy foodies use.

December 7, 2016 at 4:32am

I mean, he’s Italian, so he should have known.  Jeff is a wonderful artist and has spent a long time and a lot of money trying to become a citizen of and get back to a country his relatives (and mine, for that matter), spent a long time and a lot of money trying to leave.  That was when you came on a little boat across a big ocean and didn’t emigrate using American Express  Frequent Flier Miles.  I always think of myself as Italian until I meet an Italian who’s actually from Italy.  Then I know I’m just an American with an Italian last name.  But I still know how to cook, so I guess my DNA is still Italian.

Roll the meat gently (we’ve covered this already) into meatballs. 

Not ping pong balls, not tennis balls, not the size those weird Swedish people make. Don’t make them too big, they’ll burn before the inside cooks. Don’t make them too small unless you’re Swedish. 

 

img_3448(Now I feel a little bad saying that about The Swedes after all that trouble they’ve had, or didn’t have, or whatever.   Maybe to make up for that, I’ll go to Ikea today and buy something to put together.)

 

 

When the oil is hot put them in the pan. 

Brown them on all sides. All sides. It’s a ball so there’s a lot of turning involved. If you have to pee while cooking make sure there’s someone in the house so you can yell from the bathroom “somebody turn the meatballs”. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. 

img_3454(If you have to pee when you’re cooking them and there’s nobody else there to turn them, you just have to hold it.  After all of this, there is no taking them off the heat or running to the bathroom room for just a minute.  This is the critical time and will make or break your balls, which is where I think the expression came from)

 

When they’re cooked (& you really really have to be Italian for this because I’m not there to tell you that they’re done) take them out of the pan and put them on a plate lined with some paper towels (any brand will do – if you want to be Italian use a paper bag that has been torn open. Brown. Only use a brown paper bag. White bags don’t work. If you are Italian you’d know this)

img_3452(I’m pretty sure when my Grandma taught me how to make these, there was no such thing as paper towels.  Maybe there was, but we never used them to wipe up anything.  We used some kind of dishrag or someone’s old white t-shirt ripped into squares.  I still have a hard time using paper towels for anything other than wiping up dog pee-pee when it rains and they are too lazy to go outside.)

While the meatballs are hot sprinkle some salt over them. Eat one just to taste. Slap the hand of anyone else that tries to grab one before dinner. Don’t turn your back on your meatballs- those people can be very sneaky.
Well, that’s about all I remember. Mine were delicious I hope yours are too, you slut!

December 6, 2016 at 7:12pm

img_3459(Well, I guess I did call Robin a slut. Sorry about that. Not that she took offense at that.  She was more pissed off that I told her she was crazy for living so close to Canada.  But that was last year, before the election.  This year she is well positioned and her house could be part of the New Underground Railroad. )

 

I know I’m going to catch some flack for that remark, for a number of reasons, but I don’t care because I know that everyone secretly wants to be Italian, because we have more fun and more love and more life then any other group of people.  That’s why so many people remodeled their kitchens in a Tuscan Theme.  But as I told my other friend Rita Zelig –

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Rita, you can put kittens in an oven but that don’t make them biscuits. Now that you live in the South you should know that.

But that is another story for another time.

 

JUST SO YOU KNOW, I AM GOING TO ADD A SECTION CALLED “THE CAST” SO YOU CAN GET TO KNOW SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE MY LIFE SO COLORFUL AND INTERESTING.  FOR ALL MY FRIENDS WHO ASKED TO BE PART OF THIS BLOG, DON’T SAY YOU HAVEN’T BEEN WARNED! 

 

 

 

 

Chorizo & Eggs – The Final Segment

I’m sure I left all of you hanging at the edges of your seats when we took our last break from this Cooking Segment, “Chorizo & Eggs”.   I apologize.   Kind of. Well, not really. I don’t know why I even started this. Oh right. For you. I do this for you. Because I care.

I had to run out and get an onion.  And by “run out” I mean I had to remember to buy one when I went to the supermarket.   The last 6 times.  Maybe 7.

But I kept forgetting.  Maybe it’s because I am now 60.  Or maybe it’s because after reading the label on the thick plastic coated Chorizo package, I subconsciously did not want to make Chorizo & Eggs.

Or maybe it was more conscious than that.  I don’t know.

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After Christmas Onion Sale

But I finally remembered to buy an onion and I brought it home and was about to start making Chorizo & Eggs (for you), when I looked into my cupboard for a can of ReFried Beans and saw – or didn’t see the can.  Because it was not there.

Now I know that you can make Chorizo & Eggs without a side of refried beans, but you can clearly see in the Rudolf Becerra video that re-fried beans are an integral part of the plate.  As a matter of fact, there is a lower third that says, “Serve Refried Beans.”  There are also tortillas on the plate (in the video) and some kind of green thing. I’m thinking it must be a sliced jalapeño.  It usually is when it comes to Mexican food. They must feel the way about jalapeño  the way Italians feel about garlic.  But garlic is better.  Way better.

I’m not about to argue with a Mexican when it comes to a traditional dish. So I decided to run out and get a can of refried beans so I could re-create the Rudolf Becerra Chorizo & Eggs Experience perfectly.

And by “run out” I mean I had to remember to buy one when I went to the supermarket.   The last 6 times.  Maybe 7.

By this time, I was pretty much done with Chorizo & Eggs.  I mean, I really don’t even like Eggs and after reading the ingredients on the Chorizo package, I don’t think I like Chorizo, either.

But I do this for you.  Because I care.

So here we go.

I’m going to post Rudolf Becerra’s Video again so you can follow along and make sure I did it correctly and because the music made all of this more palatable and this dish needs all the palatable help it can get.

First let me tell you I was going to follow along with the video on my iPad so I can watch and take photos for you at the same time.  But my iPad had no battery life left.  I’m sure it’s because it was thinking we were in for another marathon screening of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.   Or Hotel Impossible, with Anthony Melchiorri, which is where all of this binge watching really started.  Followed by Restaurant Impossible, with Robert Irvine.   I really don’t blame my iPad for shutting itself down and refusing to power back up.  It’s been through a lot, too.   I watched all of the episodes of all of those shows 5 times.  At least.

So I have to go back and forth between my camera and YouTube on my iPhone.  But that’s ok.  I do this all for you.  Because I care.

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Sans Onion

The first thing I did was to assemble the ingredients.   My friend, Bob DelGrosso is some kind of amazing chef, although he has yet to invite me to dinner and we have been friends since High School.  He calls this “Mise en Place”.  I don’t remember enough High School French and I don’t remember Bob DelGrosso using such stuck up phrases in High School, but things and people change.  Just get all the stuff you need together in one place so you can tell right away if you have to go back to the supermarket.  In the photo above you can see that once again I forgot the freaking onion.  I knew that would come back to haunt me.  Luckily, it was on top of the microwave in a basket.

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Avec Onion

Then I cut up some tortillas to fry because I do not like store-bought tortillas in their natural state.  I like homemade tortillas but I am not anywhere near Mexican enough to try to make them.  (In another Cooking Segment, I will tell you what happened when I tried to make Potato Latkes. It was not pretty.)  Even trying Chorizo & Eggs is making me nervous.

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I used a knife I bought from Big Lots, but you can use any knife you want.  This one says it’s from the Sharper Image.  Remember when that actually meant something?  Sharper Image was a really cool store full of really cool stuff you never even knew you wanted or needed until you saw it at the Sharper Image.  Except everything at the Sharper Image cost about $500.  Everything.

Now you can buy their knives it at Big Lots.  Set of 2, $6.  Sad.

I also use Olive Oil to fry the tortillas because I’m Italian and that is how I roll. I know that somewhere in my cupboard is some other type of oil, but I just use that to grease the bottom of my brownie pan when I make brownies.  I don’t think I ever used to cook anything in because there is only one kind of oil to do anything with and that is Olive Oil.   Olive Oil is green and when I was growing up, it lived under the sink at my Grandma’s house because it was in such a gigantic can it couldn’t fit on any of her shelves.  To this day when I open the cabinet under the sink, I always expect to see that huge highly decorated can of Olive Oil.   Also sad.

So the chips are fried & salted and are sitting on some paper towel to drain and we are on to the next step: Chopping the Onion.

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The video shows Rudolf, or his hand model, chopping half an onion.

DO NOT DO THIS!

I watched the video and saw Rudolf was using half an onion, so I cut my onion in half.  I also wrapped the other half of the onion in plastic wrap to use another time.  Most likely when I make filet mignon because I like grilled onions with my steak.  And by grilled I mean caramelized in the pan on top of the stove with butter and olive oil.  It’s the only way.  Trust me.

So I cut the onion in half and started to slice and realized that there would be way too much chopped onion for this dish.   I am not Mexican but I do know too much onion when I see it.  So I cut that half in half.  (You can also start by just cutting a quarter of an onion, which is easier now that I have made that mistake for you). Then I had to take the plastic wrap back out of the draw and try to wrap a quarter sliced onion.  The half onion I keep in the fridge.  The quarter sliced onion I threw in the freezer.  I don’t know why I do that. Either way the next time I need an onion, I am most likely going to buy another at the supermarket because after this whole Chorizo and Egg thing, I am now terrified of not having an onion in the house when I need it.   The things I always have in my kitchen are 1) Onions 2) Garlic 3) Olive Oil 4) Lemon & 5) Dogs.  Not always in that order.

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Clean Up Crew

Chop the quarter onion into pieces.  Most Great Chefs, like my friend Bob DelGrosso, and to also Robert Irvine and also Gordon Ramsay, will tell you to chop the onions into consistent sized pieces so that they all cook at the same time.   I don’t know about you, but I have neither the time nor the desire to hone my knife skills that well.  I’m Sicilian, we know our way around knives, and most times our knives are used for more practical things, like stabbing enemies in the back. Or some friends.  Like Bob DelGrosso.   Just chop the freaking onions the best you can and move them way over to one side.  Way over. You’re not going to be doing anything with them for a while and the last thing you want is to be crying during these next steps.

In the video it says to crack 2 eggs into a bowl.   I didn’t have this kind of bowl so I used the one I bought at the Dollar Store while I was buying cleaning supplies to clean the tiny trailer I used to live in.  You can use any bowl you want to also.  This is America and freedom to choose bowls to crack eggs in is our birthright, which is probably why so many Mexicans cross the border to start restaurants.  Or kill and rape, depending on which political side you’re on.

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img_3261After you crack the eggs, beat them with a fork.  I always use  a silver fork. Well,  silver plate.   It’s not that silver or silver plate are better than regular forks for beating eggs. 

It’s just that I prefer to use silver or silver plate.

I’m fancy that way,  but you can use those Oneida Stainless steel forks you think are so fancy.  But really aren’t.

After you beat the eggs, move them to the side.  You can move them as far away as you moved the onions.  I’ll leave that up to you.   I always think of eggs as Chicken Babies, so I tend to move them very far away because if I don’t, I’ll start crying, stop this whole cooking segment and go out for breakfast.

But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here for you.  Because I care.

Next in the video, it says fry the Chorizo.

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This is not as easy as they make it out to be.  First, as I might have mentioned before, you have to open the package.   So just sit down and relax. This is going to take a while.

In our previous segment, I showed you what Chorizo looks like.  It’s not really sausage.  If you read the ingredients (and I strongly suggest you don’t do that), you will see it’s barely meat.  It comes in a tube. A heavy plastic tube.  I don’t know if the tube protects the contents from the world, or the world from the contents, but either way, opening the tube is not easy or pretty.

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I used my Big Lots Sharper Image Knife and cut the tube into thirds.  Rudolfo put a spoonful of Chorizo in the pan, but I don’t know what size spoon he used.  My Sicilian Grandmother had a spoon as big as the big can of Olive Oil she had under her sink.  No one wanted to see that spoon come out. Ever.

So I just cut the tube in thirds, more or less.  Those Big Lots Sharper Image knives were pretty sharp but still most of it came squishing out of the tube.

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The other 2 thirds I wrapped up, first in wax paper, then in tin foil, and put them in the freezer.

img_3267I don’t know why I do that.  The odds of me taking out the frozen Chorizo, defrosting it and using it again to make Chorizo and Eggs are very slim.  As a matter of fact, pretty much everything I wrap in wax paper, then in tin foil, then put into plastic ziplock freezer bags to put in the freezer eventually wind up in the trash.

I used to date everything I img_3268put in the freezer and then every 3 months I would go through the freezer and throw out everything that had past that date.  Eventually I realized I never defrosted or used anything I dated and put in the freezer so I stopped dating everything.

I still wrap and put things in the freezer, but I know it’s going to wind up in the trash before it is ever used again.  I have recently developed a fear of Gordon Ramsay going through my freezer and yelling at me.  I’m not really sure where that fear came from.  But it’s real.

After the 2/3 of the Chorizo went into the freezer, I put the remaining 1/3 of the Chorizo in the pan, with some oil leftover from frying the tortillas, because I was too lazy to wash the pan after I fried them.  To be honest, I don’t think there is anything you can leave in the pan before you put in the Chorizo that would change the texture or flavor of the Chorizo. Chorizo seems to be like Coca-Cola.  It will be able to survive a nuclear war and still have the same molecular structure.  There is something about that thought that is oddly comforting and terrifying at the same time.

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If you have to ask, you don’t want to know.

By accident, I had the temperature on high.  And by high, I mean whatever the heck #8 is on an electric stove.  The house I am living in right now is all electric, which means the stove and hot water heater are electric. If the house had any kind of heating system, it most likely would be electric too, but it doesn’t.  It has a fireplace.  My landlady tells me the fireplace is Swedish.  I don’t know if that is supposed to impress me but it doesn’t keep me any warmer. I don’t use the fireplace because as I might have said in another post, I am not a camper.  All I want is to flip a switch and have the house be warm.  So I am moving.  Partly because of the Swedish-Fireplace-In-Leiu-Of-Central-Heating.  Partly because I can’t cook on an electric stove.  But mostly because my landlady is certifiably crazy.  But that is another episode for another day.

Even with the temperature on the Chorizo on #8, it never changed color to golden, the way it said on other recipe sites I checked. It never smoked, it never burned.  It just stayed the same reddish greasy mess it was in the tube, except it was hot.   Now would be a good time to add the onions.  Just grab them from wherever you put them and fling them in and stir them around a bit.  Your choice of spoon is up to you. You’re an adult. Decide for yourself.

img_3270I’m not a fan of adding raw onions to anything.  I like to cook mine first so they get a little soft.  Not as soft and caramelized as the kind I like with Filet Mignon, but soft and translucent.  (I learned that word from Robert Irvine).  There is nothing worse than taking a mouthful of something cooked and biting into a raw piece of onion.  Ok, maybe there are a lot of things worse than that, like poverty and war and Two Broke Girls.  Maybe it’s a Mexican thing, Like Menudo.  You are never going to catch me trying to make that.

Take it off the stove when you think it’s done. I really couldn’t tell you when that it is.   None of it ever changes color, not even the onions.  They get a little reddish from whatever they use to colorize the Chorizo (it says Paprika but I have my doubts).  But there is really no way to tell if it all is cooked. You’re guess is a good as mine. Let’s just hope for the best.

refried-beans

Now we are going to address the sides.  This is were everything can go wrong, so pay attention.   I bought a can of refried beans and a pouch of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Rice because if this dish goes south, and there is every indication that it might, I want to have something to eat.  I don’t know if there is a big difference between Spanish Style rice and Mexican Style Rice but I do know that Uncle Ben is Black, at least he was when I was growing up.  Now I guess he is African American but either way he is neither Mexican nor Spanish so whatever is in this pouch is probably not authentic.

But it is microwavable. And that is what is important. because no matter what night terrors I have recently developed about Gordon Ramsay sneaking intorice my kitchen in the wee early morning hours to discover my secret trove of non-dated frozen left-overs, I am not going to make rice from scratch.  Rice from scratch is at least a 20 minute endeavor and the main purpose of making Chorizo & Eggs is to get to eat to the Chorizo and Eggs.  This whole thing has been taking up way too much time as it is.  Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Rice comes in a pouch that can be microwaved in 90 seconds.  Just get it.  You’ll thank me later.

Open the can of refried beans.  I use a can opener like this:

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You can use an electric can opener.  This pot is Revere Ware.  I’m not sure it was created by the original Paul Revere.  The one with the horse during that war.  The war we liked. Because we won. Americans like to win wars and I think that first one is where it all started. Now, it’s just gotten to be a bad habit.

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The British Are Coming!

I got my pot from my friend, Kathryn Bishop, who wasn’t sure what it was because she microwaves everything.  She was the one who told me about microwavable rice in a pouch.  When I see her, I will thank her for you. Just use any pot you have.  Don’t overthink this.

img_3263Dump the refried beans into any kind of pot and put it on the stove on low.  If you have a gas stove you know what low is.  If you have an electric stove like I do, you will have to guess.  It might be a 3 or 4.  Maybe a 5.  You just don’t really know.  Don’t put it over a 6.  Stir it around.   While the beans are  heating, read the directions on Uncle Ben’s Pouch of Microwavable Spanish Style Rice, but don’t take your eyes off the beans.

I can’t hold your hand through this whole thing.   Here are some photos to help:

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By now, your beans should be burning like mine did because you took your eyes off the beans to read the Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Microwavable Rice instructions.  Don’t worry.  They are only beans.  There is nothing life or death about this.  Just stir them around a bit and they should be fine.  Then take them off the heat.  You don’t want to make the same mistake twice.

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The microwave should be beeping, so take the Uncle Ben’s Microwavable Pouch of Spanish Style Rice out and rip the rest of the top open.  It says to open it carefully because of the steam, but I just ripped it open because I like to live on the edge sometimes.   If you have any experience with microwavable popcorn, it will serve you well at this point. If you don’t, feel free to play it safe.   Pull out a plate and put some of the rice on it and some of the beans.  I like white plates because it is easier to tell if they are clean. Your plate should look like this:

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Now that the sides are done, we’ll turn our attention back to the reason we are all here.  The Chorizo and Eggs. Put the pan that you took off the heat containing the Chorizo and chopped onions and put it back on the heat.  Maybe medium.  Somewhere between a 4 and a 6 on an electric stove.

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God, I hate electric stoves.  Why were they even invented? I know i said I wasn’t a camper, but somewhere back in my DNA there must have been a Caveman or Cavewoman because I think all food should be cooked over fire. Electric Stoves are  just so depressing to cook on. They remind me of hot plates in some cheap motel.  The kind Anthony Melchiorri tries to fix. Not that I’ve ever been in a cheap motel.  But I’ve seen photos.  I just hate those electric rings on top of an electric stove.  Why do they have to be different sizes?  You have to use the correct size pot for the correct size ring. It’s just too freaking complicated.  I had to buy a new set of pots and pans to match these rings.  It got expensive.

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Even now when they make them so fancy by covering them with some heat resistant glass top, they are still depressing to cook on. And dangerous.  I had a stove like this in Florida. Once you turn it off, it’s still hot.  Very hot. They have a tiny light that tells you it’s still hot but if you’re not paying attention, bad things can happen. I know this because once or twice I put something on top of the stove when I had turned it off but it was still hot.   And by something I mean my hand.

img_3280Ok, so the pan with the Chorizo and Onions should be hot by now.  Don’t worry about burning the Chorizo because that stuff just doesn’t burn.  Grab your eggs and give them another go round with your not-so-fancy-as-you-think Oneida Stainless Steel Fork, then throw them in the pan with the Chorizo and Onions and smoosh them around until the resemble something close to cooked scrambled eggs.   Once it all looks like it is cooked – and I have to tell you that you’re going to have to decide this for yourself.  It’s a personal preference and I am not going to impose my hatred of eggs on you, but I like them so well done that they are no longer yellow.   That’s not a big concern with Chorizo and Eggs because whatever they put in the Chorizo to turn it red and has already turned the onions red, are going to turn the eggs red too.  That’s ok with me but might not be ok with you.  I don’t really care how you like your eggs so just do whatever you want at this point.  I wouldn’t even worry about the eggs not being cooked enough because whatever is in the Chorizo is going to kill you long before salmonella kicks in.

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img_3282Dump some Chorizo & Eggs on the plate, put some tortillas next to it, or tortilla chips like I made and you’re done.   I hate eggs so much, even so heavily disguised with Chorizo and onions, I added torn up slices of sharp cheddar cheese. Extra Sharp. Just in case.

Rudolf Becerra uses some kind of Mexican Cheese but I didn’t find any at our screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-4-45-44-amlocal Supermarket and with gas prices the way they are here in Los Angeles, I’m not about to drive around looking for Mexican cheese.  Rudolf suggests putting it on the beans,  but I think cheese should go on everything. All The Time.

And there you have it.  Chorizo and Eggs.

When I first started this cooking segment, I went online to see how long it would take, or should take.  Almost every Recipe Site said it would take about 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes to cook.  It sounded fast and easy.   Twenty Minutes and breakfast is served.

Things are not always how they appear on the internet.   Let’s Recap:

  • 10 minutes to find a suitable recipe with music.
  • 10 minute roundtrip to the grocery store for Chorizo and Eggs.
  • 10 minutes in the grocery store looking for Chorizo and Eggs.
  • 6 – 10 minute roundtrips to the grocery store for an onion.
  • 3 – 10 minute roundtrips to the grocery store for rice & beans.
  • 15  minutes in the grocery store looking for rice & beans.
  • 15 minutes at the checkout stand behind a woman with expired coupons.
  • 10 minutes at home assembling “MIse en Place”
  • 10 minutes taking out pan, taking out oil, cutting & frying tortillas, taking out sheet of paper towel, lining plate, putting fried tortillas on plate to drain.
  • 5 minutes chopping too much onion.
  • 5 minutes wrapping leftover onion in plastic wrap, putting it in the freezer and washing and drying hands.
  • 5 minutes cracking eggs and mixing them in a bowl and washing and drying hands.
  • 14 minutes trying to open Chorizo package, ( -1 minute for using the same pan as tortillas, without cleaning out the oil), deciding how much Chorizo to use, glopping it into pan, stirring it around, wondering what it is supposed to look like when it’s cooked.
  • 3 minutes throwing chopped onion in the pan, stirring, hoping for the best, washing and drying hands.
  • 5 minutes getting out pot, opening can of beans, putting beans in the pot, turning on the heat, smooshing them around, throwing can into recycle bin,  can opener into sink and washing and drying hands.
  • 5 minutes reading and understanding Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Microwavable Rice directions.
  • 1.5 minutes microwaving Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Microwavable Rice.
  • 1 minute stirring burnt beans and taking them off the heat.
  • 1 minutes opening Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Microwavable Rice Pouch.
  • 3 minutes grabbing plate, dumping beans and rice onto plate. Throwing pouch into garbage, putting pot into sink, washing and drying hands.
  • 3 minutes reheating Chorizo and Onions, grabbing eggs, mixing them up a bit, pouring into pan, stirring around until everything was more or less cooked, putting them on plate.
  • 1 minute to add torn slices of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese on top of Chorizo and Eggs, Rice and Beans.
  • 10 minutes to eat Chorizo and Eggs, Rice & Beans with Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese on everything.
  • 15 minutes to wash, dry and put everything away.
  • 4 hours to write Cooking Segment and add photos.

TOTAL TIME:  8 hours and 10 minutes.

That, Ladies & Gentlemen, is time I will never get back. Ever.  But I think it was worth it.  First, because I started it, and I like to finish things I start. Most times.  Second, because you asked and I care about you. Most times.  But third, and perhaps most important, is that I suspected that once I made  Chorizo and Eggs at home, I would never make them at home again.  And I would never complain about paying $11 for Chorizo and Eggs  at my hole in the wall place.    Here is the cost to make this at home:

  • Eggs –  $1.99
  • Chorizo – $1.99
  • Onion – $.45
  • Tortillas – $1.99
  • Rice – $1.99
  • Beans – $1.00
  • Cheese – $2.99

TOTAL COST: $10.45

And if you include gas and my time, this plate of Chorizo and Eggs ran about $60.  Maybe $100.  I don’t know how valuable your time is, but as I have said before, I am now 60 and I don’t have quite as much of it as I used to and absolutely none of it should be wasted making Chorizo and Eggs ever again.

Thank you for joining me in my kitchen and in my life.

 Tune in Next Week for another Cooking Segment when I try to teach my Jewish Friend how to make Italian Meatballs.

 

 

 

 

 

Chorizo & Eggs – Part Two

And we’re back!

So during the break, I went to have my hair cut at Supercuts. I know TV stars are supposed to have a hair stylist at their beck and call but it is New Year’s Day Observed and you have to give them a day off because it’s the nice thing to do and because they are usually standing behind you with a very sharp scissors.   Besides, Supercuts gets the job done lickety split and I have no patience for sitting in any kind of chair for more than 5 minutes.

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LaCanada Supercuts

I was starving when I got back and eager to learn to cook Chorizo and Eggs, Well maybe not that eager. As a matter of fact, I was going to scrap this whole segment and go to my hole-in-the-world joint and pay the FREAKING $11 for them to cook it, serve it and wash the plate.  Money well spent, when you are hungry.

But no.  I started this segment and I was going to finish it. For you. Because I care.  So I went to YouTube to find a great recipe that includes how to cook Chorizo, because all of the written recipes say to cook it until it is golden.

Mostly Paprika with some really gross sounding pork stuff.

Mostly Paprika with some really gross sounding pork stuff.

This stuff is red.  Not red like hamburger meat.  Hamburger meat can turn golden-ish.  This stuff is never going to turn golden.  So I needed a visual aide.

I found this fabulous video on YouTube.

I picked it because of the guy’s name.  rodolfo becerra.  Pretty Mexican sounding.

I just love the soundtrack!  It’s sounds like it’s from 1970’s TV show!  I gathered up all the ingredients and that’s when I hit road block #2.

The YouTube video clearly states and shows Rudolf chopping an onion.  I had no onion.  Impossible!  There are at least 2 things I always have in my kitchen:

  1.  Garlic
  2. Onion

The other things I always have in my kitchen are:

  1. Lemon
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Dogs

But no. No onion.  And I had just gotten back from having my hair cut and not going to my hole-in-the-wall restaurant to order some Chorizo and Eggs to eat, so I was not about to get back in the car & drive to the supermarket to get one onion.  Not in this weather.

I was going to try to get away with using onion powder, but I was determined to make Chorizo and Eggs the authentic way.  The way Rudolfo Beccera would make it, complete with a 1970’s TV show soundtrack in the background.

But without an onion, it didn’t seem possible – and now I was starving and desperate. And desperate times call for desperate solutions.

So I dug around in the refrigerator and found these things.

Cream Cheese Wontons

Cream Cheese Wontons

These are cream cheese wontons I took home from a New Year’s Eve Party at my friend Pam Levin & Brett Winn’s house.

Every year they have a Christmas Eve Party and because they are Jewish, they always bring in Chinese Food.  It’s a tradition. But this year they went to Israel over Christmas so they held their party when they got back, but they still brought in Chinese Food. Which may or may not be traditional New Year’s Eve food.

Anyway, I popped these in my toaster oven and found some Hoisin Sauce my friend Kathryn Bishop gave me from her misadventures with a company called Blue Apron.  So instead of delicious Chorizo and Eggs made with the help of YouTube Star Rudolfo Beccera,  I wound up with this.

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They were just as bad as they were on New Year’s Eve.   Maybe worse, because anything that’s bad when it is first cooked, never gets any better when it is reheated.  That is a law.  Like taxes, death and gravity.

Maybe bad is too harsh a word.  I love both Pam and Brett and their Christmas Eve party is one I look forward to every year.  But what mystifies me and what really keeps me going back, is to find out if the Chinese Food is going to be any better than the last year.

And it never is.

And that is now a big part of the tradition of me going to their party. Except perhaps for next year, after they have read this and found out I think the Chinese Food they bring in year in and year out is not bad, but more or less tasteless.

Like there are a bunch of Mexicans or Irish in the kitchen. And they’re drunk.

I can’t blame Pam or Brett.  My friend Kathryn Bishop also has found a Chinese Restaurant in her neighborhood which makes tasteless Chinese Food.  But she likes all of her food bland and tasteless, which is also why I wound up with all of the spices that Blue Apron includes with the proteins, vegetables and starches they send to you to cook with.  Why she even thought about trying Blue Apron is beyond me.  The woman microwaves everything. Including toast.  With Blue Apron you actually have to crack out a pan.

They are not alone.  I also found a Chinese Food place that serves tasteless Chinese Food, but I know there are actually Chinese people in that kitchen because I saw them.  We had gotten there early and they allowed us to come in and sit down while they readied the restaurant for opening.  My friend Peter Lorber took me for my birthday. On Christmas Eve.  And they were so nice to do that, I am not going to tell you what restaurant it is. But I’m not going back, either.

I think maybe it’s a generational thing.  I think by the time the 4th or 5th generation is in the kitchen, they do not remember what their forefathers food should taste like anymore.

ud01But I do.  Because where I grew up in Glen Cove, NY we had a few Chinese Restaurants, but the one I loved the best was Fong’s, which was run by my friend Ellen Fong’s family.  I’m not sure which relative was in the kitchen cooking, but they knew what they were doing and everything was delicious. I know Fong’s isn’t there any more.  I think there is still a place called Uncle Dai’s.  Uncle Dai may or may not be a relative of the Fong’s but it’s pretty good Chines Food.  Or it was. I’m not sure. Maybe you better check YELP.

Now the reason I am telling you about all these people is that they are the cast members of my life.  They are the Blue Apron spices of my life, except for maybe Pam and Brett, who most likely will never invite me to anything ever again. I can’t blame them.

These are my co-stars, the ones that run in and out of my life at various times, some at breakneck speed, some slamming doors, some leaving doors open, the ones I see or hear from every now and again, the ones from Facebook I’ve known my whole life and the ones from Facebook who I hardly know at all.

They are all very important to me and as Season Six progresses, I hope you come to know and love them as much as I do.  Because in telling you my story during Season Six, I’m going to have to go back to Season 5 and 4 and maybe all the way back to the Pilot and tell you about them.  So sit back and start taking notes, because I’m pretty sure at the end of  Season Six, I may not have any of them left.

Anyway, I’m going to have to continue this segment after I go out and get an onion.

So don’t go away – we’ll be right back after a word from our Sponsors!

END PART TWO

 

 

Chorizo & Eggs – Part One

448x299px-bd974f18_eggsfullbasketforwebI hate eggs. Just the thought of eating eggs makes me a little sick.  Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Who could eat another woman’s eggs – even if they are a Chicken? It just doesn’t seem right to me.  Of course, I do love caviar. But that’s different, somehow.  Those are fish eggs. I like fish. I can eat fish. I love eating fish.  But I don’t like eating chicken.

I can eat chicken breasts but not chicken legs.  Maybe because I was a dancer.  I just can’t see eating anyone else’s legs.  Makes me shudder.  I can eat chicken breasts.  Maybe because I am somewhat flat-chested.  I don’t know.  I like chicken wings but those make me shudder, too.  Technically, they are chicken arms. It’s a problem for me.

So I like both chicken breasts and chicken wings and chicken eggs to be heavily disguised.   That means some kind of sauce. A lot of sauce.

Which is why today I am going to make Chorizo and Eggs.

My cousin in Australia, Richard Benfatto, recently asked me if I had made Sausage and Peppers that I was bringing to a New Years Eve Eve Party with Chorizo.

ITALIAN SAUSAGES & PEPPERS

ITALIAN SAUSAGES & PEPPERS

He must have been drunk.  I understand they drink quite a bit in Australia. Or maybe I just am remembering those larger than life Foster’s Beer Cans from those tv commercials.

Anyway, I just don’t understand how he could think I would make traditional Italian Sausage & Peppers with Chorizo sausages.  Here in Los Angeles, Chorizo is Mexican.  Richard claims they are also Argentinian.  We have a lot of relative who live in Argentina.  And by live, I meant they escaped there shortly after World War Two.  And by escape I mean they ran there to hide.

But that’s a different story and it has very little to do with Chorizo and Eggs.  I do worry about Richard.  I’m not sure Italians should be living in Australia.  I think living in an upside down country might have affected him.  Last Thanksgiving he threw a Turkey on the Bar-B.  But the Sausage thing really worries me.  The only thing that should be in Italian Sausage and Peppers is Italian Sausage. Quite frankly the only kind of sausage is Italian sausage. God knows what’s in the rest of those casings.

Which leads me back to Chorizo and Eggs.

This is not the first time I am attempting Chorizo and Eggs.  I tried it once before.

Airline Diner, Queens NY

Airline Diner, Queens NY

I usually eat them out in a restaurant, and by restaurant I mean some hole-in-the-wall place in my neighborhood. In NY we have dinners. Diners are wonderful..  They really do not have Diners here in Los Angeles. Or Deli’s.  Not real ones. I don’t know why. Maybe because there is so little in Los Angeles that is real.

When I first tried to make Chorizo and Eggs, I went to the supermarket to buy some Chorizo and Eggs.  I don’t keep eggs in the house because, as I have said, I don’t like them.  They make me sad every time I open the refrigerator door.

I once lived in a lovely town called Creamton Corners, in Honesdale PA, not far from Scranton.  Unless it snowed.  Then it took 4 days to get there.

Anyway,  my neighbors were Dairy Farmers and in exchange for plowing my  500 foot driveway in the winter with their John Deere, I would collect the chicken eggs from their chickens.   I would collect the eggs in those great wire baskets that are actually used for collecting eggs and not just to use as a home decoration you can buy at Home Goods, which is where I first saw one, bought it and used it to hold my mail.

So after collecting the chicken eggs and washing them off and putting them in the cartons, I would go home and cry.  I am not anti-abortion buy any stretch, but for a moment, I think I felt how the anti-abortionists feel.   Although quite frankly, I never saw any of those people on those protest lines ever step up with offers of adoption. Or at least taking up a collection to pay for future college educations.  And I bet they have no problem eating some Chicken’s eggs.

So I bought the Chorizo and I bought the eggs and I also bought a box of Brownie Mix, which needs eggs and since I love Brownies more than eggs, I don’t mind cracking a couple into the box of Betty Crocker.

I got home and hit my first stumbling block.

I spent an incredible amount of time trying to figure out how to open the package of Chorizo.

With Italian sausages, you open them one of two ways. The first and most preferred way is to unwrap the brown butcher paper enclosing the sausages.

This means you have bought Italian Sausages from an Italian Market, like Razanno’s in Glen Cove.   The kind with real Italians behind the counter.  So many generations of Italians they all look the same, only the height (short and shorter) and perhaps the hair color (brown, balding, brown with some gray, gray with some brown, gray, gray with some white, white, bald) might be different.  All of the men and boys are called some derivation of Vincent or Frank (after Saint Francis).  All the women and girls are called Mary or Maria (for a similar reason). But if you’ve been going to that market for a long, long time, you know who is who and who belongs to who and who married who and who is whose son or daughter or cousin, or first cousin once or twice removed.  You point into a glass counter, they grab the sausage and wrap them up in brown butcher paper. Sometimes white.   When you get home, you unwrap them.

razzanos 12819067_225707427778617_2050173063_n

The second, more American way, is to pierce the plastic wrap to expose the supermarket Italian Sausages.  Americans love everything covered in plastic.  For a long time, in her effort to become more American, my Grandmother covered almost every piece of furniture in her house in plastic.  My older male relatives also like to cover things in plastic.  And by plastic I mean Tarps. And by things I mean Dead Bodies.

But there are no Italian Markets close to me.  There’s one in Burbank called Pinnochio. It’s pretty good, or it was.  Last time I was there a saw a whole bunch of Mexicans in the kitchen.  It gave me pause.  That’s not a racist remark. Ok, maybe it is but I would feel the same way if I heard heavy Irish brogues emanating from the kitchen at Joselito’s. And I bet those Mexicans would feel the same.

Of course, I could probably have used a Mexican in my kitchen, because when I figured out how to open the incredibly thick plastic encasing the Chorizo, to my complete surprise, there was no sausage there.  Just sausage meat – no casings, which was confusing. Very confusing.  The very definition of sausage as I know it, is meat encased in some kind of casing that is made out of something would immediately go on my Do Not Eat list.

A Mexican in my kitchen could have explained things to me, before I made a mistake that would cost me Chorizo and Eggs for breakfast for many years to come.

I was stumped.  I didn’t know what to do with it. Do you just push it out of the package into a pan and then cook it?   How long do you cook it?  Do you cook it and then add the eggs? Do you add the eggs and cook the whole mess?

So I looked on the thick plastic package for cooking instructions.

Which was a mistake.

A big mistake.

A very, very big mistake.

Because on that package, thanks to our Government, was a list of ingredients that comprised Chorizo sausage.

Some things are better left unknown and the ingredients of Chorizo Sausages are one of those things.

Don't even look. Trust me.

Don’t even look. Trust me.

 

So I threw away the sausage, which really just isn’t sausage at all, not by any definition. It’s barely meat. I cracked two eggs, threw them into the box of Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, baked some brownies, had them for breakfast and called it a day.  I, like so many of my fellow Americans, blame the Government for that one.

But still, I ate Chorizo and Eggs when I went to the hole-in-the-wall in my neighborhood. They cost $11. 00 for something I can make at home.  If I just got courageous enough.

So here I am again, with a carton of eggs, a box of kleenex for my tears, and thick plastic package of Chorizo and a pan.

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But this time, instead of a Mexican in my kitchen, I have YouTube.

Don’t Go Away! We’ll be right back after a word from our Sponsors.

 

END Of PART ONE