BVC Eats: Dad’s Italian meatballs

Dad started with a recipe from the old Chicago Tribune “readers’ recipes” column and made it his own. Nowadays I would probably gussy up the marinara sauce with canned pureed tomatoes, fresh garlic, fresh basil, homegrown oregano, yadda ya. But this works just fine, takes less time, and presses that memory button in my brain where Dad’s Italian meatballs are stored.

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BVC Eats: Hot pepper chicken with smoked oysters

Early in my marriage, wok cooking became fashionable. Everyone owned huge arrays of dried peppers and seaweeds, chili oils, rice wines, vinegars, light, dark and mushroom soy, regular garlic and elephant garlic, five kinds of dried mushrooms, white and green cardamoms, raw ginger, pickled ginger, dried ginger, lime leaves, lemon grass, oh goodness me. The cool kids made their own ghi and curry powders. We prowled the aisles of mysterious and aromatic grocery stores in Chinatown and Little India, where none of the labels were in our character set.

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