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Posts Tagged ‘twist’

I’ve been waiting for some inspiration in the last year in order to bring you some new recipes on Gourm(eh), and I’ve finally admitted to myself the reason that it’s been a slow time in my culinary adventures. The truth is, it’s not very exciting to cook for oneself. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed, however, has been long-distance meal-planning with my significant other, especially because it’s so exciting to see that despite distance, food is still able to bring us together and we often send messages back-and-forth of ideas and questions about how best to prepare things, and what produce has been good lately at the market or grocery store. Yes I’ll admit, Hamilton is a bit ahead of Ottawa, but we’ve got some good things here too now! It’s not nearly as nice as a meal together, but it will do if it’s all we’ve got for now!

I’m telling you this because this recipe was inspired by his own a few weeks ago. A tomato sauce with beets! I had one pound of delicious ground beef from my CSA box, new young leeks, fresh oregano and beets, so I decided to attempt some meatballs with spaghetti and a spicy beet tomato sauce. The spicy sauce is well-balanced by the sweet beet base, and it goes very well with flavourful beef.

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Ingredients – 4 servings

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
2 young leeks, cleaned and minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed (I like to pound mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg
dash salt and pepper
olive oil

Spicy beet tomato sauce

1 onion, diced
2 young leeks, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 – 1 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
1 beet, diced into small pieces
1  good tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes (796 mL or 28 Oz)

Spaghetti or other pasta, enough for 4 (according to package)

Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients for meat balls except olive oil and egg in a bowl with hands until everything is well mixed, then add the egg. Form into small balls in the palm of your hands, and place on a plate drizzled with olive oil. Roll the meatball in the olive oil so it is coated, and repeat until you have made all the mixture into meatballs. Depending on the size, you should get 20-30 meatballs. Set aside in refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, dice the onions first, and heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the minced leek. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the garlic, chili flakes and basil. Stir until the onion is soft and everything is fragrant. Add the beet, and then the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a strong simmer and then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the meatballs and the pasta.

For the meatballs, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in another frying pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs, turning them carefully so all sides brown. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through (you should not see any pink inside).  Set on a paper-towel lined plate once cooked.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta to your liking. Pour a ladle-full of water into the beet sauce to make it a little saucier if you like. Serve the meatballs tossed in the sauce, over the pasta, with grated parmesan and enjoy!

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Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing a sort of cooking puzzle: the kind of game where I look at everything in my fridge and try to come up with interesting and delicious ideas which are not necessarily based on any pre-existing recipes (at least that I’ve seen). In this particular case, the first time I made this appetizer I had beets and goat’s cheese, but no hazelnuts. I have since then recreated this appetizer with hazelnuts and it gives it even more unique flair.

Beets are one of my favourite root vegetables, and in the fall I often crave their rich colour and taste. The great thing about them is they can be stored for an extremely long period of time.

My first time making this was for a work-related dinner party, which was a lot of fun. I happily discovered they were a success! But while they’re quite wonderful, they are a bit finicky too.

Ingredients – appetizers for 6

-4 medium red beets
-300g goat’s cheese (plain, herb-crusted, or pepper-crusted)
-1 Tbsp 35% cream
-1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
-1 Tbsp herbes de provence
-1 tsp cracked pepper
-pinch salt
-olive oil

Directions

Trim ends off beets until only 1 inch of the stems remain. Use leaves for something delicious. Wash the beets thoroughly, then boil for 20 minutes whole. Remove from water, and let cool while you prepare the goat cheese mixture.

In a bowl, mix the cream, hazelnuts, herbes de provence, pepper and salt. Add the goat’s cheese and mix into cream mixture using a fork, until everything is well incorporated. Add a small drizzle of olive oil if it is too firm.

Now comes the difficult part: peel the beets, and then create ribbons of beet as wide as possible and as long as possible. Ideally, use a very sharp vegetable peeler on the beets which you’ve cut in half across the centre (not top-to-bottom). If you do not have a sharp vegetable peeler or have a peeler that removes too thin a strip, simply use a sharp knife and cut around the beet until you have basically unwound the beet. Spread the beet ribbon out, and slather with the goat’s cheese mix. Roll it up neatly, and then place on a baking dish greased with a bit of olive oil. Do this with as much of the beets as possible (once you get too close to the middle though it’s too difficult and so you can just eat that part). You should end up with around 10-14 rolls or more. Drizzle a drop of olive oil over top of each roll, and bake at 400F for 10 minutes, until the rolls sizzle a bit.

If you have a really sharp knife, slice the rolls in 2 or 3 and place them each on round sesame melba toast. If you are unable to slice them, simply serve them as-is with a fork and knife on a small appetizer plate.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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