Sunday, October 4, 2015

Meatballs in a French Sauce

Food and exercise go together for me. Some people exercise to eat whatever they want. Some exercise to look good, so their diet also goes with whatever helps them achieve their goals. Me, I typically let my body dictate what I'm going to eat and how much I'll eat. The large catalyst to this body-listening habit is determined by how much I exercise and what exercises I do. If I focus a lot of my attention on yoga, I typically crave more fresh fruits and veggies with light meat (e.g. fish and chicken). If I'm focusing on strength training and cardio, I find myself looking at more starchy foods and a lot of heavier meat (e.g. pork and beef). If I don't exercise at all, I typically go for lots and lots of sweet foods -- which has now become a sign that I should get off the couch and walk around the block.

Feel the burn! Love the burn! Be one with the burn! 
So this week was super exciting in the exercise department! I finally got a rowing machine centrally located in my garage! Woop woop! SUPER excited. I love rowing! I feel like rowing is the ultimate strength and cardio training in one exercise. This baby was my pleasure and pain all through my senior year of high school, as I was part of the rowing team. And to boot, my awesome younger sister threw in some kettle bells to keep the rowing machine company. My sister was able to get a good deal on this gently used rower. We split the cost and now we have our own little gym revving to go.

And once that burn has settled in, add a little pain with it.
So, how did we celebrate this new addition to our lives, you ask? Well, we did the only thing that made sense, we built a workout centered around the rower and the KBs. Since this is a food blog, I won't go into great detail over out workout, BUT I will mention that we totally kicked our own butts.

Meatballs and pasta with a simple green salad
After our ass-kicking workout, we made a delicious meatballs and pasta dish, from The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. I modified it a little bit to accommodate for flavor and more veg and paired it with just a simple greens salad, as there was lots of flavor going on with the meatballs. I think next time I might skip the pasta portion of the dish and just put the meatballs on the bed of greens. I'm not a huge fan of pasta. I think it is because if grew up on rice being a staple in every meal, but that's just crazy ol' me. So, I guess that's up to you.
I was re-named Pertrisha. I guess the girl taking my order heared more R's in my name.
Of course to top of a great meal we had to get dessert. So we went to a food truck rally not far from my house and got some amazing french toast from the Matterhorn. My sister and I split the Northface, which consisted of french toast, sliced strawberries and bananas, and topped with a large ice cream scoop of whipped cream and coconut syrup. Oh my god! That coconut syrup was so tasty! what can't coconut make better? And of course, vanilla custard and strawberry-colata Italian ice was just a gimme. Meals just end well with ice cream.

Meals just end better with ice cream. Nom nom nom!
Meatballs in a French Sauce

Ingredients
For the sauce: 
  • 1 sweet onion , finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 oz smoked bacon, cubed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cups red wine (I found Pinot Noir works best for cooking)
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  •  2 tbsp cornichons, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper 
For the meatballs:
  • 1/2 pound of ground sausage
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Fry the onion, carrot, celery and bacon in a 12-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat until onions are golden. Remove the vegetables and bacon from the pan and set aside in a bowl. 
  2. Add the butter to the now empty skillet. Melt the butter, then sprinkle in the flour, stirring until flour is incorporated with butter. Continue stirring occasionally until the flour-butter mixture turns almost a Coca-Cola brown. 
  3. Turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the beef stock, whisking continually to incorporate the butter at the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and the wine, whisk until tomato past is fully incorporated. 
  4. Add the fried vegetables and bacon back into the skillet, along with the thyme, bay leaves, cornichons, and capers. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and allow to warm for 15 minutes.
  5. In the mean time, heat olive oil on a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Fry the meatballs for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. 
  6. Add the meatballs into sauce. Continue cooking until the meatballs are heated through. 
  7. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. 
  8. Arrange a nice bed of salad greens onto a plate. Top with the meatballs and some sauce.