Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moroccan Meatballs with Preserved Lemon over Couscous

Looking for a way to enliven your meatballs but without going overboard? These Moroccan gems are just the ticket.

Don't be fooled by the Moroccan theme - these are most certainly not spicy. Instead, they are a savory version of Moroccan cuisine, preserved lemon, cumin, paprika and cilantro, gently introducing your to the tastes of that lovely place.

As befitting the cuisine, I served these over couscous, but of course! While the sauce and cooking of the meatballs takes about 45 minutes, the rapid preparation of couscous makes it seem so effortless!

Moroccan Meatballs with Preserved Lemon over Couscous (from Thyme for Cooking)
(serves 4)

1lb ground beef
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed and rind cut into strips

To make meatballs, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix very well, kneading until it gets almost paste-like. Form into 1 1/2" balls. Set aside. To make sauce, heat olive oil over medium heat in deep skillet with a lid and large enough to hold all meatballs. Add onion and cook until soft,  6 - 7 minutes. Add paprika, cumin and sauté 1 minute longer. Add stock, oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add meatballs, keeping them separate, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add parsley, lemon juice and preserved lemons, simmer 2 minutes longer to combine flavors. Serve over couscous and garnish with additional parsley.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Glazed Peaches at Garden of Eating
Black and Blue Steak Sandwich at Closet Cooking
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries at Nutmeg Nanny

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fried Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Mint

As an unabashed artichoke enthusiast I cannot pass up baby artichokes at farmers' markets. They are just so cute and tempting! And invariably, too many of them make it into my bag and then they sit patiently in the crisper bin, waiting for the latest preparation I can devise.

Well I finally found the end all, be all best baby artichoke recipe. Fried baby artichokes with garlic and mint and a squeeze of lemon! It is truly genius. This recipe comes courtsey of White on Rice Couple but I suspect it's a rustic preparation from Italy or France, it simply reeks of peasant cooking!

Why did this discovery happen at the end of baby artichoke season? Luckily, I just bought some artichoke plants of my own, so hopefully next season it will be baby artichokes from my garden!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spiced Eggplant and Patty Pan Squash - Maghreb Style

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that people too often say they do not like. Then they try my eggplant parmesan or fried eggplant slices or ratatouille and their response is, "well I like that, but not eggplant." Such a bad rep!

This is one eggplant preparation that will make believers out of everyone. Broiled eggplant, sauteed with fragrant spices and garlic transforms the misunderstood eggplant into food of the gods. Broiling it brings out its mellow sweetness and the spice combination - caraway, cumin, coriander, paprika and cinnamon - are straight out of the North African spice route. Add garlic and cilantro and this dish is pure flavor, no other way to describe it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Plato - Greek Greens Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Do you ever wonder what "Necessity, the Mother of Invention" looks like? I do. Sitting somewhere in a treehouse, built of odds and ends that people have thrown away, like a throne in the sky, she smiles graciously down on all of us who her thank her with wooden spoons held high as we discover wonderful food based on necessity. This dish is dedicated to her.

Last trip to the farmers market I scooped up loads of fun looking green things - savoy cabbage, dandelion greens and Russian kale - which have been languishing in my veggie bin waiting to be cooked. Thinking to use up some defrosted phyllo dough I pulled all the greens out. But alas, I waited too long on the phyllo and it had molded. But still wanting a greens pie Greek style I searched the web for another way to encase the greens. Voila, this post appeared and I knew it was a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

If you live in the Los Angeles area, here is news for anyone seeking truly local, pasture raised meat. Lindy and Grundy has opened their doors and it is a joy to behold! I visited a few days ago and when we walked in my mom stopped dead in her tracks and said, "it smells like my uncle's butcher shop" from 60 years ago in northern Wisconsin. Yup, the smell of fresh raw meat. There is nothing like it.

Staffed by lots (and lots) of wide-eyed, bushy tailed young folk who are clearly over the moon about working there and thrilled to let you taste anything as well as give you extensive details on the origin and treatment of each piece, this is practically a field trip back in time rather than a mere shopping excursion. I told myself this was only a reconnaissance trip. Ha! I can't imagine who I thought I was fooling! I left with 2 lbs of sausage, freshly made that morning - two each of chorizo, andouille, kielbasa, and lamb.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Purslane aka Pigweed Salad

Purslane aka pigweed is an edible weed. At least here in the U.S. we call it a weed since it seems to appear full grown over night in your garden beds. Sadly I was ignorant of its edible potential while it covered my garden in Minnesota like a spiderweb. Now I buy it at the farmers' market, oh the irony!

It is a succulent which gives it a more juicy bite than other greens. It has a slight lemony taste which explains why it pairs well with typical Mediterranean ingredients. Upon searching the web I came across the following description on a comment on Simply Recipes left by Peter of Kalofagas:

"In the southeastern part of Turkey where purslane salads are very common, they use pomegranate syrup (molasses) to season this kind of salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. Delicious"

Since pomegranate molasses is one of my favorite exotic ingredients I couldn't resist. Adding in red onions and red bell peppers made it even more colorful and fun.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

White Bean and Andouille Soup with Cilantro

Lots of folks loudly proclaim their addiction to chocolate. They swoon over 75, 85 percent dark chocolate bars, double chocolate cakes with fudge frosting, or super chocolaty ice cream with chocolate covered anything hidden in its depths. Me? The Sugar Fairy ignored me and instead I got visited by the Sausage Elf who enslaved me to him for all eternity.

I have confessed here how sausage wooed me away from my 15 years as a vegetarian. What happens when I visit Lindy and Grundy, Los Angeles' latest (and only) butcher shop with local, pasture-raised and organic meat? I buy pounds of sausages. That's it. Just sausages, ma'am, no need for any of that plain ole meat. Give me seasoned pork (and some lamb, occasionally). You could say I'm in hog heaven!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blackened Catfish

Catfish, just the name has always excited me. Cat + fish, sworn enemies combined in a single creature, it simply invites fables and tall tails. And the fact that they are such a Southern fish makes them all that more intriguing, conjuring images of back-country fish shacks serving cornmeal crusted homestyle cooking. Yum!

Blackened catfish is even easier than cornmeal crusted and it fries up quick as a flash in your seasoned cast-iron skillet (notice a theme here?!) The "blackened" part is simply a spice rub that is dusted and pressed into the fish that creates an amazing crust both flavorful and perfect for keeping the fish from sticking to your pan.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Asparagus Risotta with Pan Fried Morel Mushrooms

Weather in this country is haywire! I live in Southern California where it doesn't get above 75 degrees until late September and Brooklyn is getting scorched with 90 degrees in early June! How else do you explain asparagus and local morels in early June in the Santa Monica farmers markets? It is truly bizarre but I suppose with this bounty I really should not complain. Instead, eat it and enjoy.

So that is what I did. I ate a whole 1/3 of a pound of fried morels all by my lonesome self. Talk about decadence! Of course they were scandalously delicious. And since they are the sort of wild-foraged product that is here today gone tomorrow, you may as well overindulge while you can!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Presto Pasta Night #217

Welcome to Presto Pasta Nights #217. Believe it or not, I hosted Presto Pasta Nights almost exactly a year ago, to the day. Looking back at that round-up, I saw both familiar faces and new ones. Just like last year's, we have an incredible array of pasta delights for your viewing pleasure, so let's dig in!

Our first dish is from Elizabeth at The Law Student's Cookbook. This is her first foray into blogging events and aren't we the lucky ones that she chose Pasta Presto Nights. Her Vegetable Lo Mein has mushrooms, edamame, peppers and lots of flavor. Made with angel hair pasta, this looks like it comes together in a snap. My kind of meal!

Heather from Girlichef made Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (with or without Tuna) one of my favs! She added the tuna after flipping through a Jamie Oliver cookbook, always a smart thing to do. While she used canned tuna, she says next time she'll try it with fresh tuna steaks. Sounds like a winner to me!

Next dish is from Eve of Garden of Eating with her Lemon-Scented Pasta with Swiss Chard. Inspired by a perilous trip to Vermont with a never-ending screaming baby, she created a gorgeous spring time pasta of Swiss Chard, lemon zest and creamy ricotta. Sounds like the perfect reward for surviving a small space with an unhappy infant! Lucky for us she decided to share!

Krista writing at The Beet Reporter brings us Pasta with Antipasto. A woman on the go - new job in a bakery, waitressing nights and classes on the weekend (!) she still manages to make this incredible looking pasta dish. It's a fantastic mix of all of my favorite antipasto ingredients - marinated artichoke hearts, capers, olives, avocados - tossed with penne pasta and lemon and olive oil. Sounds amazing!

Victoria from Mission: Food - Nothing is Impossible brings us a fantastical creation that is mind-blowing in its diversity of ingredients: Fresh Curry Fettucine with Puree Carrot Sauce, Asparagus, Peas, and Wild Mushrooms. She says that carrot sauce is making the blog rounds; this is the first I have heard of it and I can't wait to try it! Adding curry to fresh pasta is genius and goes on my short list of what to try next.

Tandy of Lavender and Lime sent us Fava Bean and Pea Farfalloni. Fava or broad beans are a fav of  mine and what could be better than cooking them with some cream and peas! Super delicious and such a yummy looking dish!

Jen from Tastes of Home made Homemade Bolognese with Whole Wheat Spaghetti. A self-confessed noodle fiend, her's included garlic, rosemary and mushrooms, wow! She used pork instead of beef - sounds like a winner to me! Bolognese has a very special place in my heart and everyone seems to have their own personal touch. I definitely see this version in my future as well.

Mushrooms seems to be a theme and Dharm of Dad - Baker & Chef brings us Pesto, Eggplant and Mushroom Pasta.What could be better than homemade pesto with sauteed eggplant and mushrooms! Dharm says that the pasta was actually plain - could have fooled me! It was all of the luscious pesto that made it look green. Can't wait for my basil to grow in the garden, so now if I could only grow my own mushrooms...

Little Inbox of Eating Pleasure brings us Meat Floss Noodle. While I have never heard of meat floss, the name alone is intriguing. After looking it up it appears to be another amazing Asian ingredient that I want to find and cook with ASAP! Adding it to noodles with some green veggies sounds like the perfect antidote to any meal doldrums!

 Presto Pasta Nights Creator Extraordinaire Ruth of Once Upon a Feast offers us Lemony Garlic Shrimp Pasta. Whew! All of my favorites - pasta, lemon, garlic, and shrimp! But what I really want is her new kitchen toy! Garlic so thin in melts in the pan? What more could a cook ask for? Maybe another bowl of this delicious looking pasta!

Pasta a la Gwendal is from Marie of Life in the Slow Lane. A la what? Gwendal, a character from Lunch In Paris: A Love Story with Recipes. "Cooking the Books," Marie follows in Gwendal's footsteps and seeks inspiration in odds and ends from the refrigerator. Pancetta, sun-dried tomato, carrot and zucchini tossed with pasta - inspiring indeed!

Aren't we lucky, another Bolognese to drool over! Theresa of Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine presents Ragu alla Bolognese from her new favorite cookbook, The Glorious Pasta of Italy. This is serious decadence, including not only cream and wine but four meats - beef, pork, veal and the secret ingredient, mortadella! To top it all off the orecchiette pasta that she tossed it with looks like the perfect scoop to cup all of that delicious sauce!

Claire of Chez Cayenne brings us Rigatoni with Summer Squash, Vegan Sausage and Bread Crumbs. Yowza! Lucky for us, Claire's thieving squirrels (or other nameless critters) did not get to this plate of deliciousness! And made with homemade vegan sausage (can't wait to give that recipe a go!) how could you go wrong. Topping it all off with toasted breadcrumbs makes any dish extra special!

Welcome back Reeni of Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice, one of my personal favorites! She has made us Mini Meatballs in Spicy Red Pepper Sauce with Cannelini Beans and Penne. As usual, her dishes are creative and inspiring versions of classic comfort food. Here she purees fire roasted peppers with a little cream and cannelini beans to kick a pasta "red" sauce up several notches! She is the meatloaf queen, so you can bet these meatballs are to die for!

Kim of Feed Me Seymour brings us Decadent Red Pasta. Talk about elegant simplicity! Based on her mother's recipe which she assures you will allow you to conquer the world, she combines a few ingredients - tomato sauce, garlic, cream and mozzarella cheese - to create world domination, I mean a perfectly decadent red pasta sauce!

And finally, I made Shrimp with Corn, Jalapeno and Lime over Orzo, based on a recipe my sister created.

What a spectacular set of pasta dishes! So many to try, so many new blogs to explore, too few hours in the day!

Thanks for participating and hope to see you next  week when Juli of Pictures of a Princess will be hosting.

Hope to see you then!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roasted Fingerlings with Fresh Thyme and Oregano

Ahh potatoes. In the Midwest they are considered their own food group, as in dinner consists of meat, potatoes, vegetables and a starch (bread, rice, etc). At least that's how it was in my family growing up and living in Minnesota for four years confirmed it. Unfortunately, the lowly potato has gotten a bad rap for its carbohydrate count. But if you still indulge, this is a simple, easy and fantastically delicious way to make the fingerling potatoes that are in the Springtime Farmers' Markets.

Toss potatoes with fresh herbs, salt, and olive oil and bake until achingly tender and crisp on the outside. Then eat, many of them, without guilt. They're actually little powerhouses of nutrition, full of potassium, magnesium, and manganese (good electrolytes) as well as nearly half of your daily vitamin C and several B vitamins. Folate is also high on the list (important to pregnant moms) and each serving has some protein. Really, how can you say no to that with how amazing they taste!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Shrimp with Corn, Lime and Jalapeno over Orzo

Props to my sister for creating this Mexican inspired dish - succulent shrimp, pan-fried corn and zippy jalapeno with a squeeze of lime over it all and you have the perfect summer dish that cooks up in less than the amount of time it takes to cook the orzo!

I think this is the perfect dish to kick off summer right and an excellent one to remind you that I am the host of Presto Pasta Nights for this week. Since my entry doesn't have to travel far, let me take the time to remind you that if you want to participate, email me your entry - blog post and photo - by this Thursday, June 9 and check back for the round-up on Friday, June 10. Please send entries to kirstenmlindquist (at) gmail (dot) com and a cc to ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com. Hope you join in the fun!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Corn and Fava Bean Succatash - Presto Pasta Nights Host

A funny thing happened when I was hired as the Cheese, Wine and Specialty manager at Co-opportunity, I fell in love with wine. This is surprising because at the time of my hire I was much more confident in my cheese knowledge than my wine, but when it took 10 months for the cheese portion of my job to materialize, the wine section and I became very good friends.

As a result, winebars and wine shops hold infinite promise. Perusing wine selections is how countless hours are wasted - too bad they can't be written off for tax purposes! But exploring wine also serves as a great excuse to eat out at good restaurants with interesting wine lists. Primitivo in Venice Beach is an excellent example.