Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May Recipe Review - Amber

Mother's Day Mexican Meatball Subs
Click here for the original recipe

I know, Mother's Day should mean I don't cook, do laundry or exercise but I have a confession: I did all three. Why? Because I wanted to! (Well, not really the laundry part but some things just have to get done.) I was so excited for the Mexican Meatballs I didn't want to wait another weekend to make them. So instead of going OUT to Mexican food which was what I had originally asked for, I decided to cook. Cooking, after all is one my very few creative outlets and the process of trying a new recipe is always a fun one.

And while we talk a lot about cocktails in this blog, I have another confession: I much prefer to drink my cocktail WHILE I cook as opposed to having it with dinner. So that's what I did. I made a big batch of margaritas, which worried my husband, Andy, for a second "Are people coming over?" No, babe, this is all for us. Which caused another worry; but I digress.

The recipe was incredibly easy to make. My sous chef Ansen sat quietly next to me while I cooked and when I looked over, realized he was eating all of the diced tomatoes I'd cut for the guacamole. I couldn't get mad at him! The 3 year old was eating tomatoes. So I let it slide.

Now about the meatballs: I have a vegetarian heart so it was hard for me to roll the balls but I'm so glad that I have this blog (and a pitcher of margaritas) to force me out of my comfort zone. Once they were all rolled and my hands were washed I was so proud of myself.

When the meatballs started cooking the smell was intoxicating. When I added the additional spices and garlic to them while they browned it made me salivate and simmering them in the fire roasted tomatoes...YUM! My kitchen smelled like a cross between an Indian and Mexican restaurant. (Wait, can we take a moment to talk about the cumin? It's one of my favorite spices. It smells a little like an armpit but at the same time makes me hungry. How does that work? Sort of like feta cheese...stinky feet or really good on a salad?)

Anyway, I followed the recipe with two alterations. 1) I left out one teaspoon of chili powder because I was worried it would be too spicy for Ansen. Ansen loved his sandwich and Asher, my 1 year old, ate a few small bites of meatball too. So that was a good choice for them but Andy and I could have used a little more kick in ours. 2) Instead of serving the sandwich in a bowl smothered in sauce, I opened the side of a freshly baked hoagie roll from the deli at my local grocery store and stuffed the meatballs in. It was really easy to eat this way. Sadly, my meatballs were a little dry. I'm not sure if I over-browned them or if they needed to simmer in the sauce longer. I followed the 15 minute simmer instructions but if I were to do it over again, I'd probably let them brown for less time and simmer for longer. Check out the pic from the finished product below:

I have to give Andy photo credit. I can handle taking pictures of people but this whole food photography thing has me totally stumped. Turns out Andy has quite the eye for it.

Last night for the leftovers I added some shredded cheddar cheese inside the hoagie roll before baking it. Then I added the meatballs and some jalapeno slices and a few dashes of Tapatio. For the grown-ups of course. That added just the right amount of heat and a little more sauce with the melty cheese. I think if I were to do it over again, though, I'd try it like the recipe says to serve it: in a bowl all smothered in sauce and meatballs. The sauce was so delicious it really shouldn't be wasted!

I'm like Rachel in that I LOVE Mexican food and this dinner really was a great way to get some traditional Mexican flavor in a non traditional way. I love being introduced to new things. Thanks, Rach, for forcing me to learn how to make meatballs!



  1. Fabulous pictures, your photographer gets big props! And I love that you chose to spend mother's day making a BATF recipe. I'm with you, cooking is a treat and I love it when I have the time to do it. Perfect description of cumin - so true! Your post is making me crave this meal all over again!

  2. I love that the whole family gets involved in your cooking experiments. This looks sooo good, in fact, I'm a little tortured right now. I cannot wait to make these later this month! Good idea to do subs and add jalapeno!

  3. I may never be able to smell cumin again but your recipe looks like a keeper!

  4. The pitcher of margaritas is an excellent idea and should be a required ingredient in this recipe. And I love the picture of Ansen stuffing his face! I'm so excited to make this!

  5. Yummy!!! I am hoping I will get to try it sometime soon. I am hungry for lunch now though....

  6. Looks delicious!!