I’m just back from a restful, fun-filled, sun-drenched visit to my in-laws in South Florida, where the only thing we made for dinner was reservations. You see, while in Florida, I had limited use of any sort of kitchen appliance — the toaster oven and microwave came in handy only to reheat frozen waffles or pancakes for the kids. Even our coffee maker was an effortless, one touch wonder — no water boiling required. I suffered a bit of cooking withdrawal at first, but soon got used to the idea and enjoyed the break.
Needless to say, upon my return, I was eager to start cooking again. So much so, that I tip-toed around piles of laundry on the floor and unpacked suitcases to meet my friends for an intense couple hours of making meatloaf and meatballs in bulk. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer welcome home than three friends, four bowls of chopped meat and two large skillets of onions and garlic sizzling on the stove.
Since my flight didn’t get in until late the night before, my friends did the ingredient shopping for me. Not only that, but since I was an hour late, they also got started before me. I was grateful for their help!
By the time I arrived, they had already chopped 5 pounds of yellow onions and 24 cloves of garlic and had begun the sauté process. As Emilie was stirring the onions, her mixture was turning a fluorescent blue. We chuckled in amazement and tossed around some ideas about why this would be happening. With no logical explanation, we decided to leave it for later.
I jumped in as quickly as I could and followed orders to help turn 24 pounds of chopped meat, thyme, mustard, parsley, egg and milk into future dinners. It was a fast paced effort from all, a couple of us measuring, chopping and a couple of us elbow deep in chopped meat, mixing and molding.
At the end of our cooking extravaganza, we tallied up our costs and figured out who was owed what. We calculated that each of us spent a mere $26 dollars (with a total of $104) to make a total of 8 meatloaves and 260 meatballs. That’s at least 6 family dinners for each of our families. Not a shabby end result, if I do say so myself! I must say, I think Cooking With Friends is the way to go in these tough economic times.
By the way, Emilie followed up the blue onion mystery with an e-mail later in the day. Apparently, this color transformation is more likely to happen when onions and garlic are chopped together (as we did in the Cuisinart) and then put in the pan together. Emily says it’s “interesting and also harmless!” Here’s a link to the site that explains the mystery: http://www.spicelines.com/2006/12/when_garlic_turns_greenand_why.htm