Somewhat surprisingly, my backyard is not overrun with mint. Sure, it’s overrun with dogs, various weeds and oregano (so much oregano!) but not mint. I do have a healthy mint plant, though, and usually I use it for mojitos, or as I like to call them, “Other Water.”
But anyway, I rarely use mint for savory dishes, generally just drinks and garnishes for ice cream. Today I was on my own for dinner, since Josh had to do some freelance work, and all I had in the fridge (that wasn’t calabrese, anyway) was ground beef. One of my go-to meals for myself is meatballs. I like meatballs. I mean, my twitter handle is chickenmeatball, after all. This time I thought I’d use some traditional flavors from Greek cuisine—like mint and feta.
I also thought that instead of a traditional tomato sauce, or a heavy bell pepper sauce, I would use up a bag of peas I had in the freezer, thaw them and make a mint-green pea sauce to pour over my meatballs. So I set about making the meatballs (recipe below) and it was all well and good until the meatballs were almost done and I went to make the sauce…..and realized I’d already used those peas up last week. Oy.
Always check to make sure you have ingredients before you begin cooking. Yeah, yeah I know. One of those days.
But I recovered nicely, I think. I just went all-in with the mint. I made a flavored oil with fresh mint, garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil, and drizzled it over the meatballs, which I ate alongside some prepared fattoush salad I had leftover from Hiller’s market. Not a bad finish.
Mint Feta Meatballs with Fresh Mint Sauce
For the meatballs
- 1 pound hamburger
- 1/4 cup whole fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
- 1 cup feta
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp black pepper
- plus a little olive oil for drizzling
For the sauce
- 1 cup fresh mint
- juice of one 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Make the meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover a lipped cookie sheet with tinfoil.
- Put the mint and almonds in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add in the ground beef, garlic salt, egg, black pepper and feta. Process until thoroughly combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the beef mixture into round balls and place a couple inches apart on the cookie sheet. Drizzle them with just a little bit of olive oil.
- Bake the meatballs for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Make the sauce
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until the mint is well chopped and the mixture is well blended. Pour over the meatballs.
- Serve along side fattoush or a light lettuce salad.
Serving sizes will depend on your ice cream scoop, but I got 6 large meatballs out of mine. You could serve 3 people two meatballs each.
© Have Fork, Will Eat
This week has been a massive failure, culinarily speaking. I think I ate out half the week, with the exception of last night, when Josh made Kraft Mac for us for dinner because I was too lightheaded to do anything but fall asleep after a very long day at work during which I ran around a lot and only actually ate one chocolate-banana smoothie and four homemade oreos.
These meatballs were the one gastronomical high point of my week, and that’s sad. The meatballs aren’t sad; they’re fantastic. What’s sad is that I have yet to follow them up with anything as delicious. To make it up to you, and to my poor, poor belly, I think I will make some barbecue this weekend and post all the mouth-watering photos that I can. That’s my gift to you. Or it will be. If I do it.
Anyway, I can’t really remember but I’m pretty sure I made these on Monday, before my week went completely to crap. I really love meatballs. I’m intrigued by them. Not the “Why the hell would you do that?” kind of fascination that I have with meatloaf, oddly enough, but a simple curious adoration (I’ll do anything for meatballs but I won’t do that?). In fact, if you recall, my previous iteration of this blog was chickenmeatballs.wordpress.com. It’s one of my food goals to master the art of meatball making (along with icing, pulled pork, chocolate turtles, pancakes, biscuits and a few thousand other things—luckily, I think I’ve got the chocolate chip cookie down). Well, this week I think I moved a tiny bit closer to my goal of meatball perfection. Continue reading
Josh is out at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival right now and so it’s just me and the dog for dinner tonight. I enjoy these rare occasions for a couple reasons: I feel less bad if I screw up a recipe, and I get a chance to try out recipes that either I know Josh doesn’t like or wouldn’t be a huge fan of. Since I’ve been wanting to make these chicken skewers for a while and Josh has seemed less than enthused, I figured I’d go with that. Besides, it’s a very simple recipe to make for one.
Making dinner for yourself is not always easy. Especially when you’re used to feeding more people. For a while, I was used to to cooking for three, then for two, and occasionally now for one, not to mention the occasions where we have company over and I’m cooking for 4-8. And generally when you’re looking at recipes, they feed 4 or more, which is great if you have a family or you really like leftovers. However, we rarely eat leftovers and somedays we end up hungrier than otheres and so it can be tricky to make just enough food. This meal worked out really well for just one, though.
I got the inspiration from an Ellie Krieger recipe for chicken and grape skewers, which I do still intend to try. She had it garnished with lemons though, which gave me an idea: why not just chop up lemons and put them on the skewers as well? I love the taste of lemon, especially with chicken, grilling lemons really brings out the sweetness in them, adding depth to a variety of dishes. And I reasoned that as the heat warmed up the lemons, circulating their juices, they would baste and moisturize the chicken wedged between them. And instead of just regular chunks of chicken, I would do meatballs. This idea I can’t claim; it was inspired by the grilled Vietnamese meatball sandwich recipe on SeriousEats. Only I would use chicken instead of pork and season it with my usual blend of spices, plus some basil, which goes fabulously with lemon. But what to go with it? I thought about whole wheat couscous, but rice seemed a better fit, and perhaps a bit of green–some steamed spinach thrown in. Perfect. The flavors were coming together in my mind–sweet basil, tart lemon, spicy ancho chile goodness, nutty rice and maybe a good sprinkling of salty parmesan. Deliciousness on all fronts. Continue reading
Are like space.
They are my final frontier. There is so much to explore with them and yet, I’ve only been so far as the moon. Which is made of mozzarella. Not green cheese. Well maybe it gets moldy from time to time.
Anyway, it was an off-again-on-again rainy kind of day and it’s been kind of a tiring week, one of those weeks where I’ve been craving comfort foods all the time. So far this week there’ve been hot dogs, barbecue, pizza, Hunan chicken and today, pasta. Rigatoni. With red sauce. And chicken meatballs.
Rigatoni and meatballs, to be specific. Mmm meatballs. You may have guessed that I enjoy meatballs. Or perhaps not. There may have been no clues at all…Anyway, below is a pictoral history of what went down:
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So this was tonight’s meal. It was sort of a riff off a couple meals I’ve made before, a combination of my “pasta with sausage and kale,” which was inspired by this recipe, and my chicken meatballs, which I love. Normally my chicken meatballs are made with ground chicken breast, and sometimes with a bit of spicy pork sausage thrown in; this time, I used ground chicken thigh and hot Italian chicken sausage. I wasn’t as big a fan of the meatballs, but Josh liked them.