Greek Yogurt Meatballs

Last night the clocks in Spain fell back an hour.  It’s always one of my favorite days of the year because you can go to bed late and sleep in, and still get up early.  Yesterday I made meatballs, but wanted to tweak the recipe a little to save eggs, since I’m still planning on making a Spanish tortilla, and grocery stores are closed on Sundays here.  I ended up swapping out milk and an egg for Greek yogurt, and it was delicious!  They were crispy on the outside and super-moist on the inside, even though I left them on the stove for half an hour while I Skyped.  To be fair, part of that could be due to the pork/beef mixture of meat that I used, instead of 93% fat-free beef, but whatever the reason, they were better-than-usual good.  I added fresh rosemary, because I found some at a market that I couldn’t pass up.  It’s always a good addition!

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams/1 lb pasta
  • 500 grams/1 lb pork/beef ground meat
  • about 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • about 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, to coat the pan
  • 1 large can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • half a head of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot of salted water over medium-high to high heat.
  • Meanwhile, mix meat, yogurt, breadcrumbs, and egg until well combined, but don’t over-mix.  Add more breadcrumbs or yogurt as needed until you get the consistency that you want.
  • Form into balls.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan (that has a lid) over medium heat.
  • Chop garlic and red peppers.  Be careful not to include the white part inside of the red pepper or the seeds.
  • When the oil is hot, add the meatballs.
  • Don’t touch them until they’re browned on the bottom, otherwise they’ll fall apart.
  • Turn the meatballs over once they are browned on the bottom and add pureed tomatoes, garlic, red pepper, and rosemary.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • Drain, do not rinse, and toss with sauce.
  • Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy 🙂

How was your weekend?  Is this a recipe you would try?

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Virgins, Sandwiches, and Stovetop Roasted Veggies with Eggs and Pancetta

Hi you guys!  We made it halfway through the workweek again!  I hope yours is going well!  The weather in Palma is still unseasonably warm, which I’m enjoying.  Last night I got to go for a much needed run along the water, in a futile attempt to burn off some of the 9 donuts I ate on Monday.  Monday was the Feast of the Virgins, which still makes me think of the Golden Girls episode where Sophia enlists Rose to make the traditional sauce and she adds Frosted Flakes.  From what I’ve gathered, the boys are supposed to serenade the girls, and the girls invite the boys to eat donuts.  My school was selling tickets for the traditional bunyols last week – 5 for one euro – to eat on Monday.  I got two tickets last week, but luckily there wasn’t enough time for them to make everyone’s donuts when they planned to, so I only got 5.  10 donuts would have been a lot.  But then that afternoon I passed a hole in the wall where two old women were making the donuts fresh, and I couldn’t resist.  I asked for 2, because 7 donuts in one day is clearly a normal amount, and they gave me 4.  The ones I had at school were kind of underwhelming compared to all the hype they’d been given, but the ones I had from the old ladies were delicious!  I definitely prefer the ones in Palma that are more like chocolate-filled cream-puffs, but a mediocre fried donut is still pretty good!

Last night I tried to make something a bit lighter and still a bit more sweater-weathery.  I was in the mood for butternut squash, and originally thought I’d make eggs-in-a-basket, but ended up skipping the bread when I realized how many veggies I had.  I had some leftover potatoes from my Spanish omelette disaster, and also picked up some red pepper, garlic, and frozen chopped spinach along with the butternut squash.  It was a lot of food, but it felt so good to eat something with actual nutrition!  This recipe is probably perfect for 2 people, although it worked just fine for me, and I had lots of leftovers to play with.  I already made an epic sandwich to take to lunch tomorrow… pancetta, avocado, brie, and red pepper on a baguette!

Stovetop Roasted Veggies with Eggs and Pancetta:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 250 grams (1/2 lb) pancetta
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 head of garlic (I was in the mood for garlic.  Feel free to use less.)
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.
  • 250 grams (1/2 lb) butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup milk for the eggs
  • Olive oil or butter, as needed

Directions:

  • Fry the pancetta in a frying pan over medium heat, until nicely brown and cooked.
  • Remove from heat to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Reserve the leftover grease to cook your veggies in.
  • While pancetta is cooking, cut your squash, potatoes, garlic, and red pepper.
  • Toss into pan after taking out the pancetta.
  • Brown the vegetables.
  • Add the spinach.  It may add a bit of liquid, which is why you add it last.  I forgot to defrost mine and it took ages to cook off all the liquid.
  • When everything is cooked, remove from the heat.
  • Scramble eggs and milk in a medium bowl.
  • Add more grease to the pan if you need to keep the eggs from sticking.
  • Cook the scrambled eggs, stirring as needed to keep them from being an omelette.  Be careful not to overcook.
  • Take the eggs off of the heat when they’re done, add to vegetables and pancetta, and enjoy!
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making bunyols at school

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fresh bunyols

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close-up

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My lovely pancetta. It’s so much thicker than bacon!

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cooking up

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this is why you defrost your spinach first

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all together, waiting for the spinach water to evaporate

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gorgeous Spanish eggs

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finally dinnertime

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sandwich envy

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view from my run yesterday. Enjoy 🙂

Three Day Weekend and Spanish Meatballs

I can’t believe my Sunday is already almost over.  This three-day weekend flew by, and was definitely jam-packed.

Friday I attempted to go for a run and actually enjoyed making pasta and just hanging out watching TV.  I knew Saturday would be a long day, and it was.  A bunch of people from my program took a day trip to the beach at Es Trenc.  It’s about an hour and a half bus ride to a gorgeous beach, with clear water, white sand, and oddly enough, lots of nudists.  None of us went nude, but nude was all around us.  And of course, never the people you would want to see nude.

The water was a little chilly, and it was about a 45 minute walk along the beach from the bus stop to get to where we had to be, but it was really nice.  This weekend was warm – yesterday was in the 80s and today peaked at 90, so it was great to be on the sand and in the water.  I also got to buy a coconut off some guy who went around selling coconuts and pineapples out of a wheelbarrow.  The coconut water was good, but then the actual coconut was surprisingly filling, and it ended up getting sandy in the wind.  I’m saving the shell though – I can put jewelry or spare change in it.  So that’s cool.

Today I went to watch the marathon in Palma.  It was nuts.  I’ve never been to a marathon up close, and it was huge, but also really relaxed.  Everyone was really excited, and I think the event organizers definitely must have spent at least half of their budget on speakers… it was so loud, and they had speakers every 10 feet or so near the finish line.  I definitely had the feeling that the city didn’t stop just for the marathon though.  People were supportive, but there wasn’t a lot distinguishing the race course from anything else.  Spectators were able to cross through the course, and I ended up walking a bit through the course just because it was poorly marked.  It definitely has me thinking though of the training it would take to run a marathon.  We shall see… I’m gonna sit on that thought for a while before I do anything about it.  This afternoon I did half of a P90X ab circuit and then lapsed into stretching.  Which was probably a good thing since I’ve been walking so much and my legs are cranky.

After the marathon I popped into the Cathedral.  It was open to the public today and really quite pretty.  All the stained glass was beautiful, and you could really see how they could have several different mass services going on at the same time if they wanted to, because it’s that big.

Tonight I’m making meatballs!  I’m calling them Spanish meatballs, if only because I’m making them in Spain.  Although I guess Mallorcan Meatballs would be a better alliteration.  I don’t have a recipe for them.  They’re on the stove now and tasting the sauce, I have a feeling they’re not going to be quite as yummy as they are at home when I’m spoiled by fire-roasted tomatoes.  If you haven’t seen my meatballs yet though, here is a link to chicken meatballs I made a while back, which is odd since every other time I make meatballs, I have made beef.  Regardless, the recipe is the same and you can swap out the chicken for whatever meat you like.

*I’m not captioning my photos this post again because of panoramas, but they should be pretty self explanatory if you read everything above.  The cheat sheet is: beach and a sandwich I made, coconut man, marathon and Palma views and the Cathedral.

Happy Sunday everyone!  I hope you’re off to a good week!  Anything exciting planned?  I’m still envious of everyone and their sweater weather…

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Chicken Vegetable Apple Soup

I haven’t been cooking a lot lately, because if I’m going to make the effort, baking is the first thing I usually do, and there has been zero need for baking since I’m living a block away from a very yummy bakery.  Coffee, chocolate croissants, and ham sandwiches go a long way.  Except sometime at school yesterday I seem to have picked up a cold.  I thought it was allergies, since it started when the wind was blowing in, and laying outside in the grass didn’t help, but I’ve taken 3 of the Spanish generic Claritin since then, and nothing.  It probably has something to do with my week of minimal sleep and lack of veggies.  So, here I am, waiting for my soup to be done and listening to Bob Dylan Christmas music.  It’s not too early, right?

Chicken Vegetable Apple Soup

  • 1 chicken – mine was 1.5 kilo.  And at €3.31, a much better deal than the $20 Canadian chickens I’m used to.
  • Your veggies.  I went with a soup pack that has some questionables in it, but your basic base is carrots, parsnip, leek, and parsley.  Maybe some garlic or onion if you have it.  I put an apple in for the first time today, to see what would happen.
  • Water.  Tap water in Mallorca is not safe to drink – supposedly eventually you can get kidney stones, but I figured cooking with it would be okay, especially since it has to come to a boil anyway.
  • Your pasta.  Pick your favorite shape.  Farfalle, aka bowties are my favorite, but I went with little stars, because they’re smaller and will incorporate better into the soup.
  • A loaf of nice bread.  Any bread will do, but I prefer to treat myself with a nice crusty loaf that’s perfectly soft in the middle when I make soup.

Directions:

  • Get a pot, preferably larger than the one at my disposal, and fill it 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through with water.  Keep in mind that when you add the chicken and everything else, the water level will rise, and you don’t want it to overflow.
  • Add your stuff.  There’s no particular order, other than I like to put parsley in last so that it’s easy to take off first.
  • Bring to a low boil, watching it fairly closely.
  • As it heats up, you’ll have to skim off the chicken scum.  I waited until there was no more scum until I added the parsley, so I didn’t have to work around the parsley to de-scum.
  • Reduce to a simmer and let simmer, partially covered, for at least a few hours.  This soup is great to make ahead, because it will be better the next day.  When you refrigerate it overnight, you have the chance to skim off more fat in the morning when it’s congealed.
  • If you’re pressed for time though, or just feel crappy and want soup now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it the same day you made it.
  • Cook your pasta a few minutes less than al-dente, because it’s going to sit in your soup and keep cooking.  And nobody has time for mushy pasta.  Drain the pasta promptly, because again, no one wants mushy pasta.
  • When the chicken has cooked through and you’re tired of drooling over a steaming soup pot, take out the veggies and set them aside.  You can eat them, it’s just easier to get to the soup without navigating vegetables with a ladle.  Same goes for the chicken.  Put that aside too.
  • Assemble: Pasta goes in your bowl first so it doesn’t splash when it goes in.  Plus it makes a nice base.  Next are the vegetables.  Top with ladled broth.  I think it’s easier to eat the chicken separately on a plate, but if you wanted it in the soup, you could add it with the vegetables.  Enjoy 🙂

Do you have a favorite soup recipe to make when you’re not feeling well, or even just to enjoy sweater weather?

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Another Weekend in the Books

Hi everyone!  Hope you had a good weekend, or, if you’re in a later time zone, that you’re still enjoying it 🙂

We have a lot of birthdays in August in my house, and this weekend was another low-key celebratory weekend with lots of good food.

My town has a farmers’ market every Saturday morning throughout the summer (officially until Thanksgiving but there are some vendors that camp out all year), and we stocked up on local goodies.  I should remember to take pictures at the market to blog about, but in the meantime, the food I got at the market will have to do.

Friday night I made a Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella tomatoes from Whole Foods, which was really yummy, but doesn’t even compare to the Caprese salad I made tonight with the farmers’ market tomatoes.  I’ll label the pictures of both; let me know if you can see the difference too!

Along with Jersey tomatoes, we got some corn and some purple beans.  I took a lot of pictures of the purple beans, but they just photographed so well!  I tried to blanche them and shock them in ice water, but some of the gorgeous purple color still faded.  They taste just like green beans, and I can’t emphasize enough how fresh they were.

The beans went with a delicious chicken from Whole Foods, along with a yellow farmers’ market squash and the corn.

We also found purple potatoes at the farmers’ market yesterday.  The purple wasn’t supposed to be a theme, but like many times at farmers’ markets, you see what looks yummy and fresh and cook from there.  The potatoes went into rosemary roasted potatoes that my mom made to go with the brats we had for dinner.  The rosemary was from the garden, the brats were brought back in a cooler from Wisconsin last week.

Tonight we also roasted a pattypan squash that we got at the market just to see what it was like, and it was delicious!  Along with a sauteed onion, I think covers all the local and delicious food from this weekend.  Bear with all of my purple produce pictures, and enjoy the picture of tonight’s supermoon, if you can make it out between the trees and the blurriness.

What did you eat this weekend?  What were your favorites?

 

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Caprese salad with mozzarella and tomatoes from Whole Foods

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sweet farmers’ market corn

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washed purple beans

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washed purple bean close-up

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purple beans without stems

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Extra-vibrant purple bean close-up. No photoshopping, the beans just get more vibrant and colorful wet.

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purple beans in the pot

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purple beans in the pot close-up

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sooner-than-expected ice bath to save the color

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All done! A little purple, a little green, a lot delicious!

 

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Perfectly roasted.

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My plate. Squash, roasted garlic, chicken, beans, and corn.

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washed purple potatoes

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washed and quartered

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garlic and garden rosemary close-up

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purple potatoes with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary

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Jersey beefsteaks and the pattypan squash

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cutting in

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I think it looks like a lemon cut like this.

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ready to roast

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beefsteak close-up

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tomatoes zoomed out. love the thick slices!

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farmers’ market Caprese close-up. Mozzarella still from Whole Foods. Basil from my garden.

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Brats ready to go.

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My plate: roasted purple potatoes and pattypan squash, sauteed onions, and my brat.

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the Supermoon