National Meatball Day

raw meatballs on a cutting board with vegetables and herbs on wooden rustic background - National Meatball DayCloudy with a Chance of MeatballsWho remembers the movie – Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs? We personally seen the movie, as we enjoy movies with a twist of culinary action in it (other greats: No Reservations).

A meatball is a small or large ball of ground meat, especially beef, often mixed with other ingredients of choice, like breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings

The preparing of meatballs is an individual’s expression of culinary creativity. Everyone who loves cooking has a different meatball recipe. 

There is no rule to cooking meatballs, as they are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce.

The meatball dates back all the way to between 221 BC to 207 BC in China, with their culinary – Four Joy Meatballs.

Yes, there really is true love for a meatballs. How so? Just look at the different ways of taking ground beef (or meat of choice) and preparing them into little balls.

This list is not complete, but there are many meatball recipes out there.

Do you question the hedgehog meatballs? Well, it really isn’t hedgehog, but as Anglea Day Kitchen says, “This recipe is so called, because when cooked, the rice sticks out, making them look like hedgehogs.”

Hedgehog Meatballsceramic baking dish with Hedgehog Meatballs

2 1/4 pounds ground beef (can also use chicken, turkey, lamb, or pork)

3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

1 onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 40 ounce can of chopped tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

salt and pepper

pinch of sugar

Combine the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. Shape into balls about the size of a golf ball. Prepare sauce, and place meatballs into an ovenproof baking dish, then pour sauce over the meatballs.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

SAUCE:
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, herbs, seasoning and sugar.
Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour into a blender or food processor, and puree to a smooth sauce.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs.

Meatballs Are Not Only For Spaghetti

Spaghetti with meatballs is not an authentic Italian dish. As is bowls of olive oil set out for for dunking bread at Italian restaurants (USA), so is spaghetti served with a red sauce and topped with meatballs, both an American creation. The pasta recipe may have made its appearance in New York or New Jersey (USA) in the late 19th century.

Sue, owner and writer of “The View From Great Island” says, I love meatballs.  They’re like little soldiers, all lined up, just waiting to be of service…” She even like’s these little bite sized Bourbon Meatballs which are drenched in apricot chili bourbon sauce, and she says, “They’re perfect for the cocktail hour.”

Bourbon Meatballs on a small white plate with dipping sauce

Image credit: The View From Great Island

3/4 pound ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 cup  Ritz Cracker, finely crushed into crumbs (you can opt for plain bread crumbs)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

lots of fresh cracked pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoon olive oil

Bourbon Sauce

1 jar apricot preserves

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoon hot chili sauce

1/2 cup bourbon

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup water

Set oven to 350F

Put the above ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the meat as you put it in. Mix together, using the tips of your fingers to gently combine everything without compacting the meat. Form into small 1 inch balls.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, working in batches. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until cooked through, about 160 degrees.

Place cooked meatballs into the sauce, and let heat through until ready to serve. Serve on a plate with toothpicks, a drizzle of sauce, and lots of napkins. Serve a bowl of sauce on the side for extra dipping.

To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until thick.

Sue even makes Herbed Meatballs and says, “You can eat these meatballs on pasta, on a split French roll with sauce and melted mozzarella, or all by themselves in a little bowl.”

Yes, meatballs are not just for topping a plate of spaghetti any more.

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball SoupOrange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground pork

2 green onions

3 clove garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

4-5 teaspoons of orange zest

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. snow peas, cut into thirds at an angle

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked black beans

Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each).  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.

There’s even a – Meatball Stuffed Baked Potato – recipe found here at Homemade By Elle.

Enjoy some meatballs however you choose, this day – National Meatball Day!!

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Pork – That’s What’s For Breakfast Lunch And Dinner

Pork - That's What's For Breakfast Lunch And DinnerThe Washington Post wrote an article in October of 2014 about the Tudor Place that housed 6 generations from 1816 to 1983.

Tudor Place became one of the first 70 U.S. properties designated a “National Historic Landmark” in 1960, when the designation was created.

Tudor Place

Image Credit: City Profile

Tudor Place in Georgetown Heights (Washington D.C.) was built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Curtis Peter and her husband.

Residents of Tudor Place had a small smoke-house that all 6 generations relied on to smoke their meats.

Can you guess what meat they smoked most often, and ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you guessed “Pork,” you guessed correctly.

When touring the residence, you are able to see displayed, a cookbook that served 6 generations providing the kitchen cooks with recipes that only included pork as the main ingredient.

The Washington Post wrote stating that communications officer for Tudor Place, Mandy Katz says that pork was on the dinning table 3 times a day.

Smokehouse at Tuder Place

Preservation Manager Jessica Zullinger and staff tour newly restored Smokehouse – Image Credit: tuderplace.org

The small smoke-house we made mention of was never on the tour of Tudor Place. But it was renovated and became part of the tour on the 23rd of October 2014.

The newly added structure to the Tudor Place tour was celebrated with, yes you guessed – pork. Little smokies and pulled pork sliders to be exact.

This year, 2016 is Tudor Place Bicentennial. You can read and learn more about Tudor Place by linking here: Tudor Place – America’s Story Lives Here.

Our featured recipes include pork, and they are…

  1. Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash
  2. Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup
  3. Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale HashSmoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash

2 strips of smoked bacon per serving, cut into 1-inch slices

1 medium golden beet, shredded

1/2 cup kale, remove leafy parts from steam, leaves torn bite size

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until just done. Next add beets, stir in, and cook 1 minute more. Add kale and stir in just until wilted. Plate and serve.

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground pork

2 green onions

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup3 clove garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

4-5 teaspoons of orange zest

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. snow peas, cut into thirds at an angle

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked black beans

Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each).  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.

Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops With Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Stuffed and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar and Spice Glazed Carrots1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1/4 cup butter, milted

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

1 pound pork loin chops, thin cut

8 slices smoked bacon

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound carrots, sliced down the middle and cut into 2 inch slices

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread some cream cheese on one side of chops. Sprinkle on some sugar-spice mix. Roll chops and wrap with one slice of bacon. Use a tooth pick or two to hold in place.

Arrange prepared chops into a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish.

Next add melted butter to sugar-spice mix, and incorporate.  Add cut carrots to a 13 X 9 glass baking dish and mix in sugar-spice.

Roast both prepared baking dishes for 30 minutes, or until pork is cook.

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Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Prosciutto Cotto and LentilsLentils have 18 grams of protein per serving, making them the third highest level of protein than any other plant food. Garbanzo beans and wheat berries both have 12 grams of protein per serving.

types of lentilsOut of all the varieties that are grown for consumption, the French Green Lentils are considered the most flavorful, having a delicate peppery taste.

They originated in Puy, France, though today they are also grown in Canada (highest production) Italy and the United States.

The French variety lentil hold their shape well while only taking about 30 to 40 minutes to cook.

On New Year’s Eve in Italy people eat “lenticchie stufate” or in a soup. Why? This is an old symbol of good luck in the Italian tradition, because of their round shape, which resembles coins. They say the more you eat, the more wealth that comes to you.

Our featured recipe contains French Green Lentils, and here is what you well need to prepare your own Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils.

diced vegetables for Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Real Whole Food Nutrition

2 medium stalks celery, diced

2 medium yellow carrots, diced

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small red onion chopped

1/2 cup tomato paste

4 1/2 cups broth, your choice beef – chicken – vegetable

3/4 pound prosciutto cotto – about 2 slices 1/2 inch cut, cut into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch squares

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons avocado oil

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and minced garlic – sauté until fragrant.

adding vegetables to garlicNext add prepared onion – carrots and sweet potato and mix together.

adding lentils and tomato paste Next add rinsed lentils and mix in. Then add tomato paste and stir being sure ever lentil is coated.

adding brothAdd broth, place lid on pot and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

After 30 minutes there will be only about 1 cup or so of broth – drain and set aside – leave lentil mixture in soup pot.

warming avocado oil and pork fatIn a warm pan with avocado oil add some prosciutto fat with prepare prosciutto cotto and sauté in oil until meat is warmed.

We used refined high heat (to 550 degrees) avocado oil, which has no flavor, therefore not contaminating or changing the smoked flavor of the prosciutto cotto.

Remove meat and mix with lentil mixture.

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils - close upSpoon Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils to a platter and serve.

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Garlic Thyme Chicken Thighs

Garlic Thyme Chicken ThighsGarlic has been used for many purposes other than food, throughout history.

  1. Homer mentions garlic in his famous Odyssey, saying that the deity Hermes, gave garlic to Odysseus as a protection against the goddess Circe‘s evil sorcery in which she turned men to swine.
  2. fresh grlic clovesDuring the Roman Empire garlic was a symbol of the common people, since no noble would debase himself by smelling of garlic.
  3.  Unfaithful Egyptian husbands relied on garlic’s unique “scented” properties, as they would chew a clove or two on their way home from visiting their mistresses, ensuring that a jealous wife would be unable to detect any stranger’s perfume.
  4. At the peak of  Egypt’s power over 4,00 years ago, garlic was given to the laborers and slaves who were building the great pyramids in order to increase their stamina and strength.
  5. Modern day Germany and Czechoslovakia both have an old Proverb that says, “A bite from a watch dog is much more cutting and painful if the dog has eaten garlic at the New year,” and another says, “Garlic is as good as ten mothers.”
  6. Garlic has been used to ward off vampire’s, so the legend goes, and during the medieval era when children went to play or work in the fields, cloves of garlic hung around their necks to protect them from the evil spells of the local witch.
  7. French priests of the Middle Ages used garlic to protect themselves against bubonic plague.
  8. During World War I, European soldiers prevented infection by putting garlic directly on their wounds.

After 6000 years of folklore, garlic has now come to be valued not only as a food source, but seen for it’s therapeutic benefits. Such as an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states saying that garlic taken in conjunction with whole grains appears to increase the body’s absorption of iron and zinc.

Over the centuries of human history, garlic has remained synonymous with eternal youth, health, vigor and vitality.

Our featured recipe has fresh garlic cloves, 20 to be exact. Here is what you will need to prepare – Garlic Thyme Chicken Thighs.

2 tablespoons avocado oil 

4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on

Himalayan salt

Black pepper

20 cloves garlic, separated and peeled, about two full heads

2 tablespoons gluten free multi-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

10 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, leaves removed and stems discarded

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Over medium high heat, in a cast iron skillet, heat the avocado oil .

chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepperSeason the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper.

chicken thighs skin side down in a cast iron skillet

Cook the chicken thighs skin side down on medium-high heat until well browned, for about 5 minutes, then flip the chicken thighs skin side up and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic to the same skillet, and cook, occasionally turning, until garlic starts to brown, 3 or 4 minutes.

partially cooked chicken thighs and gralic cloves in a cast iron skilletReturn the chicken to the cast iron skillet, cover with a lid (if the skillet has one) or aluminum foil, and place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a stove top. Have caution though removing the cast iron skillet, as the pan will be very hot.

cream sauce with thyme for Garlic Thyme Chicken ThighsRemove the chicken thighs, garlic, and all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan. Over medium heat, whisk in the 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour with the oil in the pan.

Next, gradually whisk in the chicken broth and fresh thyme leaves for 1 or 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove the pan from the heat, and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Garlic Thyme Chicken ThighsAdd the roasted garlic and chicken thighs back to the pan. Serve with your favorite side dish, a salad, and enjoy.

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Curried Chicken With Dried Cherries

Curried Chicken and Dried Cherries - over head viewHave you ever heard of the Curry Tree? It is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the rue family, which also includes the citrus. The tree is native to India and Sri Lanka.

Curry Leaf Tree

curry leaves in a skillet with olive oil

Curry Leaves In A Skillet With Olive Oil

The leaves of the curry tree are used in many Indian dishes. The “sweet neem leaves” are often used in curries, as they (the leaves) are highly valued as a seasoning in southern and west-coast Indian cooking, as well as Sri Lankan cooking .

The leaves when used in curry dishes are add with the chopped onion in the first stage of the preparation of the curry dish.

potted curry leaf tree

Image Credit: Garden Amateur

The tree can be home-raised as a potted plant as it is easily grown in warmer areas of the world, or in containers where the climate is not supportive outdoors. In this image is a potted Curry tree in the yard of an Australian gardener.

Our featured dish is  – Curried Chicken With Dried Cherries – and here is what you will need, and no you will not need to hunt down some curry leaves. Unless you have a tree and want to add some leaves to the dish we are featuring.

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon avocado oil

1 small red or purple onion, thinly sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

1/2 cup fresh water or chicken broth

1/3 cup chopped dried cherries

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (optional)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons flour

cooking chicken meatIn a large ceramic coated skillet or cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stir occasionally until meat is oblique colored and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside.

cooking onions and celeryTo the same pan add the 1 teaspoon of avocado oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sliced celery and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.

adding curry and dried cherriesNext add the cherries and 1/2 cup water and bring to a light boil. Next stir in the curry powder, salt and pepper.

Next, pour in the cream and mix in. You can also use coconut milk, which is used in traditional Indian dishes. When making this dish, we didn’t have any coconut milk, but we did have some heavy cream.

adding in chicken meat to curry mixNext add the cooked chicken along with any juices and mix in.

Curried Chicken and Dried CherriesServe over rice, couscous or eat as is.

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Cast Iron Seared and Broiled Salmon With Fruit And Herb Salsa

Cast Iron Seared and Baked Salmon with Fruit and Herb Salsa

The website Yummly boasts over 493 different pan seared salmon recipes, and we have one for you that you are sure to enjoy.

We pan seared and broiled salmon steaks in a cast iron skillet. The exciting thing about that for us was, the cast iron skillet we used is black enamel coated, so there is no seasoning or special care needed, as there is with a traditional cast iron pot or skillet.

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Read More: How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware

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The Science of Cooking explains the purpose of searing meat, noting the process is called  the “Maillard Reaction,” and is not to be confused with “Caramelization.”

When searing meat, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. When heated, these compounds break down to form new flavor. Each type of meat being seared has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction.

The important thing about the Maillard reaction isn’t the color—, it’s the flavors and aromas.

The Modernist Cuisine explains that temperatures need to be high to bring about the Maillard reaction, but as long as the food is very wet, its temperature won’t climb above the boiling point of water.

Now for our featured recipe: – Cast Iron Seared and Broiled Salmon With Fruit And Herb Salsa – and here is what you will need.

First prepare the Fruit and Her Salsa, and refrigerate for later.

1 cup diced peaches, fresh or frozen

3/4 cup diced mango, fresh or frozen

2 mini red sweet peppers, seeded and diced

1/4 cup diced red onion

5 leaves of fresh mint, leaves chopped

1 spring thyme, leaves only, discard steams

1/4 cup Italian parsley

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

cast iron cooking with avocado oilPrepare and mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Top and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now prepare your salmon steaks. You will need the following for two servings.

2 salmon steaks, skin on

3 to 4 tablespoons avocado oil, smoke point to 500 degrees

3-4  cups Arugula

Salmon steaks in a cast iron skilletHeat oven on broil. Next, lightly drizzle avocado oil (heat safe to 500 degrees) into a cast iron oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.  Add salmon steaks to heated skillet and sear on each side for 2 minutes.

turning salmon steaksPlace skillet in pre-heated oven under the broiler for 7 to 10 minutes, turning steaks about every 3 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook. As the skillet is close to the broiler element, keep a close eye on your salmon steaks so they do not burn. We baked our salmon steaks to about 155 degrees, as you need to remember the fish continues to cook even after you remove it from the oven.

Cast Iron Seared and Baked Salmon with Fruit and Herb Salsa - close upIt is important to remove the salmon from the skillet soon after removing it from the oven. Have plates ready with arugula, and top each with a salmon steak. Next spoon some fruit and herb salsa over the salmon, and enjoy!

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Vegan Hot Chocolate

 

Vegan Hot ChocolateEating a vegan diet is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, and an associated philosophy that rejects the treatment of farming animals for food.

Being a vegan is clearly more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy than a diet, writes Christian at Medical News Today.  He also writes that the vegans lifestyle doesn’t use animal based products for clothing as well.

The magazine “Food Technology” published (October 2012) explaining that plant-based diet can either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type II, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (Science Daily).

Most who profess to be vegan do not eat honey at all. Though some may, as Sophia explains at Sophia Gubb’s Blog, stating, “As for the ethics of being a vegan who eats honey, I see it as somewhere between eating animals and eating plants. At times, I’m even unsure whether the harm to plants might be more intolerable. Bees, like plants, have short life cycles, making the death of a bee less tragic than the death of a long lived animal. I also get the feeling that the worker bees are made to be more expendable somehow than most animals are. They often die when attacking to defend their hive.”

To enjoy a delicious beverage that is vegan, doesn’t mean you have a practice the lifestyle, but rather just enjoy the flavorful ingredients that are simple and easy to purchase at your local market in the organic section.

Now for our featured beverage recipe – Vegan Hot Chocolate – and here is what you will need.

socking cashews in water1/4 cup raw cashews – soak overnight in fresh water
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao brew (or cacao powder)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

ingredients for Vegan Hot ChocolateWe used Nog coconut milk by SO Delicious with added cane sugar and nutmeg, as well as an organic raw honey with cinnamon. If you use the cacao brew, you will need to strain the hot chocolate, as cacao brew is grainy just like ground coffee beans.

adding raw honey

Place everything in a blender (we used our Nutri-Bullet), and blend thoroughly.

adding blended liquid to sauce potAdd to a small sauce pot bring to a boil around 165 degrees. Set aside to brew for 5 minutes, with a lid on the pot. Drain through a strainer (if using cacao brew).

Vegan Hot Chocolate - image 2Makes about 2 six ounce cups of hot chocolate. Enjoy the flavors and taste of Vegan Hot Chocolate.

Archaeologists discovered that cacao has been around for 3,500 years or possibly longer. The culture accredited with growing and harvesting cacao is the Olmec civilization dating back between 1500 B.C and 400 B.C.

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