Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nathan's Cuban Meatballs and, Key Ingredient

Last night for dinner I made Nathan's Cuban Meatballs (Albondigas) for the second time, and served them with Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta. They were every bit as delicious as last time! DS and DC were some happy campers!

I would like to give a shout out to one of my favorite new blogs (new to me, anyway), My Tasty Treasures. If you haven't checked it out, RUN, do not walk: you'll be glad you did! Unless you are reading this from your comfy pool-side lounge chair, and the pool deck is wet, then of course, walk. However, if Federico, your breathtakingly gorgeous and supremely devoted cabana boy, has just arrived with a mai-tai and your suntan lotion, we will forgive you if you delay your visit to Donna's site for a teensy bit. But it is only fair to warn you we are now insanely jealous.

From looking at Donna's hilarious and fabulously funny blog My Tasty Treasures , I discovered a COOL new tool! I have been looking for a way to create and proivde a link to a text-only, printer friendly version of the recipes I share here, and this tool does that, and a lot more, too! :) What can I say? Donna is one smart cookie!

It's called Key Ingredient and it is a GREAT way for you to create an online cookbook. You have to join the site, of course, and once you are a member, you can either key recipes in, or (how cool is this?) you send them your recipe cards and clippings and for a fee, they will key the recipes in for you.

The other wonderful thing about Key Ingredient is that you can share your recipes with other members and you can search the site for other member's recipes as well. You have the option to make your recipes "open," "linked," or "locked" on a recipe-by-recipe basis. "Open" means that other members can view your recipe, link to it and create new recipes ("deriving") based on it. "Linked" lets others to link to your recipe only. "Locked" does not allow either linking or deriving.

Nathan's Cuban Meatballs is the first recipe I have entered on Key Ingredient. When you key a recipe into Key Ingredient, you can link to the source, as I did with this recipe from Nathan. Since this is not my original recipe, I have set this particular recipe to be "linked." We want everyone to able to see and link to Nathan's fantastic recipe!

And finally, Key Ingredient allows you to organize your recipes and PRINT your own cookbook on demand! You can add a cover photo, and preview your cookbook online. Order however many copies you want, and they'll arrive printed and bound at your doorstep! You can check out more details at the Key Ingredient website.

Now onto the important thing: Nathan's Meatballs, from his amazing, stupendous, blog La Cocina de Nathan

Here are the ingredients you will need:
1 1/4 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 c. cracker meal
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 lg. bunch of Italian parsley, leaves only
1 large onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 head of garlic
2 t. cumin
2-3 t. salt
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. Italian tomato sauce from a jar (like Prego, Newman's Own, etc.)

1. Get your veggies and seasonings ready: mince the onion, crush the garlic, chop the bell peppers.

2. Here's a tip for peeling garlic: lay it flat on your cutting board. Then lay your knife flat side down on top of it, and give it a good SMACK! with your fist. This will loosen the peel so you can get it off.

You don't have to peel your garlic before putting through a decent garlic press, but I do anyway.

My homemade pestle: It's the handle of a pasta-cutting wheel (which I wrapped in saran wrap so the wood wouldn't absorb as much garlic)

3. Wash and dry your parsley thoroughly. The best way I know of to do this is to fill a clean sink or a bowl with lukewarm water. (Lukewarm water removes the dirt much better than cold water). Place your parsley in the sink or bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. The dirt will fall to the bottom of the sink/bowl. Carefully lift the parsley out of the water, leaving the dirt on the bottom, and place on paper towels to drain.

4. Remove the parsley leaves from the stem (I know, tedious-- but IMPORTANT, those stems are bitter)

5. Mince the parsley leaves.

6. Make your cracker meal. Take about a half a sleeve of regular saltine crackers and place them in a ziptop bag, and seal it. Pulverize the crackers into crumbs by rolling over them with a rolling pin. You CAN use dry breadcrumbs, but cracker crumbs taste so good in here!

7. Assemble the meatball ingredients in a large bowl : ground sirloin, 1/2 the chopped parsley, 1/2 the minced omion, 1 t. cumin, 1 t. black pepper, the cracker meal, and the 2 eggs. While you are assembling, get your meatball skillet heating over medium heat.

8. Add 1/2-3/4 c. water to the meatball ingredients. This will help to make the meatballs nice and fluffy, so they won't be like little hockey pucks. Mix gently, and shape into meatballs.

9. Spray your meatball skillet (which should be nice and hot now) with non-stick spray and add the EVOO, enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan.
10. Add the onions and bell peppers, sautee over medium heat until translucent and fragrant, about 6 min.

11. Add the garlic and sautee for another 2 minutes, watching carefully so it does not burn.

12. Add 1 t. cumin, 1 t. black pepper, and the tomato sauce.

13. Dilute the sauce with 1-1 1/2 c. water, and bring to a boil. Taste, and add salt.

14. Add the meatballs in a single layer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

15. Turn the meatballs, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Test a meatball for doneness by cutting in half.
16. Garnish with the remaining parsley.

We enjoyed our meatballs served over spaghetti: how's that for some fusion cooking? Cuban Meatballs and Spaghetti!

Nathan's Cuban Meatballs

Makes 5–6 servings, with rice or pasta

See Nathan's Cuban Meatballs on Key Ingredient.

To go along with our meatballs, I made some Pan Frito, fried Cuban bread.

Pan Frito (Fried Cuban Bread)

This Cuban version of garlic bread makes a tasty addition ...

See Pan Frito (Fried Cuban Bread) on Key Ingredient.

To finish off the meal, we had some warm Homemade Applesauce with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with homemade caramel sauce.

Karen's Homemade Cinnamon-Lemon Applesauce

Making applesauce is a snap with the foodmill. This delicious ...

See Karen's Homemade Cinnamon-Lemon Applesauce on Key Ingredient.


  1. Karen-I am humbled by your compliments. Thank you so very much. It means a lot to me. You worked so hard on this post, I can tell and it looks fabulous. I am so so adding you to my blogroll because your recipes are wonderful and I dont want to miss a thing! Thank you again! You made my night:)

  2. Yum! that looks delicious! Hope you can also come over and look at what we have at - the cooking encyclopedia everyone can edit.

  3. I'm glad you liked the "Cuban meatballs" and thanks for the tip about adding some water to the meatball mixture to make it more "fluffy" I didn't know that (guess I learn something everyday :)

    When I have time I will have to check that site out, it sounds awesome (the whole making your book and having it delivered because I have such a cluttered messy folder of recipes at home that is a pain to look through ha ha)

  4. Hi, Nathan: sounds like KeyIngredient could be great for you!! BTW, did you know there is a cookbook writing class that Gloria Chadwick is doing online? I signed up last week. There's only been 1 class so far, so you wouldn't be too behind. Check it out at

    Hi, Thumbbook: Welcome and thanks for dropping by! I am looking forward to checking out your site! What a great idea!

    Hi, Donna!
    Wow, thanks for following my blog! I am not worthy, I am not worthy.... :) I am so excited about all the great people I've met since starting my blog. I really appreciate all your kindness.


Go ahead! Make my day! I LOVE comments!

I try to respond to every comment. I usually answer comments Right Here, so check back. If you are new to DomesticMuse, Welcome, and I will be by to visit your blog soon!

Chi miigwetch SCL: thank you to my son for creating this logo
CLICK to enlarge image