Meatball Subs with Parmesan and Provolone
10 Random Things: Here are a few things you may or may not know about the awesome man behind the picture-perfect lens…just for fun.
1. Adam was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in South America and Europe. He has lived in 8 countries, including Columbia, El Salvador, Spain, Denmark, England, Switzerland and Italy. He speaks fluent Italian and Spanish (and begrudgingly, kicking and screaming, French, too. But rarely). I’ve mentioned before what it does to me when he fires off something in Italian. And, by the time Adam was 25, he had flown well over 2 million miles. Too bad they didn’t have frequent flyer miles back in the day.
2. When the cat’s away, the mouse will play. Anytime I’m out of town overnight, Adam, the usual snobby gourmand, considers it a culinary free zone and gorges himself on [shudder] hot dogs, BBQ potato chips and coleslaw, followed by vanilla ice cream while he plays video games on his X-Box. I asked him to at least sauté them in a little olive oil or grill the hot dogs first for maximum flavor instead of just boiling them but with that line-up on the menu, I seriously don’t think he cares.
3. Calvin and Hobbes is the closest thing I’ve found to be a user’s guide for dealing with Adam. Basically, when I met his family, they were all like, “Well, Bernice, you’re on your own.”
4. My husband, apparently, was a, um, very spirited child to say the least. As a boy, he went missing in the Mexico City airport. He told me he got bored and just wanted to wander around and check things out. His panicked parents found him singing with a band of mariachi musicians. Also, when Adam’s mom met his third grade teacher for the first time, the educator frighteningly asked, “You’re Adam’s mother?” and then buried her face in her hands and burst into tears.
5. Adam first studied photography under Roger Gregoire, an Ansel Adams alumnus, before moving to Rome where he began his illustrious career as a fashion photographer and a lifelong love affair with “La Dolce Vita.”
6. Adam’s favorite shoes are sneakers. In fact, at the top of his wish list is a pair of patent leather sneakers he can wear on formal occasions or with his tux. Whatever.
7. In 1985, Adam met the Pope (along with his family in a private meeting). My husband, twenty-something and full of “Adamness,” needed a smoke, so, in the boy’s room of the Vatican, he and his brother lit up. Um, you’re so not supposed to smoke in the Vatican. Good Lord, please tell me he went to confession afterwards. (F.Y.I. he doesn’t smoke cigarettes anymore.)
8. The first time Adam saw me across the crowded room, he whispered to his friend, “If I ever meet a woman with a smile like that, I’m going to marry her.” A few serendipitous minutes later, we met, and boy, oh, boy was Cupid working overtime that night. It was love at first sight for us both. We decided to marry in Vegas a few years later and as we were heading to the chapel, Adam asked, as he slung the heavy camera bag over his shoulder, if it would be okay to bring it along. Already a widow from his photographic curiosity, I took a sip of champagne, shrugged and lifted my glass high in the air, saying, “Well, you might as well. Because I know that I’m marrying the both of you.”
9. Adam was educated as a musician and holds a degree in Jazz Composition–he plays the guitar, bass and piano brilliantly. But, one thing, though. You do NOT want to hear him sing. That is unless you enjoy listening to a voice that’s a cross between Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. In an echo chamber with a really bad head cold.
10. And, finally, Adam is the kindest, warmest and most generous soul I have ever known and every, single day, I think I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be married to this wonderful man. [Cue Aww.]
Now, if I could just get him to stop putting his empty water glass back in the fridge.
When Adam was living in Boston, he said that every day he’d go to his neighborhood sub shop and order 2 meatball subs; one for lunch and one for dinner. He bestowed a great compliment on mine, stating that it takes him back to those good old days where, only up North, do they make the real deal sandwich. Hey, I’ll take it! Delicious and easy (you bake the meatballs in the oven instead of standing over a hot stove with oil glurping and splattering everywhere) with a not too sweet homemade marinara to boot. I know a lot of people turn their noses up at garlic and onion powder–but not me (obviously since I use both a lot). That’s the flavor that I crave here.
- For the marinara:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- one (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- two (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- pinch of sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- one Parmesan rind
- For the meatballs:
- ⅓ cup milk
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 slice good quality white bread, crusts trimmed and finely ground in a mini food processor
- 2 pounds ground beef
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- For the subs:
- 6 soft hoagie-style rolls
- 12 slices Provolone
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- Make the marinara: In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion, season with a little salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened nicely–nothing wrong with a longish simmer to marry the flavors. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a glass measure, combine the milk, water, olive oil and breadcrumbs; set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, place the ground beef, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and egg. Add the bread mixture and mix lightly, but thoroughly. Shape into 2-inch balls and place on a wire rack set inside a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle each meatball with a little more olive oil and season with each with a grind or two of pepper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Add the meatballs to the marinara sauce and cook over low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes until meatballs are cooked through and covered in sauce.
- Preheat the broiler. Slice the rolls open, but not all the way through (like you’re opening a book); place 3 to 4 meatballs on each one, cover with some sauce and top with 2 slices of Provolone and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.
One of the most useful tools in the photo studio is a blowtorch. more often than not, getting that perfect caramelization on, for example, melted cheese under the broiler can be time consuming and frustrating, continually taking your food in and out of the broiler. Under the broiler, your dish can get the overall browning, but to create that really appealing caramelization, a blowtorch used delicately will give you total control and yield much better results. Not only useful for melted cheese, as in this post, but also for browning the sides of burgers or steaks that are showing too much pink, crème brûlée, meringue topping on pies that need a little color and French onion soup. These are just a few of the foods a blow torch can be applied to, but really anything that is not satisfactorily browned can be improved through judicious application of a flame. Kitchen blow torches are available at most gourmet shops and often at your local grocery store.
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