Tag Archives: mint

Thai Balls

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is three days away. I spent this last weekend prepping for and enjoying “friendsgiving”, hosted by delightfulcrab + a bunch of awesome people. When you love food as much as we do, celebrating Thanksgiving once just isn’t enough.

Last night, I decided to savor the last few moments of the pre-holiday craze and make something non-traditional.  These Thai meatballs are perfect for any occasion. You could even serve them as appetizers during Thanksgiving or at your annual holiday party. It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year, and I couldn’t be more excited. Enjoy!

Thai Balls with Peanut Sauce

Adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook; Makes 2 dozen 1.5 inch balls

2 tbsp olive oil

1 pound ground pork

1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, and roughly shopped

2 large eggs

3/4 cup fresh Thai or Italian basil, roughly chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

2 thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced

1/2 bread crumbs

2 tbsp minced lemongrass or lemongrass paste

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger

juice from 1 lime

2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp fish sauce

For the Garnish:

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 large carrots, julienned or grated using the large holes of a box grater

10 fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (including stems)

10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1 tsp sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

2. Combine the ground pork, shrimp, eggs, basil, cilantro, mint, chiles, bread crumbs, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

3. Roll the mixture into round, golf-ball size meatballs (about 1.5 inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.

4. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165° F.

5. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish. Meanwhile, to make the garnish, place rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, carrots, basil, cilantro, mint, peanuts, and sesame seeds in a bowl and toss to combine.

6. Spoon the garnish over the top of the meatballs and serve with toasted whole wheat Naan and peanut sauce (recipe below).

For the Peanut Sauce:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

juice from 1 lemon

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp fish sauce

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and toast in the oil, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to turn golden brown, about 1 minute.

2. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, fish sauce, and cayenne (if using). Whisk together until a smooth consistency is achieved. Add a few tablespoons of water to thin the sauce, if needed. Cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.

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Filed under FRESH FETE

Green Herb Shrimp with Eggplant Couscous

I have a long-time relationship with shrimp, and usually choose it over chicken. If you can find fresh local jumbo prawns from your local farmers market or Whole Foods, make sure you add it to your  shopping list.

This dish is great for entertaining, but also easy enough for a midweek dinner. I adapted this dish from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook, and chose it especially for the green herb citrus sauce. I like to make things that are versatile enough to recreate again and again. This sauce is no exception, you truly could serve it with anything.

Green Herb Shrimp with Eggplant Couscous

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 green onions, white and light green parts, trimmed

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 anchovies (optional)

Juice of 2 limes

FOR THE SHRIMP AND EGGPLANT COUSCOUS:

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 cups diced globe eggplant (about 2 medium)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup diced feta cheese

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until fairly smooth with a few herb flecks. Put half of the sauce in a blow along with the shrimp and set aside to marinate for 1 hour, reserving the other half of the sauce.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a cast-iron pan or large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and saute until the edges are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Cook the couscous according to the package insturctions. Transfer the couscous to a large mixing bowl and add the eggplant, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the basil, red pepper flakes, feta, and vinegar. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Cook the shrimp until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes maximum on each side; be careful to avoid overcooking them. Toss the cooked shrimp in the remaining herb sauce and serve with the eggplant couscous.

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Seasonal Gems: Watermelon & Plums

I always like to stress the importance of seasonal produce. There are so many great arguments for buying local, organic food as opposed to the alternative; but the most obvious is reflected in taste. Seasonal just tastes better.

I recently got together with friends for a potluck dinner; we each brought something to share. Watermelon has been in season all summer, so I already knew the main star of my dish. I settled on a salad with prawns, arugula, watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint.

My favorite part about the dish, besides the just-picked freshness, was the variety of textures. It also went along famously with my friend’s plum prosciutto bruschetta, also an in-season winner. The combination of the two make a really easy, simple, summer meal. Enjoy!

 

Watermelon Salad

*serves 4 as a side

1 small seedless watermelon, sliced into chunks

10 cooked prawns

1/2 package arugula

1 english cucumber, peeled and sliced into chunks

10 mint leaves, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more if you love it)

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + pepper to taste

1. Combine watermelon, cucumber, prawns, and mint. Add olive oil (drizzle to your liking) and toss. Add arugula, and lightly toss. Sprinkle feta on top, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Plum Prosciutto Bruschetta

8 slices of fresh, rustic bread; toasted

Humboldt Fog goat cheese

1 package prosciutto

4 organic plums; sliced and pits removed

arugula to garnish

1. Layer the following ingredients to create easy, instant bruschetta: goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula and plums. Serve.

 

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Tribute to NYC: Tasty Moroccan Meatballs

While I truly adore the city of San Francisco, I must admit a piece of my heart belongs to New York.

I recently had the pleasure of dining at The Meatball Shop, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The LES is everything you want in a Saturday evening — every bar and restaurant overflows with lively clientele and head-turning street style.

I ordered the special, which was etched messily on the chalkboard above the bar: Moroccan Chicken Meatballs with turkish apricots, ginger, mint, and cilantro (among other goodies). I could not resist, and ordered the special along with one of many available sides: “everything but the kitchen sink”, which included an arugula salad, golden beets, and yogurt dipping sauce. This meal was too memorable not to recreate, so naturally I had to jot down the ingredients and try it out for myself.

Moroccan Chicken Meatballs with Golden Beets, Arugula Salad, and Mint Yogurt Sauce

You will need:

1 lb ground organic Chicken meat (or, you can substitute ground turkey or pork)

2 large leeks; trimmed, cleaned, and sliced into thin half moons

1 cup dried Turkish apricots; diced

1 cup of mint; chopped

1 cup of cilantro; chopped

8 cloves of garlic, diced, and separated in two piles (you will use half in meatballs; half in yogurt sauce)

2 cloves of garlic (for salad dressing specifically)

2 tbsp honey (for salad dressing)

2 lemons; juiced

zest of 1 lemon

3 tbsp fresh ginger; peeled and minced

2 eggs

1 to 2 cups of whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (start with 1 cup, you can always add depending on desired consistency)

3 medium to large golden beets

1 english cucumber; peeled

1 small carton of plain Greek yogurt

1 package of arugula

1 package of pita bread (optional)

extra virgin olive oil

white wine vinegar

sea salt + freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare mint yogurt sauce: 

  • Chop cucumber in half; set one half aside (you will use it for the arugula salad)
  • Using a large-holed cheese grater, grate the half cucumber and set aside in mesh strainer over a bowl
  • Sprinkle salt on grated cucumber and let rest for 10 minutes; as the salt will extract excess water from cucumber (so your sauce is not watery!)
  • Combine strained cucumber in a small bowl with yogurt, half of the mint, half of the chopped garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, and zest of 1 lemon — stir
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve

2. Prepare the beets:

  • I initially adapted this cooking technique from renowned chef Alice Waters; it’s simple and involves very little labor
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Remove the green stem and leaves from the beets
  • Place beets in a deep baking dish (a pyrex loaf pan works famously), and fill with enough water to cover the bottom of the beets, about 1/8 inch. Keep in mind the dish should be deep enough to fully incase the beets
  • Tightly cover with tin foil, and bake in oven from 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until beets are easily pierced with a fork
  • Remove from oven when beets are fully cooked, and place aside to cool
  • When cool enough to handle, slip skins off of beets, remove the root and bottoms, and slice into half moons. Set aside

3. While beets are baking in oven, prepare the meatballs. This dish is designed to take about an hour in total cooking time, as the meatballs should be cooked once the beets come out of the oven: 

  • Preheat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, using medium-high heat, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil in the pan (enough to cover the pan’s surface)
  • Add leeks and stir. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to stir leeks every few minutes until translucent, about 10 minutes
  • Add diced Turkish apricots to sauteed leeks mixture and stir. Continue to sauté another 10 minutes. Add ginger and remaining half of garlic, stir. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside
  • In a large bowl, combine cooled apricots/leeks mixture with ground chicken, 2 eggs, breadcrumbs, mint, cilantro, sea salt, and pepper. Use your hands to combine the ingredients evenly
  • Roll meatballs about one inch in diameter (you can make them bigger if you wish, cooking time will be longer)
  • Use same heavy-bottomed sauté pan and preheat to medium, drizzle olive oil in pan
  • Cook about 6 meatballs at once; you do not want to overcrowd the pan
  • I like to press the meatballs down with a spatula; to make mini-burgers. I find they cook a lot faster this way
  • Flip meat patties every 5 minutes, until crispy on each side and cooked throughout — about 15 minutes total
  • Cook meatballs in batches, covering the cooked meatballs until ready to serve

4. Make lemon-ginger vinaigrette for Arugula salad (this should be done once the last few meatballs are cooking, and the beats have been removed from the oven):

  •   Combine the following ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth: 2 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp ginger, 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp honey, sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Place arugula in a large serving bowl, add remaining half of cucumber (slice into half moons) and add dressing (start with half of the mixture and add to your liking). Toss with tongs
  • This is a great go-to dressing for any salad, and goes well with the peppery arugula

5. You are ready to eat! Serve all of the ingredients family style, and assemble the following on your plate: 

  • 3 to 4 meatballs
  • a generous helping of yogurt sauce
  • arugula salad. arrange beets on top
  • warmed pita bread (optional)
  • Enjoy!!!

 

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Filed under EATERY LOVE

Barley with Benefits: Wild Mushroom Barlotto

Wild Mushroom Barlotto with Asparagus, Leeks, Pine nuts, Manchego, and Mint

The feat of a completely balanced daily diet can be daunting, so make it easy by choosing nutritious and tasty foods that make you feel great.

If you have a thing for risotto, but want to avoid starchy carbs, then consider organic pearled barley as your next go-to whole grain. Barley, with its nutty, pasta-like consistency, has numerous health benefits (full of fiber and good for your heart!) so it’s the perfect substitute for rice. Plus, this version of Barlotto (barley risotto) is so smooth and velvety, but only uses a bit of olive oil instead of butter or cream.

Ingredients:

1 cup organic pearl barley

4 1/2 cups organic chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine

1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (try oyster, trumpet, and shiitake), sliced

1 bunch organic asparagus, bottoms trimmed, 1″ pieces cut diagonally

2 medium leeks, trimmed and cleaned, sliced into thin half moons

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 large shallot, chopped

3 sprigs mint, cut into thin ribbons

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

3 oz grated manchego or Spanish sheep milk cheese

1 cup of pea shoots to garnish

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Using a large sauce pan, simmer chicken stock (do not boil)

2. Preheat a large skillet, with medium heat, and add extra virgin olive oil

3. Add onions and shallot, and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add chopped leeks, and continue to saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add mushrooms, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until juices release

5. Add barley, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup of white wine, and stir constantly.

6. When white wine is absorbed, add 1 cup of hot chicken stock. Stir constantly, or until stock is absorbed. Continue to add 1 cup of hot chicken stock, while constantly stirring, and let absorb. Repeat this process until barley is slightly al dente and has a creamy texture.

7. Add chopped asparagus with the final cup of broth, and cook until tender but has a slight snap.

8. Stir in pine nuts, mint, and freshly grated manchego. Garnish with pea shoots. Enjoy!

 

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Filed under EVERYDAY EATS