Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Lemon and Mint

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From SmittenKitchen

Meatballs
3 to 8 tablespoons water
2 pounds ground lamb
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup (about 70 grams) breadcrumbs, fresh or plain, such as Panko
1/2 cup (55 grams) crumbled feta cheese
3/4 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 small garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
Zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
A couple glugs of red wine or white/dry vermouth (optional)
1 28-ounce (795 grams) can of crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of half a lemon
3/4 to 1 teaspoon table salt
Pinches of red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/3 cup (about 45 grams) pitted, chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon thinly sliced mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup (30 grams) crumbled feta, for garnish

Make meatballs: If you plan don’t plan to brown the meatballs, use only 3 tablespoons water. If you do, use all 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup). In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except oil; I like to do this with a fork. Using wet hands, form mixture into small (1 1/2 to 2-inch diameter) meatballs; I have taken to using a large (just shy of 3 tablespoon) cookie scoop for easy sizing.

Brown meatballs: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat it through. Evenly space meatballs in pan and very carefully turn and roll them so that all sides become brown. Don’t worry if they don’t remain perfectly round; mine never do. Don’t worry if some pieces become stuck to the pan; they will deliciously infuse the sauce in a minute. Drain meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate.

[If you prefer not to fry your meatballs before cooking them in the sauce, you can cook them right in the sauce — it will take about 10 minutes longer.]

Make sauce and finish cooking meatballs: Pour out all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add wine or vermouth and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Cook until the liquid almost disappears. Add tomatoes, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper flakes, olives (if you’re using them now), mint and parsley. Bring mixture to a simmer and return meatballs to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook at the lowest simmer for 20 to 24 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Squeeze lemon juice over meatballs and sauce.

Serve: Sprinkled with additional olives, feta and herbs. We had this with orzo and aGreek salad.

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Ethereally Smooth Hummus

Ethereally Smooth Hummus

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from SmittenKitchen
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s stunning new dream of a book; technique is my own madness

This is probably where you expect me to give you a soapbox speech about why it is so important that you soak your own chickpeas. And you know, think they taste wonderful, especially if you treat yourself to some of the best. But, I also make it with canned chickpeas quite often (Goya is my favorite, for perfectly cooked, intact canned beans, each time) and it’s perfectly excellent. Below, I’ve included instructions for both.

Makes 1 3/4 cups hummus

1 3/4 cups cooked, drained chickpeas (from a 15-ounce can) or a little shy of 2/3 cup dried chickpeas (for same yield)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (for dried chickpeas only)
1/2 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon table salt, or more to taste
Approximately 1/4 cup water or reserved chickpea cooking water

Olive oil, paprika or sumac, pita wedges (brushed with olive oil and sprinkled withza’atar, or a combination of sesame seeds and sea salt), and/or carrot sticks [optional] to serve

If using dried chickpeas: There are multiple methods to cooking them, and you can use whichever is your favorite, or Ottolenghi’s, or mine. Ottolenghi’s is to put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with at least twice their volume of cold water, leaving them to soak overnight. The next day, drain them, and saute them in a medium saucepan with the baking soda (which many find reduces the gassy effects of fresh beans) for about three minutes. Add 3 1/4 cups water and bring it to a boil. Skim any foam that floats to the surface. They’ll need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, sometimes even longer, depending on freshness, to become tender. When tender, one will break up easily between your thumb and forefinger. My method is similar, but I often put mine in a slow-cooker on high with the baking soda for approximately three hours, so I don’t have to monitor them as much.

Drain the chickpeas (saving the chickpea broth for soups or to thin the hummus, if desired) and cool enough that you can pick one up without burning your fingers.

Whether fresh or canned chickpeas: Peel your chickpeas. I find this is easiest when you take a chickpea between your thumb and next two fingers, arranging the pointy end in towards your palm, and “pop!” the naked chickpea out. Discard the skin. I get into a rhythm and rather enjoy this, but it’s also already established that I’m a weirdo.

In a food processor, blend the chickpeas until powdery clumps form, a full minute, scraping down the sides. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and blend until pureed. With the machine running, drizzle in water or reserved chickpea cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get very smooth, light and creamy mixture. I find I need about 4 tablespoons for this volume, but you may need slightly more or less.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or lemon if needed. I do recommend that you hold off on adding more garlic just yet, however. I find that it “blooms” as it settles in the fridge overnight, becoming much more garlicky after a rest, so that even if it doesn’t seem like enough at first, it likely will be in the long run.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl and rest it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, longer if you can. To serve, drizzle it with a little olive oil, and sprinkle it with paprika. Serve it with pita wedges or carrot sticks.

Summer Tomato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a single 9-inch pie crust

  • 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Press pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan; prick bottom and sides with fork.
  3. Bake crust in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Place tomatoes in a single layer of a colander; sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes to release moisture. Blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Arrange 1 layer of tomato slices around the bottom of the cooled pie crust, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle half the garlic and half the basil onto tomato layer. Sprinkle half the Cheddar cheese and half the mozzarella cheese over basil layer. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, garlic, basil, Cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Spread mayonnaise over the top mozzarella cheese layer.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.