Monday, November 14, 2011

Nice dinner back home . . .

Okay, so this post is long overdue and I apologize for how long it's taken me to get it posted, but that's just how busy I've been. So about 3 weeks ago or so, M and I went back to my hometown in NY and while we were there we went to dinner with my sister and her family, plus Marilyn from Maeve's Madness and her husband.

We went to an Italian restaurant that Marilyn recommended, Little Venice. Little Venice is the oldest Italian eatery in Binghamton, NY. I didn't expect much when we pulled up, then I saw the parking situation. The restaurant's parking lot was basically an empty city block and it was full! A full parking lot is always a good sign when you pull up to a restaurant. We weren't disappointed, it was good food in a family environment, not expensive, and we spent hours there talking and eating. I believe we were one of the last tables to leave.

So here we are: me, Marilyn, and my sister, Pat.

Marilyn has a lively, energetic personality and was such a delight to talk to. It was the first time I ever met her, even though I've read her blog for awhile. There wasn't a dull moment and no awkward silences trying to find something to say. She was full of stories and very engaging.

Marilyn's husband, J, also joined us and he was equally interesting to talk to. He and I discovered a common interest, genocides and the Holocaust, and we got into some intense discussions right off the bat. It's not often when I meet people that I'm able to immediately hit it off with them, and even rarer that the spouse is equally as interesting. This was a very fortunate meet-up with very interesting, well-traveled people. So Michelle in Vancouver, you've got a high standard to match when I come out there to meet you and celebrate my 50th. ;-)

It was nice getting to see my sister and her husband, J, again as well. Though, it's never enough time and I always feel rushed. I did go through some old pix my sister has with family and thought she might sit down and go through them with me, but she had a long, cold day at the market and was wiped out. I also got lots of garlic from her and J while there. I got pounds of the stuff and within two week of returning, I needed to send for more. It seem not only M and I love the stuff, so do all our friends and co-workers. Hopefully they'll all be planting some this Fall so I won't have to bring as much back with me next time.

I also got to see my niece K, and her new baby, R while we were there. What a sweet baby! Such a good disposition. You can tell he's well-loved and loves the attention he gets from everyone. I wish I lived closer to family so we could have leisurely sit-down dinners and catch up on a regular basis, or even stay up-to-date on everyone's lives. Oh well, at least I live close enough to make visits a couple times a year if I'm lucky.

So last week, when I first loaded these pictures and began thinking about doing this post, I was fondly remembering the great Italian meal and all the scents in the air at the restaurant and got a hankering for meatballs. I decided to make homemade meatballs and spaghetti for dinner. I think it's easily been more than 10 years since I last made meatballs from scratch. I think seeing a chef's advice on-line to include ricotta in meatball recipes also pushed my craving for meatballs. So I went to the grocery store to get ingredients. I planned to mix beef and pork in the recipe, which I was just winging and came across chorizo sausage when I was looking for meat. I LOVE Chorizo sausage! So I decided I'd use beef and chorizo.

The lighting wasn't good over the stove but here are my babies. Ingredients: ground beef, ground chorizo sausage, one egg, small container of ricotta cheese, oregano, 4-5 cloves of fresh crushed garlic, parmesan/asiago/romano dried cheese, salt, pepper, olive oil, Panko Japanese bread crumbs. I think that's it. The chef said to make sure you use ricotta cheese and he said not to fry them, but to saute them in a spicy Marinara sauce, so I did. I think each batch, I did two batches of meatballs, took 20-25 minutes over low to medium heat to cook. They turned out really light and flavorful. They were the best meatballs I ever made. M really liked them too, which is saying a lot since she's a great cook. Since I made so many I told M we could just put the extra in the freezer and have them another time. She said, no, she wanted meatball subs with the leftovers. So we had spaghetti one night, two nights later had subs and then had subs for lunch a couple of days after that. Okay, I satisfied my craving for Italian meatballs.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Looks like you had a great visit and how wonderful to meet up with a blogger that you have been reading for a long long time.....

Your Meatballs look delicious though they sound too spicy for my palatte---I cannot eat very spicy food---But, I guess one could leave out all the "HOT"!

michele (maryland) said...

Looks like a great dinner at a good Italian restaurant in NY. Your meatballs look fantastic. I am proud of your cooking adventures. Keep it up, you are doing great.

One Million Tries said...

Okay no pressure or anything, lol. Don't worry, I'll hire a clown and make sure you're entertained. And if that doesn't work, there's always canadian bacon. I'll make you an awesome sandwhich and you'll be putty in my hands :)

Now on to those yummy meatballs. You know, I've been threatening to make my own meatballs for a while (ever since my son couldn't have wheat anymore -because all the storebought versions have wheat) so now that I've ready your post I am indeed inspired. They look delish.

Sooo.... when you're here, I'll trade you my skookum sandwhich for your meatballs?

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Naomi, it was great fun to meet Marilyn. I hope if I ever make it back to CA I will be able to meet you finally too.

Michele, the meatballs were a success, but I really don't enjoy cooking as a rule. I really have to be in the mood for it.

Michelle, amazing how many things we have in common. Your son has a wheat allergy, so do I. I don't have Celiac's Disease, but I have an allergy to a protein that's in wheat. I can tolerate a little, but if I have wheat multiple times a day, a few days at a time, I will retain lots of fluid in my legs, feel bloated and get arthritic pains in my hips and arms. I only put a little bit of the Panko bread flakes in the meatballs and they didn't give me any problems. You could probably use a rice based bread crumb or another grain.

Larena said...

I will have to try that restaurant when I get back there. I am glad you got to meet up with Marilyn, and I am glad to hear her flood damage was minor.
am I on the list for the 50th birthday trip ? hope that I can get to see you.
Yummy looking meatballs but the beef kicks me so no beef for me.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Larena, that goes without saying, of course you're on the schedule for the 50th trip. We wouldn't miss seeing you for the world! Maybe if you're feeling up to it, you can go with us to meet Michelle?

Hope Williams said...

“A full parking lot is always a good sign when you pull up to a restaurant.” So true! I’m glad that you enjoyed your Italian dinner. What were some of your favorite dishes from the restaurant? I think the best made Italian dishes are the ones you can smell from across the room because that means that the ingredients used were fresh and everything was cooked just right.