Herbed Meatballs in Ginger Curry Broth with Shishito Peppers, Arugula, Apricot, Summer Squash + Cracklings

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My favorite time to cook is often when I think I have nothing left to work with in my fridge. It forces me to be creative, to leave behind my go-tos and come up with new ways to enjoy ingredients that I often use. As I was cooking this meal my mom brought me some pig cracklings she made from the pigs we raised on our family ranch. They are the perfect topping, savory with a crunch and melt in your mouth ending. This meal may seem like many steps but it is uncomplicated and adjustable depending on what you have left in your fridge, just read through the recipe before starting so you have all of your ingredients ready.

Ginger Curry Broth
11/2 inch ginger, peeled & finely chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 can coconut milk + 1/2 can water
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder or paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil

Add the coconut oil to a skillet, melt and then add onions. Cook at medium heat, covered, until softened, then add the ginger. Cook for a few minutes-10 or so- until the onions are translucent, but not browned or burning. Add the can of coconut milk, water and the spices to taste. I keep the curry seasonings light so that the ginger isn’t overpowered. Pour the mix into a small saucepan and turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Shishito Peppers, Arugula, Apricot, Summer Squash + Cracklings
1/2 lb shishito peppers
1/2 lemon juiced
2-3 small yellow summer squash, chopped
2 handfuls arugula
1 apricot, halved and quartered
cracklings
1 tbsp coconut oil
sea salt & pepper

In a medium-high skillet, add the coconut oil and shishito peppers. Coat in lemon juice, salt & pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or so, stirring every so often. During this time, start the herbed meatballs. When the shishito’s are browned well, add the summer squash. Cover and cook for another 6-8 minutes, then add the arugula and apricots. Make a little space in the pan to heat the cracklings, or fry them in another skillet. Season to taste, this will serve on top of the meatballs and curry.

Herbed Meatballs
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp sea salt & pepper
3 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 egg
1/8 cup of coconut flour
1 tbsp coconut oil

Using your hands, mix the ground beef with the salt & pepper, oregano, egg and coconut flour. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, shape the meatballs, and add them to the pan. Cook until crisp and browned, then flip.

To serve: Add the meatballs to a bowl, spoon curry over and then add the vegetables and cracklings. 

Samosas with Arugula Raita and Apricot Chutney

IMG_1406IMG_1412These samosas are simple to make and many of the ingredients can be substituted depending on what you have on hand. They are great the next day, heated up in the oven, and served with a fried egg and roasted vegetables for breakfast or lunch. They also taste great cold for a work lunch. Make your own chutney, or use an apricot preserve, both taste excellent.

Arugula Raita
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
Heaping handful of arugula, chopped
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne

 Mix everything together and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Filling
6 fingerling potatoes, chopped
2 medium sized carrots, diced
½ large white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ inch piece of ginger, minced
½ tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
Lemon juice
Heaping handful of arugula, chopped
2 tbsp butter
Olive oil

 Oven 425. Place the potatoes and carrots together in a medium sized skillet or use a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, and bake until the potato is easily mashed with a fork, about 25 minutes or so (if you do not use fingerling potatoes, this will take slightly longer).Meanwhile, add the butter to a skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until the onions are translucent. Add the coriander and curry powder and salt. Pull the potatoes and carrots out of the oven and use a fork to roughly mash the potato/carrot mix. Combine the onion mix with the potato/carrot mix, add the lemon juice, and mix well. Remove from the heat and stir in the arugula. Adjust the amount of salt, curry powder and cayenne to your liking.

Mix all of the ingredients together and knead for several minutes until the dough is elastic. Flour a surface and roll out the dough until it is quite thin, and cut into small circles. Continue to roll and cut circles until you’ve used all of the dough. In the middle of each circle add a heaping spoonful of the filling. Brush the edges of the circle with some water, fold over the dough and use a fork to press it in place.

Method
Add about ¼ cup or so of coconut oil to a skillet and allow it to heat to about 365 degrees. Place 4-5 samosas in the skillet at a time, and fry until golden. Serve with the arugula raita and whatever chutney you have on hand, a good apricot preserve works well also.

Corn Flour, Yogurt + Cheddar Pancakes with Skillet Greens and Apricot Peach Preserves

IMG_1362These pancakes are all of the important things: sweet, savory, salty and simple. I love pancakes loaded with fruit and maple syrup, but they are a dessert food and often give me headaches if I eat them first thing in the morning. I’ve made these with fresh mozzarella, and I think any melty cheese would be great. You can use any greens you have on hand and these are delicious paired with quality sausage or bacon (the first time I made them I had maple blueberry sausage from the market on hand). These pancakes and my parents visit made my new cabin in the woods feel like a home. It was filled with the smells of good food and filled with the sounds of good company all week and it is good to remember how to settle into a place and make it your own. 

Corn Flour, Yogurt + Cheddar Pancakes
with Skillet Greens and Apricot Peach Preserves

 ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Cornflour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
¼ cup butter, melted
1 egg
2 tbsp cheddar cheese, sliced
2 handfuls arugula (or kale, or whatever greens you have)
1 handful basil
1 squash, chopped
Apricot-peach preserves
Maple syrup
Butter
Sea salt & pepper
Lemon juice 

Method:

 Heat a skillet to medium/high and add a tbsp of butter. Add the squash and cook until slightly softened and browned. Add the arugula and the basil. Sauté until the greens are wilted. Squeeze a little lemon juice on the mix and cover to keep warm.

 In a large bowl, combine the two flours and salt. In another bowl whisk the yogurt, butter and egg together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and add the cheese. Heat a skillet to medium/high and spoon in little circles of batter.

Cook until the pancakes are crispy on both sides. Serve on a plate, topped with the vegetable mix, a spoonful of preserves and maple syrup on the side.

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Portabella filled with Farmer’s Market Vegetables topped with Cucumber-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

This dish is just exciting to me. I mean it combines a lot of my favorite things; it combines my life and food philosophies. It is simple, diverse, local and colorful. It is beautiful and each bite is a new and different combination. You have the umami richness from the mushroom giving the dish this grounded fullness and then you’ll get a crunch of the cucumber and lightness from cilantro and then a crisp piece of kale or the chewiness of eggplant. And then there is the roasted tomatoes and arugula offering sweetness and bitterness. And there is cheese, of course there is cheese, adding that richness, that depth of flavor and decadence. Oh, and corn, there is corn, and peppers and all kinds of different ingredients I picked up on the farmer’s market on Saturday. If you don’t have all of these ingredients, just modify, if you do, or have even more, incorporate them.

 Portabella filled with Farmer’s Market Vegetables and a Cucumber-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

1 portabella mushroom
1 small red onion, diced
2 small peppers, sliced
1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced
1 ear of corn taken off the cob
A few stems, or about a cup of kale, stems removed
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 handful cilantro
1 handful arugula
1 lemon
sea salt & pepper
olive oil
Good, spicy salsa
cheese: I used jack and goat cheese

Cucumber-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

¼ cup cucumber, sliced into small pieces
1 big handful of cilantro, stems removed
¼ cup whole milk yogurt, I used Straus.
Sea salt & pepper
Lemon

Method:

First just prep all of the ingredients and turn the oven to 425.

Then heat up a cast iron on medium-high heat, sauté the onions and eggplant for a minute or two in olive oil, then add the peppers, corn, kale and quinoa. Add a drizzle of oil, salt & pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice, cover and cook for several minutes.

Meanwhile wash the portabella, remove the middle stem, and drizzle the mushroom with olive oil, salt & pepper, and some lemon juice. Place the mushroom in a mini cast iron, or other small baking pan, and put it in the oven.

When the veggies are slightly browned, turn the heat off. Take the mushroom out of the oven and fill it with the veggies, not all of mine fit so I saved them as leftovers. Next, add a few dollops of salsa on top of the veggies, then add the diced cheese on top of the salsa. Finally, season with salt & pepper, add some tomatoes to the cast iron, and bake for about seven or so minutes.

While the mushroom bakes, make the cucumber-cilantro sauce. Just mix together the cucumber, cilantro, yogurt, salt & pepper and lemon juice.

During the last few minutes of baking, set the oven to broil. Add a handful of cilantro to the pan, and cook for just a minute or so, until the cheese is browned and the arugula is a little crispy and wilted.

I ate mine right out of the cast iron, topped with the yogurt sauce and plenty of extra cilantro for seasoning. I also added a few slices of avocado and a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.