Porcupines.

I am Kung Fu Panda. Never seen it? Well, you should. But in case you haven’t, the main thing is that he’s a legendary dragon ninja stuck in the body of a super awesome roly-poly Jack Black panda bear. And his ninja skills only come out when lured by the promise of food. Got dumplings? I will kick. That. Hill’s. ASS. No dumplings? Screw you, I’m sleeping in.

And so Bike to Work Week comes to an end. That this event coincided with the start of boot camp was unfortunate – I went from sedentary to super-active, biking a total of 150 kilometers (just over 93 miles) and doing no fewer than 400 crunches this week. Know what I learned? Exercise is for chumps. Eating is the best thing ever, followed very closely by sitting. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

My reward? After weeks of waiting for the arrival of the day of my glorious reservation at Les Faux Bourgeois, my deep desire for fattening, fancypants (but inexpensive, because as you know, I am flat broke) French food will finally be sated tonight. For a review that’s not (inevitably) tainted with a string of OMG!s, check out Sherman’s Food Adventures. If you’re content to wait until tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about it in my extra-special way.

At the moment, I’m working up a bit of anxiety over taking pictures of my food – usually I hate doing that, because I like to pretend I’m cool and in restaurants all the servers and the other people know of you is the groomed and polished version of yourself you present for the two hours you’re there, and I like to think that they’ve all given me the once-over “Wow, there’s a snazzy gal,” so I can dine comfortably without the sticky awkwardness that usually follows me around. But I want to tell you everything about the food. So the battle continues: Be cool and enjoy the food? Or dork out and photograph everything and then wax ecstatic on the Internet about duck confit and tarte flambée Alsacienne? Why am I pretending I’ve ever been able to pass for cool? Fine. Expect some blurry photos of French bistro fare tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am compelled to share with you a recipe for porcupine meatballs, because it rained several days this week during my gruelling ride home, and because when meatballs roll into my mind, it’s quite impossible to roll them back out without indulging. So on Wednesday night, damp and shivering, I arrived home to prepare myself a large pot of comfort food with little nutritional value.

Porcupine Meatballs

Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain or basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. oil (I used bacon fat. You can too! Or butter? You can do whatever you like.)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Sauce:

  • 3 cups tomato sauce (I used canned crushed tomatoes because I like them best)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat that oven of yours to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for your meatballs. Once everything’s in the bowl, mash it all together using your hands. There is no better way to ensure that the mixture is combined thoroughly without overmixing and destroying the texture. If you’re squeamish, you could wear gloves, I guess. HANDS.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl. You don’t have to use your hands for that.

Form the mixture into balls about an inch and a half in diameter. Place the balls in an ungreased casserole dish (preferably one you can cover with a lid). When the bottom of the pan is covered in balls (hee hee), pour about a third of the sauce over top. Keep balling and saucing until the pan is full.

Cover, and bake for 45 minutes. When the buzzer goes, take the lid off and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Hot meat in pot

If I were feeling kindly disposed to my housemate, I might have grated some cheese over top and slid it back into the oven for another few minutes. But my cheese grater is dirty. So I didn’t. Serve on rice.

porcupines!

Anyway, the time has come for me to tame my bangs, put on a dress, and go for French food. It has been too long in the coming!

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