Big and Bold Meatball

giant meatballs Here’s a fun way to eat your favorite meatball, make it giant sized, nestle it in a pool of homemade marinara, top it with fresh ricotta, basil and olive oil, then just make sure you have some crispy, crunchy bread to soak up all that sauce. It’s a meal in itself and it’s so good!

I got this idea from the very popular meatball that’s on the menu at Siena Tavern in Chicago, I went there recently with a friend, we shared the jumbo sized meatball and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.

They make theirs with wagyu beef but honestly as we were eating it we both agreed you don’t need to use pricey wagyu beef at all because it’s the combination of all the different flavors that get melded together that makes it so amazing.

meatball ingredients So for my version I just picked up some good quality ground beef from my reputable butcher, it was 85% lean and 15% fat.  You could do a mixture of meats if you like but I wanted to stick strictly with beef to stay close to the flavor profile that we had in the restaurant.

The rest of the ingredients are exactly how I make my own meatballs, I always use grated romano cheese, dry and wet bread breadcrumbs, sauteed onion and garlic, fresh parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.

making giant meatballs For one pound of meat I made three meatballs, I feel anything bigger than that is overkill, this was perfect for individual servings.

You’ll want to form your meatballs then bake them on parchment until they set as shown in the picture on the right, about 20 minutes or so.

making giant meatballs Then drench them in some good homemade marinara sauce topped with romano, then back into the oven until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 160.

giant meatball When taken out of the oven drench them with more warmed sauce, don’t be shy, add a healthy dollop of fresh ricotta, right on top, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil and  more romano, then immediately dig in!

giant meatball

 

But don’t forget that warmed crunchy bread it’s a MUST!

I used sliced ciabattta that I drizzled with olive oil and stuck under the broiler until  nice and golden, a match made in meatball heaven!

Big and Bold Meatball
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb, quality ground beef,85% lean 15% fat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 hunk of day old Italian bread moistened with water or milk and squeezed out
  • ⅓ cup or so of dry plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup of grated pecorino romano
  • salt and pepper
  • homemade marinara sauce
  • fresh ricotta
  • fresh basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a small pan add olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft, let it cool
  2. Place all the ingredients into a bow, the meat, eggs, cheese, bread, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, onions and garlic.
  3. Mix well and form 3 meatballs, they'll look about the size of a tennis ball.
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook them until set at 375 for around 20 minutes or so.
  5. Remove and place meatballs into their own individual baking dish.
  6. Drench with sauce and top with romano cheese and finish baking in the oven at 375 until internal temp reaches 160.
  7. Add a generous amount of additional warmed sauce, a dollop of fresh ricotta on top, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of romano and some fresh chopped basil.
  8. I highly recommend sliced ciabatta bread, drizzled with olive oil and placed under the broiler or in a 400 degree oven until nice and golden to accompany your meatball.
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Kaleslaw with Kale-onaise

kaleslaw Our garden is still overflowing with kale so I’m always looking for different ways to use it up. Kale thrives in cool weather so I know I’ll have plenty for upcoming soups and stews this fall, at least until the first frost hits us, but for now I’m still on a salad kick.

Recently I bought a cook book called, Fifty Shades of Kale, catchy title don’t you think? Anyway, it got my attention plus the fact that it had 50 unique and different recipes for kale. One that I wanted to try right away was this colorful dish of Kaleslaw. It’s a little twist on traditional coleslaw where the cabbage is replaced with sturdy leaves of shredded kale.

It’s the perfect side dish sitting next to any kind of meat you might be serving, we had it with pork chops and chicken but it’s even great all by itself for a nice hardy lunch.

kale-onaise The book also had a recipe for kale-onaise which they suggested you use with the kaleslaw, it’s mayo based with lots of chopped kale added in along with lemon, lemon zest and garlic, not only did I use it for the kaleslaw, I started scooping it into my deviled eggs and chicken salads, it’s so good and it’s  even better as it sits in the fridge for a day or two.

kaleslaw I adapted the original recipe and added more veggies that was called for, along with toasted sliced almonds for added crunch, it was a hit!

kaleslaw All you kale lovers out there, make this for yourself, make this for your family or serve it up at your next party, you’re going to love it!

Kaleslaw with Kale-onaise
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped in shreds
  • 1 large handful of coarsely shredded carrots
  • 1 whole red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • ½ yellow pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • ½ orange pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • ½ red onion sliced into thin strips
  • 1 handful of shredded purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup of toasted sliced almonds
  • Kale-onaise to coat your kale and veggie mix , the amount is up to you.
  • KALE-ONAISE INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups of packed and chopped kale
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of organic mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. For the KALESLAW, place kale and all veggies into a large bowl, add kale-onaise and toss well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before serving.
  3. For the KALE-ONAISE, in a food processor, combine the kale, salt, pepper and garlic. Process until finely chopped.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, process until nice and smooth.
  5. Store in the fridge like regular mayonnaise.
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Herb and Citrus Crusted Fish

herb crusted fish Here’s a simple and easy way to prepare fish and a great excuse to use up some of those fresh herbs you got growing in your garden. It’s healthy, light, packed with flavor and you can get your dinner on the table in no time!

garden herbs There’s no exact recipe here, just pick some of your favorite herbs, I used basil, chives and parsley. Chop the herbs up real good, zest a whole lemon and grate one clove of garlic over a microplane, then mix everything together.

Dijon mustard coated cod Choose a beautiful fish filet, something white preferably, I used wild caught Atlantic cod.

Place your fish on a parchment lined baking sheet, season it with salt and pepper and brush some of your best Dijon mustard all over the top.

Don’t be heavy handed with the mustard, just a nice swipe all over.

herb covered cod Now pat your herb, citrus and garlic mixture right on top, the mustard will help everything stick and add to the flavor.

Drizzle generously with olive oil before placing into the oven.

herb covered cod Roast at 400 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish filets.

herb covered fish Juicy, moist, with a ton of flavor and no breadcrumbs were required!

roasted veggies I roasted tiny patty pan squash along with baby zucchini, mini peppers and sweet potato slices for my side, they took as long as the fish did to cook.

herb covered cod with roasted veggies A healthy, vibrant, dinner indeed!

 

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