Monthly Archives: August 2014

Tapas-Style Meatballs (Albóndigas Pequeñas)

Albondigas1 (1 of 1)I think Spanish cuisine is one of the best in the world, but I don’t think I figured that out until well after I backpacked through Spain (with no money) right before college. It seems similar to Italian, but its flavors are quite different and distinct. One of my favorite Spanish culinary ingredients (besides saffron, of course), is sherry — it is commonly used in a variety of dishes, and it adds a fantastic depth of flavor. This delicious meatball dish is simple — it has the sherry, but I don’t think you’d be able to pick it out. So good, I hope you’ll try these tonight!


6 oz ground lean ground pork
6 oz ground veal
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp olive oil


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely grated or minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp dry sherry
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the meatballs with one hand until well-incorporated and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, and form meat into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and brown on all sides (I like to swirl and toss them in the pan so they brown evenly), about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Set aside.

Add the additional 1 Tbsp olive oil to same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute. Stir in wine and sherry. Turn heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the cayenne, salt, peas and meatballs. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer another 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Season sauce with additional salt, if desired. Serve as part of a tapas meal (serves 6), or as an entre with rice and a vegetable (serves 4).

Oven-Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

Oven_Roasted_Chcken_with_Lemon1 (1 of 1)Last night was another night where I wanted to make something with herbs from my garden — in this case, rosemary. I’ve thought for a long time that rosemary and lemon were meant for each other. I was also in the mood for chicken, which goes very well with rosemary and lemon, so I decided to make this oven-roasted version of those ingredients — wonderful! The combination of flavors is bright and welcoming. I like to serve this with a wild rice pilaf — hope you’ll try this dish tonight!

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, trimmed of any fat
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup water
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 bay leaf

In a small bowl, combine garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, lemon zest, rosemary and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Stir into a paste. Place chicken thighs in a shallow dish and rub thoroughly with paste. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line an ovenproof dish with sliced lemons.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Brown chicken thighs (skin-side down first) on both sides, 4 minutes per side. Arrange the chicken over the lemon slices in the ovenproof dish, skin-side up. Place dish in oven and roast 20 – 25 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced.

In the meantime, add lemon juice, water, corn starch, salt and bay leaf to pan that the chicken browned in. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove chicken from oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand 5 minutes. To serve, place a few of the lemon slices on each plate. Place chicken thigh over lemon slices on each plate and pour some of the sauce over each serving.

Serves 4.


Beef Sauce with Red Wine, Sage and Parsley over Cavatappi

Meat_Sauce_with_Sage1 (1 of 1)Once again, it was my overflowing herb garden that inspired me to make this dish — I used to think of sage as an herb you cook with only in winter. I’ve always grown it, but by the time I wanted to use it, it was gone with the first frost. Luckily, I’ve discovered that sage is wonderful year-round. In this simple meat sauce,  the sage (together with the meat browned in butter!) provides for a nice depth of flavor! I hope you’ll try this recipe tonight with your fresh herbs!

2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and very finely grated or minced
8 large sage leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups red wine
3/4 cup beef stock
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 lb (uncooked) cavatappi pasta, cooked according to package instructions
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over high heat. Add beef and brown 5 minutes, stirring constantly to breaking up any clumps. Add onion, garlic, sage, and sprinkle with flour. Stir an additional 3 minutes. Stir in wine, beef stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Remove sauce from heat. Stir in parsley and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve over pasta with a dollup of sour cream.

Serves 6.