Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pork Meatballs w/Homemade Marinara Sauce

Pork Meatballs
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli

Prep Time:30 min
Inactive Prep Time:1 hr 5
20 to 25 meatballs, approximately.

2 pounds ground pork (lean but not too lean), cut from the pork shoulder
Kosher salt
1 teaspoons chili flakes
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup tightly packed curly parsley leaves with stems, washed, dried and chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs, toasted
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for testing

My Mother's Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
Add the meat to a large bowl, spread it out and season with salt, to taste. Add
the remaining ingredients leaving the bread crumbs until last. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Create a small patty and test it in a small saute pan in 1 tablespoon of oil. When browned on both sides, taste and reseason the meat mixture, if needed. Roll the mixture into about 20 to 25 or so balls that are about 2 inches in diameter.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, shut off the heat to avoid splattering, add the meatballs in a single layer and spread them somewhat apart so they have a chance to brown instead of steam. You may need to do this in batches. Brown the meatballs, over high heat, turning them so they brown all around. Treat them like hamburgers and cook them until they are medium-rare,
about 3 to 5 minutes. Touch them to make sure they are still tender in the center. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove them from the pan to a tray and cook off the remaining balls, if needed.
Add the meatballs to the hot tomato sauce and allow them to bubble slightly and simmer over very low heat for
a few minutes. Shut off the heat and allow the mixture to rest for a few additional minutes before serving.

My Mother's Marinara Sauce:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled, halved and diced
10 cloves garlic, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices
2 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Kosher salt
3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups water, divided, plus more as needed
1 cup basil leaves, washed
Freshly grated Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, the
garlic, red pepper flakes, and sugar and season with salt, to taste. Stir in the carrots and reseason with salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, and then add canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add half of the water to prevent the veggies from getting too dry and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Add remaining water, as needed, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. The sauce cooks about as long as it takes to make the meatballs from start to finish, about 45 minutes. Stir in the basil leaves and season with Parmesan.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Amish Haystack Dinner

In college, I took a multi-cultural class and spent a day with some Amish families as part of it. For dinner, they served us "haystacks" which were so delicious! This is a great way to get lots of veggies - a fun variation of a taco salad. Perfect way to feed a crowd because everyone can build their own! (adapted from this recipe)

2 lbs ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 jar Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce
2 cups saltines, roughly crushed
2-3 cups tortilla chips, roughly crushed
2 cups cooked rice
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped fine
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (OR Velvetta cheese sauce)
1 (11 ounce) jar salsa

1. Brown the ground beef with the taco seasoning in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain.
2. Add the Sockarooni sauce and simmer until the meat is cooked through and the liquid evaporates.
3. Place all ingredients in individual serving bowls.
4. Each person can make their own "haystack". The traditional order for layering is lettuce, crushed crackers and chips, meat mixture, rice, each of the veggies, cheese, and salsa.

Serves: 6-8

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

My friend Lisa made these for us on our scrapbooking weekend and they were a big hit! I've made it once since then for Doug, and will definitely do it again.

2 pkgs chicken tenders
1 bottle Asian style marinade
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch green onions, diced
carrots (julienned)
Bibb/Boston lettuce (washed and separated into leaves)
soy sauce
lime juice
2-4 cups uncooked jasmine rice

1. Marinade chicken tenders for at least 1 hour.
2. Cook rice according to package directions.
3. Cook chicken tenders in wok or bake in 350 degree oven (20 minutes?)
4. Mix equal parts lime juice and soy sauce and mix with some chopped cilantro for a dipping sauce.
5. Set out lettuce leaves, carrots and green onions. Make your own wrap by adding rice, sauce, carrots, onion and chicken to a lettuce leaf. Sprinkle with extra cilantro if you want. Wrap and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Butter

As if butter doesn't taste good enough by itself- this is even yummier.

2 Stick Butter Softened
1/3 C Condensed Milk (chilled)
1/2 t Corn Syrup
3/4 t- 1 t Cinnamon (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until mixture is smooth. Serve with hot rolls or muffins, remainder may be stored in refrigerator.