Friday, 9 December 2011

Recipe time - meatball marinara subs

The only thing better than making food you normally only get in restaurants is making it vegetarian and a million times better than any restaurant could even hope to conjure up. Thusly, the “meat”ball sub.
Your Ingredients:
- olive oil
-3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- garlic salt
- chili powder
- one medium cooking onion, sliced from pole to pole
- 2 cups sliced button mushrooms
- chili flakes
- a bag of frozen vegetarian “meat”balls
- sub buns
- fresh garlic
- butter
- can or jar of pasta sauce
- cheese slices – I used jalapeno-flavoured soy-based slices
Step One:
Sweet potato fries.
Sweet Potato Fries
I cut up a few sweet potatoes into long strips, greased a pan with olive oil and topped them with a sprinkling of garlic salt and chili powder. I then tossed them into the oven pre-heated at 425, checked them after about 20 minutes and flipped them. I find sweet potato fries are better the longer you cook them, but this might be a matter of personal taste.
Step Two:
Carmelize the onions.
This is one part of my cooking I’m working on improving – my onions. From what I’ve read, your best bet is to heat a pan with oil on medium heat (around 4). I always use olive oil for my cooking, unless we’ve run out, in which case I’ll use whatever I have available.
Make sure the oil is hot, but not smoking, before you add the onions. To figure out when the heat is right, I toss a drop of water into the oil and if it spits, it’s ready.
So, I add the onions and then occasionally stir them and keep an eye on them as I move on to other things. You’ll know they’re done when they get limp and take on a beautiful golden colour. For goodness sakes, don’t let them blacken. This is not the same thing.
Step Three:
Browning the mushrooms.
Now, I have become embarrassingly obsessed with Julie and Julia. But, it has its benefits. For example, now when I cook mushrooms I know not to crowd them or they won’t brown. Who knew?!
I sliced up more mushrooms than it would look like I’d need, since they shrink quite a bit upon cooking. I tossed them into a heated pan with some oil and chili peppers.
I cook most things on about a 4 on the dial, but it really depends on your stovetop and that’s something you’ll have to experiment with, methinks.
Step Four:
The “meat” balls.
These are just packaged meatballs from the grocery store. Fortunately, with vegetarianism becoming less taboo and more mainstream, these are pretty readily accessible. I’m living way out on the east coast of Canada, and they’re available in all the grocery store chains I’ve checked out here.
I just tossed these into a heated pan with oil (yes, I see a pattern developing as well), and let them brown.
I’ve tried cooking these a few different ways, and I found I like this way the best because of the texture. In fact, I’ll even cook them up and have my partner go out and get me a Big Mac sans meat and use these as the patties. I’ve also put them on pizza, and they rocked my world. For these reasons, you might want to cook up more than you’ll use immediately so they’re quickly ready for another meal.
Don’t those look amazing? You can almost smell them, can’t you?
Step Five:
Since these are all coming along so well, it’s time to get the garlic bread ready.  We chose some sub buns from the bakery at the grocery store, sliced them, and slathered them in garlic butter. You can buy garlic butter, or just take some butter, heat it in microwave for 20 seconds and stir in some fresh, minced garlic.  We add about 3 cloves of garlic, but you might want less if you’re a garlic wimp. Then, just spread the butter on the bread, put them on a pan, and toss them in the oven for a few minutes at 425. Once the edges start to golden a bit, put the oven on broil and keep a CLOSE eye on them for about 3 minutes, or until they look done.
Step Six:
Just after you put the garlic bread in the oven, toss some pasta sauce or pizza sauce, or whatever tomato sauce you have on hand in with the meatballs to heat the sauce up. It won’t take long, which is why you do this when nearing the very end.
Step Seven:
Compile, eat, and send me thank-you letters.
By the time the garlic bread is ready, everything should be done. I cut some fake cheese slices into triangles and put them on one side, topped them with the onions and mushrooms, and on the other side I put the meatballs and sauce. And VOILA! I’m brilliant.
You’re welcome.


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