Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fried Zucchini Salad with Tomatoes and Fresh Garlic

This summer salad is a nice flavorful dish that goes well with garlic toasts, side of capellini with pesto, and  chilled Tuscan red wine

Ingredients  (prep time 20 minutes)

1 medium 8-10 " zucchini sliced in to 1/4 to 1/8 " slices
1/2 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
1/8 cup of diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon fresh basil- chopped fine
2 large garlic cloves -sliced thin ( a fresh market Italian soft neck garlic works best)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
red wine vinegar
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup shaved Romano cheese

Heat on medium heat 2 tablespoons of EVO in a medium size (10") non stick skillet. Add the garlic slices and cook on medium-low no more then 5 minutes. This a bit tricky. It's very important not to burn or brown the garlic. You're basically attempting to flavor the oil while keeping the garlic from dissolving. The garlic should should be a light golden color and slightly translucent. When the garlic is done remove with a slotted spoon and reserve on the side.

Bring the heat up on the now flavored garlic oil to medium- high and layer the zucchini slices in to the pan side by side. Brown on one side, about one minute, flip and brown the other side. Don't crowd the zucchini or you will basically be steaming them. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices. Then remove to a paper towel to drain some of the oil from the zucchini. The hard part is done. 

Place the cherry tomatoes, green peppers, basil, and reserved garlic in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of EVO and a splash of red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and flip or turn until well blended.

Place the zucchini on a dish and spoon the tomato, green pepper blend over the top and garnish with romano cheese.

Discover the world of fresh gourmet garlic at https://www.facebook.com/GloriousGarlicFarm

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Grand Mom's Meatballs

My mom made her "gravy" (all of you from South Philly know what I'm talking about) first by frying meatballs in the gravy pot then adding her tomatoes and secret ingredients. I never watched her make the meatball recipe I was always lured in to the kitchen post-prep by the aroma of the meatballs browning in the pot. We often talked about the basics of the recipe so here it is:

For about a dozen tennis ball size meatballs: (get good local meat , at least USDA meat, not pink slime, it makes a difference)

1 pound 85/15 ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg -beaten lightly
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 small onion chopped fine
3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste (two good pinches usually does it, maybe an extra pinch of pepper)

Blend the meat by hand in a large bowl by pulling the meat together with your fingers. Don't compress the meat too much you'll get dense meatballs. Spread the blended meat to the sides of the bowl like a meat bowl in a bowl. Add all of the other ingredients over the surface of the meat and then blend lightly with your hands until meat is tacky but not wet. If the meat seems too wet (sticks to your hands) add bread crumbs little by little until tacky. Roll the meat balls in your hands just until they form a ball, lightly here, your making a meatball not a snow ball. Put aside on a plate by the stove for frying.

Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a 6-8  qt. pot on medium high heat until the oil shimmers. Add your meatballs four or five at a time to the pot. Crowding the meatballs basically steams the meat and restricts forming a nice crusty brown seal on the meat. After your first meatballs you can lower the heat to medium. Turn the meatballs with a wooden spoon after about two to three minutes and fry the other side. If you notice the meat starting to break apart in the middle, just turn the meat ball on it's sides for about 30 seconds until it's sealed. Remove the meatballs to a separate plate to rest and repeat with other meatballs. The idea here is you are only browning, partially cooking the meatballs, which will finish cooking in the gravy once the gravy gets started. VERY IMPORTANT. When you put the meatballs in the gravy make sure the gravy has come to a slight boil then turned down to simmer for the remaining cook time. If you cook the meatballs in boiling gravy they will get tight, dense, and dry.    Enjoy !!

Discover the world of fresh gourmet garlic at https://www.facebook.com/GloriousGarlicFarm