A cooking technique for everyone’s tastebuds
After a busy day, a home cook values making dinner in the most efficient way without sacrificing taste for nutrition. Whether you are cooking for your family or for yourself, learning easy cooking techniques and how to modify favorite recipes will unleash the top chef in everyone and get dinner on the table in no time. I hope this blog post brings a new mindset about cooking, and how it allows you to turn off the outside world for a bit, turn on your music, and get into a rhythm of dancing in your kitchen. Instead of being an added stressor, I hope you will agree that cooking is your time to meditate; a time to connect with your mind, body and food. After all, you can’t scroll Instagram and chop at the same time.
“Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel mindless in a worthwhile way.”
If you are new to cooking or generally overwhelmed by it, learning a few foundational methods will make your kitchen, its pantry, and refrigerator feel less like a burden and more like an artist studio. Many of us get inspired by recipes, collect them, devour them, and end up over loaded with too much information. With a little practice, we can amaze ourselves with how tasty, simple and manageable cooking healthy can be when we depend on our senses to guide us with the food we have on hand.
Mention meatballs to an Italian, more specifically an Italian American, and all of a sudden their hands are up swearing their Mamas’ are the best. I have taken this tasty technique from my heritage and expanded on it for your weekly meal prep rotation. Best of all, it is a great opportunity to empower yourself to use leftover food and “repackage” it into something special independent of a recipe.
From fish to vegetarian choices, once you learn the skill set in finding the correct balance between binder to ingredients, working the ingredients into a round ball tender enough to yield to your folk without crumbling on your plate, then you are all set to roll with it.
Our monthly community cooking challenge is to create your own meatball recipe. Tag your creations #hellopalategetrollin on Instagram. First three members to post their own recipe will win a complimentary three day food journal assessment with customized nutritional guidance.
Deadline is February 1st, 2017 12 noon.
Tips to guide you
Binding your Polpette (dairy and gluten free options)
- 1 egg to a pound of minced meat
- 1/2 cup of almond flour or quinoa flakes (Ancient Grains) or more depending on amount of ingredients. The consistency of your ingredients should feel moist and hold its structure
- Place your meatballs in the refrigerator for 10 mins. before cooking.
Use your hands
- For airy and light meatballs, learn not to over mix or make into a paste – especially for meat based, which can cause tough and dry meatballs!
- Don’t make a mixture that is too moist or too dry; moist to the touch not sticky.
- Damp hands will help for ease when creating a ball.
To bake or to fry
- This is entirely up to your palate and your bio-individual nutritional needs. Either way you will end up with a delicious meatball. I prefer to gently sear careful not to burn the meatballs, with a watchful eye on my cooking oil/fat. I prefer to use a stable healthy fat like tallow to accomplish it. (Don’t fear healthy stable fats)
- The best method for this is to gently sear and braise meatballs in a cooking liquid- like Sunday gravy, of course. This method prevents AGEs (advanced glycosylated end products) during cook time. *More on this at a later date ….stay tuned.
Use flavor boosting ingredients
- Don’t skip on sea salt, spices or aromatics like ginger and onions.
- Glutamate rich foods like mushrooms give bite to a vegetarian meatball.
- Chop up your healing herbs like parsley, mint and sage. Let your senses guide you.
Get rollin’ with this recipe from Hello Palate to inspire your tastebuds.
I discovered meatballs are an ideal food to expand children’s taste buds and to encourage them to eat and enjoy fish. To introduce a new food to your kids make sure you keep the size of the meatball small so as not to overwhelm them. Kids love finger foods because it appeals to a range of sense: touch, smell and taste. These polpette are a great and simple place to start, with only a few ingredients and without any fillers – no need for breadcrumbs!
Pesce di Polpette
(fish meatballs with herbs)
- 1 pound wild caught salmon, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 pound white flaky fish (striped bass, flounder or sole) cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 pastured egg
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- Makes about 18 depending on size and shape
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse or turn off/on processor with salmon and make sure not to puree fish; transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining fish. Whisk in the egg and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Using damp hands shape mixture into about 1″ to 1″1/2 balls. You can get creative with kids by using a favorite cookie cutter to make any shape preferred. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, saute polpetti until opaque in center, adding in more oil to skillet if necessary, turning them to sear all over. Transfer to a platter and serve room temperature or warm with kid friendly pesto sauce or for an adult taste this recipe below.
Herbed Horseradish Sauce
- 1 bunch watercress, chopped (or spinach)
- 1 cup arugula leaves chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche (dairy free: coconut milk or cashew milk)
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons of prepared white horseradish
- 3 tablespoons wine or water (omit wine on whole 30)
Place greens in food processor and add remaining ingredients to blend. Add liquid of choice for desired consistency. Season your herb sauce with salt and pepper. This can be made in advance and stored in refrigerator for a week to flavor other dishes.
I am excited to see your recipes come to life. Get inspired to use leftover cooked foods like lentils, quinoa, vegetables, herbs and spices to create something delectable for yourself. Good luck and remember the hashtag #hellopalategetrollin to win a free journal assessment! I hope these photos get your tastebuds salivating for some meatballs! Enjoy.