Turkey Meataballs


Without question, Italian American cuisine is my ideal comfort food.

For me, this food will always be associated, first and foremost, with family. Not because I’m Italian (which, actually, I’m not even a smidge of) but because it’s what we always ate on my birthday, and what we asked for whenever Mom was taking requests, and it’s what I crave when I’m home for the holidays. Although my family isn’t Italian, you wouldn’t know it by the shovels of manicotti, penne, and lasagna I grew up on.

More specifically, it’s the red sauce gravy that really satiates. It reminds me of lazy weekends when pots of sauce would be simmering on the stove, bottles of juicy red wine would be opened, invigorating company and conversation, and we’d feast on the hearty meatballs or penne strewn through it.

I made turkey meatballs tonight, and they brought with them that rush of nostalgia and good feelings. Funny how food does that.

Healthier then your classic beef or veal, these turkey meatballs have less fat but stay fantastically moist by incorporating milk-soaked day old bread. They’re light and flavorful. The perfect meal to make for your next family gathering.

Ingredients
• 1.25 lb ground turkey
• 3/4 cup cubed day-old bread, crusts removed (I
used rosemary sourdough, it’s what happened to be
laying around.)
• 1/4-1/2 cup milk or just enough to thoroughly
moisten the bread
• 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pounded with a
bit of salt
• 1 tbs fresh chopped parsley
• 1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan
• salt
• fresh ground pepper
• olive oil (for frying)

Optional:
• 1 small onion, finely minced. Though I adore
onions, I was forced to omit this as my boyfriend
detests them, and worse, can pick any hint of
onion out like a needle in a haystack.
• A pinch of cayenne pepper
• Chopped pine nuts

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, combine cubed bread and the milk. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground meat and season with salt and pepper. Next, squeeze most of the milk out of the soaking bread and add the bread to the meat (along with the minced onion if you are using.) Discard the used milk.
3. Now add the garlic, herbs, egg, and Parmesan cheese to the bowl. Combine all ingredients with your hands. The mixture should feel very moist, but not overly wet. At this point, the smell from the herbs was divine.
4. Roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs, and preheat a heavy skillet on medium.
5. Pour about 1/8-1/4 inch olive oil in the pan. Wet your hand and flick a little water into the hot oil. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough for the meatballs to be added. Toss the meatballs around in the pan so they brown evenly on all sides. You will most likely have to fry in two batches.
6. Cook until the meatballs are no longer pink in the middle, but be careful not to overcook, or risk drying out the meat. About 6-8 minutes a batch should do it.
7. Drain the meatballs on a paper towel to soak up excess oil, stir in with your favorite red sauce, pasta, and enjoy!

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Beetiful

As you can see from the title of this post, I’m feeling very clever today.
So clever, in fact, that I know I should spare you, innocent reader, of any more word play, bad puns, and off-kilter metaphors.

Onto the beets.


I scrounged together leftovers from last week’s Farmer’s Market and came up with this roasted beet and spinach salad.

To roast the beets, trim the greens down to an inch or two. Save the greens for a future recipe. Then, either wrap each root tightly in tin foil, or place the beets together in a baking dish with 1/8 inch of water. Cover tightly and roast for 30-60 minutes at 400 degrees, or, until the beet is tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. After cooling, the beets are no trouble to peel. Discard the skin and stem. The beet can be sliced or diced for the salad, depending on preference.

Mixed with baby spinach, the sweet, earthy veg really hit the spot. However, the star of the salad turned out to be the creamy horseradish dressing.

My standard salad-for-one technique of mixing the dressing in the bottom of the bowl I’m about to eat from (less dishes.. ya know) doesn’t necessitate measuring, but imagine making your basic vinaigrette with an added squeeze of creamy horseradish for flavor, a small dollop of creme fraiche for consistency, and a sprinkle each of Herbs de Provence, fresh ground pepper, and chunky sea salt.

I ate up every. last. bite.

As an added bonus, I got to hide this under the trash in the kitchen.

The beet root sure does make a convincing rat tail, no?? I really got my boyfriend going for a minute. Just getting in the Halloween spirit around here! It’s fun to act half your age every once in a while 🙂

Strawberry Basil Iced Tea

In the battle to supply refreshing, thirst-quenching drinks to my boyfriend, and now roommate (!), who like some, rarely drinks a plain glass of water, I’ve begun making copious amounts of iced tea in attempt to beat the heat while dissuading his $20/week Gatorade habit.

So far, we’ve tried raspberry tea, honey green tea, Arnold Palmers, sweet tea, chai tea…you name it. All have been tasty, but none so unique as Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Basil Iced Tea, which we tried today.

This tea is infused with some of summer’s most poignant flavors, and would make the perfect picnic accompaniment… or Gatorade-replacer as the case may be.

Ingredients
* 8 black-tea bags
* 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
* 1 cup water, plus more for steeping
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 cup fresh basil, plus more for serving
* Ice, for serving

Directions
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes.
2. Place strawberries in a bowl. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add basil, and let steep for 10 minutes.

3. Strain over strawberries; discard basil. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Combine strawberries (with syrup) and tea in a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with basil.

* My only changes: adding sliced lemon to the simple syrup, and putting another round of fresh basil into the finished tea for stronger herbal notes. Crossword suggested but not required.