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Skipping a Messy Step

It was decided to gather here for dinner with Mary & Steve so we could watch the Olympic Closing Ceremonies together. I was happy for this opportunity to cook for our friends, as I had a new cooking technique to try!

It was 97 degrees today in Portland, Oregon! We do have air conditioning and we use it at least once every two or three years. Today we used our air conditioning!

A few days ago, while reading one of my favorite food bloggers, The Wednesday Chef, I was intrigued by the method her Italian Mother uses for cooking meatballs. Instead of frying the meatballs, she simply plops them into a bubbling red sauce and leaves the meatballs, undisturbed, to cook. This means no messy frying step. No messy frying step? This idea made me a Happy Camper.

I did not use The Wednesday Chef's (Luisa Weiss, who lives in Berlin, Germany)meatball recipe. I used my regular beef meatball recipe. I just wanted to test this cooking technique. Also, I did not make my own red sauce... I used two jars of Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil sauce. As long as I'm confessing culinary sins, let me state: How did I get to be "of a certain age" and never learn of boiling meatballs? (Do you cook your meatballs this way?) Confessing more... Luisa's Mother is Italian and writes Italians never eat meatballs over spaghetti. Luckily I am American, so can eat spaghetti & meatballs without shame.

I brought the two jars of sauce to a bubble and carefully dropped the balls, one-by-one, into the pot. The most difficult part is to let them simmer UNDISTURBED for 25 minutes. Luisa Weiss writes it is permitted to carefully shake the pot a bit, but RESIST THE URGE to stir.

After 25 minutes, directions call for removing the pot from heat, covering and letting the meatballs rest for a bit. While the meatballs rested (and my illegal pasta boiled), we enjoyed pretty appetizers.

Little Snacks: Figs stuffed with blue cheese, watermelon with olive oil and black sea salt, cucumbers and radishes with dilled sour cream and capers.

When it came time to serve the meatballs, I was so pleased with how well they cooked in the tomato sauce! They were firm and retained their shape perfectly.

The flavor was rich. Nothing was lost by not frying the meatballs - except a big greasy mess. This means I will not hesitate to prepare meatballs in my RV kitchen - and you shouldn't either.

I also may have made a little blueberry tart for our friends.

My meatball recipe will be posted soon. Until my next update, I remain, your bubbly correspondent.