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Posts Tagged ‘breadcrumbs’


Broccolini with Toasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This crisp broccolini is topped with toasted almonds and breadcrumbs to give it some texture and depth of flavor from the almonds. The oils from the almonds permeate the breadcrumbs, and help to give some crunch as well. Best of all, this is a quick and healthy side that you can make in under 10 minutes.

Broccolini with Toasted Almonds

1 bunch broccolini

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the broccolini in salted water for 5 minutes, until they become bright green and slightly tender. Meanwhile, toast the almonds and breadcrumbs in half the olive oil until they start to brown. Remove to a bowl. Saute the broccolini for 2 minutes in the remaining olive oil, being careful when adding the wet broccolini to the hot oil. You may want to add a little of the cooking water if it spatters too much. Remove to a plate and top with the toasted almonds and breadcrumbs.

Broccolini with Toasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Baccala alla Vicentina - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is probably going to be reduced by a couple courses to maybe 5 or even just 3. The important part of the Feast is that it’s an odd number of courses. The most traditional of my courses is the baccala alla vicentina, which is one of my favorites. After a long soak in water, the rock-hard dried cod is magically transformed back into fish and then gets cooked with potatoes and blended into an amazing spread. It’s not pretty while it’s cooking and the whole process is pretty smelly, but it turns into an amazing dish.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Next up, bay scallop crudo with tangerine and sea salt and a bowl of shrimp bisque. The sweet bay scallops are slurped down with a tangerine juice reduction and some fruity extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt over the top. The bisque gets it’s flavor from sherry or marsala and if possible, homemade shrimp or seafood stock.

Spicy Crab Pasta - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I will most likely round out my Feast of the Seven (or Five) Fishes with some baked clams and a spicy crab pasta that has become a favorite. I’m hoping to get some really delicious dungeness or some other special crab to really take this one over the top for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even experiment with some lobster. Happy holidays!

For more Feast of the Seven Fishes ideas, check out last year’s menu.

And just to let you know, I’ve started a new Facebook page for Meatballs&Milkshakes, so you can follow the blog there! “Like” Meatballs&Milkshakes to keep up to date with recipes in your feed!

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Eggplant Pasta Al Forno - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Baked pastas are so great because the flavors really get into the pasta and everything comes together. And it’s even better reheated the next day. This is a great vegetarian dinner too, because the eggplant is meaty and combined with a salad, it’s a perfect meal.

Eggplant Pasta Al Forno

1 pound of short pasta, such as penne, fusilli, etc

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into 3/4″ rounds

2 cups basic tomato sauce, homemade or your favorite simple bottled brand

1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 cup grated mozzarella

1 cup grated fontina

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Saute the eggplant slices in a couple tablespoons of olive oil a few minutes on each side, until they start to brown. You may need to add more olive oil for each batch, but be careful not to add too much because eggplant acts like a sponge and will soak the oil up and release it as it bakes, making the final dish greasy.

Meanwhile, heat your tomato sauce if you have not just made it. Cook the pasta in salted water for half the cooking time on the package. It will still be chewy, but it will continue to cook in the oven. Combine the cheeses together in a small bowl.

Spoon a light layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, so that it won’t stick. Toss the rest of the sauce with the pasta. Cover the bottom with a layer of eggplant and then a layer of pasta. Sprinkle some thyme and some of the cheeses over the top. continue with these layers until you reach the top of the dish. The last layer should be eggplant with the remaining cheese sprinkled over the top along with the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and bubble. Let cool a little before serving.

Eggplant Pasta Al Forno - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Gratins make anything better. A nice cheesy, crunchy crust on top of any vegetable is an improvement. I also love that you can make gratins ahead of time and finish the cooking in the oven, so you can leave the kitchen and entertain guests. And of course this makes them perfect for the holidays, when half my meal is made ahead of time so it’s no stress and I can focus on a few key things that require attention.

Parsnip Gratin

1 pound parsnips, sliced into thin discs

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1 strip bacon, cut into small batons (optional)

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons thyme

1 cup milk

1/2 cup grated gruyere

1/2 cup grated cheddar

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

1 slice bread, crumbled or ground into big breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter

If using bacon, render it in a frying pan until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the shallots to the pan and soften, about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl and combine with the parsnips, half the hazelnuts, most of the cheddar and gruyere, milk, bacon, and the thyme. Stir together and pour into a baking dish.

Combine the parmesan, remaining gruyere and cheddar, and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle over the top of the parsnips along with the remaining hazelnuts. Dot the top with little pieces of the butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the top gets brown and crispy. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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It’s time for another recipe upgrade. I love making stuffed mushrooms, and they’re so quick on a weeknight. I wrote this recipe a while back, but it needed better pictures.

For the nights when I don’t want meat, these fill their place easily. I sometimes change up the ingredients in the stuffing depending on what I have lying around. If you wanted to add some meat, you could add some rendered sausage or bacon, or even just sliced prosciutto.

Stuffed Mushrooms

2 portobello mushrooms

1 shallot or 1/4 of an onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan or grana padano

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove stems from mushrooms, chop them up and reserve for the stuffing. Brush the mushrooms with the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they start to give up some of their liquid.

Meanwhile, combine the chopped stems with the shallot, garlic, thyme, breadcrumbs, cheese, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to season. Stuff the mushrooms with the mixture and drizzle the remaining olive oil on their tops. Roast for another 10-15 minutes, until they start to brown on top. You can also use the broiler to get a nice brown on top if necessary.

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Sometimes I realize the fridge is empty but the store is so far away….those are the times I look to the pantry to figure out what I can piece together. I usually have a can of Italian tuna, which is a great way to get some protein into what would normally just be starch-based. Add some Sicilian staples like pine nuts and currants along with some onion and garlic from fridge scraps, and a meal takes shape. This off-the-cuff meal ended up being a favorite for the week!

Sicilian Pantry Pasta

1/2 box linguine or other long pasta

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 onion, chopped

2 anchovies

1/4 cup currants soaked in a couple tablespoons of sherry or wine

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino

1 can Italian tuna, drained

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water a minute short of package instructions.

Meanwhile,  saute the onion, red pepper flakes, and anchovies in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, until the onion softens. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the tuna, pine nuts, and currants. Add the pasta and a little of the pasta cooking water.

In another pan, toast the breadcrumbs in a tablespoon of olive oil until they start to turn a little brown. Add most of the grated cheese and toss to combine. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs over the pasta and combine. Serve immediately with the rest of the grated cheese and parsley sprinkled on top. Optional, drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top to finish it.

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For years now, I have been listening to an old coworker talk about his love of sesame noodles. It really was more like an obsession. After making them this week, I’ve started to understand. While this version is probably a lighter, healthier, and less traditional version, I think he would be more than happy to have some. Paired with some delicious Asian-inspired chicken meatballs, you can’t go wrong. Break out the chopsticks!

Sesame Noodles

1/2 box of whole wheat spaghetti

1 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 scallion, chopped with extra for garnish

1/4 cup peanut butter

4 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1  tablespoon mirin

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup sake, rice wine, or apple cider (non-traditional I know, but it was what I had in the fridge)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish

Cook the pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Meanwhile, saute the shallot, garlic, and scallion in half the sesame oil until softened. Add the peanut butter, fish sauce, mirin, vinegar, Teriyaki sauce, and sake/cider. Stir to combine and let cook with about 1/2 cup of pasta water for 5 minutes.

Off the heat, add the pasta along with the rest of the sesame oil and the lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

When making meatballs, the MOST important part is making sure you use enough breadcrumbs. No one likes rock hard meatballs, which comes from only using meat. If you can’t make your own (and it’s REALLY worth it, trust me), at least use some packaged breadcrumbs and soak them in a little milk. Ok. I’m done with the caps lock.

Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

1 scallion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, not ground too finely

1 egg

1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons mirin

1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs if needed

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Combine the chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, scallion, garlic, half the ginger, and teaspoons of mirin and teriyaki sauce in a large bowl. Add dry breadcrumbs if it seems too wet to stay in loose balls. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and saute in the sesame oil until they brown on all sides. Remove to a baking dish.

Add the remaining ginger, mirin, teriyaki, vinegar, and fish sauce to the pan and stir together. Pour over the meatballs and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

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