Thursday, October 4, 2012

No Debate Over Homemade Chips

October is the month for quality TV. The baseball playoffs start Friday, Homeland is back on the air, and last night the first of four debates winding down to November's presidential election. Our friends from down the road came to watch at our house. James and I decided on snacks, not really a full menu. I knew we wanted food that is easy to eat, didn't require a lot of conversation or cutlery clacking, and didn't need an oven. Ours is still on the fritz. I started with a recipe I've been saving, meatball sliders from New York's Little Owl restaurant. We served these tiny meatballs drenched in a rich fennel flavored tomato sauce on soft Hawaiian dinner rolls (a favorite around here) with fresh basil, parsley, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
I just flew back into town yesterday ( a couple hours before our debate dinner) and grocery shopped without looking in our kitchen at home. That led to a near crisis. When it came time to make the sauce for the meatballs, I tore through the house looking for two cans of tomatoes I swore I had on hand, but every cupboard was bare. I was stumped for a minute trying to figure out my options -- if any -- when I suddenly (and stupidly) realized I was sitting on a gold mine of tomatoes. Right outside my kitchen window are the bushy, overgrown tomato plants I have been coddling since May -- heavy with bright red and yellow deliciousness. Who needs cans when I had the real thing? I gathered up all the ripe and over ripe and not so beautiful fruits for a mellow, sweetish, beautifully orange sauce straight from the garden.
Alongside our mini meatball sandwiches a bowl of homemade chips. Simple thinly sliced yukon golds (soaked in cold water to remove as much starch as possible) quickly fried in olive oil and lightly salted. Unlike fries these potatoes can be cooked in advance and are better cold than hot -- perfect for extended (dare I say longwinded) TV viewing.
Next match up -- October 11th in Kentucky.

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