Tag Archives: dinner

Lamb Meatballs with Currants adapted from The Jerusalem Cookbook

31 Mar

Lamb meatballs

It seems like meatballs are everywhere lately—and I definitely don’t hate it. These little balls of goodness are the perfect meal; comforting, satisfying and really simple to make. And with so many variations you can find an excuse to eat them any time of the year.

When my aunt called me the other day asking what to make for Easter dinner, I didn’t even have to think about my answer. At first she was hesitant, given that we normally serve lamb chops, but I convinced her that lamb meatballs would be just as delicious and would even appeal to my younger cousins.

This recipe is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s version in the Jerusalem cookbook. I made them this weekend as a test batch so I could perfect the recipe for Sunday. Turns out, not a whole lot needed to be perfected. They’re absolutely delicious.

The trickiest part is getting the meat to brown perfectly. If the meatballs begin to burn, turn down your heat slightly and move them away from the center of the pan. Try starting out with one ball, so you can get the hang of it before doing the rest.

They don’t need to be perfect, so they’re a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat. I served them over bulgar but you can use any grain you like. I’m thinking I’ve just stumbled upon a new Easter dinner tradition.

Lamb Meatballs with Currants

1 lb. ground lamb
1 yellow onion
1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
3 tbs. mint, cilantro, parsley, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. each of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
4-5 tbs. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 tbs. currants
2 tbs. lemon juice
2 cups chicken stock

Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl along with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and form into small balls about the size of a golf ball. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan or Dutch oven. In small batches brown the meatballs all over, adding more oil with each batch. When finished, place the meatballs on a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and green onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the currants, lemon juice, chicken stock, salt and pepper and cook for another 5-10 minutes over low heat with the lid on. Add the meatballs back into the pan and let simmer for thirty minutes with the lid on until cooked through.


#MeatlessMonday: Kale, Ricotta and Walnut Pasta

3 Dec


I live with my boyfriend, who is totally vegetarian and very nearly vegan and then there is me, who is anything but.  We tend to gravitate towards pasta dishes as a common ground for meals.  Pasta is filling and very easy to make vegetarian.  It’s a dish where neither of us are sitting there afterwards wondering what to eat next, which can happen after one too many dinners of lentil salad. Continue reading

Fall Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Pasta Salad

26 Oct

Pumpkin pie is not the only way to enjoy pumpkins. Pumpkin pie is, of course, a fall favorite, but when you want something different, yet still inspired by the fall foliage, roasted pumpkin for lunch or dinner will do just the trick.  Roasting them is a great alternative. You can enjoy pumpkins without a pie overload (and weight gain).  If you’re already pumpkin-ed out, you can try this recipe with your favorite squash. Continue reading

Radishes for the Ravenous

12 Oct

Something about fall has us craving radishes from the farmer’s market.  In our opinion, radishes are like the unsung heroes of the vegetable world, always in the background, as a garnish or side dish. This tasty romaine salad puts them front and center, and the buttermilk dressing perfectly complements the subtle bitterness of the radishes.

Romaine + Radish Salad Recipe


1 large head of romaine lettuce
1 cup radishes, thinly-sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Buttermilk + Dill Dressing

1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste


Combine the romaine lettuce, radishes, and cherry tomatoes in large bowl and toss. For dressing, combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. Drizzle over salad mix before serving.


What is Your Favorite Pecan Recipe?

11 Oct

We can’t get enough of pecans this fall.  Here is our favorite recipe; what’s yours?

What Will You be Cooking for Noodle Day?

6 Oct

Super saucy is an understatement in my household when it comes to describing the way my family eats. Growing up, my noodle-to-sauce ratio was always over the top. Regardless, I have yet to learn how to properly balance a serving of noodles and sauce. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing; it’s definitely better to have more than what you need, as opposed to not having enough.

According to my mom, palabok was my favorite dish as a child. I did, unfortunately, go through a phase, during which my obsession with shrimp transformed into irrational feelings of disgust. I honestly have no recollection of how this might have happened, but thankfully, I outgrew this odd preference. Before this epiphany, I never fully enjoyed the experience of eating a plate of Mom’s famous palabok.  I would always pick out the tiny pieces of shrimp and toss them to the side of my plate. Now, I ruthlessly scavenge through the giant pot of sauce, specifically searching for more chunks of what is now my favorite seafood.

Palabok can be served DIY style, and I believe that there is nothing more satisfying than garnishing a plate—putting toppings is my absolute favorite part of cooking.  While I thoroughly enjoy preparing palabok, my favorite part about the dish is the company.  Gathering a big group of people—no matter what their differences may be—in front of an assortment of ingredients always has a way of bringing everyone together.  Growing up, palabok was mostly served at birthday parties or holiday celebrations, during which my parents always invited random acquaintances who eventually became like family after we bonded over the excitement of Filipino food and palabok, in particular.

Palabok Recipe


1 pack of thin rice noodles (typically known as Bihon)
Cooking oil
Ground pork
Pork broth
Shrimp cube
All-purpose flour
Fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. ground pork
Annatto powder
Boiled pork belly, thinly sliced
Fried tofu
Smoked fish flakes
Pounded pork rinds
Sliced hard-boiled eggs
Shrimp, boiled or steamed
Fried garlic
Sliced lemon, lime, or calamansi (native Filipino fruit; may be difficult to find, so anything citrusy can used as an alternative)


Soak the thin rice noodles in water for about 15 minutes and set aside.  Heat up a pan and coat the bottom with cooking oil.  Once pan is hot, throw in ½ lb. of ground pork.  Cook for about 6-7 minutes. Mix the annatto powder in with the pork broth and add it into the pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Add in the shrimp cube.  Watch the mixture, stir, and let it simmer.  After a few minutes, gradually add in the flour.

While cooking the sauce, make sure to have a simultaneous pot boiling for the noodles.  Finally, add the fish sauce and freshly-ground black pepper and stir until the sauce becomes golden brown and thick. Sauce is complete. Set aside for later.

Place the noodles into the boiling water and let it cook for a few minutes.  Once they are done cooking, strain the noodles and place them on a plate.

Arrange the toppings into an array of bowls, which include: the thinly sliced pork belly, fried tofu, smoked fish flakes, pounded pork rinds, hard boiled eggs, boiled or steamed shrimp, scallions, fresh garlic.  For a final touch, squeeze a little bit of lemon, lime, or calamnsi juice on top.

Photo by bingbing from Quezon City, Philippines (CC-BY-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Chris’ Chicken Tacos

4 Oct
Warning: your kitchen is about to get caliente with this taco recipe.

The taco is one of the most popular handheld foods all over the world, and it is also one of the most duplicated. In every possible combination, tacos are eaten with different fillings and toppings. Some people enjoy shredded lettuce or cabbage, while others enjoy fish or beef, but we can’t deny that taco lovers alike ultimately love the traditional, crispy fried corn U-shaped treat.

In honor of Taco Day, I threw on my chef’s hat and added some of my favorite ingredients and a seasonal ingredient to the classic taco.  I chose to use juicy chicken thighs—because when roasted, they add a crispy texture to the soft and warm taco shell—and nectarines, which are oh so plentiful right now.  And do I even have to mention the guacamole and sour cream to top them off?  ¡Olé !

What kind of tacos will you be serving for dinner?

Roasted Chicken Thigh Soft Tacos with White Nectarine Pico de Gallo Recipe


6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 white nectarines, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/4 bunch parsley or cilantro, washed, dried and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
canola oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Taco Condiments

sour cream
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
sliced avocado
lime wedges


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season chicken thighs heavily with salt and pepper. Add canola oil—just enough to coat all of the chicken. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of canola oil onto a baking sheet and place seasoned chicken thighs, flat side down. Place chicken in the oven, and roast on 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, flipping over 1 time. Roast longer if chicken thighs are on the thick side.

While chicken is roasting, combine chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, sugar, olive oil, and white wine vinegar in a large bowl.

When chicken is cooked all the way through, remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop chicken thighs in medium-sized pieces.  Next, add chopped nectarines and parsley to tomatoes. Mix, adding salt and pepper to taste.

In a small pan with a little oil, warm soft taco shells. Spoon roasted chicken thighs inside warm, soft taco shells, adding your favorite taco condiments. Spoon tomato and nectarine pico de gallo on top of taco.

Photo courtesy of http://www.fulltimemama.com

Recipes Inspired by Coffee Day

29 Sep

How can I explain this love affair I have with this jolt of java?  I’ve been drinking and enjoying coffee for a long time now, and with every cup, it seems to get better and better. When I say a long time, I mean since I was about four years old.  I remember seeing my family making and enjoying coffee and little me just knew I needed to be drinking and enjoying it as well.

As a child, juice boxes and animal crackers couldn’t even compare to the smell of coffee.  My family gave in and started making me kid-friendly cups of coffee, meaning it contained more milk and sugar than anything else, and a few drops of coffee— nothing over a teaspoon or tablespoon, for the flavor of course.  I was hooked, and sipping this sophisticated drink with the women of the house made me feel like a queen.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve gradually progressed from a few drops of coffee to the real deal.  And I must confess that in my typical work day at the restaurant,  I can drink anywhere from 2-4 cups, whether it’s plain coffee or some kind of espresso-laced beverage.  One can often find me ordering a red eye (coffee with a shot of espresso) or a chai latte with a shot of espresso (known as a dirty chai lattè).  Trust me; I know that my coffee consumption is borderline crazy.  If I don’t have coffee for whatever unknown reason, sadness, accompanied by a headache begins to take over.  I must admit that it’s comforting that I’m not the only one with this addiction.  The coffee industry is a $20+ billion dollar one. That’s a LOT of caffeine.

You would probably think that coffee would only be used in sweet recipes, but when mixed with other spices, ground and brewed coffee can be used in a variety of ways to add flavor to ingredients such as meat, poultry and sauces.  In honor of Coffee Day, here are 3 chef-inspired recipes using coffee.  The next time the question of what to make for dinner comes up, reach over to that coffee maker and add a jolt of Joe to your dinner table.

Coffee-Spiced Rib Eye Steak


1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup finely-ground espresso
2 tbsp. Spanish paprika
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 bone-in or boneless rib-eye steaks
Canola oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all spices in a medium bowl.

Preheat a cast iron pan over high heat. Brush steaks with canola oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the coffee rub onto 1 side of each steak. Cook the steak, rub side down until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the steak over, cook for 2 minutes and then transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven to your desired internal finish. Remove steaks from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Brown Sugar and Coffee BBQ Sauce


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 3/4 cup white onions, small diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/2 cup. (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp.  ground cumin
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with puree
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee or 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water


In heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil. Sautée onions, garlic, and jalapeño until tender, about 7 minutes. Add brown sugar, chili powder, molasses, cilantro, and cumin and stir until sugar dissolves. Add in crushed tomatoes with puree, broth, and coffee and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered til sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 4 cups, stir often, about 35 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Photo by Greatpatton, via Wikimedia Commons.

Coffee Spice for Burgers


1 tbsp. freshly-ground coffee
2 tsp. (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt


Combine all spices in a bowl and mix evenly. Prepare desired burgers and liberally season with coffee rub. Grill to desired internal finish.

Recipe Adapted from Bon Appétit.

Back to School: Recipe Edition

14 Sep

Back to school time is upon us once again, and here at CookbookCreate.com, we know all too well about trying to get back into the swing of things.  Back to having a schedule, back to homework and group projects, and unfortunately, back to the “Freshman 15.”

Cooking in college can be hard, especially with limited room and no parents or recipes. You have to be creative and use every inch of your dorm and shared space to the best of your ability, all the while cooking a great meal and staying within your budget. Doing so is vital; just ask one of my previous college roommates who made a a full traditional American breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs in our dorm room (with no kitchen).

In her attempt to cure her homesickness, using only our microwave and the bottom of our coffee maker, she had me dreaming of lazy Sunday breakfasts at home. The bacon was microwavable, which was the one shortcut she took. Though I must admit, waking up to the smell of bacon is always a good, even if it is microwaved.  The pancakes and eggs were cooked on the bottom, heated part of the coffee maker.

After the initial shock of waking up to my roommate making pancakes and eggs on our coffee maker wore off, I couldn’t do anything else but laugh as she critiqued the finish product. For future reference, if you don’t have to use the bottom of a coffee maker, simply don’t.

Dorm room cooking is tricky because we often don’t have the right equipment. Here are some recipes that are simple, quick, and perfectly dorm-friendly.  Most importantly, they use limited utensils and  ingredients that are easy to find.  Please don’t tell her, but I wish my roommate had these college friendly recipes back then, instead of just microwavable bacon. I definitely would have eaten better that infamous morning.

The following are 2 super quick and trouble-free recipes—1 that can be made before your first class of the day, and 1 that you can make in the middle of the day, let marinate, and have for dinner after that 3 hour lecture class.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Bananas and Ginger Recipe


1 cup quick cooking oatmeal, preferably steel cut oats
1 banana, sliced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of salt
4 tbsp. milk or cream
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar

Prepare oatmeal as it says on the package or to your liking. While cooking oatmeal, add milk and stir until smooth and creamy. Place hot oatmeal in a bowl and evenly sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Next, layer banana on top, sprinkle with ground ginger.  Lastly, sprinkle banana with very thin layer of salt.

Cauliflower Relish Recipe


1 head of cauliflower, crumbled into tiny pieces
1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tpsb. parsley, washed, dried and chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Removing the inner core and thick stems, crumble fresh cauliflower in a bowl. Add olives, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper and lemon just to your liking.  Allow to sit for a few for the flavors to come together. Spoon over a salad, meat or eat as is.

Cheese Pizza Day

5 Sep

Happy Cheese Pizza Day!

How will you be celebrating—with a traditional cheese pizza recipe, or with your own concoction?

Not feeling creative today?  This cookbook has plenty of ideas.

Buon Appetito!

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