Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pasta With Meatballs and Sauce

On The surface this looks like plain old spaghetti and meatballs, but this is a little more detailed...At least according to Red Book where I got this recipe from.  Oh don't look at me like that...I get my recipes from a lot of sources...This is the first time I looked in Redbook in my life....It was the most interesting thing to read in my doctor's office!

Okay, check it out..You have three options for cooking the meatballs. The main recipe calls for baking them, but you can also sauté the meatballs in a little oil before you finish cooking them in the sauce, or you can also cook them right in the sauce. Baking and simmering the meatballs is easier and frees you up for other pursuits, like mah-jongg. Or laundry. Or Irish folk dancing. Seriously, has any mom ever been able to identify extra time?

A classic meat combo for meatballs (and traditional meat loaf, for that matter) is about one third each of veal, beef, and pork. You can often find this in the meat area of the supermarket labeled "meat loaf mixture," and if so, your work is done. If not, you can ask the butcher (who may well sell this mixture already), or buy the three meats and mix them together in any proportion you like (do not make yourself in any way crazy about the one third, one third, one third thing), or buy two meats, or even just one. You can also use ground turkey; see the variation for more info.

  • 1 slice(s) plain bread
  • 1/4 cup(s) milk
  • 1 1/4 pound(s) ground meat, preferably a combination of beef, pork, and veal
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup(s) finely freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) finely minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher or coarse salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray, if you are baking the meatballs
  • 4 cup(s) sauce from Good Old Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce, or store-bought tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil, if you are sautéing the meatballs
  • 1 package(s) (16-ounce) dried pasta, anything from spaghetti to ziti to rigatoni
  1. Tear the bread into pieces and place them in a small bowl. Pour the milk over the bread, stir to combine, and let sit until the bread has absorbed most of the milk, about 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess milk and shred the bread into little pieces.
  2. Place the meat in a large bowl. Add the soaked bread, egg, Parmesan, parsley, if using, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, blend the meat mixture well but try not to squeeze it too much. Form the meat mixture into nice round meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in size.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. Bake the meatballs until almost cooked through, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in a medium-size pot over medium-low heat. Add the partially cooked meatballs to the sauce and let them simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and let the water return to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and serve it with the sauce and meatballs. Serve extra Parmesan on the side to sprinkle over the meatballs, if you like.
Don't sweat the TIPS & TECHNIQUES:

Other Meatballs: You can use all beef, all pork, or all veal, or any combo of the three. You can also use turkey (in this case the mixture will be a bit softer and so a little trickier to handle and keep in perfectly round balls). You can even use a mixture of turkey and one of the other meats, if you just want to lighten the meatballs up a bit.

Other Cooking Methods: To sauté the meatballs: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the meatballs and brown them on all sides, about 5 minutes in total. Remove the browned meatballs. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the rest of the meatballs. Set the meatballs aside and pour off all but 2 teaspoons of fat. Heat the tomato sauce in the skillet over medium heat (if you are making the tomato sauce from scratch, you can do this right in this skillet). Scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate all of the nice little crusty bits into the sauce. When the sauce is simmering, slide the browned meatballs into the skillet and gently stir so they are all coated with the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the meatballs, stirring occasionally, until they are cooked through and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

To cook the meatballs right in the sauce: Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in a medium-size pot over medium-low heat. Add the raw meatballs to the sauce, increase the heat to medium, partially cover the pot, and let simmer, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. Very carefully shake the pot to prevent breaking up the meatballs and let them cook in the sauce, partially covered and stirring gently and occasionally so that the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until the meatballs are fully cooked, about 25 minutes in all. If some of the fat from the meat rises to the top of the sauce, you can spoon it off if you like.

Probably my longest post for this blog...

Do have a nice glass of red wine with this dish-

Enjoy!  Eat Well My Friends!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Butterflied Grilled Chicken

That's right...I didn't misspell anything...I wrote Butterflied... and this Memorial Day weekend...If you follow this recipe, you will be butterflying some grilled chicken and raising the eyebrows of your guests...

A quick and efficient way to cook a whole chicken on the grill is to butterfly it.Yeah, there is that term again... When cooking a whole chicken on the grill, try searing it first over direct heat, then finish cooking over indirect heat (as instructed in this recipe). For best flavor, let the chicken marinate in the rub overnight in the refrigerator.

 This way you avoid the all too common problem when grilling: chicken burned on the outside and raw in the center. For best flavor, let the chicken marinate in the rub overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with lime wedges and fresh salsa.


3 tablespoon(s) chile powder, preferably New Mexico chile, or Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) freshly grated lime zest
  • 3 tablespoon(s) lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon(s) minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon(s) dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pinch(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole(s) 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken

    1. Combine chile powder (or paprika) and oil in a small bowl with lime zest and juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to form a wet paste.
    2. Using kitchen shears, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard (or reserve it for stock). Place the chicken cut-side down and flatten with the heel of your hand. Generously smear the spice rub under and over the skin and on the interior of the bird. Place in a nonreactive baking dish (see Tip). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
    3. Preheat half the grill to medium-high (or build a medium-high heat fire on one side of a charcoal grill); leave the other half unheated. Have a squirt bottle of water ready by the grill.
    4. Leave all the spice rub on the chicken. Place the chicken skin-side down over the heat and grill until the skin begins to color and char marks form, about 5 minutes. (Extinguish any flare-ups with the squirt bottle.) Flip over and grill 5 minutes more. Move the chicken to the unheated side. Close the lid and cook, making sure the chicken is flat against the grate, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
    (Don't Sweat The TECHNIQUES and TIPS):
     A nonreactive bowl or pan — stainless-steel, enamel-coated, or glass — is necessary when cooking with acidic foods, such as lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor.

    Enjoy this weekend...Eat well My Friends!

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Buttermilk Panna Cotta

    Okay,I'll admit it...When I first heard of this recipe...I had no idea what Panna Cotta was or is...But it sounds good...It sounds like something I'd like..So there for...I had no choice but to share it with you.

    The light tang of buttermilk gives these individual-sized custards a complex flavor that stands up to the brandy-spiked citrus sauce.

    • 1 envelope(s) unflavored gelatin
    • 2 1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup(s) heavy or whipping cream
    • 1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
    • 4 to 5 navel oranges
    • 1 tablespoon(s) brandy
    1. In small bowl, evenly sprinkle gelatin over 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. Let stand 2 minutes to allow gelatin to absorb liquid and soften slightly.
    2. In 3-quart saucepan, heat heavy cream and 1/2 cup sugar to boiling on medium, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; whisk in gelatin mixture. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until gelatin dissolves, stirring. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in remaining 1 cup buttermilk until blended.
    3. Pour buttermilk mixture into eight 4-ounce ramekins or 6-ounce custard cups. Place ramekins in jelly-roll pan for easier handling. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate panna cotta at least 4 hours or overnight, until well chilled and set.
    4. Meanwhile, with knife, cut peel and white pith from 2 oranges and discard. Holding oranges, one at a time, over medium bowl or measuring cup to catch juice, cut out segments between membranes. Drop segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes to release any remaining juice into bowl. With slotted spoon, transfer segments to small bowl; set aside. Squeeze enough juice from remaining oranges to equal a total of 1 cup when added to juice in bowl.
    5. In 1-quart saucepan, heat orange juice, brandy, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar to boiling on medium-high. Reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly and is reduced to 1 cup, stirring frequently. Pour syrup into medium bowl; stir in orange segments. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
    6. To unmold panna cotta, run tip of knife around edge of each ramekin. With hand, sharply tap side of each ramekin to break seal; invert each onto a dessert plate. Spoon orange segments and citrus sauce onto plates around panna cottas.
    Enjoy! Eat well my friends...(I don't know what to tell you to have with this!)

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Thai Green Curry Hot Wings

    They say there are thousands of things you can do with chicken....I'm beginning to believe what they are saying....

    Here is a nice summer recipe that kind of changes things up for you...Thai Green Curry Hot wings...A little green curry and fish sauce gives hot wings Thai flavor. Check it out!

    • 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 1 teaspoon(s) ground coriander
    • 2 pound(s) chicken wingettes and drumettes (see Tips & Techniques)
    • 2 1/2 tablespoon(s) green hot sauce
    • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/2 tablespoon(s) fish sauce (Optional if like me, you are allergic to fish!)
    • 1 teaspoon(s) Thai green curry paste
    • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped cilantro

     Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and coriander. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Spread the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with vegetable oil. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy. In a bowl, whisk the hot sauce, butter, fish sauce, and curry paste. Add the chicken wings to the sauce and toss. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

    (Don't Sweat the) TECHNIQUE & TIPS: 

    Remember-Wingettes and drumettes are often sold separately.

    Serve with a nice red wine!

    Enjoy...Eat Well My Friends! 

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Tequila-Mustard-Glazed Chicken Skewers

    Hey folks...It's been a week hasn't it? Well ,I'm back and with a new recipe...One for the summer season that is coming up.

    Try A homemade mustard sauce, laden with fragrant spices and spiked with tequila, and  it will take easy grilled chicken from everyday to amazing....Check it out.



    Marinated Chicken
    • 1/2 cup(s) tequila
    • 1/2 cup(s) light brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 clove(s) garlic, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon(s) chopped oregano
    • 1 tablespoon(s) Kosher salt
    • 3 pound(s) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
    Tequila Mustard- 
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup(s) water
    • 1/4 cup(s) malt vinegar
    • 1/4 cup(s) honey
    • 1/4 cup(s) tequila
    • 2 tablespoon(s) freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon(s) dry mustard
    • 1 tablespoon(s) ground coriander
    • 1 tablespoon(s) ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon(s) chile powder
    • 1 teaspoon(s) finely grated lime zest
    • Salt
    1. In a large bowl, combine the tequila, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add the chicken, toss to coat, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    2. In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, water, malt vinegar, honey, tequila, lime juice, dry mustard, coriander, cumin, and chile powder. Cook over low heat, whisking, until thickened, 5 minutes; do not boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Stir in the lime zest and season with salt. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
    3. Soak 24 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Light a grill. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mustard to a small bowl. Thread the chicken onto the top third of the skewers; grill over moderate heat, turning, until browned and almost cooked, 8 minutes. Brush the chicken with the reserved 1/2 cup of mustard and grill until glazed and cooked through. Serve the skewers with the remaining mustard.
    Enjoy! Eat well my friends!

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    Green Eggs Cafe

    Philadelphia is a very exotic and interesting city...It's also one of the most under-rated as cities go....Much of that is because it sits smack dab in the middle of New York City and our nations capital...but I digress...I'm biased...I was born and raised here and still live within it's city limits....

    So , my wife and I decided yesterday to visit this much talked about eatery in the Northern Liberties section of the city(formerly known as Fishtown) a gentrified and tony section of the city full of new hosuing developments...Lofts, Condos and tony eating places...

    It was a long wait...It was after all Sunday....The Broad street run had just entered and a lot of that crowd..

    had wandered a few blocks to the north to have brunch at the Green Eggs Cafe.... My wife and I patiently waited outside for close to 40 minutes before we were seated....That long wait was my only complaint...Inside our waiter was very friendly and attentive...and the service was good and fast considering the standing room only crowd.

    The food was excellent.....My wife had a Caesar Salad with chicken....I went for breakfast food...I had a Belgian Waffle with Cinnamon Apple topping and Bacon.... Delicious!

    I wish that Anthony Bourdain had of spent more time in Philadelphia when he came here to do a spot for one of his shows....I believe it was the Layover!  We have a lot more to offer in the area of cuisine and fine dining...Oh well...that's what this blog is for...

    Green Eggs Cafe, Northern Liberties...
     719 N 2nd St
    Philadelphia, PA 19123

    Friday, May 3, 2013

    Tomato Salsa with Cucumber "Chips"

    Okay, another shameless plug for my other blog...If you're following the storyline in my other blog, Escapades, you know that Detective Carlotta Rodriguez and her boyfriend, ADA Keith Wallace are vacationing in San Juan,Puerto Rico...I can't say if they will still be there on Cinco De Mayo...Sunday, but if they are...Carlotta,her sister Carm and her cousins are probably serving this... Tomato Salsa with Cucumber Chips as an appetizer..

    • 1 1/4 pound(s) tomatoes, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup(s) sweet onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup(s) finely chopped cilantro
    • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
    • 2 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 large seedless cucumber, sliced 1/4 inch thick
    Simple directions, In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve the salsa with the cucumber chips for dipping.

    Thanks Ladies...

    Enjoy!  Eat well my friends!

    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Krewe Jambalaya

    Another one of my charactor's from Escapades, Jazz trumpeter, Reed Nelson passed this recipe on to me...His band was recently in New Orleans and he raved about this ....Krewe Jambalaya....

    Thanks Reed!-


    5 cups water
    1/4 cup oil (optional)
    2 packages ZATARAIN'S® Jambalaya Mix, Original (Shameless unpaid plug for a company!)
    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    1 pound smoked sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
    1/2 cup sliced green onions (optional)

       1. Bring water and oil to boil in large saucepan. Stir in Rice Mixes, chicken and sausage; return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until rice is tender.

     2. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions before serving.  

    Tips Variation: Two cups cubed cooked ham and/or 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved crosswise, may be added to rice mixture after 10 minutes of cooking time. Continue as directed.

    See, very simple...

    Have some Cold Sangria with this...

    Reed  Nelson did!    Enjoy and Eat well my friends...

    Food Safety Tips
    Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.

    1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

    Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as

    2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

    Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

    3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

    Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

    4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

    One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

    * Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

    * Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

    * Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

    Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

    5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

    Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

    6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

    Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

    7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

    You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

    8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

    The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

    9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

    10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

    You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website

    Cavier & Vodka
    Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household