The Original Post – Includes Mother Mary’s Red Sauce

I have a feeling this first posting is going to be all over the place.  Seriously: Food, Wine & Dogs? Couldn’t I narrow it down?  Short answer: NO.  These are my passions/obsessions and if I’m going to prattle, it’s got to be about the things that I love.

I think I need to set the tone early – Yes, those are my balls in the top picture. If you haven’t seen my balls before, you’re one of the few.  They’re from the greatest recipe of all time – my mother, Mary Monaghan’s Spaghetti and Meat Balls.  She was born and raised in Trail B.C.  Trail has a huge Italian community and is the home of  “The Colander”, one of the best Italian restaurants in the World.  My mother, a sweet little Irish girl, learned all the secrets from the Italian ladies, threw it in a pot and… SOLID GOLD (in the form of spaghetti and meat balls).

I meant to mention this earlier: If you’re looking for “Food Wine and Dongs”  you’re missing an “N” in your web address.   Sorry for the confusion, but once again, this is:  Food, Wine and Dogs (totally different vibe here).

I started cooking early.  Grade 5 I had my first dinner party.  Sure, it was just me, my friend Mark, my mom and his mom, Phyllis, but I was the chef.  Baked chicken, mashed potatoes and mixed veg.  I killed in the kitchen then and I continue to kill now.  With a single mom who worked all day, I learned to hone my skills early.

Side Note:  I LOVE MY MOM!

Anywho, I’m all growed up now.  I’ve got a beautiful and talented wife and a sweet and cuddly 90+ pound Bouvier des Flanders.  I still love to cook, but now I think I may actually be good at it.  I also have a passion for the bingo (a.k.a. wine).  So that’s what this is all about.

Love, Pleasure and Obsession.   Buying, cooking, eating food.  Searching for, then savoring a great wine.  Anything about Dogs.  I love dogs as much as I’m allergic to them.  My baby-girl is non-shedding and hypo-allergenic (for me but maybe not people with severe allergies).

I use the word obsession a lot  because that’s what they are.  Here’s a great example of how it starts. I’ll give you the abridged version because this could go on forever and to be honest, I never put an obsession to sleep.  They’re all just resting while I give my energy to the obsession du jour.

Here we go:  I had the short ribs from Cioppino’s.  Life changing.  Now I must make them myself.  I search recipes until I find one that might be similar and/or I like the prep style and the ingredients.  I find a  Wolfgang Puck recipe for braised short ribs.  I make it.  Love it.  Now I’m obsessed with braising.  I find another recipe for braised chuck roast.  This is a recipe I cook a half-dozen times and experiment with the ingredients: more wine is better, chicken broth instead of beef broth, a mix of mushrooms instead of just porcini…  you get the picture.  Then I have the short ribs at Feenies.  Awesome.  Better than my braising concoction.  I taste a hint of liquorish.  I do the chuck again but this time with a little tarragon.  I’ve kind of added a hint of French cooking to what originally was an Italian recipe.  It’s as good a Feenies’, but different.  A month later I talked to a chef who worked for him and he told me the spice I was missing was Star Anise.  I cooked it again with Star Anise.  I like the tarragon better.  I’ll post this ever-changing recipe on another day.

Life is about the stories.  A food story like this one.  A story about how you got turned on to your latest favorite wine.  Or a story about how your dog ate a dead rat and had to go to the Vet and get morphine drops in her eye to induce vomiting.

Let me amend that: Life isn’t about stories.  Life is about the journey and experiencing and enjoying every moment of that journey.  The stories come from the journey.

I must thank my wife for insisting that I create this website and for all the time she spends helping me with it.  In reality it’s OUR blog, I’m just the one who does most of the talking.  As well, I’d like to thank our good friends Evan and Gaile for their brains, creativity and inspiration in getting this whole thing up and running.

Finally, I can’t go on about my mother’s red sauce without including the recipe, so here it is below.  I often make a double or triple batch of balls.  If I do this and there isn’t enough room in the pot, I go to my giant turkey roaster.  I place the balls in first and pour the sauce over them.  I put the lid on, throw it in the oven set at 250 degrees F and let it simmer for 4(ish) hours, lightly moving the balls around every hour. The sauce and balls freeze extremely well.  I also always try to freeze a couple of containers of just sauce (1 cup each) to use for pizza sauce.  “Mother Mary’s” on a pizza raises your pie to a new level.
8 cloves garlic (whole)
8 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 medium onions, finely chopped
4 small cans tomato paste
4 28oz cans tomatoes
1 cup bread crumbs, fine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, ground
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb lean ground pork
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp crushed chili peppers
4 bay leaves
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp dried basil
dash garlic powder
dash paprika
additional vegetable oil & parmesan on hand
Sauce Directions:
1 In large stock pot: add vegetable oil & garlic cloves (whole).  Sautee on
medium-low until golden brown.  Remove garlic & set aside.
2 Add two chopped onions & all celery to the oil.  Sautee until
3 Add listed spices from oregano through bay leaves & 1/2 cup parsley.
Mix well.
4 Separately, in a blender: lightly blend garlic cloves & one can of tomatoes
at a time, transfering each to the pot afterward.
5 Simmer without a lid, stirring often.
Meatball Directions:
1 In a lsmall bowl, combine: bread crumbs, parmesan, 1/2 cup parsley,
basil, garlic powder, paprika, eggs.  Mix well.
2 Separately in a large mixing bowl, combine beef, pork & one chopped
onion.  Mix well.
3 Add spice mix to meat mix & blend thoroughly.
4 Shape small, round, firm meatballs (ice-cream scoop is helpful)
5 Add a small amount of vegetable oil to frying pan & saute meatballs,
turning often until lightly browned on all sides.  Add to sauce.
6 Add 1/4 cup water to deglaze frying pan & pour drippings into sauce.
7 Simmer sauce 2-3 hours.

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Categories: Dogs, Food, Photos, Recipes, Wine

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3 Comments on “The Original Post – Includes Mother Mary’s Red Sauce”

  1. Rob Gold
    February 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    Can’t wait to try it, my brother Steve once flew me down a styrofoam cooler of the colander as a gift, wasn’t warm but it always tasted better the next day anyways. Thanks in advance !!

    Rob Gold
    Victoria BC

  2. Justin
    February 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Meatballs tasted pretty good. But I must say, the sauce in no way resembles that of the Collander in Trail B.C.

    I found that the nutmeg and cinnamon was totally overwhelming.

    Verry dissapointing but thanks for sharing.


  1. Wine Braised Beef with Tripolina Lunga « Food, Wine & Dogs - April 23, 2008

    […] HAVE TO TRY THIS! This is definitely one of my signature dishes.  As I mentioned in my first posting, this recipe is a perfect example of my obsession and love of food and cooking. Inspiration: It […]

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