Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Beef Meatballs and other foods worthy of Super Bowl 2012

When I started dating my husband five years ago he made two things very clear: I had to love his cat and I was to be a Giants fan.  He also made it clear that being a Giants fan could be quite a beating... yet that year, after a rocky start, the Giants went on to beat the undefeated Patriots for an amazing Super Bowl victory.  This Sunday, after a five week streak of amazing, unexpected wins, our Giants are once again facing the Pats. So, of course, we are having a Super Bowl party!  I won't share with you our actual menu... as it's shamefully un-Gundry, but I will share with you a new, tasty, meatball recipe and remind you about past posts that could help you put together a yummy and Gundry-friendly Super Bowl menu. 
First, as for the meatballs... a few months back, while at a cute little Italian place near our home, I ordered some beef meatballs that were plated on lightly dressed greens and served with a mild, crumbly cheese.  So, when this Tasting Table recipe showed up in my inbox, I thought: I must try to recreate that yumminess.  I served these gems as a main dish, but you could just as easily plate as appetizers at your Super Bowl party. 

Yield: 20 to 25 meatballs (I halved the recipe)
Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 eggs
1.5 cups fresh whole milk ricotta
2.5 lbs. ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1 cup finely ground fresh breadcrumbs (substitute almond meal)
.5 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the thyme, oregano and parsley and cook for 1 minute.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then fold the ricotta cheese into them.

Using your hands, mix the cheese-egg mixture with the beef, almond meal, Parmesan cheese and onion-herb mixture until just combined.

Using a 1.5" scoop or a spoon, scoop the meatballs into rounds and roll each scoop into a 1.5" ball.  Make sure the balls seem well formed and add a little more almond meal if necessary.

In a medium skillet set over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Place the meatballs on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of each meatball is 140 degrees.  Serve warm.

I served mine on top of baby arugula tossed in a mustard vinaigrette and crumbly cotija cheese.  We also enjoyed some sauteed zucchini and a glass of the Bogle Petite Sirah.  If you haven't checked out this wine yet, you should.  It's inexpensive ($9 at Trader Joe's) and totally delicious right now.

And, secondly, check out some past posts... 

For another delicious, yet different, meatball recipe, look here.  If you didn't see my post on the ridiculous football-inspired appetizer I made for our family's Thanksgiving football extravaganza, view it here.  For some yummy, healthy dips look over my posts here and here and serve them with raw or roasted crudite. And lastly, some general tips on Gundry entertaining can be found here.  If you don't feel like cooking or just need a good filler for your table, cheese and charcuterie plates with olives and nuts are always a good bet.  And, if you haven't tried it yet, serve guacamole with endive leaves, they are a sturdy and delicious compliment to the creamy, party classic.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Halibut Kebabs with Pancetta

If you live in Southern California like Max and I, you know that much of the last few weeks have felt like summer in January.  With the sun shining, and temps well into the 70s, I was inspired to do a little grilling.  I sorted through my stockpile of recipes and found this quick idea from a September 2008 issue of Sunset, that I'd never tried.  It was delicious and incredibly easy.  Another perfect meal for a busy weeknight.

The original recipe calls for adding crusty bread to the kebabs. While grilled bread sounded delicious, we stuck to our Gundry plan.  Here's the slightly revised version of the recipe:

1 lb. boned, skinned halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 tsp each salt and black pepper
8 slices pancetta
Makes 4 servings of 2 skewers

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat (350 to 450 degrees).  Combine the halibut, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Make the kebabs by skewering the end of a slice of pancetta and then adding a cube of fish.  Continue by weaving and skewering the pancetta in between each piece of fish. Each skewer will have about 4 pieces of fish.  Grill the kebabs, turning often, until the fish is cooked through, about 6 minutes.

I served our kebabs with some sauteed zucchini and onions.
Voila.  Super easy.  Enjoy!