Not Your Mother’s Balls
I grew up eating Sunday sauce with a family where we connected folding tables in a basement, ate meals bumping elbows and talking with our mouths full. We fought for freshly fried meatballs and seconds at the table. Obtaining the final meatball could be likened to winning the WWF heavyweight championship title belt. Being the one to acquire the final ball in what sometimes seemed like a bottomless bowl of sauce was a coveted position. One maintained table cred for doing such things, and it was often times Uncle Louie who boldly did the dives. I wouldn't dream of competing, I only stared in amazement and snuck leftovers in the middle of the night if ever there were any. That's a true story. And, frankly, I'm still a little scared of Uncle Louie and his meatball madness.
My Sunday dinner memories are vivid, and when I close my eyes I can still hear the slurping sounds of spaghetti being inhaled. Sure, I miss these days - these memories of the past - but the best thing about time passing by is learning. I made a choice to not pour over and get lost in tradition but to create new ones.
Out of an entire family of Italian immigrants, I’m the last woman standing here in NY.
I am single. I am flying solo.
When I traveled alone to Italy and walked into a restaurant asking to be seated, the handsome waiters often times yelled SOLA. They sat me and then doted on me the whole time.
It ain't bad being sola in Italy.
It ain't bad being sola in Queens.
Sunday’s now have their own spin in my home. Anything goes, so long as it’s delicious, home cooked and I can recycle leftovers into a new creative meal throughout the week OR reheat and re-eat something I will not grow tired of. The meal doesn’t have to include sauce, although sometimes it does. It doesn’t have to include 3-5 courses or dessert, but I am a lover of closing on a sweet.
So, why’d I make spaghetti squash balls instead of beefy balls?
Did it have to do with health? Did you stop eating meat, Tina?
TINA, WHY IS THERE HARDLY ANY MEAT IN YOUR PHOTOS?
Listen, I love a beefy ball as much as I love a beefy man (correction, I enjoy many types of men) - BUT - I’m really on a mission to help people reinterpret vegetables and make them fun to eat. Somehow making balls and fritters out of veggies seems to get parents and kids alike all “I should try that, wait that’s good, I think I’ll do that again.”
In a little world where Paleo, Keto and grain/gluten free living have become the it thing - I just wanna help people pimp out their veggies. Although I do have some tasty meaty green balls (turkey meatballs with spinach, folks) coming up next week.
There’s no one ball that's better than the other.
There's no one way of eating that’s best.
There’s nothing saying we can’t make our own traditions - reinvent and recreate food to work for our own current lives and lifestyle.
And there’s no one holding us back from trying something new, only ourselves.
Do I miss the 11 people I ate traditional balls and sauce with?
Yes, yes I do.
Do I like the 1 woman I have to eat with every night (me)?
Yes, yes, I do.
I've eaten these balls fresh fried and then dipped in red sauce. They also go down nicely with a spicy yogurt sauce. I keep variety in my meals and palate by switching up flavors and swapping sauces all week long, and I'll get into why I do that and how.
For now, try making this red sauce on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday - it takes all of 30-40 minutes and cooks itself. And I'll get that yogurt sauce on here this week, I promise.
Get in the kitchen!
Create! Consume! Repeat!
PS: you can still fight over the final fried ball here. These also store in refrigeration for 7 days and can be frozen. How do you like them faux meatballs?
- 1 c. spaghetti squash dried out, squeeze all liquid out in a dish towel over the sink
- 2 T. flax meal
- 6 T. bread crumbs
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ c. olive oil for frying
- Place strained spaghetti squash in a bowl with all ingredients EXCEPT olive oil and mix well
- Begin rolling and forming balls *if you have a 2 tablespoon coffee scoop go ahead and use that or grab a handful and start rolling balls about 2" in diameter
- Begin eating olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium low flame
- Place balls in pan, a few inches apart, and begin frying about 5 minutes on each side -until deep brown
- Remove from pan and place on a plate, serve with dipping sauces as a main with salad or as an appetizer or serve with pasta or faux/veggie noodles