October 30, 2017Target Healthy Eating
1 cup chickpea flour, to roll the balls in
1 cup quinoa
3 boxes mushrooms (cremini or Bella or white), well chopped
2 cups chicken stock or broth, or more if needed
4 eggs, whisked
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 scallions, chopped
25 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch Kosher or sea salt
2 Tablespoons DRY oregano
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, very well chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, very well chopped
1 red chili, seeds removed, then chopped very well
4 cups steamed kale, chopped
1.5 cup Panko crumbs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Make your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
Make capellini or your favorite pasta
Freshly grate extra parmesan for the table
1. Make your marinara or tomato sauce first or the night before.
2. Get a pot with salted water, out to make your pasta, later, after you make the veggie balls. You want the pasta to be freshly cooked and nice and warm, before serving.
3. Rinse the kale leaves three times, before steaming, to get all the sand and grit out. After all the work cooking this wonderful recipe, it's terrible to sit down, take a bite, and have your teeth crunch down on even one grain of sand. So, rinse, drain; rinse, drain; rinse, drain.
4. While you're rinsing the kale three times, do all of the cutting, chopping, grating, you need to do, so everything is ready for mixing, later.
5. After kale is rinsed and drained 3 times, steam it until it wilts and is reduced in volume. Let it drain well before you use it. In fact, before combining the kale with anything, after it drains well, give it a squeeze with paper towel so there's not too much liquid in the veggie ball mixture.
6. Rinse 1 cup of quinoa thoroughly and place the grains in a medium sauce pan with 2 cups of chicken stock or broth. Allow quinoa to soak for 15 minutes. Then, with the lid on the pan, bring the broth to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed the liquid - about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temp.
7. While the quinoa is cooking, get out a nice looking pan that you will bring to the table and serve from. In this pan, sautee the chopped mushrooms, minced garlic, chili flakes, oregano and basil, in a mixture of olive oil and chicken broth or stock. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring the whole time.
8. When mushrooms & garlic are done, use a spatula to scrape every bit of the mushroom mixture out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
9. With a large knife, chop the mushroom mixture into very small pieces, as small as you can. I did not want to use a food processor here, because by making a paste in the processor, you will lose a certain texture, that adds to the flavor.
10. Into the same mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa, eggs, 1 cup of parmesan, red chili chopped, salt, steamed kale, Panko crumbs and anything that you might have forgotten to add earlier. Let everything sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid. You want the batter to be moist, but not runny.
11. Get a large pan out to cook the veggie meatballs.
12. Sprinkle a little chickpea flour on a plate.
13. With your hands, form little balls and roll them in the chickpea flour.
14. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook about 6 veggie balls at the same time. Cover the pan and let the veggie balls cook for about 5 minutes, then roll them around so more of the sides get a nice brown color. Cook another 5 minutes until the other-sides are a deep rich brown.
15. When each batch is done, put them on a plate, while you finish the next rest.
16. When all the veggie meatballs are done and on a plate or in a serving bowl, fill the skillet with marinara sauce or other tomato sauce, over low flame. When sauce begins to simmer, put veggie balls in and warm everything up, so ready to serve over the pasta.
17. On the table, set a trivet out and bring the pan with veggie meatballs to the table to serve (over the pasta). Garnish the veggie balls with some of the chopped basil or parsley.
Relatives came over for dinner this weekend. We started with a variety of appetizers (shrimp cocktail, mushroom deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, baked cauliflower/potato tiny nibbles). We were drinking nicely chilled Bellini's, they chose red. First course was a simple garden salad (my recipe published several years ago), with fresh lemon juice & olive oil, warm French baguette and European butter. Next, my recipe for spinach pie (published several years ago). The entree was Italian Veggie Balls with Capellini and an extraordinarily rich tomato sauce. (My recipe for this sauce was published recently). We had two desserts made at home: my apple cheese cake recipe (published recently in the newsletter) and a chocolate cake (recipe by the great London chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, from Israel). Our son, Alex, gave me a book of his recipes. We all had a wonderful time!
We saw the play, Junk, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. If you liked the Oliver Stone movie with Michael Douglas about Wall Street greed, called, Wall Street, you will probably like, Junk. Junk is by playwright, Ayad Akhtar, the Pakistani-American, who won a Pulitzer Prize-for his memorable Broadway play (debut), Disgraced, which we saw and liked immensely. Watch for more works by this extremely talented writer.
Hope your weekend was stimulating, yet relaxing. Note to the whole east coast for the next few days: watch out for unusually strong wind. We've heard that New Hampshire may get 120 mile an hour, hurricane force wind, so stay indoors if you can. Be careful.
From Our Table to Yours