Saturday, October 23, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Meatballs in Fiery Tomato Sauce

These are juicy, spicy, and work well as either a hot tapas dish or as a hearty sauce to put over couscous or pasta. The flavors are more Mediterranean than Italian.

Spicy Meatballs in Fiery Tomato Sauce
makes about 40 small meatballs

Ingredients (meatballs)
2/3 lb ground pork
2/3 lb ground sirloin
2/3 cup freshly dried breadcrumbs
2 Tbs milk
1/2 cup finely minced onion
3 large cloves finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin (ground)
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch of ground clove
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 fresh egg, lightly beaten

Instructions (meatballs)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Holding your fingers in the shape of a claw, loosely toss and mix the ground sirloin and ground pork together. Add the minced garlic and onion, the spices (cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt & pepper). Using the "claw" hand, mix gently.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and pour it over the meat mixture. In the same bowl, moisten the breadcrumbs with the milk. Add to the meat mixture. Use the "claw" hand again to loosely mix the ingredients (try avoid overmixing or tightly compacting the meat).

Lightly oil a large baking sheet with olive oil. Using a 1 TBS scoop, roll small meatballs and place them on the baking sheet (they may be close together, just not touching). Place the meatballs in the oven and cook for 10-12 min. Remove from oven and set aside.

Ingredients (Sauce)
1 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes
1 Tbs salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2-4 dried hot chilies (torn into pieces), or 1 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp granulated onion/onion powder
3 Tbs olive oil

Instructions (Sauce)
In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the red peppers. Saute about 5 minutes.

In a blender, puree the canned tomatoes until smooth. Add to the pot (carefully, to avoid splattering from the hot oil). Add the vinegar, cover and let simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.

Uncover the sauce and stir. Add the salt, granulated onion and garlic - taste and adjust seasonings as needed as you continue to simmer the sauce for about 10 more minutes.

When the sauce tastes as desired, gently add the meatballs. Unless serving immediately, turn off the heat, cover, and let the sauce cool. Gently reheat to serve as desired.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Noodle Boat -Great Thai in Issaquah

Noodle Boat may be the best Thai restaurant in the Seattle Area. We recently ate their with friends before going to a show at the Village Theatre in Issaquah. Fortunately, I called for reservations because the place was absolutely slammed when we arrived at 6 pm. It took us the full 2 hours before the play to get thru dinner as the kitchen was so busy - so plan in accordance if heading over to the Theatre.

We shared a variety of items , all unusual and all great. We started with the Fresh Thai Rolls which were actually steamed rolls stuffed with cilantro, green onion, tofu, bean sprouts, cucumber and topped with a great tamarind sauce. YUM!

We also had Larb Gai which is ground chicken, cilantro, mint all served as a salad atop a cabbage leaf. Unusual, highly recommended by others to us and very good.

We then had the Green Boat which is a noodle dish of steamed rice stick noodles with a stir fry of green curry, coconut milk, green beans, broccoli, bamboo shoots, and red bell pepper. Loved it.

Other dishes we thought were superior were the Red Curry, and a Phad Thai. They also had a very unusual brown rice which actually was RED and very tasty. One serving of the White or Brown rice easily feeds four as many of the items on the menu come as salads or noodles.

Noodle Boat Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 4, 2010

From Miranda's Kitchen: Carnitas Enchiladas

Carnitas Enchiladas
(serves 4)

2 lbs baby back pork ribs or country style pork ribs
1 lime (zest only)
1 orange (juice & zest)
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 red onion, finely diced
1 Tbs rice vinegar
salt to taste
Corn tortillas
2 cups canola oil
Cotija cheese, finely grated (about 4 cups) - this is a hard, slightly salty Central American cheese that can be found in most grocery store cheese sections.
2 jalapenos, minced
1 can spicy red enchilada sauce
1 can green enchilada sauce
accompaniments: hot sauce, sliced avocado, sour cream


For the filling -- rinse ribs under cold water and pat dry. Cut into 3-4 rib sections and place in a large, heavy duty pot. Try to use as wide a pot as possible and lay the ribs in a single layer. Cover the ribs with water (water should not come more than 1/4 inch above the ribs). Add half the lime and orange zest and one half of the orange juice. Add about 1 Tbs salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer on low about 2-3 hours, until meat is falling off the bone. Check periodically to make sure the water does not dry up (though it should be reducing).

After a few hours, the water should have reduced down so that most of what remains is the grease and fat from the ribs (if it has not, continue to boil it down while you shred the meat). Remove the ribs from the pot and pull the meat off, using a fork to shred. Be sure to discard all the bones, cartilage, and membrane. Return the meat to the pot, bring heat up and fry in the remaining fat for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the zest, the rest of the orange juice, the apple cider vinegar, and more salt to taste.

Remove the meat from the pan, leaving behind as much fat as possible. Add the onion dice to the fat and fry until soft and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Deglaze with the rice vinegar. Then stir the onions into the meat mixture. Set aside or refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the enchiladas.

For assembly.
Mince the jalapenos and finely grate the cotija cheese. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a saute pan with straight sides. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with 1/4 cup of each type of enchilada sauce. Set the pan(s) you wish to bake the enchiladas in at the ready.

Briefly fry each corn tortilla until it just begins to puff (a few seconds only). Lift the tortilla out of the oil with a slotted spatula and place it in the sauce mixture. Moisten each side of the tortilla with sauce and then transfer to the baking dish. Fill with meat, jalapenos, and cheese, and then roll. Repeat this process until the pan(s) are full.

Drizzle the remainder of the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas, paying careful attention to moisten the ends of each roll to prevent drying in the oven. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese and any remaining jalapenos over the tops of the enchiladas. Also add a sprinkling of salt.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve hot with sliced avocados, hot sauce, and sour cream.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Prime Meats, Cholesterol, and You

Restaurant Name: Prime Meats
Restaurant Location: 457 Court Street, Brooklyn

Getting past the starting gate at Prime Meats can be a pain. They don't take reservations and the wait is usually long, even if you show up early. But once you're is *so* worth it.

The atmosphere is sort of rustic-meets-classy, with lots of dark wood and an old-school tavern feel. But the place somehow still appears bright and white-tablecloth-y, too.

The menu revolves around meat, much of which is cured or in sausage form, though there's a standout burger and a massive steak. Bottom line: you want to show up here hungry and carnivorous.

We were surprised, though, to find a lot of temptation beckoning from the first page of the menu - starters and salads. With more than six salads to choose from, we debated awhile before deciding to share the evening's special - a frisee salad tossed with smoked, thick-cut bacon and topped with a poached duck egg and a bacon vinaigrette. Honestly, it was obscene how good this salad was. Silky egg yolk, salty and greasy bacon, sharp and slightly bitter frisee. We ate it all with great relish, let me tell you.

The other starter we shared was the Roasted Beef Bone Marrow served with gremolata, radishes, roasted garlic, and toast. I've had a lot of bone marrow in my day. You might even call me a connoisseur. This one was the most awesomely fabulous I've had--by far. The lemon zest in the gremolata just woke all the other flavors up, its tartness playing off the rich marrow. And the roasted garlic - what a super idea! Smeared on the bread underneath the quivering marrow, it add depth and complexity.

At this point I was pretty much thinking that dinner could not possible get better, that perhaps we should just ask for the check and leave before things went downhill (I know, what a pessimist, right?). Well, I was both right and wrong.

I had ordered the burger. It came out all juicy and sloppy and dripping with cheese, served along a house-made dill pickle and plenty of fries. It was pink all the way through, toothsome, and all around one of the best burgers I have ever had anywhere.

My husband had ordered the Sukrut Garnie - a platter of pork belly, bratwurst, calf tongue, and knackworst. It was served with mustard, some potatoes, and sauerkraut. This was a bit hit and miss. Some of the sausages were a little dry. The calf's tongue (predictably, I suppose) was not very good. Overall, this dish was a little bit of a letdown. From what we've heard from friends (and what we witnessed other diners having), it looked like the Weisswurst might have been a better bet.

Did we have dessert? I honestly can't even remember. I think I must have been dazed from all the fat and cholesterol (and possibly still a little drunk off that glorious burger).

In sum: totally awesome.

Prime Meats on Urbanspoon