Oh the directions a post entitled “Circus Grapes” could go…but alas, entertaining though it may be, I’m not talking about the adult juice variety of grapes. Just plain ‘ole grapes; grapes with a lot of seeds and tough skin, to be exact.
We bought them at the farmers market and man, they sure looked good. They were indeed tasty, but basically not edible with all the seeds and thick skins. So they sat, cold, lonely and essentially untouched in my refrigerator. Every time the door opened to retrieve a sippy cup, or tasty snack they shouted “What are you going to do with us? Please don’t throw us away, don’t let us rot here and get soft and moldy! HELP US!!”
I had to use up those poor grapes. I had to give them a greater purpose than their destined addition to the compost bin. What to do? Also in the crisper were some baby eggplants and orange peppers that had no future prospects.
……Yucky grapes, eggplant, peppers…..yucky grapes, eggplant, peppers…..Hm………
Sweet and Sour Meatballs!
How does one go from yucky grapes to sweet and sour meatballs? Like this:
IHF (I Had it in the Fridge) Meatballs
Grapes (about 3-4 bunches)
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
garlic powder (a couple shakes)
2 orange bell peppers
2 hot banana peppers (or other slightly spicy pepper)
10 baby eggplant (give or take a couple)
2lbs ground beef
breadcrumbs (4 heels of bread worth)
1) Make the “jelly”. Wash your grapes, put them in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Cover. Cook until soft and then press with potato masher. Carefully pour into strainer positioned over another sauce pan. Allow to drain for a few minutes, and it won’t hurt to press the pulp the masher a little more to get as much juice out as you can. Discard the pulp. Add sugar and cornstarch to the juice, bring to a boil, while stirring. Remove from heat.
2) Sauce. In a crock pot combine ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, your grape “jelly”, and garlic powder. Taste and adjust flavor by adding more of the above ingredients to taste.
3) Add chopped peppers and onions to the crock pot. Cook on high.
4) Throw your bread heels in the food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs.
5) Place breadcrumbs, ground beef, and eggs in a bowl. Mix with hands. Roll into small meatballs.
6) Brown meatballs on the stove. They don’t have to be all the way cooked through, just browned (I like them a little crispy, I get the pan very hot and sort of sear the outsides).
7) Add meatballs to the sauce. Make sure they are in the crock pot long enough to cook through (an hour or so on high should do it).
8) Chop eggplant into small cubes. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit on paper towels for 10 min or so. Place eggplant in a small baking dish with a little olive oil. Bake for about 10 min at 425 degrees. Add to the crock pot. When meatballs are cooked and veggies are soft enough for your liking, turn crock pot to warm. It’ll be ready when you are.
Serve over rice.