I knew immediatly upon seeing this recipe in a recent Bon Appetit, that I wanted to make this as soon as our first of the season asparagus arrived. My wife and I had a VERY RARE night alone during Spring vacation week, so I whipped this dish up for just the two of us, and let me tell you, it was terrific!
Archives for April 2011
When Muppet had a hankerin’ for some peanut butter and chocolate action last week, we thought of a couple different ways to satisfy her craving. First, was to make a batch of Buckeyes, which are always a hit, but to me seemed out of season. Is it just me, or do you all find Buckeyes to be a winter holiday treat? It seems that the only time I EVER see them is when they are being served at a holiday cookie swap, or as part of a dessert party spread at a Christmas open house.
Her next thought ran to modifying her world famous ganache filled cupcakes to have a peanut butter ganache filling, which was an idea I was totally getting behind until I looked at the clock and realized that we didn’t have the time for such an elaborate undertaking…ugh. What we settled on were these lovely peanut butter cookies dotted with milk chocolate chunks, that come to us courtesy of the original Baked: New Frontiers in Bakingby Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
Muppet and I pulled this dessert together about a week ago in honor of some international guests we had visiting. We had the pleasure of hosting three Chinese college students who had won a negotiation competition in China that my wife has been involved with. Part of their “winnings” was a trip to the US to further study our legal-mediation system, and for a bit of good old fashioned tourista time.
They stayed with a host family in Boston for a bit, where they attended a Celtics “WIN” at the garden, and joined us for a visit to the MFA and saw the newly installed Dale Chihuly exhibit, which was quite fabulous. Then they came to stay with us on the South Shore where they were able to visit the Plymouth Plantation, and the Cape Cod National Seashore among other things.
It’s hard to believe that a whole month has passed since my first foray into the world of Charcutepalooza, but here I am again with another post dedicated to the fine art of charcuterie. If you’ll recall, my last Charcutepalooza post was for Corned Beef Hash, and was crafted to meet that month’s challenge which was all about brining. This time around came the call for a brined and hot smoked pork loin in order to make a homemade “Canadian Bacon”.
Now I don’t know about any of you, but the words Canadian Bacon conjure only one image in my mind, and that would be a delectable Eggs Benedict (Hmmm…I actually just had another one pop into my head, but if it’s all the same to you, we won’t be discussing Egg McMuffins today, OK?). I’m sure there will be a delightful variety of non “eggs benny” recipes posted by other Charcutepaloozers (thats loozers, not losers), but for me, the darling of brunch menus everywhere, the Eggs Benedict, is the highest and best use of the lovely bacon we’ve made.
Peyton and I rolled a bunch of these meat bombs the other night, inspired by a bag of basil marinara sauce I found in the bottom of our freezer (I know what you’re thinking…enough with the freezer food already!) I’m starting to get concerned that the thing is bottomless.
The last time we crafted meatballs, we whipped up some chevre stuffed lamb beauties, but this time were in the mood for something a bit more traditional. I didn’t have a recipe handy, but recalled seeing a gorgeous looking meatball recently on my friend Rose’s great blog, The Bite Me Kitchen, so we went there for a look see.
What immediately struck me about Rose’s post was the photo of her large, solitary meatball, nestled into a deep pool of marinara, and topped with melting burrata cheese. I love the impact of serving one huge ball, rather than a few smaller ones, and the topping of melted cheese (we used a fresh mozzarella as we couldn’t find any burrata), makes for a very dramatic and tasty dish.
Making the balls takes just a few minutes, then a combination of cooking techniques; a quick bake, then a longer braise, renders the meatballs nicely browned, perfectly tender, and absolutely delicious. Serve these with Rose’s marinara, the one detailed below, or your favorite from scratch recipe.
Peyton and I used my kitchen scale to measure out six of these monsters to ensure no one cried foul, or felt ripped off by getting a ball any smaller than everyone else at the table….you must be careful about these things, you know. The marinara we used was leftover from the braciole we made earlier in the season.
Enjoy! – Steve
Monster Meatballs with Basil Marinara Sauce
- 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 large egg
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 lb ground veal or ground pork
- Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
- Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, ground meat, and blend well.
- Using wet hands, form the mixture into 3-inch balls. Place on baking sheet (freeze balls on parchment lined sheet that you're not eating, then transfer to ziplock bag).
- Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning once.
- Add to sauce. Simmer, covered, 1 hr until tender, spooning sauce over and turning occasionally.
- Just before serving, top with burrata, fresh mozzarella or parmesan and cover the pan for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.
- Serve in shallow bowls or over pasta for a more filling meal.
CHEERS – STEVE
Hey everyone, I'm excited to share with you all that another one of my recipes has been chosen as a finalist by my friends Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, and the rest of the gang over at Food52! Last week's contest was for our "Best Recipe with Horseradish", and for it, I whipped up a little party snack that riffed on the flavors of the classic dish of prime rib roast with horseradish sauce.
This recipe is quick, easy and delicious! It dresses up well for company as a party treat, or accompanied by some spuds and a green salad, makes for an interesting twist on things the next time you're hankerin' for a steak for dinner.
For those of you who have never visited Food52, shame on you….what are you waiting for? It's a terrific food community that "crowd sources" its recipes by holding weekly competitions looking for participants' best dishes using the week's key ingredient. Winners gain eternal fame by having their recipes published in the annual (they are now working on their 2nd cookbook) Food52 Cookbook.
For the full recipe, click HERE and see the dish on Food52. Once there you'll be able to read what Amanda and Merrill have to say about it, as well as see how beautifully the site's photographer, Sarah Shatz shot their test version. If you think it looks tasty in the photo above, you'll REALLY want to try it once you see Sarah's photo. While you're there, and if you find the recipe worthy, please take the time to VOTE for my dish, I'd really appreciate it! Voting ends at midnight, next Tuesday the 12th, so hurry on over there now!
Thank you in advance for all your support.
Cheers – Steve
In our continuing effort to rid the freezer of winter’s bounty, a few nights ago we made these really fantastic short rib tacos. The ribs we had in the deep freeze were a variation on the ones I normally make, Daniel Boulud’s classic French ribs braised in red wine. They were an Asian variant that I whipped up as a change of pace, the recipe for the ribs can be found here. We ended up reheating and devouring a bunch of them after skiing last weekend, but still had a few that made the trip home in the cooler, and that were crying out to be put to creative use.
In case you hadn’t yet noticed, I LOVE PORK. I can’t think of a beast more giving (in a culinary sense), than our friend the noble pig. From the belly, to the hock, the loin, the shoulder, and the jowl, the pig offers so many tasty cuts of meat, that can be cooked in such a wide variety of ways, that the sky’s the limit as to what you can create with a little imagination. That said, and I hope I don’t disappoint too many of you nose-to-tail folks out there, while there are those who will eat just about anything that can be gleaned from a pig, I do have my limits.