Curry, Curry Everywhere!

I won’t lie, this was a bit of a project, but definitely worthwhile. Of course, now my house, my clothes and even my kitty smell like curry, but in a good way.

The spiced, curried meatballs were wonderful. I used grass-fed beef at 15% fat and I cannot figure out why they were so incredibly soft and meltingly tender. Perhaps the yogurt folded in with the meat? Regardless — success! These little balls of heaven were flavorful enough on their own, but nestle them into a vat of spicy Indian curry and it’s a showstopper.

Indian meatballs

I paired the meatballs with a curried beet and carrot salad, a sweet and sour tomato chutney and an herbed yogurt sauce. I look forward to making this meal again and serving it to friends for a full review.

Week in Review

This week’s highlight was that candied lemon salad. Sounds odd, I know, but the mild sweetness of the lemon is tamed by the strong mustard and briny olives in the vinaigrette. It’s a beautiful, bright salad and one that I have already made three times this week.

Candied lemon salad. I added a bit more mustard, but I can eat the stuff with a spoon.

Composed candied lemon salad

Everything we ate this week gets put in the “Remake Category.” On the good side, everything we had this week I would actually make again. On the down side, everything we had this week I would actually make again — ack! Too many recipes, too many food combinations, not enough time!

The roast chicken with plums was surprisingly delicious. My dear husband (who has a thing about dry chicken) claimed it a juicy birdie, even when re-heated as leftovers. Just be sure to turn the oven down to 325 or 350 after the first 20 minutes or you risk burned plums.

A juicy, spiced chicken pairs beautifully with roasted plums. Who knew?

A juicy, spiced chicken pairs beautifully with roasted plums. Who knew?

Grilled Rockfish with Charred Eggplant and Peppers

Grilled Rockfish with Charred Eggplant and Peppers (topped with toasted pepitas)

When Your Israeli Husband Craves Falafel …

My husband will happily eat chicken out of a can.

He likes kokoretsi — squiggly lamb intestines roped around a melded mush of  lamb heart, lung and brain.

He has slurped down not one duck testicle, but two.

Needless to say, the man is not a picky eater. But when it comes to his beloved falafel, he is almost impossible to please.

But I think I managed to woo him!

Falafel Fixings

Falafel Fixings

 

Nothing, he says, compares to the falafel he grew up eating in Israel. And he’s right. He’s taken me to eat falafel in Tel Aviv and Netanya, and I have yet to find a match in the states. It’s not the actual falafel itself that is such a standout, it’s the smorgasbord of gorgeous salads that accompany the meal. I was not prepared for the onslaught of salads that were placed on our table during our first meal in Tel Aviv. I was so surprised by the sheer number that I actually counted them up. We were served 23 different salads. Yes, 23.  Twenty three different ways to prepare eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, lemons, avocados, beets, cabbages, carrots and greens. We stuffed our pitas full of the salads, ate some off the top, and re-stuffed. And re-stuffed. And re-stuffed. It was healthy and delightfully satisfying — “fast” food at its best.

Sizzling Falafel

Sizzling Falafel

So, that was my challenge last week — to make falafel and an array of salads to please our palates. I certainly didn’t create 23 different salads, but I did manage to turn out 5 salads plus a tahini sauce, not to mention softly-boiled eggs and freshly fried falafel. It was quite a bit of work the first time, but the salads kept beautifully so turning out leftovers on a weeknight was easy. Not much beats a delicious meal and a happy husband.

The Falafel Bar

The Falafel Bar

 

Recipes:

Falafel

Beet Salad

Roasted red pepper salad with harissa

Israeli salad: Finely chop the following and mix with lemon juice and salt and pepper: red onion, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh mint and/or parsley

Eggplant salad: thinly slice and grill eggplants. Stuff into pita with everything else

Onion salad: thinly slice red onions. Toss with mint, lemon juice, salt and sumac

Tahini sauce: whisk tahini with lemon juice and warm water. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Coq au Vin

There is nothing like a birdie bathed in red wine to usher in the fall season. This. Dish. Is. Spectacular. It’s homey and cozy and complex and redolent of all good things that simply take time — the perfect marriage of meat and mushrooms and herbs and wine.

Not only is this dish just delightful to savor, but it makes the house smell wonderful. If I was trying to sell my home, I would have a pot of this bubbling away — sell your house AND have a long-simmered classic French dish to enjoy. Bonus!

Yes, Coq au Vin does take some time, but it’s well worth it. I followed the recipe almost exactly (yes, it’s important to stand there and brown every piece of chicken), but I did decrease the fat content without skimping on flavor. I poured off the fat after browning all the chicken and also poured off all the bacon fat after rendering. The result was a silky rich sauce without all the oil and grease.

So, get yourself a fresh baguette and get to dunking. What are you waiting for?

DDcoqauvinplated

Moo Shu Pork

INGREDIENTS:

1 to 2 pounds boneless pork from a loin or chops, chopped

1 TBSP canola oil

1 chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Canned straw mushrooms or fresh shiitakes, chopped

3 to 4 cups of julienned vegetables: cabbage, carrots, etc.

Moo Shu wrappers, hoisin sauce, chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro and chopped green onions for serving

PREPARATION:

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and ginger and cook until golden brown. Add pork and continue to cook until well browned. Add soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and stir to coat. Dump in veggies and cook until just crisp-tender. Serve with wrappers, hoisin sauce, peanuts and fresh herbs. Roll and eat.