Monthly Archives

May 2018

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SWEDISH MEATBALLS

Interesting take on the Köttbullar, the Swedish meatball, as recent studies have unearthed their origins are not Swedish at all.  When King Charles XII ruled Sweden, he was sent into exile in Turkey and he brought this dish back to Sweden in the early 18thcentury.  Astonishingly, Sweden has admitted that these round wonders are not Swedish at all.  However, no matter what their origin is, there is no question that these balls are rather terrific. There are many adaptations and…

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HAWKSMORE’S MEATBALLS

HAWSMORE MEATBALLS

There is an established group of steak restaurants in London much like Peter Luger and Charley Palmer’s here in the States.  They are called Hawksmore.  That’s where I first had this outstanding meatball stew dish.   It helped immensily that I visited the locale with one of my restauranteur friends and he was familiar with the recipe.  The addition of Stilton, a pungent, earthy English cheese, is crucial to encapsulate the flavor of these remarkably juicy balls.   MEATBALLS ½…

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ASIAN SHRIMP BALLS

ASIAN SHRIMP BALLS

Shrimp balls are ever popular in Asian countries.  In Beijing, there are hundreds of street vendors that provide the most amazing delicacies, which at times are one hundred times better than eating in a fancy restaurant.  These are served with a sticky, red spicy sauce, but the Nuoc Nam dipping sauce below, even though it is Vietnamese, lends itself even better as it provides the right balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.  Umami with attitude. 1 LB of raw…

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SPANISH MEATBALLS IN SAFFRON SAUCE

ALBONDIGAS EN SALSA DE AZAFRÁN Every country boasts of an individualistic rendition for these crowd pleasing round morsels and in Spain meatballs are criminally outstanding, almost falling under a denomination of their own accord.  If you’re a meatball lover and your only experience has only been the Italian type over spaghetti, then you’ve not seen the forest for the trees.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Italian fare.  It’s prodigious with every regional specialty making it unforgettable and their meatballs…

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INDIAN KOFTAS IN CREAMY CASHEW SAUCE

INDIAN MEATBALLS IN CASHEW SAUCE

Kofta is the term for meatballs in India and Middle Eastern countries.  The variations are endless, as they are served in curry sauces, coconut milk, tahini, or alone with some raita.  The meat used is typically lamb and if at all possible have it ground fresh by your butcher.  Even if you are not a lamb lover, you’ll be flummoxed by the unique flavor it imparts in this dish.  The sauce is finished with ground cashews, becoming the thickening agent…

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VEAL BALLS

VEAL MEATBALLS

I had these balls at an amazing restaurant in NYC called John’s of 12thStreet.   It’s as old school as they come and the mirabilia decking the walls makes you feel you’ve stepped onto the set of The Godfather.  It’s the classic traditional, nostalgic Italian restaurant reminding you of your nona’s cooking.  The fare is not only authentic but delectable. No matter how many of these you make, the leftovers can hardly be called leftovers, because they’ll be inhaled the moment…

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SPANISH CHORIZO AND BEEF BALLS

CHORIZO MEATBALLS WITH PISTACHIOS

Spanish chorizo sausage packs such a unique flavor – smoky, garlicy, smoked,tangy; it has no comparison.  This is the chorizo from Bilbao, in the northern part of Spain. The Mexican chorizo can’t compare, as the product is soft and raw.  Spanish chorizo is readily available in any market nowadays.  Don’t substitute one for the other; they are both completely different and the results cannot be replicated. PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F 1 LB of ground sirloin – preferably fresh ground by…

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MOROCCAN BALLS IN TAHINI

MORROCAN MEATBALLS

Your subliminal response must have been meatballs in Tahini sauce?  Seriously.  This is a very Mediterranean dish, actually Moroccan and often served in Lebanon and Syria, where a lot of lamb and tahini are used daily.  In case you aren’t familiar with tahini, it’s a very rich and thick paste made out of sesame seeds and oil.  You can adjust tahini with your own flavorings and one its best uses is in hummus. Remove any clandestine thoughts that the use…

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ASIAN STICKY BALLS

ASIAN STICKY BALLS

Living in South East Asia one encounters all kinds of savory balls.  Cuttlefish (squid), prawns, pork, fish, each more flavorful than the next.  Some are served fried with a light glaze, some come covered in sauces or showcased as the main ingredient in soups and they are far from dry or insipid. This version is an adaptation from one of the many forays into Singapore hawker centers.  They are baked instead of fried and the results are just stellar!  Don’t…

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THE REVOLUTIONARY STUFFED PEPPER

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

There are some dishes that need no introduction.  This one reigns supreme and every country is a contender boasting of vibrant ingredients and exotic spices.  There is an esoteric allure about the colorful stuffed pepper. They’re the quintessential comfort food and although you may think so, they didn’t originate in your mom’s kitchen.  According to Cooking Journals found in Boston, there are recipes going back to the 1890’s here in the States. Peppers aren’t indigenous to Europe or the Middle…

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LENTIL STUFFED MOROCCAN BELL PEPPERS

Moroccan stuffed bell peppers

The filling for these peppers has a Moroccan/Middle Eastern flavor profile.  They include no meat but carnivores will relish these for the combination of spices, mushrooms and lentils alone.  They are extraordinarily easy to prepare. 4 bell peppers – choose your preference 1 cup of cooked lentils (see note) ½ LB of button mushrooms – chopped somewhat small 1 medium onion – finely chopped ½ TSP ground cumin ½ TSP ground Aleppo pepper ½ TSP ground coriander ¼ TSP cinnamon…

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CHILI RELLENO

CHILI RELLENO

A Mexican pepper filled with meats and cheeses, dipped in a light batter and then deep fried.  It’s traditionally served alongside tamales and pozole at Christmas time in México.  It dates as far back as the 1800’s, originating from the town of Puebla and the sharp flavors of Poblano or Anaheim peppers are showcased in this popular dish. When done correctly it’s one of the best examples of Mexican fare.  In the States the popular version makes the filling with…

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MEMORIAL DAY CUE AND BREW

BBQ BABYBACK RIBS

We’ve arrived at the much awaited first long holiday weekend of the year, which venerates our fallen military heroes.  For some it heralds the beginning of summer, although some parts of our Nation are still feeling the lingering effects of a cold spell. Before you get your BBQ on, take a minute or two to venerate the men and women that’ve sacrificed so much for our nation and have given us our liberty.  This holiday isn’t about margaritas, Bud Lite…

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EGYTIAN STUFFED PEPPER – MAHSHI

Stuffed yellow bell peppers

During the Ramadan, these stuffed peppers are almost a staple served in restaurants and almost every local Egyptian household.  They are typically served alongside roasted lamb skewers as a complete meal.  Some ground lamb can be added, but they are robust enough with aromatics and rice.  If you choose to add some ground lamb, sauté it first with some onions, cilantro, pinch of allspice salt and pepper and then mix with the cooked rice prior to stuffing the peppers.  …

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