I am an engineer.
I am an artist.
These are more questions than statements as of late. My entire life I’ve lived in the tension between an analytic mind and a creative spirit, thinking that they were separate. I am now trying to let the two come together in one united pursuit. It is so difficult not to choose one or the other out of safety but let the two work themselves out.
Now into my second week of this journey, I’m looking into what career path will fit me best and setting goals for the near future. I have never been gifted at envisioning the future, so I’ve had to rely on my heart and talents to lead my way (and amazing friends!).
Over the last year, I gave myself the freedom to look back and dream of the future while reading Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd. I found it very helpful but the context of the book focuses primarily on traditional artists and performers, and the culinary arts don’t fit as well.
One goal in this journey is to eat healthier and work out more. The additional free time has allowed me to walk daily and try new foods. This is the second time that I’ve had bison and I love it! It has less calories and fat than 80/20 ground beef and no saturated fat. Nature’s Rancher Ground Buffalo, sold at Whole Foods Market, is raised without antibiotics. Contrary to what you would think, the buffalo are not necessarily grass fed.
Italian Marinara Sauce
This is adapted from a marinara sauce that my friend makes frequently. He spent a year in Italy and has a refined palate (he like myself likes good food). He gave me a list of ingredients and basic directions which I adapted as I went.
*The marinara sauce came out a bit spicy, so reduce the chili flakes if desired.
- 2 small onions or 1-1/2 large onions, chopped
- 2 Tbs expeller pressed canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 large carrots, chopped into large pieces
- 2 small zuccini, chopped into medium pieces
- 1 large can plum tomatoes, blended
- 1 small can tomato paste (minus 3 Tbs for meatballs)
- 4 small organic ripe tomatoes, skins removed and chopped
- 1/2 cup basil, plus additional for serving
- leaves from 3 oregano stems
- 1/8 tsp chili flakes
- dash of red wine
- salt and crushed pepper to taste
- Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese for serving
- Heat canola oil in a pan large enough to hold sauce over medium heat until the oil shimmers and flows freely.
- Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute an additional minute, until the onions are tender.
- Add the chopped carrots followed by the zucchini 1 minute later, until well incorporated.
- Add the blended plum tomatoes, tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. Bring to a boil and mix well.
- Add remaining ingredients, mix well and bring back to a boil.
- Simmer for 45 min to 1 hour on low, stirring occasionally. Taste after 3o minutes.
- Add 1 tsp of sugar if too acidic.
Spicy Bison Meatballs (makes 20-25 small meatballs)
- 16 ounces ground bison (one package)
- 3-4 Tbs expeller pressed canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- leaves from 2-3 oregano stems
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried fennel
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup organic bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the bison from the fridge.
- Heat 1-1/2 Tbs of the oil in a large pan over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and continue to saute until the onion is translucent and tender. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and black pepper until combined.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the tomato paste to a small bowl. Set aside until cooled.
- Add the tomato paste mixture to the ground meat and mix in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
- Using your hands, shape the meat into small meatballs and arrange on a baking sheet.
- Heat 1 Tbs oil in a small non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in batches and cook until browned, adding more oil if needed. Transfer to the other baking sheet.
- Bake until fully cooked, about 15 minutes, turning once and replacing the parchment paper.
Serve with freshly prepared pasta, cheese, and fresh basil.