Lamb Keftedes

A traditional Greek offering of local, pastured lamb, toasted spices and fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and extra-virgin olive oil..

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Lamb Keftedes

Makes about 8-10 Meatballs (adapted from a recipe by Michael Symon)

1/4 cup white onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup day-old bread, torn into cubes
1/4 cup fresh, whole milk
1/2 pound freshly-ground lamb, 75% lean
1 pastured egg
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon nibs
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
sprouted wheat flour for dusting
clarified butter
fresh oregano, torn
fresh mint, torn
1 fresh lemon

Toast the cinnamon, cumin and coriander in a dry skillet until fragrant, then set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt in a little clarified butter over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic  and cook until softened, about another 2 minutes. Set aside.

Soak the bread in the milk.

Grind the toasted spices and cinnamon together in a mortar, then combine with the black pepper and nutmeg.

In a mixing bowl, combine the onions, garlic and lamb.  Squeeze out the bread and add to the lamb along with the spices, pepper and torn oregano.  Mix everything together by hand.

Form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized balls then roll in the flour, gently shaking off any excess.

Heat clarified butter in a heavy pan over medium heat, then add the meatballs to the pan.  Pan-fry until golden brown and crusty on the outside, then drain briefly on paper towels.

Arrange the meatballs on a plate, drizzle with olive oil then season with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Garnish with lemon zest and oregano and serve with olives and lemon wedges.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday!

Elderberry Syrup

“European elder is a plant native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western-and Central Asia. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavor and color to other wines. Native Americans used the flowers, berries, and bark of elderberry trees to treat fevers and joint pain for hundreds of years, but elderberry’s real claim to fame is as a cure for the flu. Israeli researchers have developed five formulas based on elderberry fruit that have been clinically proven to prevent and ameliorate all kinds of influenza.”  –Mountain Rose Herbs

“This syrup is especially helpful for those with colds or flu. The elderberry will assist with the healing while the added cinnamon, ginger and cloves will help the syrup to be warming and the honey adds an antibiotic and quality while also making the syrup soothing for sore throats and coughs. Take 1 tablespoon per hour during illness.  Elderberry syrup is also a wonderful preventative so you can take a few tablespoons of this syrup each day during cold and flu season to help avoid getting sick. Better yet, pour it over your pancakes and benefit from it’s health promoting properties while enjoying this special breakfast treat!”  –HerbMentor

1/4 pound dried organic elderberries (Sambucus nigra)
5 cloves
1  cinnamon stick
1 heaping tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups filtered water
1 cup raw honey

Combine all ingredients except honey in a small pot.  Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer until the liquid has reduced in volume by half, about 25 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then stir in honey.  Transfer to a sterile jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Take up to 1 tablespoon per hour during illness or up to 3 tablespoons per day during cold and flu season to help avoid getting sick.

This post is part of The Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays

For educational purposes only.  This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Bengal Lentils with Pea Shoots and Wild Pomegranate

A traditional, healing dish of sprouted lentils in a spicy, savory tomato sauce with toasted whole spices, onions, peppers, pea shoots and wild pomegranate seeds.

Bengal Lentils with Pea Shoots and Wild Pomegranate

Bengal Lentils with Pea Shoots and Wild Pomegranate Seeds

Sauté whole hulled cardamom, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, bay leaf and true cinnamon in ghee or clarified until fragrant and the seeds begin to “pop” in the in pan.

Add diced white onion, peppers and plum tomatoes and cook, stirring continuously until the oil separates, about 5 minutes.

Add turmeric, paprika, black pepper, freshly-grated ginger and wild pomegranate seeds and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add raw, sprouted lentils, pea shoots and chopped cilantro and stir to combine.

Note: if feeding a crowd, you could easily extend this dish with simmered chickpeas

Serve over aged basmati rice or with naan if desired.

This post is part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet


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Wild pomegranate seeds are sometimes used as a spice known as anardana (which literally means pomegranate (anar) seeds (dana) in Persian), most notably in Indian and Pakistani cuisine but also as a replacement for pomegranate syrup in Middle Eastern cuisine. As a result of this, the dried whole seeds can often be obtained in ethnic Indian Sub-continent markets. The seeds are separated from the flesh, dried for 10–15 days and used as an acidic agent for chutney and curry production. Seeds may also be ground in order to avoid becoming stuck in teeth when eating dishes containing them. Seeds of the wild pomegranate daru from the Himalayas are regarded as quality sources for this spice.

Mango Mole (Sauce)

Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine (via Edible Therapy), this complex sauce is fantastic with pickled red onions and grilled pork chops..

Making Mango Mole

Making Mango Mole

2 tablespoons leaf lard or other fat
1 large plantain, sliced
1 cup fresh diced mango
2 large dried Guajillo or Ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
1/2 cup chopped white onion
12 whole raw almonds
1 tablespoon homemade chili base
2 tablespoons shelled peanuts
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 small bay leaf
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
1 teaspoon true cinnamon shards
2 cups homemade chicken stock, more or less
1 small piece Mexican chocolate

Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add plantains, chili base and everything else except stock and chocolate.  Sauté until plantain is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock.  Reduce heat and simmer until chilies are tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree sauce in blender then return to skillet.

Add chocolate and stir until incorporated.  Thin with reserved stock if necessary, then season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.


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Horchata

Horchata is a traditional agua fresca commonly served in Spain, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.  Depending on the region, it may be made with sesame seeds, rice, tigernuts, barley, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar..

Horchata

Horchata

1/2 cup aged basmati
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 inches Ceylon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup fresh whole milk, more or less
non-refined sugar to taste

Pulverize dry rice in a blender or food processor and transfer to a glass bowl.  Add almonds and cinnamon then pour boiling water over the top.  Cover and allow to stand overnight.

Transfer soaked rice, almonds and cinnamon to a blender and blend for 3 minutes.  Strain mixture into a clean container, thin with milk and sweeten to taste.

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