Archive for November, 2012


November 5, 2012 Comments off

not just for on top of spaghetti.

I have been intrigued with meatballs for quite some time now. Meatballs. Beef meatballs. Pork meatballs. Veal meatballs. Lamb meatballs. Chicken Meatballs. You get the idea. I particularly like the flavors you get by combining different meats. There are cheeses to add. Veggies. Herbs. The possibilities are endless. I have had this meatball recipe printed out for a long time. I paused, because I was going to mention how long I have had it, but realized that I have no idea how long I have had it. You see, I am a recipe addict. That goes for recipes that are in cookbooks, magazines, and newspapers. Recipes from websites, be they mainstream or obscure blogs. Recipes that pop up in our “Inbox” every day. Recipes that I find through Twitter. Recipes that come in as tester recipes for Leite’s Culinaria. Recipes for food someone else made. Yes, I am an addict, with absolutely no interest in a 12-step plan to try and cure me of my addiction. I could make a new recipe everyday well into the next century, and I would still not get to make everything that I have my eye on. And every day more recipes come to my attention. I have a huge recipe file on the computer. I have huge piles of recipes that I am going to be putting into binders. I should mention that I have had these piles for quite a while now, and this is not the first time that I have said, “I am going to be putting them into binders”. Every time that I go through one of the piles I find recipes that make me pull them out and start a shopping list. This recipe did that for me. I actually found it in a Williams-Sonoma catalogue that came in the mail once upon a time. Roman-Style Meatballs with Gnocchi alla Romana. These meatballs are made with ground beef, ground pork, and prosciutto. They have fresh herbs, garlic, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fresh bread crumbs that were soaked in milk. The meats. We keep 1 lb. packages of our favorite ground beef in the freezer. I don’t like to buy ground pork. Instead, we buy large pieces of pork butt/shoulder and cut it into portions, vacuum seal them, and have them at the ready. We seal large packages for braised dishes. Think… pulled pork. porcetta. Tinga Poblana. We also seal 1 lb. portions which we grind ourselves whenever we need ground pork. The recipe says to chop the prosciutto, but we put sections of it into the grinder while grinding the pork. Shawn said that he could really taste the prosciutto in the meatballs. I was just wowed by how all of the flavors melded together. The tomato sauce could not be easier to make. Three ingredients if you don’t count the olive oil, salt and pepper. Six if you do. Use really good canned crushed tomatoes. With so few ingredients, the taste of the tomatoes really shines through. The recipe suggests that you serve this with Gnocchi alla Romana, which is a semolina gnocchi. I have had wonderful semolina gnocchi, but I wanted to serve the meatballs and sauce over soft, creamy polenta. It was a good choice. However, as I found out while playing around with the leftovers, my favorite way to eat these is in a bowl, with some of the tomato sauce. All you need is a spoon and a glass of red wine. For us it was a 2005 Core Elevation Sensation, Alta Mesa Vineyard from California’s Central Coast. 60% Mourvedre and 40% Grenache.
The meatball recipe is here. Enjoy!


Old-School Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

November 1, 2012 Comments off

This was one of our test recipes at Leite’s over a year ago. It sounded really good, but somehow I just didn’t get around to making it. I could kick myself for that because we could have been eating it for a longer period of time.This jambalaya is a tad labor and time intensive. For us means that it is a Sunday recipe, which I especially love during football season. You chop, cook, stir, taste, adjust, cook, stir, taste, add a little of this and a bit of that, all while you are watching Jim Harbaugh animatedly encouraging Alex Smith to connect with Mario Manningham, or Eli Manning completing a pass to Victor Cruz. For those who are scratching their heads at this time, I’m talking about the San Francisco 49ers, and the New York football Giants. Not be confused with the San Francisco baseball Giants. And, by the way they are not playing each other in this scenario. Sports, another passion to add to the food, cooking, and wine list.  (I edit this to say, that the SF baseball Giants are now 2012 World Series Champions. Yahooo!!! )

For some reason I tackled this on a Tuesday. I may not do that again, but I will be making this recipe again. And again.  And again. There are so many layers of flavor here. The recipe takes its time to build each layer separately. After one bite of this jambalaya you’ll see why each of the steps is so important. You are showcasing each ingredient and building deep, intense flavors.

I did start with store-bought roasted chicken, which I tore into shreds while it was still warm. I find that the easiest way to shred a chicken. I really liked the method used for making the stock from the chicken carcass. I will never throw out the bones from a roasted chicken again. I had some leeks, which I chopped and added to the pot, and I used red bell peppers because I am not fond of green peppers. (Actually, they are not very fond of me.) I recommend checking on the rice half-way through the stated 40 minutes cooking time. After 20 minutes, our rice was cooked. I might even check on it earlier next time.

Many people, when looking at a recipe, go directly to the ingredient list and start there. I suggest reading the paragraphs introducing the recipe. I learned the difference between a Cajun and a Creole Jambalaya. This recipe is a Cajun version. You should read what that means on the site. It is interesting information.

This dish stood up well to a 2002 Navarro Syrah. A big, in your face, ripe, California Syrah. Yes, we do drink wines other than Navarro’s. I hope to talk about them soon.

Check out the recipe, Old-School Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya,
at Leite’s Culinaria.

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