|Camping with Mom when we were young|
We buried my mother this week. After a long illness and a year of dialysis, she passed away peacefully at home. Thankfully, I was able to take care of her, it was an amazing gift and I treasure every minute we were able to spend together.
My mother was an incredible cook. Some of my earliest memories are of her standing over the stove making rosette cookies for us. She'd dip the batter covered iron into the bubbling oil and in minutes would pass us a platter of the light, crispy cookies covered in powdered sugar. For Christmas Eve she'd make pressed pork and molded jellied veal loaves from recipes handed down to her from her Swedish relatives. It would take days of preparation and I still have the meat grinder she'd clamp to the kitchen table and crank furiously until the cooked veal was the right consistency. We rolled and cut cookies every holiday and to this day I use her Mirro cookie press from the sixties. When Julia Child introduced American housewives to French cooking, my mother was glued to the tv, taking notes during every episode of The French Chef. In her new enameled, cast iron cookware she prepared many wonderful meals, educating our palettes along the way. While the other kids in the neighborhood were eating franks and beans on a Saturday night, Mom was whipping up platters of Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon. She came home one day from her Chinese cooking class with bags of exotic ingredients, shiny new cleavers and a wok that she seasoned and used faithfully.
Mother was fearless, daring and her adventurous spirit in the kitchen spilled over into all aspects of her life as well. When arthritis got the best of her and she could no longer stand at the kitchen counter, she continued to devour cookbooks, voraciously reading them from cover to cover, still enjoying armchair meal planning and finding new recipes for me to try. I am so grateful for her never ending, unconditional love and for all the wonderful smells, sounds and flavors that emanated from her kitchen, she continues to be my inspiration and I aspire to be more like her every day.
Food and mealtimes create some of our best memories, I hope you'll think of my mother when you make these meatballs. I'm not sure where she found the recipe but friends and neighbors flocked to the Crock Pot every holiday to load up on them before they disappeared. In my 12 inch dutch oven, they baked for 40 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 26-28 briquettes on the lid. Bake them anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your meatball. It's a great party recipe, they freeze well too and if you can't make them in your dutch oven, bake them in a 9 by 13 inch pan in your conventional oven, I hope they become a classic at your holiday table as well.
Mom's Cocktail Meatballs
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup packaged cornflake crumbs
1/3 cup dried parsley flakes
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup ketchup
3 Tblsp instant minced onion
1 14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
1 12 oz bottle chili sauce
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp lemon juice
Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
In large bowl, combine beef, cornflake crumbs, parsley, eggs, soy sauce, pepper, garlic powder, ketchup and minced onion.
Form into small balls about the size of a walnut and arrange in a single layer in prepared oven.
In medium sized saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice.
Cook over medium heat, stirring, until smooth and cranberry sauce is melted.
Pour sauce over meatballs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
|Form meatballs and place in a single layer|
in prepared dutch oven