The Moldy Oldies

There are times in my life when I turn to the steadfast, the tried and true, the old reliables…whatever you want to call it. I look to the items that have stood the test of time to guide me into the future.

(did that sound like a commencement address?)

I did just that when I sent the other eater in my household to the meat counter with a $2 coupon and he came back with ribs.

I ‘ve never made ribs. I don’t particularly like eating ribs. I never order ribs at a restaurant. I’m not allowed to BBQ in my current home (have I mentioned lately that it’s for sale?). For these reasons, ribs posed a particular challenge. And i turned to my Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen New Cookbook.

ribs: before

And once again it served me well. I found a great recipe for oven roasted ribs with a sauce made primarily of onion, chili sauce, beer and honey.

I had no chili sauce, though, so I substituted a mix of katsup and BBQ sauce, and it worked like a charm.

Ribs: in the pan

The other eater was certainly happy, as this was all that was left of a 2.5 lb. slab after one man’s meal:

Ribs: After

Greek Meatballs

Fennel seeds.


Feta cheese.

Yup. That’s Greek.

Maybe that’s why the other eater in my household wasn’t so much of a fan: It offended his Italian roots.

I however, enjoyed them very much all week for lunch. He would argue it’s because I’m not real Italian. Just Sicilian. And I would remind him that this Sicilian prepares and serves all of his meals. Or that we have loveseats, not full couches (“Short couch. Long husband.”).

But I digress.

I found the meatballs in this magazine while I was waiting to have my hair cut, and I stealthily ripped the recipe out of a magazine.

Yes, I felt guilty. But it wasn’t the first page that was missing from the magazine, so I didn’t feel too guilty.

Moving on.

The meatballs seemed healthy because they were made with mostly turkey meat (I used a tray of ground turkey and some leftover bulk ground sausage from my freezer) and they didn’t have any cheese, eggs or breadcrumbs that most Italian meatballs use to bind the meat together. Also, these had a red grape in the center, like the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. Finally, the salad made use of the fresh basil I had in the house and was dressed with just lemon juice and olive oil – not a fatty, creamy dressing.

Greek Meatballs!

The meat was tender and well seasoned, and the warm grape in the center was a nice surprise – sweet to counter the peppery salad that held the meatballs. The arugula salad was overly peppery for my taste, but by the second day of leftovers I had to cut it with some fresh romaine lettuce for bulk and that helped a lot. Also, the warm meatballs made the feta cheese I used a little soft, which I liked. I served it with some nearly-stale pita bread and some seasoned olive oil for dipping.

The other eater in my household, however, ate the meat around the grape like a baboon in the zoo, and then ate the grape last. Considering that his objection to his sister’s favorite Salad Nicoise is that it’s not “mixed,” his efforts to separate the grape from the meat surprised me.

I’d make it again, through. It’s a nice summer protein without being necessarily a heavy meal, and it’s a nice use for the basil I frequently swipe from Dad’s garden.