Fried Meatballs w/ Potato

Meatballs are one of those incredible inventions that travel the world uniting cuisines from across the globe.

Polpette is a word denoting Italian meatballs, traditionally consisting of ground beef or veal that is shaped into small balls. These meatballs are usually enriched with a wide variety of ingredients such as parsley, eggs, garlic, mashed potatoes & Parmigiana Reggiano.

Although some might think that polpette are served with pasta, that is mostly a North American thing. Italian polpetti are typically consumed on their own as a snack, appetizer or finger food.

These little meatballs are incredibly soft due to the good amount of mashed potatoes in them. Instead of being appetizers, I added some extra veggies to make it a main course. We really enjoyed the whole combination.

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Fried Meatballs w/ Potato
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Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water & boil gently until tender.
  2. In a large skillet, combine oil with 1/2 tsp minced garlic & the rosemary. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant but not colored. Add the ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt & pepper, cook stirring occasionally until browned. Drain any fat from meat & transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes; it should absorb as much as possible.
  4. Drain the potatoes as soon as they are tender. Peel them while still hot & mash or rice them. Place in the bowl with the meat; add soaked bread & remaining 1/2 tsp garlic, parsley, 1 egg & the Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Break the remaining egg into a small bowl & beat it lightly with 2 Tbsp water. Spread the bread crumbs on a plate. Lightly roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Dip the meatballs first in the beaten egg, lifting them out one at a time & letting any excess egg drip back into the bowl. Roll them in the bread crumbs & set aside on a platter.
  6. Pour about 1/2-inch veg oil into a large skillet & heat. Add as many meatballs as will fit loosely in the pan & fry, turning as necessary, until evenly browned all over, about 4 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a wire rack or paper towels. Continue to fry remaining meatballs. For our supper I added some mushrooms & peppers.

Herb-Crusted Turkey Breast w/ Mushroom Leek Stuffing

SEASON’S GREETINGS TO EVERYONE!

If this year has taught us anything, its that you can’t plan ahead at this moment. The coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered much of the world economy has also stole festivals, celebrations, reunions and all the related joys of a normal course of life.

Like everything else this year, Christmas 2020 looks very different to what we are used to. But, all this doesn’t mean that Christmas is cancelled. It just means you have to be a bit more creative about making it another joyful and meaningful memory for you and your loved ones.

This brings me to the special event in our family on Christmas day. December 25th just happens to be my sister Rita’s birth date. She will forever be the ‘special gift’ our family was so priviledged to receive at Christmas.

Rita, you are loved and treasured very much. Brion & I are very grateful for the fact you are able to share some of your time with our sister Loretta, especially in light of the covid crises.

With regard to our Christmas dinner being featured in this blog, the herbs added heaps of savory flavor to the stuffing and turkey rub. Rosemary, thyme and sage are quintessential winter herbs that really give that special holiday flavor …. no pears, apples, nuts are necessary. Having been cultivated for thousands of years around the world, herbs have helped shape culinary traditions that have lasted into modern times.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RITA … WE CELEBRATE YOU WITH LOVE

ENJOY YOUR DAY!!

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Herb-Crusted Turkey Breast w/ Mushroom Leek Stuffing
Instructions
Stuffing
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add garlic & sauté, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Add leeks & cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms & cook until softened & liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat & stir in breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs & 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper; set aside.
Herb Butter
  1. In a small dish, combine all herb butter ingredients & set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Assembly
  1. Arrange turkey breast skin side down on a work surface so that it lies open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten & make an even thickness all over.
  2. Discard plastic wrap & season turkey all over with remaining salt & pepper.
  3. Spread stuffing over turkey, leaving a 3/4-inch border around the edge. Close up snugly, tucking in the stuffing as you go, then tie with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals around the entire turkey breast.
  4. Rub turkey all over with herb butter & arrange it on a rack in a roasting pan.
  5. Roast uncovered, basting occasionally, until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. (Cover with foil if top browns too quickly).
  6. Remove & discard twine, slice turkey & serve.

Stuffed Zucchini Rolls over Spanish Rice

This is a meal that is as much about the process as the final plate. Most everyone has made ‘zucchini boats’ at one time or another and this is a lovely rendition of them.

I have learned from travelling across cultures, that one thing can truly bring people together, no matter where in the world you are from, and that is food. 

No doubt, every culture has its own equivalent of ‘comfort food’. Stuffing vegetables is a Middle Eastern food trend that has been popular for thousands of years, combining spices and food groups in unique ways.

In truth, zucchini are simply immature cultivars of the squash family, eaten while the rind is still edible. Developed in Northern Italy, zucchini was not introduced to the rest of the world until the 1930’s.

‘Kousa Mahshi’ (Arabic for stuffed zucchini), is a type of yellow squash found in the Middle East which is hollowed out, stuffed with a meat/rice filling and steeped in a seasoned tomato broth. These were likely a reinvention of the ‘stuffed grape leaves’  common in the Mediterranean, Balkans and Persian Gulf.

I found the idea of hollowing out the small zucchini and stuffing them quite unique as opposed to just slicing them to make ‘boats’. Rather than using a meat/rice combo in my zucchini rolls, I used a ground turkey/mushroom stuffing and served them over a ‘simple’ Spanish Rice Pilaf.

This is not a difficult recipe, just one that takes a bit of time but is worth it in taste and eye appeal.


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Stuffed Zucchini Rolls over Spanish Rice

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Rating: 5
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Servings


Ingredients

Servings


Ingredients

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Zucchini
  1. Wash zucchini & slice off stem end. Use a long narrow apple or vegetable corer to core zucchini, leaving 1/2-inch walls. Care should be taken not pierce the shell or the end. If you are cutting your zucchini in half, make sure to leave your cut end with a solid bottom. Gently remove all the pulp from the rolls & set aside. Reserve pulp for turkey filling.

Turkey Stuffing
  1. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Saute onion & garlic until soft. Add mushrooms & reserved zucchini pulp; saute about another 2 minutes. Remove from skillet & set aside.

  2. In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil; add ground turkey. Lightly brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Stir in reserved onion & mushroom mixture. Add chicken broth; stir in tomato, basil & rosemary & cook 1 minute longer. Drain off any excess fat, remove mixture from heat & set aside. When mixture has cooled, add cheese, egg, salt & pepper. Fill zucchini rolls with mixture.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a Dutch oven, place stewed tomatoes & water. Arrange stuffed zucchini in the pot. Cover & bake for 25-30 or until zucchini is tender-crisp. With a slotted spoon lift rolls out of pot & serve on top of rice or serve in stewed tomatoes WITH rice, your choice!

'Simple' Spanish Rice
  1. In a large pot, heat oil. Stir in onion & saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix rice into pot & stir until it begins to brown. Stir in chicken broth & salsa. Reduce heat & simmer (covered) for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed & the rice is cooked.