All posts tagged: fresh herbs

Grandma Gerome’s Meatballs

Meatballs come in all shapes and sizes.  Some go in a sub, some over spaghetti, some in a slider bun, some on the end of a toothpick.  No matter how they appear, they’re always delicious and fun to eat.  I’m very fortunate to be marrying into Nick’s Italian family.  One of the big perks of his family is access to his grandmother’s recipes!  And no one does meatballs better than an Italian grandmother.  On a recent trip to Cleveland to visit with the new family, Nick’s brother Peter made his grandmother’s meatballs for me.  This recipe serves as a reminder that the best food is always made with love. First you start by slicing the crusts off the bread (great scraps for making homemade croutons) and chopping fresh parsley. Then the fun part: soaking the bread in wine.  I recommend that you soak the bread with red wine (any kind will do) as it adds an amazingly rich flavor.  If pink-soaked-bread freaks you out, you could substitute beef stock or even water.  Make sure you …

Baby eggplant, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic

Eggplant parmesan is my go-to staple at any neighborhood Italian restaurant, and I’m never disappointed.  Covered with oozing cheese and sauce, fried eggplant is down-right delicious.  (Of course, what wouldn’t be covered with cheese and sauce?)  I’m also a fan of eggplant rolatini, which is usually long slices of eggplant, rolled around herb-seasoned ricotta cheese, and topped with sauce and cheese.  Served in a gratin dish with bread for dipping, this is a fabulous appetizer. On a recent visit to CostCo, I spied these adorable baby eggplants.  I snatched them up and a ball of fresh mozzarella and created this home-version of eggplant parmesan.  My cherry tomato plant has been producing like mad, so I decided to make a quick “baked” tomato sauce with them–plus some garlic for extra flavor.  The result was absolutely wonderful. First, I sliced the baby eggplants lengthwise, then sprinkled both sides of the slices with salt to release some of the moisture.  I got 5 slices per eggplant.  I let them sit on a parchment lined baking sheet for about …

Greek orzo salad with sun-dried tomato and feta

When it’s hot outside, and you’re grilling, side dishes need to be kept simple.  Usually a few ears of corn, cole slaw, and a bag of chips are the perfect companions to burgers, hot dogs, and any grilled chicken or meat.  I like to make pasta salads too–“kitchen sink” type of pasta salads.  Any bite-size pasta shape works (corkscrew, bow-tie, penne, whatever) plus the entire contents of my vegetable drawer (broccoli, grape tomatoes, red onion, etc.) and some Newman’s Own light Italian dressing.  Mixed together and chilled–super simple and always a crowd pleaser. I was watching an episode of “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network, and watched Ina Garten as she made a tomato feta pasta salad.  Her dressing looked awesome (and it was a far cry from bottled dressing), so I decided to take that cue from her and improvise the rest with my fridge’s current “kitchen sink” of offerings. First, I began by boiling half a box of orzo, rinsing for several minutes under cold water, then spraying with Pam to prevent from …

Fava Bean Crostini with Mint and Pecorino

When fava beans start arriving in farmers markets and gourmet grocery stores, you know that Spring is in full bloom.  They’re bright green and look like giant green beans. When you tear them open, these neat lima-bean-looking beans emerge, with little yellow bits holding them onto their pods. The fava bean is encased in a shell that is easily peeled away after about 3-5 minutes in boiling, salted water, and then plunged into a quick ice bath.  The ice bath shrinks the gorgeous bean inside, making the shell separate away.  A quick slit of your knife is all it takes.  The best way to enjoy fresh fava beans is simply… and in this case taking a cue from Martha, I like to prepare them with some mint from the garden and freshly shaved pecorino cheese.  A little salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil, and this beautiful puree emerges. I serve the fava bean puree on freshly toasted crostini.  The result is so fresh and cheerful. It will make you want to hold onto Spring as …

Escarole Salad (with pickled red onions)

As promised, here is the salad that showcases the yummy pickled red onions.  While I love escarole, it’s a major pain to find it (at least, high-quality bunches) and even more painful to clean, as it’s loaded with dirt on virtually every leaf.  If you live near a Wegman’s by chance, the best grocery store in PA, they sell bags of escarole already cleaned and chopped.  Since the grocery stores in West Chester don’t sell it that way, I went with something much easier to find and clean–red leaf lettuce.   I teared those beautifully colored leaves apart, and got them nice and clean. Next I measured out the hazelnuts (toasted first, of course, to bring out the flavor), grated pecorino, and parsley and gave it a whirl. Once everything is whirled together (just a couple taps on the lever), you get this awesome crumble.  Finally, you throw in the red leaf lettuce, a handful of those awesome pickled red onions, a tablespoon or two of the pickled red onion liquids and some olive oil …