Category Archives: Meat Dishes

Meatballs with Eggplant puree and Radish pesto

After a hectic week I unwind with experimentation of ingredients and spices. Weekends that have nothing to do with my technology work are a way to meditate, unwind and reconnect with living a simple life with natural clean organic cooking.

IAS_0627The weekend is always a time for me to center my energy. Some music, some reading , some quality grounded time with my soul mate and some poetry. Here is my Rumi inspiration from the weekend

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

——Rumi

With some ground lamb  and free range turkey from the local market I found flavors that yet again favor Mediterranean and Indian spices. My food always needs to be kicked up with some tang and some spice 🙂

For vegetarians, this can totally be made with veggie or lentil meatballs – try black lentils and zucchini.

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Summer is also a time to play with you dips and chutney. The beautiful red radishes sprouted in my garden and are a base for this amazing pesto.

IMG_6112Ah and the bread, the bread. So the very creative and inspiring Suzanne posted this pita recipe promising it to be super easy. And easy it was!!  I have made it twice already. Thanks Suzanne 🙂 Please do check out her blog and the recipe here.

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  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a true fusion dish with lebanese and indian flavors

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  ln turkey
  • Combine the minced lamb and turkey
  • Add 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon gluten free pancake mix ( secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)

Eggplant puree

  • 3 Japanese eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 cloves whole garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Radish Almond pesto

  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 fresh red radish with leaves
  • Handful of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup soaked and peeled almonds
  • 1 cup walnut or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated peel of 1 lime.

Directions

Meatballs

  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil, pancake mix and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside

Eggplant puree

  • Roast the eggplant over an open fire or on a broiler setting in your over until it is charred and the skin breaks.
  • Let is sit for a few minutes and remove the charred skin by hand collecting the pulp in a bowl
  • In a pan add butter or oil on medium heat and add the garlic and green chili.
  • In about 1 minute add the cumin and let the spices roast for about 2 minutes
  • Add the eggplant pulp and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add chopped cilantro and remove from heat.
  • Blend this with the tahini and add any additional water needed to make a paste.
  • Set aside

Pesto

  • Blend the ingredients together with salt to taste and set aside

Plating

  • In a large plate, spread the eggplant puree and top it with the meatballs
  • Pour the pesto and some extra glugs of olive oil
  • I topped it with chives, my homemade Hibiscus spice mix with a side of Pita and some extra pesto

For the perfect Pita recipe, check out my friend Suzanne’s blog.

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I am bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Co hosts this week are Monika, Everyday Healthy Recipes, and Juhls, The Not So Creative Cook.

Tagine: Chicken and Zucchini

Moroccan flavors favor the spices used in Indian cooking like coriander, saffron  and cumin. I love these aromatic spices and the heavenly aroma.  I own a beautiful clay tagine bought from a friend who carried it from Morocco,  It makes such a beautiful presentation and keeps the dish juicy and moist.

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A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The pot has a unique  conical shape which helps make your dish moist by letting the steam rise, condense and trickle back down into the shallow base.

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I used my tagine right on the burner but have experimented with putting it directly in the oven at 300 degree F. Of course then you can’t see the beautiful pot simmering on your stove 🙂

 

The spices are simple, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne and some ras-el-hanout if you have it.

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Onions are a must in a tagine using them as a bed for the chicken. I have used organic chicken breasts here but bone-in chicken would be more moist.

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If you don’t have the preserved lemons, you can skip them. The marinated olive gives this dish enough tanginess.

 

Tagine: Chicken and Zucchini

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
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a beautiful spring inspired quinoa salad

Ingredients

  • 3 organic free range chicken breasts ( or 6 chicken thighs)
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly slicedIAS_0269
  • 2 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • ½ tsp saffron, bloomed in a little warm water
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 2 Green Zucchini cut in rounds
  • 2 small preserved lemons
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 5-7 Whole green olives in and couple of tablespoons of the juice
  • Pink salt

Directions

  • Marinate the chicken breasts for a couple of hours in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp fennel powder, 1 tsp garlic and salt.
  • Heat the tagine shallow bowl on low/medium heat.
  • Add 2 tbsp oil and then the onions. Let the onions sweat for about 5 mins.
  • Add the crushed garlic and ginger and then add the chicken breast and brown them 5 mins on each side.
  • Add the remaining spices ( cumin, coriander, fennel, ras-el-hanout, saffron)
  • Add Olives and olive juice, and coarsely chopped pulp of one preserved lemon and the rind of both, cut into slivers.
  • Add cut zucchini
  • It should be moist enough that no additional water is needed.
  • Cover  with the dome and let it cook at low for 1 hr.
  • Serve sprinkled with parsley with a side of rice or bread
  • This is perfect for a weekend dinner party

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I am taking this to  Fiesta Friday #172  with Angie and our cohosts  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living

saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

This is a true fusion dish blending the flavors of Kashmir with Persian cooking. The fennel and dried ginger in the meatballs is so delicate yet intense. Good minced lamb is best but you can use any combination of lamb, beef and veal. I added a 1/2 amount ground turkey to make it lighter but you can make it all lamb.

Persian cooking gives us Kalam Polo which is a hearty meal made with white cabbage, beef meatballs and rice.  I have been inspired by this and the spices used in Kashmiri cuisine to make this dish.

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For readers who follow my blog you know I love saffron and often think of the fields in Kashmir that grow this beautifully purple flower harvested just within a few weeks for its incredible color and flavor. Check out Kashmir Box if you need to buy this right from the fields.

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Use white cabbage in this dish to absorb the golden saffron color, you will not miss the rice so this version is carb free. Cut the cabbage finely so it cooks quickly and evenly. The turmeric and saffron with give it the beautiful color and flavor.

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saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a fusion dish inspired by kashmiri and persian cooking

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  lb turkey
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hing ( asafetida)
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Pink Salt to taste

Cabbage

  • 1/2  head of white cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp saffron blooming in a tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Chopped Parsley and Mint for garnish
  • Pink salt to taste

Directions

  • Squeeze the water out of the grated onion through a muslin cloth or a colander
  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside
  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Let it get to smoking hot temperature.
  • Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they barely get brown.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for about 10 mins until tender
  • Add the blooming saffron and the turmeric and continue to cook for 5 mins.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Add the meatballs and combine until heated through.
  • Garnish with chopped Parsley and Mint

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Sharing this at the fiesta at Angie’s with co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ Foodbod

Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

Spicy tangy flavors seem to make everything better for me….the sense of the spice, the heat and the sour is a dance on the taste buds.

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In a quest to make gluten free tostadas I have experimented with flours quite a bit which have resulted in as many fails as successes. A combination of coconut flour with some almond flour added in seems to hold it’s own for me. I have seen people add xanthan gum so the dough becomes pliable but I did not have any so went without.

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There are layers of flavors in this recipe.

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With the dough in place, I started with grated beets and carrots and marinated them with lemon juice and salt for 5 mins.

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The steak is grass fed organic and turns out just amazing

The Cilantro sauce is a staple in my kitchen and I have used it as a marinade and topping. You can find the recipe below and another version here.

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CilantroChutney-5702Now to the fermented red cabbage….just delicious and so good for you. This add the right amount of tanginess and crunch.

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This dish is topped with fresh watercress and a sprinkle of goat cheese.

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Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a gluten free tostada layered with steak and fermented vegetables

Ingredients

Tostadas

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Cold water for the dough

Beet and carrot salad

  • 1 beet and 1 carrot – grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • Pink salt

Steak

  • 1-2 portions of organic grass fed steak

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ( 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 serrano chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Watercress leaves and goat cheese for garnish

Cabbage Pickle: Recipe can be found here

Directions

  • Blend the ingredients for the Cilantro sauce adjusting the salt to taste
  • Marinate the steak in the cilantro sauce for an hour or overnight if you have the time.
  • Combine the ingredients for the beet and carrot salad and set aside
  • For the tostadas, combine the flour, oil salt, pepper and eggs. Add water in small increments, just enough for the dough to come together. It will be crumbly.
  • Using a tortilla press between plastic wrap, press the tostadas out gently. You have to be careful as the dough is crumbly with the gluten and it may take a couple of tries.
  • Pan fry in olive oil until both sides are browned.
  • Grill the steak, 5 mins on each side and let it rest for 5 mins. Slice in  2 inch pieces.
  • Using the tostadas as a base, top with the beet mixture, steak pieces, red cabbage pickle, cilantro sauce and watercress
  • Top with goat cheese or any other cheese you prefer.
  • Serve with a side of the cilantro sauce.

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Jhuls is the solo cohost this week at Fiesta Friday. Do check out her blog at  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook
Also linking up on Saucy Saturdays

Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Thai cooking has always been a passion, with fresh aromatic ingredients like lemon grass, cilantro, chilies and ginger, the possibilities of creating dishes is endless. This cuisine brings to the world  the 5 flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot. The  subtle variation in proportions of ingredients used highlights these flavors.

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I am fortunate to have a store within a mile that carries fresh Thai ingredients ( except for Kaffir lime leaves). Kaffir lime leaves are essential flavoring in Thai cooking and I found a wonderful online store for a bag of dried leaves. The smell is heavenly.

Lemon Grass ( or Takrai) is widely available and sold in bunches. The edible portion is about 4-6 inches from the root. The rest can be used for flavoring broths.

lemongrass-chickenI am using fresh mushrooms but If you have dried shiitake mushrooms just soak them in warm water until they are soft and use the broth in cooking as well.

Continue reading Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Molokhia – Cooking Egyptian

On a cold windy winter day nothing like a soul warming chicken soup with Molokhia;) What is that you say?

Molokhia  also known as Jute, or Jews Mallow is the name of both a plant and a dish. A nutrient powerhouse,  it has three times the calcium and phosphorous as Kale, and four times the amount of riboflavin. It also has abundant  Vitamin C, Vitamin A amongst a host of other minerals and vitamins.

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It is eaten widely eaten throughout the Middle East and Asia but the origins are said to be in ancient Egypt. It does have a Okra like consistency which is an acquired taste to some people. I fell in love with it the first time I had it ( courtesy my fab sister in law). I  have add additional spices in the stock to add to the flavor.

Fresh Molokhia leaves are hard to find here so I have used the perfect frozen ones which are stripped and minced already. The preparation here with whole chicken and spices is true comfort food.

Often the chicken from the stock is cut into quarters and fried in butter or roasted in the oven but I have kept it straight, simple and healthy

 

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Truly addictive “umami” food.

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Molokhia

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Egyptian Molokhia with Chicken

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken stock

  • 1 organic whole roasting chicken
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2-3 cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water (enough to submerge chicken)

Rice

  • 2 cups of rice cooked in 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp clarified butter (optional). You can use a rice cooker.

Molokhia

  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package of frozen chopped molokhia

Directions

  • Add the whole chicken and all the stock ingredients, salt and enough water to a stock pot  or a pressure cooker. The chicken should be completely submerged. Cover and bring to a boil, lower the  heat down to medium and cook the chicken for 1 hour. If using a pressure cooker it should be done in 15 mins.
  • Take the chicken out, separate the pieces
  • Strain the spices from the stock in a sieve and reserve the stock.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, add the two cups of stock , tsp minced garlic and 1 tsp coriander
  • Add the frozen chopped Molokhia and cook until jus bubbling. Turn off the heat. Do not boil the Molokhia too long.
  • In a mortar and pestle crush 2-3 cloves of garlic with 1 tsp ground coriander and some of the  olive oil
  • In a  fry pan, add olive oil and then the crushed  garlic mixture. Fry until golden and add this tempering to the Molokhia and stir
  • Add lemon juice  to the Molokhia.
  • Check the salt and pepper and adjust to taste
  • To serve, put the rice in a large platter. Section the chicken into pieces and place them on top of the rice. Serve the Molokhia in a separate bowl to pour on the rice and chicken.
  •  Often the chicken from the stock is cut into quarters and fried in butter or roasted in the oven but I have kept it straight, simple and healthy

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Joining Angie with this dish at Fiesta Friday!

Lamb Shanks with Harissa, Saffron and Apricots

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is here….a lot of us think about food ( I do), what to make that feeds the soul and brings a deep smile to friends and family. A lamb shank where the meat falls off the bone….just right with apricots and saffron. This has a Mediterranean flair and is a melt in your mouth recipe and guarantees second helpings ( make more:) )

lambshanks-1-2The key is good grass fed organic shanks. Ask the butcher and he will prepare them for you. I went to whole foods and got four cleaned meaty shanks.

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Use good dried apricots – just soak then in warm water while you prepare the shanks. The saffron is from Kashmir…my love affair with saffron is perpetual. If you want to get the “real thing” from the valley check out this online store as they will deliver worldwide Kashmir Box.   Soak a few strands in warm water while you are cooking.

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Harissa is such an incredible hot chili pepper paste. It adds just the right amount of heat to this dish. I found mine in a tube at the local store.

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A heavy bottomed pan is needed. You could use a slow cooker for this dish as well.

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Lamb Shanks with Harissa, Saffron and Apricots

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a melt in your mouth lamb shank with apricots and saffron

Ingredients

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  • 4 grass fed lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 head of garlic – minced
  • 2 tablespoon spoon Harissa
  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
  •  Zest of 1 fresh lime
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 5-6 dried  apricots – halved and soaked in water for 2o mins
  •  A coupe of thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 cups hot broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint for garnish
  • Himalayan pink salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Soak the saffron with the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of warm water for about 10 mins
  3. Take the clean and dry shanks and sprinkle salt and  pepper. Rub it into the meat
  4. Brown the shanks in oil until they are evenly browed on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  5. In a heavy bottomed pan, use the remaining oil from the shanks and  sauté one chopped onion and 1 head of crushed garlic for about 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  6. Add 1 stick of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and 2 tablespoons of harissa. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes
  7.  Add lime zest, orange zest, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir in saffron mixture. Lay in the lamb shanks and add the broth. Season with black pepper and salt. Careful not to over salt at this point, you can adjust once the broth has reduced.
  8. Once the broth is boiling, transfer pot to oven and bake for about 2 hours, covered, until meat is  beginning to fall from the bone.
  9. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning
  10. In the last half hour of cooking add the apricots. At this point you can remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the liquid.
  11. Serve Shanks on a platter and pour the juice over it. Top with chopped mint and cilantro.
  12. Serve with a crusty bread or rice.

Taking this delicious dish to Angie’s where the co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale and Petra @ Food Eat Love