Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
Zucchini Balls with Dipping Sauce
We are right in the middle of Greek Carnival Season known as Apokries. Greek street foods are, of course, a big part of the celebrations. So this week I wanted to feature one of my favorite Greek appetizers, Kolokithokeftedes. Ok, that may seem Greek to you, but really, they are just delicious deep fried zucchini balls paired here with a fantastic dipping sauce, and pronouncing the word correctly is not part of the recipe, so don’t worry about a thing! (For the record, it’s pronounced Kolo-Keetho- Kef-ted-es.) You’ll love the crunch and the fabulous flavor combination of zucchini, cheese, onion, garlic and a hint of white truffle oil, made even more delicious by dipping them in a zesty red sauce. There’s only one more thing to say about this delightful Mediterranean treat, “Nostimótatos!” ( Delicious!)
Holiday Brioche Rolls
Beautiful Brioche. With its irresistible buttery, light and tender crumb, Brioche has holiday written all over it. Breakfast, lunch or dinner always seems a bit more special when rich and slightly sweet bread is served. If you have time to bake this holiday season, give these no knead beauties a try. If not, save the recipe for a rainy day and then serve it up with rich, hot cup of cappuccino!
Ham, Gruyère and Spinach Bread Pudding
If you think that bread pudding is just a dessert, I’m about to change your mind in a delicious and surprising way. Imagine a savory soufflé-like bread pudding with a good quality ham (smoked is delightful), the sweet and slightly salty flavor of Gruyère cheese, fresh sautéed spinach and roasted red peppers all baked to perfection. This dish is so appetizing and versatile it can be enjoyed as a main meal or sliced in wedges for the perfect holiday party appetizer. Where did I find this sumptuous selection? In the Sing For Your Supper Cookbook compiled by the Sounds of the Southwest Singers. This 85-plus member non-profit volunteer choir has been singing in the Valley since 2010, performing a variety of music in concerts throughout the year. Members have sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, and by the recipes in this cookbook, it’s apparent that this group can cook as well as they can sing! Make this dish and you’ll be singing for your supper too!
Whipped Coffee and Coffee Cake
As TIKTOK goes, so does the youth of the world. The short, often dazzling video clips have hooked us on everything from dare-devil stunts to over the top recipes. As a recipe creator, I’ll admit I’ve been hooked and reeled in a number of times, and I’ve learned the hard way that many TIKTOK food videos are fabulous eye-candy, but lacking in accurate ingredients or technique. Not so with DALGONA, the newest TIKTOK trend. It’s whipped coffee that, with only 3 ingredients, makes the most delightfully luxurious, frothy caffeinated foam! The word Dalgona comes from the Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda. Whipped Coffee has the same caramel color with a powerful hit of coffee flavor. It’s so fun and easy to blend up, and my advice is to start with a delicious instant coffee or espresso. The better the coffee, the better the Dalgona. Also, this method works beautifully with sugar substitutes like Monkfruit and Allulose. It’s delicious over iced coffee, milk or a hot cup of Joe. I was thinking that you’ve gotta have a great coffee cake recipe to go with your Dalgona. Enjoy both!
It’s people like Chef Lisa Brisch that makes me a better recipe writer, cooking instructor and just a better cook, period. Lisa is one of the instructors that I work with at Sweet Basil Gourmetware and Cooking School in Scottsdale. Right before Easter this year, I happened to be setting up for my class when hers was finishing up. She had prepared something I had never heard of; a Carrot Soufflé. The minute I tasted it, I immediately decided to add it to my Easter Brunch line up. Let me tell you the ending to this story. I could’ve easily dropped all of my other entrees and sides and just made 8 casseroles of Carrot Soufflé because my family literally drew straws to see who would take home the leftovers. Unfortunately, there were none. They practically fought over who would get the last morsel of this unbelievable side. Even if you think you’re not crazy for carrots, this dish goes beyond flavors you can imagine, and it’s as light and billowy as it gets. So, Lisa, I hope you don’t mind, but I want the world to taste this delicious treasure, because recipes like this are just too good to enjoy once a year for an Easter buffet. Just a word of warning. Have plenty of copies of the recipe handy. Your dinner guests won’t even finish the first bite without asking for it. Check out some of Lisa’s classes at www.sweetbasilgourmet.com.