Friday, October 14, 2011

on a roll

Sometimes I find it amazing how easily we can start on one path, say working on a craft, a project or a recipe, and plans deviate and you end up on a different path, making something else, something new.  I don't know if it's the way our society operates now...distracted, inundated, always something else on our mind.

Sometimes that distraction can take you to places that you've never ventured to before, and the results are fantastic.

A few weeks back, I mentioned a little restaurant, The Little Owl, that my husband and I discovered in Greenwich Village in NYC, while we were just walking around the neighbourhood.  We weren't really that hungry, but this restaurant's quaintness was so appealing, we had to stop by.

It was late brunch, and my husband had these melt in your mouth, never tasted anything like it before...meatball sliders.  Yes, meatball sliders.  

So, today, when I started making this fantastically easy meatloaf recipe I was testing, from the book, "Best of the Best" (best recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of the year), I remembered the Little Owl restaurant, and thought, why not turn these into meatballs.

Then, realizing I didn't have little buns, I came across this old Cornbread recipe.  Which I turned into Cornbread muffins/rolls.

With the tomato based meatballs, and the cornbread muffins, topped with havarti cheese, this was a fun new way to eat meatballs.  Sometimes you can discover an interesting new path, if you just.....roll with it.

Cornbread Meatball Sliders

The Cornbread "Rolls" (Muffins)
(I made these first, and then set aside before making the meatballs.  Can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days)

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  
  • In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  
  • Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth.
  • Pour batter into 12 muffin cups
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or so, until knife inserted comes out clean.
The Meatballs
(adapted from the "Three Mom's Meatloaf" recipe from Stonewall Kitchens)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds of ground meat (I used beef)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder (this pairs nicely with the cornbread flavour)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, chilli powder, and a generous grinding of pepper, mixing well. 
  • Roll the meat into 2" balls, and place in  a 9 x  13-inch glass dish
  • Mix the tomatoes with 1 1⁄2 cups water in a small bowl and pour the sauce over the top of the meatballs.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, basting with the pan juices several times. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F, and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so, for a total cooking time of 60 to 70 minutes.
For the sliders
Cut the cornbread rolls in half.  Place the meatball with some tomato sauce from the pan and top with a slice of havarti cheese (optional), and place on the cornbread.  Top with the top half of the roll, using a toothpick to hold it together, if needed.  Serve with crudite or salad.


{This post is linked to 33 Shades of Green}

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