Tags: Dill

Insomniacs Meatballs

When I have trouble falling asleep, which is more often than I’d like, I  imagine myself cooking.  This may seem strange, but to me, it’s a gentle mediation that eases every bit of stress from the previous 14 hours.  On a good night I won’t make it past the chopping of garlic, but sometimes elaborate meals are prepared quietly inside my imagination before I am lulled away to sleep.  Two particularly restless nights ago I ran through a list of possible recipes that might assist me off to dreamland when I remembered the organic ground lamb we had in the fridge.  I felt like a wizard summoning the herbs and spices that I thought would be a good fit for my lamb.  In my pretend kitchen there is no ingredient missing, no shortage of clean knives, and the cooking time is cut in half! It’s no wonder this little technique relaxes me so.

The next morning I remembered the actual lamb in my actual fridge and quickly began to rummage the cabinets looking for all those seasonings I had easily on hand the night before.  It seems that this nights cooking meditation proved especially fruitful as I had created my next recipe, all in all a very productive night for an insomniac.

 

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground organic lamb
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried dill
4 fresh mint leaves chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup toasted pignola nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried cherries- reconstituted with warm water for 15 minutes
1 cup grated ricotta salata cheese (if you can’t find ricotta salta you can sub 3/4 cup feta)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat oven to 375 degrees and gently grease two baking sheets with olive oil.

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients save the lamb and pulse into a thin paste.  If too thick you may add a bit of water, olive oil or both.  Using your CLEAN fingers combine the paste into the ground lamb until well incorporated.

Roll into small meatballs ( a little bigger than a golf ball) and place on the baking sheets.  Bake for twenty five to thirty minutes at 375 degrees.

For the yogurt Sauce:

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I used 2 %)

1 handful  fresh dill

1 handful fresh cilantro

5 fresh mint leaves

2 tabelspoons lemon juice

1 clove mashed garlic

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

splash red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: 

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until well blended.  Serve alongside, or on top of the meatballs.

Perfect Salmon & Knowing Where your Food Comes From

Whether you consider yourself a “foodie” or are a novice in the kitchen I recommend you develop a serious, monogamous relationship with your local butcher and fish monger.  It may seem trivial but I assure you knowing where you meat and fish come from is the first step to a very healthy and happy kitchen.

My fish monger’s day begins at 2 am -in order to be one of the first in line at the market.  This helps to ensure that my weekly fish is fresh, like really fresh.  I encourage you to stop by if you live in the area, you will not be disappointed. http://www.newwaveseafoodli.com/ordereze/Content/5/Summary.aspx

While you are there perhaps you want to pick up some delicious wild salmon…

Paul claims I prepare the “best fish ever” and while I am usually pretty modest, I have to agree with him here.  My rule is simple, fish cooks quickly, really, really quickly.  Salmon for example should be cooked just until the pieces of flesh separate from the lines of healthy fat, more than this and I suggest you prepare some cakes or fritters.  Cooking times will vary depending on your ovens so stay close by, get used to listening to your food, smelling your food, poke at it (which is by the way my version of a meat thermometer) don’t worry you won’t be there long, my piece of 2 pound salmon was done in 17 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Herbs De Provence Mustard Crusted Salmon

2 pounds of WILD salmon skin on
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (go ahead get the good stuff)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon of herbs de provence
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon clover honey
sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Drizzle with Olive oil, salt and pepper. In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients (except salmon leave that to the side for a moment) and stir well.  Place salmon skin side down and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper (there will be seasoning in the marinade too remember!) spoon the mustard mixture on top of the salmon and bake for in my case 17 minutes, remember stay close by dinner is almost ready.  Serve with some whole wheat cous cous, green beans and a butter lettuce salad (just a suggestion).  As always enjoy!