Mrs. Julia Child

Have you ever tried to drive a car with one hand while simultaneously holding the door shut with the other? Don’t. I really don’t recommend it. Yesterday, when I was making a quick trip to the sketchy grocery store down the street, the driver side door of the Camaro decided to freeze up and not close. Cool, right? No. The right-handed turns are killer! My left arm is pretty dang sore this morning. Yeesh. Let’s hope my car guy can see me first thing tomorrow!
I’ve had 2 fun friend dates this last week! My old roommate Jill came over on Thursday for homemade pizza and the cutest movie ever, “Flipped.” Then last night, I got to catch up with my band buddies, Mike and Jenny Haws! The timing couldn’t be better, and I’m so grateful for my friends.

Have I mentioned that Julia Child is my hero? Well, she is. I’ve been listening to My Life in France this last week, and let me tell you, it has been delightful. I’ve been on a big food book binge lately, and this has been a classy addition to my list. Julia Child was such a charming lady; she was so driven in her craft, but she’s relatable because she started out knowing nothing and she moved her way to the top of the heap. I love her descriptions of France and the people she met there, but I especially love her descriptions of food. I defy you to find a more enjoyable way to cook than listening to Julia Child while preparing a meal. Impossible. I swear my food turns out better when I listen to her. She gives me courage.

Isn’t Julia adorable? 
A little over a week ago, I was feeling inspired to try a twist on a recipe I’d been wanting to try from the other cooking book I’ve been reading, Dinner: A Love Story. I’ve been looking for a knock-out meatball recipe for a while, and by george, I think I’ve got it!
This recipe comes a family recipe from the book (which comes from the famous blog found here), and the authors say it’s one of their standbys and is their absolute favorite. How could I resist?
For some reason, I had been craving meatball subs. Not the kind you get from Subway that make you throw up later (or does that only happen to me?), but a kind with fresh, tasty bread and the best meatballs around. Here we go.
Yes, I know they’re behemoth subs. Not gonna lie. They’re big and fat, and they’re not even ashamed about it. Not even a little. These boys are incredibly filling, and a half of one of these subs is plenty filling. This batch lasted Aaron and I a couple days from one recipe, if that gives you an idea. If you don’t want to try out a sub, these meatballs are ah-mazing served with pasta. You’ve gotta try the sauce, too.
I used the breadstick recipe from Our Best Bites because it has been fool-proof for me! Seriously, it’s the best. Not only because I can’t eat Rhodes Dough anymore, but I prefer homemade dough to anything store-bought. It honestly doesn’t take much more time if you have a hand-dandy Kitchen Aid, and the results are soooo much better.
Meatball Pocket Subs
Dough recipe from Our Best Bites. Meatball recipe from Dinner: A Love Story.
Makes 6–8 subs

For the dough:
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3–4 1/2 c. flour
For the sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Red pepper flakes
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 15-oz. cans tomato puree (or diced tomatoes)
2 Tbsp. oregano
Small handful thyme or basil
For the meatballs:
2 lbs. ground beef
1 c. Italian bread crumbs
1 c. shredded Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tsp. salt
Ground pepper
In a large bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly. Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and the dough barely sticks to your finger. 
Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and let it rise for 45 minutes or until it’s doubled in bulk.
Let’s get saucy. In a large cooking pot, saute onion and garlic and few red pepper flakes in olive oil over medium low heat until onions are soft and just starting to turn golden. Add tomato paste and sugar and stir, mashing the paste and onion mixture together, about 1–2 minutes. Fill empty tomato paste can with water and add to pot, stirring until mixed another 1–2 minutes. Pour in tomatoes, oregano, and thyme or basil, and stir. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for as long as you want. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes. Add water if the sauce starts getting too thick.
In a large bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Mash together with your hands (I love this part) until thoroughly combined. Roll into balls the size of golf balls, or if you’re a lucky girl like me, pull out your cookie scooper! It works like a charm and makes all of your meatballs a uniform size. In a large skillet, add some olive oil. The meatballs are cooked best when you cook them in batches. Start browning the meatballs over medium high heat, turning frequently. Remove when browned on all sides. When all the meatballs are browned, add to sauce, and continue cooking over low heat for at least 30 minutes. 
Let’s put it all together! Remove dough from bowl and place dough on a lightly-floured surface. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 6 or 8 pieces, depending on how big you want the subs to be. Once you’ve cut the dough, spoon in some meatballs in the middle of each dough square, adding as much sauce as you’d like in each. Don’t add too much sauce or meatballs, or it’ll spill out the sides. Once the dough is filled, fold the two longer sides into the middle and then roll up the ends towards the middle until it’s snug. Roll up each sub, and place them on a greased cooking sheet. Cook the subs in the oven that has been preheated to 425˚ F, cooking them for about 10–14 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Let cool. Enjoy your gigantic meal.

2 thoughts on “Mrs. Julia Child”

  1. Aaron Taylor says:

    Hey now. I kinda like meatball subs from Subway…

    1. Rachel Taylor says:

      I still love you, I guess :)

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