Some of you, I’m afraid, think that I eat only butter and chocolate, but that is wrong: I only mostly eat butter and chocolate.
Just kidding! I love vegetables and eat them a great deal. One of my favorite wintertime solo meals (solo meaning, obviously, that no one else in my family likes the food—or is around—and so I eat the meal alone) is sauteed Swiss chard with a fried egg and Gruyere, or Parmesan, sprinkled over.
One of the smartest things I did last winter was to harvest a wash basket load of chard, and wash, chop, and freeze it, not even blanching it. Now, when I’m taking a break from butter and chocolate I just run down cellar, fetch a quart container of the chard, rinse it under hot water and toss it into a pan with some melted butter (can’t quite fully get away from the butter, it appears), or olive oil, a minced clove of garlic, maybe some chopped onion, some generous shakes of salt, and a grind of black pepper. I toss it about for ten minutes or so, turn it out into a soup bowl, top with the egg and cheese, and voila!
I love my solo meals.
Don’t look too hard at that picture—you’re not going to find an egg, no matter how squinchy you make your eyes ’cause those are meatballs nestled in the chard.
See, the other day when I ate solo, I decided to forgo the fried egg in place of some leftovers, tiny meatballs simmered in chunky tomato-wine sauce. I think it was even better than the egg, if that could be possible.
Adapted from Epicurious
The original recipe called for a mix of ground pork, veal, and beef, but I used all beef because that is what I had. It would probably be more tender with the mixed meat; I plan to find out in the near future.
The lemon is crucial—do not skimp or substitute.
My kids popped these balls like candy, just plain, fresh from the oven. They even took some without asking, risking invoking my wrath and proving the profound deliciousness of these meaty morsels.
2 onions, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups bread, torn into bits
3 cups milk
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
4 pounds ground beef (or replace some of the beef with pork and/or veal)
Saute the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Set aside
Soak the bread in the milk for five minutes, strain, saving the bread and discarding the milk (or save for some other baking purpose).
In a large bowl, mix together the soaked bread, eggs, spices, cheese, sauteed onions, and meats—in other words, everything.
Shape the mixture into small balls and place (fairly close together) on a baking sheet that has sides. Bake at 375 degrees for ten minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the meatballs and return them to the oven for another five minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink on the inside and at least one side of the meat has browned. Repeat with the rest of the meat mixture.
Of course, you could also fry the meatballs in an inch or two of olive oil.
Add the meatballs to your favorite tomato sauce and serve over pasta or sauteed Swiss chard. Any meatballs that you don’t use right away (and this makes a lot, so unless you have a dozen children, you will definitely have leftovers) or that the kids don’t snitch, can be dropped into glass jars and frozen.