Wednesday, December 29, 2010

lamb meatballs with cumin mint yogurt sauce

i came up with this recipe after having a dream one night about being in the mediterranean enjoying the fine fare. the next morning i scoured the internet looking for lamb meatball recipes. i took different ideas from each recipe and created my own version. the meatballs turned out really well - they were moist and rich with flavor. the mint, garlic and feta paired so nicely with lamb.  the cumin mint yogurt sauce gave the dish that extra oomph - creamy, yet refreshing. i served this as a dinner, but could also be a great appetizer.  make the meatballs smaller and serve with cocktail toothpicks.  

1 pound ground lamb
¼ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ small yellow onion, minced
6 ounces non-fat greek yogurt
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ tablespoon lemon juice
pita bread, cucumber slices, tomato slices

preheat oven to 400 degrees. combine lamb, breadcrumbs, feta cheese, 1 teaspoon mint, parsley, egg and s&p in a bowl and blend together with hands.  mix until combined, but do not over mix.  shape into equal portioned meatballs, should make about 15.  place on cookie sheet greased with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes.

meanwhile in a small mixing bowl, combine greek yogurt, cumin, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons mint, olive oil and lemon juice.  season with s&p. refrigerate until ready to use. to assemble, place 3-4 meatballs on top of pita with cucumber and tomato slices.  dollop with yogurt sauce.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

this was me.

i was lost and now i'm found again. i'm sorry for my absence lately. i could explain my lack of posting by telling you about my trip to aruba over christmas or by telling you about the crazy week i had leading up to the vacation week, but i've never been one for excuses, so why start now.

i've been a terrible friend and i know it. but the good news is that i'm back with some fresh ideas for the blog. stay tuned, foodies. i've missed you.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

roasted squash ravioli with sage cream sauce

this is one of those comfort meals that i crave when it's cold and windy outside. {i wish it would just snow already.} the dish highlights a perfect balance between creaminess, sweetness and saltiness. pair with a simple italian salad and a glass (or 4) of wine. serves 2.

1 shallot, minced
1 garlic, minced
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into one-inch cubes
½ cup ricotta
30 wonton wrappers
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup half and half
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
2 tablespoons roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped

preheat oven to 400 degrees. in a large bowl, mix butternut squash with generous pour of evoo and s&p. working with your hands, make sure each piece is covered in oil. put the squash cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the edges have begun to brown just a bit and are fork tender. remove from oven and let cool. in a food processor, combine cooled squash, ricotta and s&p.

working one at a time, take a wonton wrapper and scoop about 1 teaspoon of squash/ricotta mixture into center. wet edges of the wonton wrapper with water using your fingers and place another wonton wrapper on top. secure all edges to make sure there are no air bubbles or holes. working quickly, repeat again for each ravioli.

bring a large pot of water to a boil. season generously with salt and cook raviolis in batches (about 3 at a time) until they rise to the top, about 4 to 5 minutes. put in a large bowl and immediately mix together with a little evoo to prevent the raviolis from sticking together.

melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. add garlic and shallot and stir until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add chicken stock, cream and sage. season with s&p. increase heat and boil until sauce is reduced to ½ cup, about 5 to 7 minutes.

to assemble, place raviolis on plate, drizzle with sage cream sauce and garnish with roasted pistachios.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

marinated flank steak with side of frisee, poached egg and pancetta vinaigrette

i got inspiration for this meal while i was volunteering at culinaerie during a julia childs-themed cooking class.  apparently salads with poached eggs are pretty big in french cooking. the creaminess of the warm runny egg yolk paired perfectly with the warm pancetta vinaigrette that had a acidic, tangy and salty bite to it. the steak marinade is pretty basic but stands up well to the elegance of the other ingredients. i served this as a main course, but you could definitely make smaller plates and serve as an appetizer. serves 4.

1 pound flank steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 poached eggs
2 bunches of frisée, torn
warm pancetta vinaigrette (recipe below)

directions for warm pancetta vinaigrette:
¼ pound pancetta, cubed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced

cook pancetta in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned. remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  reserve 2-3 tablespoons of drippings and discard the rest. add garlic to pan and cook until soft. whisk in dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar, loosening particles from skillet. remove from heat and season with s&p if needed.

directions for steak salad:
mix olive oil, worcestershire sauce, garlic, s&p in plastic bag and add steak. marinate for at least one hour, turning occasionally. remove flank steak from bag, discarding marinade. heat grill over medium high heat and cook steak about 8 to 10 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness. cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin strips.

to assemble, place ½ bunch of torn frisée on bottom of plate.  layer steak slices on one side. top the middle of the frisée with a poached egg. garnish with ¼ of the pancetta cubes and drizzle desired amount of dressing over entire dish.

Friday, December 03, 2010

seared sea scallops with citrus fennel salad

4 radishes, thinly sliced
½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
¼ cup grapefruit segments, cut into mini pieces
¼ cup orange segements, cut into mini pieces
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 shallot
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
8 large scallops
2 teaspoons olive oil


in a blender, mix together orange juice, shallot, white wine vinegar, canola oil, dijon mustard and salt and pepper. combine radishes, fennel slices, jalapeno, cilantro, grapefruit and orange segments in a small bowl.  mix together with salad dressing. meanwhile, heat a small skillet with olive oil.  season scallops with salt and pepper.  sear in skillet about 2-3 minutes per side, until scallops are browned on each side. to assemble, place a half of fennel salad mixture on plate.  top with 4 scallops and drizzle with more dressing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

polenta cakes with caramelized onions, brie and basil oil

i know it's been awhile since i last posted, but i promise i have some really great recipes coming up in the next few days/weeks.  over thanksgiving i cooked up lots of treats - including these bite-sized appetizers. they were rich, creamy and just about perfect.

4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup instant polenta
½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
brie cheese, cut into 1-inch squares
basil oil (recipe below)

directions for basil oil:
combine ¼ cup basil, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 garlic clove and s&p in a food processor. blend for about 3 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated.

directions for polenta cakes:
bring chicken stock to a boil. add polenta, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes. stir in half and half, s&p and garlic powder. pour into 13x9 greased baking dish. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hours.

meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. add onions and stir occasionally for 15 minutes. as the onions begin to caramelize and turn darker, stir more frequently, about every 60 seconds, for 10 to 15 minutes. entire process should take between 25-30 minutes. season with s&p to taste.

to assemble, cut polenta into 1 1/2 inch squares. top with slice of brie cheese and about 1 teaspoon of caramelized onions. drizzle with basil oil for garnish.