Friday, January 31, 2020

Italian-Style Meatballs

Developed January, 2020 as a versatile component of many dishes. Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, or, in a crusty roll topped with a spicy sauce, or, in a soft bun topped with caramelized onions, or as appetizers on a buffet come to mind.
1 slice white bread, finely diced
milk to cover the bread crumbs
2 T olive oil, divided
1 c onion, finely diced
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 t minced garlic
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 t dried Italian herb mixture
1 T grated Parmesan cheese
Cover the crumbs with milk and stir to form a smooth paste and set aside. Slowly fry the onions in a tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, gently mix the meat with a large fork until it is broken up. Work the moist bread, beaten egg, garlic, and the seasonings into the meat, one addition at a time. When the sautéed onions are cool, fold them in, and chill the mixture for 30 minutes to firm up. Heat a heavy stainless-steel skillet over medium-high and add the olive oil. When shimmering, form meatballs, about 1-1/4 inch (3 cm) in diameter by rolling between your two palms. Rinsing your hands with cold water as you work helps form balls. Add each to the hot oil as you make them, and fry about 6 minutes after the last one was added. Shake the pan to loosen them as they cook but let them brown. With a spoon and spatula, turn to brown on the other side. Remove and cover for later use.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fresh Vegetable Noodle Soup

Quick first course in a soup and sandwich supper. Four fresh vegetables come together quickly to make a satisfying and nourishing soup.
1 T vegetable oil
6 oz napa cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c green onions, sliced into half-inch lengths
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c coarsely chopped tomato
1 t minced garlic
1 qt water
1 packet tomato-noodle soup mix (Knorr™ is good)
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1/4 t freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 t fish sauce (use soy sauce for vegan)
Heat the oil to shimmering in a three-quart saucepan. Add the cabbage and sauté over medium-high for a few minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and green onions, cook a few minutes more, and add the tomato and garlic. When heated through, add the water, bring to a gentle boil and stir in the soup mix. Cook gently 10 minutes, add the seasonings, and adjust by tasting. Serves four.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hint: Pretreat ice cube trays with Pam™

To help ice cubes easily pop out of plastic ice cube trays, pretreat the trays with Pam™ or similar product. Treat dry trays by spraying the interiors very lightly. Spray them in the sink or inside a dishwasher to restrict the spray. Then rinse the trays under running water and let them dry before filling. The treatment leaves no visible residue on the ice. Repeat treatment as needed to retain effectiveness.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Spaetzle (German-style noodle dumplings)

Spaetzle Maker (internet)
Developed Spring 2018 from a traditional recipe.
2 eggs
2/3 c milk
½ t salt
¼ t ground nutmeg
2 c flour
¼ c butter or schmaltz
beef gravy (optional)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Stir in the milk, salt, and nutmeg. Half-cup at a time, stir in the flour with a spoon, until all is incorporated.  Let stand 30 minutes to hydrate the flour and permit gluten formation. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil in a six-quart saucepan.  Fill the basket of spaetzle maker with the dough, and position over boiling water.  Pressing down on the dough mass, slide the basket back and forth over the grate until the water boiling slows.  Boil a few minutes until the spaetzlen rise and are firm. Lift out with a mesh strainer to a skillet of hot melted butter or rendered fat.  Fry until crusted on bottom, and top with gravy. Serves six.