Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs) in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Traditional meatballs have never been a big hit in my household. 
Don't ask me why, I don't know.
But put some exotic flair to it, they will be gone in 10 minutes, followed by disappointed grunts because we have none left.
And I have to agree, traditional meatballs just can't hold a candle to these balls of deliciousness. 

It's not by any mean difficult dish to make, but it requires a little bit of time to prepare this dish. The beautiful thing about it, that you can double or triple the batch, freeze the raw meatballs, thaw and cook them whenever you have the hankering for some. 

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour, for dredging
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (28 ounces) pureed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
  • In a large bowl,  combine meat, onion, half of the garlic, 1 tablespoon of oregano, mint, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture, and roll into a ball. Repeat the process with the remaining meat. You should get about 24 meatballs. 
  • Roll each meatball in flour, place them single layer on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, make sure you have enough oil to cover about 1/2 of the height of the meatballs. Fry meatballs in batches, until browned. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess grease.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter, add the remaining garlic and chili flakes, sauté until fragrant. Add tomato puree, chicken stock, and 1 tablespoon of oregano. Season sauce with salt and pepper, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced. 
  • Add meatballs into the sauce, continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes, until the meatballs are coated in sauce. Serve with basmati rice, and garnish with chopped parsley. Tzatziki sauce and Greek salad also make great companion for this dish.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spicy Corn and Pepper Soup

Meals for meatless Mondays don't have to be bland.
Simple corn soup, for instance, can be taken up a notch by adding some spiciness and smokiness into it. The result is this warming, comforting, and delicious one-of-a-kind soup that will be your family's newest favorite dish.

  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 3 fresh red Jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Husk and remove silk. Brush corn and red peppers with some olive oil, and place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the corn and peppers are tender and slightly charred on top. Remove from the oven and cool down.
  • With a sharp knife, slice the kernels off the cobs, set aside. Cut red peppers into small dices.
  • Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until tender and translucent. Add corn, pepper, and smoked paprika, stir to mix. Gradually add chicken stock into the pot, bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper,  and mix well. Turn off the heat.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle chopped cilantro on top. Serve with bread, if desired.

Serves 4-6

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Slow Cooked Sausages with Sauerkraut and Potatoes

I was being lazy yesterday.
It was a hot late summer day and the thought of spending a lot of time in the kitchen made me cringe a little.
But I did have a bag of organic raw sauerkraut I picked up last Sunday, a few potatoes and some Kielbasa. Rinse-rinse, chop-chop, all went into a slow cooker. 
8 hours later, I was rewarded with simple, hearty, and delicious dinner to enjoy with my family. So simple, I will need to do this more often.

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups raw sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 2 pounds red new potatoes, rinsed and halved
  • 2 pounds Kielbasa (or Bratwurst if you prefer), sliced
  • 1/2 cup pale lager
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish
  • Place onion, sauerkraut, potatoes, sausage, beer, chicken stock, caraway seeds, bay leaves, peppercorn and salt in a slow cooker. Mix all of the ingredients to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or 4-5 hours on high, until the potatoes are tender.
  • Sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm with bread and mustard.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Brown Rice Apple Slaw

One of the things I learned about food blogging: it takes a lot of time.
I have been doing a terrible job in posting new things lately, but life doesn't always allow me to take my sweet moments with my blog.
My days pass in a blink of an eye. I'm running from one appointment to another, constantly looking at my cellphone to check the boys' schedules, drop them off, pick them up, then brief stops at the grocery store to prepare something quick for dinner.
Taking food pictures? That is not happening very often lately.

But I'm trying.
Taking my time to cook something new and tasty, posing the end results for nice pictures, and sitting in front of the computer to display them, for me, it's therapeutic.
So, kudos to all of food blogger moms out there, who seem to always manage to juggle it all. I don't know how you do it, but I envy you.

What I managed to prepare for dinner (well, side dish is more appropriate, but if you're counting calories, this works great as main dish, too), is brown rice apple slaw with almonds and crispy onion.
And without mayo-based dressing, it means you can enjoy this as much as you want.

  • 1 small onion
  • Oil for frying onion
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 fuji apples, julienned
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup microgreens (any kind you like)
  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Peel and slice the onion thinly, fry in the hot oil until brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Cool down completely. If you are not using it immediately, store in the airtight container.
  • Combine olive oil, mustard, vinegar, and honey in a bowl. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • Mix rice, cabbage, apple, and microgreens in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss. Store in the refrigerator to chill. Sprinkle with almonds and crispy onion before serving.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Baileys Cream Puffs

Cream puffs, they're delicious.
Baileys cream puffs, they're out of this world.
Baileys cream puffs for breakfast, I've died and gone to pastry heaven!

Ok, I am not starting the trend of having cream puffs for breakfast. It just happened that I was staring into my refrigerator in the early morning and got the idea of making some cream puffs for breakfast. 
I have been bad.
But my 2 boys did not complain a bit. Would they?

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons Baileys Irish cream
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Over medium heat, cook water and butter until boiling. Remove from the heat, add flour and whisk until well blended. Return to the heat and continue whisking vigorously until the dough is pulling from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Transfer dough into a mixing bowl and cool down for about 5 minutes.
  • Using the mixer's lowest speed, add one egg at a time, mix until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer dough into a piping bag fitted with a round/flower tip. Pipe the dough onto the lined baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, 2 inches apart. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F, continue baking for another 10 mints, or until the choux pastry turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and prick each one with a small sharp knife or a skewer to let out steam. Cool completely.
  • Place whipping cream, Baileys and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a mixer, beat the cream until the cream becomes stiff. Transfer cream into a piping bag with small round tip. Make small slit on each of choux pastry, pipe some cream filling into each shell. 
*Makes about 24 cream puffs