Sunday, September 26, 2010

Greek Food Festival of Dallas: Keftehes (Greek Meatballs)

One of my favorite things to do in the Fall is to go to the Greek Food Festival.  I listen to the music, watch the traditional dances, and eat amazing food.  I think I always end up getting the combination plate since you get a bunch of delicious things without having to exercise any sort of decision making skills.  This year the plate was chicken oreganato with rice and pita bread, a Greek salad, a couple of meatballs (keftehes), a piece of spanakopita, and a piece of tiropita.  After dinner I had some Greek coffee, which is like a delicious sludge, and some baklava with vanilla ice cream.  Delicious.

Keftehes (Greek Meatballs)
From Joanne Canellos, Dallas Greek Food Festival

2 pounds ground lamb or beef
1 cup Progresso Italian style bread crumbs
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Small amount of all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for frying

Place meat in a large mixing bowl; add bread crumbs.  Place onion, eggs, mint, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a blender and liquefy.  Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture and mix until all ingredients are well blended.

Using a medium-size scoop, form meat into balls; flour each meatball lightly.  In a large frying pan, place oil up to ½-inch deep.  Heat to 400°F and then lower to 350°F.  As you place each meatball into the pan, flatten them slightly.  Allow the meatballs to brown and then turn them over.  Keep the heat of the oil between 325°F and 350°F so that the meatballs will cook through and not burn.  Use a fork to turn them over and a slotted utensil to lift them out of the pan.  Let the meatballs drain as you lift them out and place them on paper towels.  Meatballs can be eaten warm or cold.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bon Appetit: Quick Sautéed Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts

I always thought that kale had to be cooked to death in order to be enjoyable.  I mean, the stuff is tough.  It needs a good long simmer in some potlikker.  Except this recipe completely proved me wrong.  Kale can also be good when it's sautéed with onions and pine nuts.  Need a veggie to go with that Italian meal you're planning?  Here you go.  Want to get on the kale bandwagon?  Here you go.  Don't have time to babysit greens as they stew away?  Here you go.

Note:  I used Lacinato/dinosaur/cavolo nero/black kale. (How many names does this crap have??)  You can use the same thing, or try some curly kale.  Or red Russian kale.  Any type of kale is fine.

Quick Sautéed Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts
From Bon Appetit magazine, January 2010

4 bunches kale (about 2 pounds)
¼ cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted

Fold each kale leaf lengthwise in half; cut stem away along crease. Tear leaves coarsely. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add half of kale, packing slightly. Cook until kale wilts, tossing often, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining kale and half of pine nuts. Toss until kale is just tender and still bright green, about 3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted pine nuts and serve.

Makes 8 servings