Monday, May 31, 2010

Grandma's Hot & Spicy Meatballs

This 2nd post is a special shout out to my grandma Dorothy. She's one mean cook and one of her specialties is her infamous Hot & Spicy meatballs. There wouldn't be a Hartley Christmas without em'. These meatballs really seem to bring out the best, and worst, in us. I made them for a very special fraumate's wedding a few years back and they were a big hit. There's never a meatball left when they are served as appetizers & potlucks. They have about 50 ingredients and a very special secret ingredient, which you'd never guess. Since I'm sharing my recipes though and want your meatballs to taste just as good as my grandma's, I'll tell you what that very special ingredient is: grape jelly.  Yup. It's true. Grape jelly is what makes em'. I'd have never guessed it, but according to my gram, you can't substitute it for any other kind of jelly - apparently they just won't taste the same. Even though this recipe calls for a ton of ingredients, it's totally worth it. Bon appétit

For the meat balls:
2 eggs
2-3 tsp horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 lbs of ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together & shape in to 1” balls. Bake at 3500 on slightly greased baking sheet about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so.

For the sauce:
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup or more grape jelly (don't use any other jelly, as it does not taste the same)
1/2 cup or more ketchup
1/2 cup or more of chilli sauce (or you can use salsa)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar (you can use white)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp Tabasco or hot pepper sauce

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce, simmer uncovered  for 5 minutes. Place meat balls in sauce and simmer covered in the pot or bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1/2 an hour. Serve them nice and hot out of the oven or you can freeze them until ready to use. If this is the case, after your meat balls thaw out, bake them covered for about 1/2 to 3/4 hour at 350 degrees until they look done.
- Grandma Hartley

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lemon-Marinated Chicken Breast with Eggplant Ratatouille

For my first recipe post, I have decided to share last night's dinner. Believe it or not, this was my first experience with eggplant. I had always been rather inquisitive of the large purple vegetable, and finally decided to give it a go. Result: delicious. Somewhat zucchini in nature and taste. Purply. Spongy. Mild yet creamy. To my surprise, seedy. Upon further research, I discovered that it has both a male and female variety. When choosing your eggplant, you want to look for heavy, firm fruit with unblemished skin. Ratatouille is a stewed vegetable dish, typically tomatoey in nature... it originated in Nice, France. We decided to pair this with the Little Penguin's Chardonnay Reisling + some nice greens. Bon Appetit!

- Juice 1/2 lemon (or lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 3-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

- 1tbs. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 large purple eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 1 medium to large bell pepper, cut into
- 4 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch dice
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1-2tsp. wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1) In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oilve oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Place chicken breasts into a small baking dish or large zip-top bag. Add lemon mixture and coat the chicken thoroughly. Store chicken in fridge.
2) Preheat the grill on high for direct heat.
3) To make the ratatouille: In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until the onion starts to soften, about 1-2 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
4) Remove chicken from marinade, discard marinade. Place chicken on the grill and grill for about 3-5 minutes per side or until done. Remove from grill.
5) To finish the ratatouille, add the white wine and stir to combine. Let the wine cook off, gently scraping the pan to deglaze it. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt & pepper to taste. Add 1-2 tsp. wine vinegar. Add parsley ad give it a final stir. Spoon the ratatouille onto four plates. Add chicken breasts and serve.

From my kitchen to yours.

For some time now I have been thinking that I would like to start a blog. I am probably one of the slowest to catch up on all of this bloggidy goodness, but want to have a fun avenue to share my latest recipes. Happy cooking!