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?
Chili Verde with Cornmeal Dumplings
I’m always looking for “the one.” You know, the one recipe that you can count on time and time again to be a crowd pleaser. Sometimes you’ll send me recipes with in-depth stories about the memories behind the meals, which I love. Sometimes I’ll simply get a recipe saying it’s a family favorite. I’ve come to know that if you believe the dish is good enough to pass along, more than likely it’s a winner, and I’m grateful that its landed in my lucky hands. Now you have another one in the Southwest cuisine category–a fabulously simple, incredibly tasty recipe for New Mexico Chili Verde. There’s a great technique in the recipe that really adds to the flavor of the chile verde, one that I have come to use often in stews and chili’s. It’s flour that you heat up in a dry skillet until it turns light brown and imparts an amazing toasted nut aroma. Get those flour tortillas warmed up and pour yourself a big bowl of New Mexico Chile Verde!
It was on this day, decades ago, that my Momma and I celebrated my birthday in Madrid, Spain.
She took me on a magnificent trip to six European countries on our way to her hometown of Treviso, Italy. It was in Madrid where we both fell in love….with Paella. The place was Restaurante Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world, according the Guinness Book of World Records, and to this day, one of the most charming establishments I’ve ever visited. We bought our Paella pan there and have loved making this authentic Spanish dish ever since. If you’re in the mood to party, a Paella Party (with plenty of Sangria to wash it down!) can be a very tasteful get-together!
GREEK STEW (Manéstra)
What a shame that it only gets attention during Greek festivals! This stew called Manéstra should be enjoyed all year long! Manéstra was entirely new to me. There’s only one word to describe this hearty meal–“Opa!” It’s that lovely Greek word meaning to celebrate with exuberance, but the ingredients and flavors in Manéstra are pure soul-food/comfort food in any nationality. It starts with braised and slow-cooked short ribs that create a fantastic red sauce where you’ll eventually let Orzo pasta soak up all the goodness in the pot! It’s absolutely mouthwatering. For this delectable discovery, I thank popular Valley musicians and recording artists Thano and Demitri Sahnas, known in Arizona as The Sahnas Brothers and Turning Point. Their Mom Kathy Sahnas had a hidden treasure that had been passed down from generation to generation that is so simple and welcoming, I couldn’t wait to dish it up and then get it into your hands! Enjoy the great flavor of this Sahnas family favorite.
Watch my How To Video for Greek Stew here!
GREEK STEW (Manéstra)
My quest for Rescued Recipes this week led me back to my own Italian roots. From my mother, born and raised in Venice, Italy, I learned how to prepare the quintessential one pot Italian wonder, Risotto. If you’re lucky enough to have left-over’s, you might try Arancini, delicious deep fried risotto rice balls with a melted cheese filling, a very popular street food of Sicily where my father’s side of the family is from. So from the canals of Venice to the southernmost “tip of the boot”, Sicily, I hope you enjoy two of my favorite family heirloom recipes that are without question, delicioso!
Watch my How to Video for Risotto here!