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Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Version of Baked Italian Meatballs

The weather was gorgeous today. Perfect for riding around on the motorcycle. J was suppose to leave the bike at the Harley Davidson shop for the day but when we brought it in this morning it only took about an hour so we got the rest of this gorgeous day to be spent on the bike. One of the stops we made was at Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport. It opened last year after we moved out of Westport. It's located near the train station which is down the street from where we used to live.

 J had been craving these big chunks of bacon (or it might of been pork belly) after he had this appetizer at Craftsteak at Foxwood MGM Grand a while ago. I've gone to all the supermarkets in the area and no one would custom cut the bacon for me. We thought Saugatuck Craft Butchery should be able to custom cut the bacon to our desire thickness since after all, it's an old-style butcher shop. The person that helped us was one of the co-owners. He was really knowledgeable and friendly. When he was ringing us up, J asked him for some ice since we were on the bike and had two more stops to make before we went home. The co-owner suggested one of the pre-packed frozen ground beef should work better keeping the bacon cold instead of ice if we weren't going straight home and it was on the house! We couldn't believe it. The ground 80/20 beef was $5.99/lb and he gave it to us for free!

On our ride home, we were discussing what to make for dinner and J thought why not use the ground beef we got. It's been a while since I made meatballs so Italian meatballs it is! Since J likes his meatballs firm, I changed the recipe a bit from my standard one. We could not believe how good the meatballs were! These ground beef from Saugatuck Craft Butchery were different, much more beefier tasting and not as greasy as other 80/20 ground beef. We were throughly impressed! It does make us kind of sad about not living down the street anymore. I guess it's good for our bank account since I can totally see myself going there every few days to get the freshest meats for dinner. I also love the fact that they only purchase whole animals and use every part of it. Growing up at my nanny's farm (vegetable, rice, pigs and chickens) in Taiwan, I learned to appreciate eating every part of the animal.

Now I can't wait to try those bacon! Bacon steak with eggs? Lardon salad? The possibility is endless!

Baked Italian Meatballs
makes 15 small meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbs dry parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until well incorporated. Shape the mixture into rounds and place onto a greased cookie sheet. Each meatball is about two tablespoons. Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 20 minutes. Before serving, simmer the meatballs in the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes. 

3/4 inch thick! 
Made breadcrumbs from left over Ciabatta bread. 

Usually store extras in the freezer. 

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