Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meatballs and Peas

So they say fall has officially started. Ha! Today it is a balmy 86 degrees outside. Though they say by Saturday we will dip into the low 70's. Sure wish it would stay there, though I'm thinking we're not quite finished with the hot and humid higher 80's here. I myself am through with the heat. Although, I'm not quite ready for coats and mittens either.
Even though I'm cranky about the weather, I'm never one to feel that I have to conform my ways of cooking to the temperatures outside. Therefore I could just as easily enjoy a warm comforting bowl of chili in the middle of the summer as I could enjoy a cold salad in the middle of winter.
This is one of those meals I could enjoy anytime. I found it here in my December 2009 Food and Wine Magazine. We both loved this and will be having it time and time again. It is pictured here over rice, though it is equally delicious over mashed potatoes.

For the meatballs. The original recipe calls for 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork (didn't have any ground pork on this occasion). I used ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme, parsley, and egg. The original recipe calls for raisins. I left them in the box for snacking on. I DO NOT like raisins in my ground meat recipes. (I omit them from picadillo as well.) Mix well and form into 24 meatballs.

Again, the original recipe calls for broiling the meatballs. I find that method more of a pain than simply frying them off in a little olive oil. So that's what I did. Pour wine into casserole and add the meatballs. (I bet you thought those were sitting in a puddle of oil!) I would suppose if you do not cook with alcohol, you could use some broth for an added flavor boost, your call there.

For the sauce: canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, oregano, frozen peas. You know the drill: in a little EVOO, saute the onions and garlic. Add the tomatoes and oregano, simmer a bit. Add the peas and simmer a bit more until sauce thickens some.

When sauce is thickened a little pour over meatballs and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with your choice of rice, potatoes, pasta, or even polenta.

Simple and delicious.


Meatballs with Peas
Slightly adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
Adapted and tested by Food and Wine Magazine from Eugenia Bone


Ingredients

For the Meatballs
1/2 lb. ground beef chuck
1/2 lb. ground pork (I omitted this and just used 1 lb. ground chuck)
3 tablespoons golden raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (I omitted)
1 large egg
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (can't find it here, seriously!) Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (our parsley died on us, so I used 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup dry white wine

For the Marinara Sauce
1 tablespoon EVOO
1/2 cup onion, miced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 16 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper


Directions
Start by making the meatballs. In a bowl combine all the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, thyme, parsley, water, egg, and salt and pepper. Form into 24 uniform size meatballs. For this I like to use a small ice cream scoop (#25 or 30). Fry meatballs over medium to medium high in a little oil, browning on all sides. Transfer to meatballs to a baking dish. Add the wine and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium heat add the oil and saute the onion and garlic for approximately 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano and simmer for another 5 minutes. Lastly add the peas and simmer another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over meatballs and bake for 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve.
Makes 4 servings.


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Carla and Michael

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Preserving Summers Bounty

Goodbye Summer. Hello Fall. I love my Local Farmers Market. That being said, I decided I would stock up on the end of the summers beautiful vegetables and store them for use when they are no longer available in the fall and winter.


Fresh picked Baby Pea Pods are given a good wash.



See those beautiful fresh babies!


Shelled and rinsed again.


Into a big pot of boiling water they went to be blanched for 2 minutes. Then submerged into a big bowl of ice water until cool. Lastly I patted them dry on paper towels and sealed them up in my Food Saver.
Now in the dead of winter I can use my garden fresh peas or green beans (I did the same par-boil to them too) and I don't have to go to the freezer section in the store. I've also done the same with the beautiful zucchini and crookneck squash as well. My mother just froze a big batch of fresh green tomatoes and brought me a huge bag full. Yummy, fried green tomatoes will definately warm me up this winter. Thanks mom. I plan on visiting the farmers market and doing the same with the fall and winter vegetables during this up coming season.




Preserving Fresh Summer Vegetables

Garden Peas
Green Beans
Zucchini
Crookneck (yellow) Squash

Rinse off vegetables well in cold water.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
When water comes to a full boil put in vegetables and immediately start your timer.
Peas only take a minute or two, most other vegetables take a full 3 minutes to blanch.
When time is up, immediatelyscoop out the vegetables and plunge into the ice water. This will stop the cooking process and help preserve the color and freshness.
When cooled, spread the vegetables out on a large sheet pan lined with paper towels and dry them off.
At this point, if you have the space in your freezer you can remove the paper towels and flash freeze or IQF (Individually Quick Frozen).
If you have a Food Saver all the better, if not just use a good zip freezer bag. Bag up vegetables in amounts according to your usage preference. Label item and date. Store in freezer for later use.

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Carla and Michael

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perfect Eye of Round Roast

I have tried many times over many years using many, many different methods for cooking an eye roast. It had always turned out way over-cooked and tough as shoe leather. Not that I've ever taken a bite out of my shoes to compare, just an old expression. I finally found the ideal way to cook this roast so that it is medium rare and buttery melt in your mouth tender. I first saw this show of Bobby Flay's Birthday Dinner years ago. I had my doubts and wondered if the meat would really cook through. Fast-forward to this beatiful roast and what to do? Then after many searches, I saw this recipe/method for High Temperature Eye of Round Roast and I figured why not give it a shot.
Let me just tell you I was like a little kid in a candy store. I was elated at how perfect this method worked out. 

Perfect Eye of Round Roast 
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients
1 3lb. eye of round roast

Directions
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Rub roast liberally with seasoning mix. Place roast into a roasting pan, do not cover in order to form a nice outer crust. Place roast into the preheated oven and reduce temperature to 475 degrees. Roast for approximately 7 minutes per pound. If cooking a larger roast (5 to 7 lbs.) cook for approximately 5 minutes per pound. After cooking for allotted amount of time, turn off oven and let the roast remain in the hot oven for 2 1/2 hours. Do NOT open that oven door or your oven will cool down too fast and roast will not finish cooking to the desired medium rare. Remove roast from oven, internal temperature should have reached at least 145 degrees. Slice and serve with your choice of pan dripping gravy, au jus, or horseradish cream sauce.
Serves 6


Linking up with:
A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Monday
All the Small Stuff for Tuesdays At The Table
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday
Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
It's a Blog Party for Delicious Dishes
Permanent Posies for Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits

Carla and Michael

Friday, September 9, 2011

Spinoccoli Pizza alla Michael

WOW! Where has the summer gone? I guess I missed most of it. Between my shoulder issues and then Michael breaking a bone in his foot, I haven't been on here in forever. I've been playing nurse-maid.
In any case I'm back and starting back with one of our (MY) quickie favorites.
Yes, the famous Spinoccoli Pizza.

Well this is a pizza that Michael turned me on to and I can never have it often enough. Michael frequented Pizzaria Unos way back in the day and has replicated this pizza ever since. Then when he and I met he made it for me and it has become one of my frequent requests. (You've just got to love a man that will take over the kitchen and cook for you.)

Spinach, broccoli, and garlic on a white sauce covered in cheese.
More cheese please.

I could have a slice of this at least once a week for lunch and never tire of it.



Spinoccoli Pizza
Courtesy Recipe Addict

Ingredients
Pizza Crust (your choice)
Alfredo Sauce (recipe I like)
pinch of red pepper flakes
thinly shaved garlic
fresh baby spinach
fresh broccoli florets
grated mozzarella cheese
grated parmesan cheese
(you will decide how much of each of the ingredients you want to use depending on your preference)

Directions
Assemble by layering first the sauce, then your spinach, broccoli florets, and the garlic. Sprinkle red pepper flakes over veggies. Load with cheeses and bake in a 450 degree oven until crust is crispy and chesses are bubbling.
(If you are really short on time you could buy a jarred Alfredo sauce.)


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Carla and Michael