Lamb & Pork Albondigas in Sherry Cream Sauce

My new favorite party food! I whipped up a small batch of these a week ago as a cozy dinner for two, and last night I served them as host to a St.Louisan reunion over the Cardinals-Giants game at my home; they were a bit hit, and I know they will be for you too.

Sherry Cream Sauce Recipe
Makes about 3 cups of sauce

3 fresh, ripe, never refrigerated roma tomatoes sliced thinly or 1 small can roma tomatoes, peeled
4 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp chili flakes or chopped dried chili
5 medium-large shallots, diced roughly
1 cup good Spanish sherry (olarosa, etc)
1 cup homemade chicken stock, or whatever the next best thing you can find is
2 bay leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan or small coquette, warm about 1-2 T olive oil at medium heat. Add the diced shallots, dry chili,  and garlic. Cook until color is changing and shallots are becoming limp, about 5-8 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 15-45 minutes, depending your hurry. Remove the bay leaves and puree at least 1/2 of the mixture (or all of it) in a blender or with a blending stick.  Return to the pan and continue to keep heated on low if not serving immediately, or store for later at this point.

Lamb & Pork Albondigas (meatballs) Recipe
Makes about 30 1-inch meatballs

1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
4 T (1/4 Cup) buttermilk, almond milk, or milk
4 T (1/4 Cup) thinly diced white bread or other bread (I used a completely grain free cashew based bread that I make myself)

Combine bread, milk, and spices, stirring gently. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, then forming the mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and placing on foil, parchment, or whatever item can hold the raw meatballs. In a large skillet (such as a 12″ cast iron), warm coconut oil or another high-heat oil at medium high heat. Cook the meatballs without moving them for the first few minutes as to form a caramelized crust on one side, then flip them over to ensure they cook through without burning. You may need to do this in batches.

Serve the sauce over the meatballs family style or in individual bowls. It is ok to store the meatballs in the sauce for later use, however, they will lose any crispy coating they have developed from the cooking process.

Fennel & Stone Fruit Salad, Tri-tip on Coconut Corn Salad, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais Whipped Cream

Stone Fruit Salad with Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Peaches and Plums

tritip on coconut corn salad

quick flourless chocolate cake with creme anglaise whipped cream

For seven weeks, we’ve had family staying with us. They’re really nice people, interesting, appreciative, but man.. It was rough. I wasn’t conditioned for this. Never in my life did I think I’d have people living effectively in my house for seven weeks in a go. I’ve barely cooked for two months because of it, but the eve before their (very recent) departure (which was followed by 24 hours of blissful retreat in Calistoga), I made a seasonal and tasty multi-course dinner for us all to enjoy. Then, I made it again, a little modified, in Calistoga for our hosts.

Fennel & Stone Fruit Salad Recipe
Serves 4-5 as a starter
Very fast if you have a mandolin! See the mango version here.

1 small head fennel, sliced very thin, with a mandolin
1 white peach, sliced with a mandolin
1 red plum, sliced with a mandolin
1 black plum, sliced with a mandolin
1 large cucumber, cut in half, seeds removed, sliced with a mandolin
1 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, diced
1 T seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
raw sesame seeds to top

Mix it all together, and serve in beautiful messy lumps, like bedhead, with sesame on top.

 

Tri-tip on Coconut Corn Salad with Chard Recipe
Coconut Corn adapted from Heidi Swanson
Serves 4-5

1.5-2lb tri-tip or flank steak*
5 ears corn, kernels sliced off
2 T butter
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 C raw, soaked almonds, chopped
1 very small red onion (1/2 large)
1 C raw, dried flaked coconut (The bigger the better), toasted freshly
4 C torn chard

Sautee on the corn in the butter at high heat, giving it color but retaining crisp texture. Add chard, thyme and some salt to taste. Turn heat off, mix in onion, almonds, and coconut.

Season tri-tip with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat in a closed top grill for about 10 minutes each side. It will be medium.

*You could also choose to make a roast (5 lbs=4 hrs in oven at 250=rare, delicious roast beef) and serve that on top instead, or use flank steak, which you may want to marinade in garlic, whiskey, sesame oil and soy sauce for at least an hour or no more than overnight.

 

Quick Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais Whipped Cream
Serves 5-6

No-Bake Chocolate Cake From Heidi Swanson

I made creme anglais the evening before with Gran Marnier Souffle (which photographs terribly!), and had some leftover. I mixed it into whipped cream; it was divine.

Raw Mango, Fennel, and Cucumber Summer Salad

raw mango, fennel, and cucumber summer salad

Raw Mango, Fennel, and Cucumber Salad Recipe
Serves 4

1 very ripe mango, cubed
1 small head fennel, sliced very thinly with a mandolin
1 large cucumber, cut in half, seeds removed, and sliced thinly with a mandolin
1 T seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
raw sesame seeds to top

Mix everything together, and top with sesame seeds upon serving.

 

Roasted Crispy Chickpeas with Bangkok Spice

One of my all time favorite upscale bar snacks, these crispy, fluffy, roasted chickpeas are versitile and delicious. You can serve them by themselves as a snack or on a salad to add a substantial note to it, such as the Arugula Pistachio Salad. These are also known as garbanzo beans–so, roasted crispy garbanzo beans with bangkok spice.

Roasted Crispy Chickpeas Recipe
Feel free to make a double or triple batch. This is a great snack for 2-4.

1 can or 15 oz cooked chickpeas
1 T olive oil
Salt
Bangkok spice or Cajun seasoning (or similar)

Preheat oven to 400. Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Dry them between paper towels, lightly smashing each one to break it open. If you have a cast iron pan, add the olive oil and mix the chickpeas into it. If you don’t, use a heavy bottomed baking pan or pie pan. Add the salt and spices, mixing well. Bake for 35-45 minutes, agitating/stirring every 10 minutes for maximum crispiness.

 

Magical Arugula Salad with Pistachio Dust

 

I’ve served this arugula salad with pistachios countless times over the last month. For a catering event I headed, for friends at dinner time, for family at dinnertime, for lunch with a friend, while visiting Calistoga, and others. It’s a hit 100% of the time and it’s very filling.

Arugula Salad with Pistachio Dust Recipe

For four

8-10 cups baby or wild arugula
3 oz parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated
1/2 C raw hulled pistachios, ground in coffee grinder or mashed with mallette into dust, crumbs, and chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt
fresh cracked pepper

Whisk the lemon juice with olive oil–use 2x more olive oil than lemon juice. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss arugula in the dressing. Toss arugula in parmasean, then in pistachio. Serve!