Monday, October 15, 2007

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Chickpeas and Tomatoes Over Pita

This recipe is based on one for lamb meatballs from the Amateur Gourmet. His recipe called for simple meatballs served with yogurt, but I thought I would prefer something more substantial. I decided go on a play of the Italian meatball hero - lamb meatballs instead of pork/sirloin/turkey mix; tomatoes and chickpeas with Moroccan spices instead of traditional tomato sauce; and warmed pita bread instead of toasted hero bread. I also cooked it all in the oven instead of frying to cut down on oil. It bubbled up nicely and tasted sweeter than I expected, maybe because my cilantro was wilting and lacking in flavor to cut through the other spices.
1 can chickpeas
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
salt
pepper

Combine above ingredients in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 375.

1 lb ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves finely chopped
salt
pepper

Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Form into approximately 12 small meatballs and place in chickpe-tomato mixture in baking dish. Bake for approximately 35 minutes. Check to see if meatballs are done and add 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint and 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro. Cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a couple minutes. Serve over warm pita (or rice).

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Feast for the Eyes

Hello, it's been a while since I was here. I was busy, putting in a lot of overtime to get ready for a glamorous work event that allowed me to get dressed up, gaze upon the rich and famous, and feel happily drunk off wine.


I've still been cooking, but not too many recipes of note so let's recap along with some pictures. There was the Friday night I tried to make a version of chicken tikka masala, but it didn't end up like the sweet delicious tikka masala at Indian restaurants that I love. When attempting to make this dish, do not substitute milk for cream because your boyfriend asks you to, do not omit coriander and other sweet spices because you are too lazy/cheap to buy them, and do not add a chili pepper to make up for the lack of spice. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't great, so I won't be sharing that recipe. Nevertheless, it was a fun group dinner so here are some pictures of us enjoying the food.



What else have I been cooking? Well, I made butternut squash risotto earlier this week. The first risotto I ever tasted was plain butternut squash, and I loved it then, but now I just don't anymore. After a squashless summer season, I think I forgot how butternut squash tastes. Combined with all the fresh rosemary I added, the risotto tasted too lemon-y and sweet, not at all like the savory chicken and carrot I usually make and have come to love. Or maybe it was just that I was too lazy to heat up my leftover squash risotto at the office the next day, so the consequent cold squishy texture left a gross impression in my mind.







I also made Elise's recipe for grape juice, not on purpose really. On an impulse, like a little child would, Jesse bought Concord grapes at the farmers market. But once home, he and I were both eerily unsettled by the artificial grape flavor, and so the grapes were left uneaten for days. While slaving away at the stove for the risotto, I figured I might as well make it into juice. It was really easy and delicious, three parts juice and one part seltzer like Elise recommends. But almost silly that it cost $4 (the price of the grapes at the market) to end up with one large glass of juice. This is what it looked like as I let it strain - just for an hour rather than overnight because I was lazy.




And finally, I leave with you this recommendation. On a Friday night like tonight, the first cold night of October, relax and warm up at the same time with my favorite kind of hot toddy.

Cinnamon Sweet Hot Toddy
Bring a couple cups of water to boil.
Combine boiling water in a big mug with black tea, a shot or two of whiskey (depending on your love of the spirit), 2 tbsp honey, a dash of vanilla.
Shake cinnamon over the top, and let it steep for four minutes.
Add a couple spoonfuls of milk, stir, and enjoy.
Hmm, wouldn't it be nice to have a roaring fireplace to sit in front of right now?