Meatball Masala: An Inspired Post and Recipe

Happy Monday Guys!

Well with this gloomy weather we are having, I figured the easiest way I could warm up your Monday was with a super kick ass recipe!

Speaking of this weather, it’s January but with this rain, fog, misty weather it feels more like April – which I AM complaining about because my hair hates it and it’s confusing my current wardrobe! Luckily, this recipe will keep your core warm because if you’re like me, despite all the layers (in rain or snow) I literally shiver like it’s my job.

Today’s recipe combines two of my favourite cuisines: Italian (obviously, my roots yo!) and Indian. I have always liked Indian food, however it wasn’t until my studies in New York, that I fell in love with the food, the preparation and the flavours. This recipe is dedicated and inspired by one of my culinary teachers and mentors, Chef Richard La Marita, who has a very impressive culinary history. He not only is a master at Italian Cuisine but after working in India he became very fluent with these flavours. It was such a joy learning from him and watching the way he would combine flavours to create really beautiful dishes. In one of our Ayurveda Cook Tech classes, he put a Sicilian flare on Ayurvedic dishes and methods which I thought was totally genius! That class always struck a cord with me, and even to this day, whenever I eat Indian food I always think of ways to collaborate these flavours into other dishes.

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This Meatball Masala is a perfect make ahead recipe, as it reheats really well so you have something nourishing, flavourful, and hearty to enjoy throughout the week which makes your meal prep so much easier. You can serve this with steamed vegetable or a grain of your choice – I personally love a little basmati and steamed green beans with this dish! (Two other things, easy enough to meal prep in large batches). There is no searing in this recipe, so it comes together really quick : form meatballs, cook sauce and toss meatballs in – PRESTO!

MEATBALL MASALA
{Paleo}
Yields: 31 mini meat balls, 8 – 10 Portions

INGREDIENTS
For the Meatballs
2lbs ground beef
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup almond flour
For the Sauce
1 lb 5 oz Eggplant (1 large or 2 small), medium diced and salted **(SEE notes below)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
6 Cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried chili flakes
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
¼ cup minced fresh basil
2 tsp sea salt
1 can tomato paste
1 x28oz can whole tomatoes
1 can coconut milk, full fat
Oregano leaves for topping

*NOTES:
For the salted eggplant: we do this to draw out excess moisture and bitterness. Take the diced eggplant and scatter 1 tsp of salt over top and toss together. Let sit for 15 minutes over a colander. Then use all your days’ stress, and squeeze the water out of the eggplant dices – then you are ready to use!

METHOD

  1. For the Meatballs: Gently mix all the meatball ingredients together, then roll into 31 mini balls – just smaller then a golf ball. Then wrap/cover and place in the fridge until ready to use while you make your sauce.
  2. For the Sauce: You will need a large deep sauté pan (5L), IF your pan is not deep enough, then use a pot for this recipe. Otherwise everything will bubble over after you add in the meatballs.
  3. Bring the pan up to low medium heat and add the olive oil, onions, garlic, spices, herbs and salt, then sweat together until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the squeezed eggplant and tomato paste, using a wooden spoon here, stir everything together and cook for another 5 minutes on low medium heat.
  5. Then add the whole tomatoes and their juices, along with the coconut milk. Using your wooden spoon, roughly break up the tomatoes as you stir through. Add the meatballs, then cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Then remove lid and simmer uncovered for a final 15 minutes.
  7. Serving size: I recommend 3 meatballs per ½ cup sauce, over your favourite steamed veg or if you wish, grain of choice.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe guys, it’s such a favourite of mine!

Have a good Monday, I’ll be back later this week with an oatmeal recipe and sharing my tips, on how I eat this grain and the preparation steps I take to ensure easy digestion

Chef Steph

{Tasty Tuesday} Paleo Creamed Spinach

 

Question: How many of you are done your Christmas shopping? So every year, I’m that person who gets it done by the first week of December. This year, for a reason I still have yet to come up with, I waited to the week of Christmas. Yesterday I ventured out with a very solid plan and detailed list to get everything done. Well, it took 5 hours of: waiting in copious amounts of lines to either enter a store or to pay, running through and over many people, witnessing people loose their children (LIKE WHAT?!), probably loosing 5 lbs of sweat and parking in essentially a new city. It was hell – but it’s done, and I will never make this mistake again. For those of you who enjoy this rush of last minute shopping, good for you but you are crazy – my type A personality can’t handle it!

Luckily I had prepped this recipe, so I came home to solid meal to help revive my spirit a little. Being Italian, we never really grew up with creamed spinach, unless it was spinach and ricotta stuffed into cannelloni pasta. I recently purchased Jamie Oliver’s new Christmas Book – which is an obviously thing for me to do, since I have every other book of his. As I was browsing, his creamed spinach totally intrigued me. I decided it to give it a go but put a little paleo and dairy free spin on it. I loved the result and would make this again, especially for a family function or Christmas Day lunch. It feels really rich and comforting, which is perfect for this snow filled winter we are having. However, the remixed ingredients keep it satisfying and waste friendly! This is also a great make ahead recipe, it can be prepped and assembled the day before and baked off for dinner which is excellent for party planning or hosting a dinner.

I’ve included an option with cheese which I have made also – they are both greatscreen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm, but IF I had to choose, I like the version with cheese better.

OH! Before I get to the recipe guys – remember there is only 4 MORE DAYS to grab our Holiday Ebook filled with perfect party recipes: apps, desserts and cocktails all given a healthful spin!

The book is still available to purchase for only $9.95,  you can have a look at the link below!

https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

I’m super proud of this one, and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Now, for the recipe!

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Paleo Creamed Spinach
Yields 6 – 8 side servings
{Paleo/Diary Free}
– Inspired by Jamie Oliver

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs fresh spinach
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ whole nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut cream
For the Crumble
2 Tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for vegan option)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese)
1 cap pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
½ tsp salt (if you use cheese reduce this to 1/8 tsp of salt )

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×11” baking dish with ghee, coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. Using a deep pot (so all the spinach will fit), heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat and add the minced shallots and garlic, once fragrant add the spinach, oregano and then grate the nutmeg right in.
  3. Cook the spinach until wilted, the spinach will release much water- you want to cook it until the water is cooked out. Finish with a pinch of salt and then set aside off heat.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the ghee, nutritional yeast, pecans, almond flour, and ½ tsp salt until it forms a loose crumble. Then set aside in a separate bowl.
  5. No need to wash the food processor, add all the spinach and the ½ cup coconut cream and pulse together until combined. Don’t turn this into a puree, just pulse a few times to replicate chopped spinach,
  6. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with your crumble. You can either live an edge of the spinach as shown in the picture, or cover the entire top with the crumble.
  7. Place into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. This is delicious both right from the oven and cold.

Note: This makes an amazing addition crumbled into a breakfast frittata, so leftovers are a definite plus in this case!

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I hope you guys enjoy this one, countdown to Christmas is one everyone!

-Chef Steph

{Holiday Special} Clementine Herb Roasted Chicken

Well guys,

It’s that time of year again for ALL things CHRISTMAS – for the record, yes I’m that person who will bust out the Holiday vibes the minute Halloween is over. Call me annoying, call me over the top, call me what you will – but the Holidays are a very special time of year for me and my family and the memories I have with the entire month of December gives me the right to basically be Santa’s little helper.

I’ve been tinkering around in the kitchen a lot lately with many fun new little projects I’m working on, and in the midst of all the testing, I’ve been playing around with festive recipes to share with you here!

At this time of year, I love colour, especially in regards to holiday parties: how you serve your food, the décor, what recipes you create – it’s really a time to go that extra step. My favourite culinary items to use that brighten up dishes (and can even be used as décor) are; pomegranates, clementine’s, fresh herbs, cranberries, fresh currants, pistachios, pumpkin, squash and persimmons.

clementines

Today’s recipe that I’m sharing with you guys is a showstopper for your next holiday party or your next family dinner. It’s also a great “plan ahead” recipe and you can get it done the day before so all you have to do is roast it off the day of. It’s a seasonal way to jazz up your typical roasted chicken dish and create a beautiful presentation.

Plus adding compound butter to any dish, really takes it’s to a new level!

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CLEMENTINE HERB ROASTED CHICKEN WITH FRESH POMEGRANATE
Yields 4-6 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS
For the Compound Butter:
–  2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
– zest of 3 clementine’s
– 6 sage leaves, thinly sliced
– 4 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
– ½ tsp salt
– 6 cracks black pepper
Juice of the 3 clementine
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
1 x 4lb bird
1 clementine quartered
5 sprigs of thyme
1 pomegranate, deseeded

METHOD

  1. For the compound butter: you can place all ingredients in a food processor, and just pulse together to combine ingredients. Or if your butter is soft enough, you can mix it together in a medium sized bowl with a fork. Wrap and leave in the fridge until your ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  3. Toss the sliced onions with the juice of the 3 clementines (use the clementines that were used for the zest) and then place at the bottom of your roasted pan, with any left over juice.
  4. Sprinkle the 1 tsp of salt inside the bird, along with the quartered clementine and thyme sprigs.
  5. Take your compound butter and you want to slip it under the skin, a bit within the cavity and rub all over the outside. Rest the bird on top of the onions, breast side up.
  6. Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes, to check that it’s cooked, push a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh. The juices will run clear when ready.
  7. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before cutting into, allow all the juices to reabsorb and maintain it’s juicy flavour.
  8. To serve, spread all the cooked down onions on a platter, use either tongs or two wooden spoons to lift your chicken out and place on you platter.
  9. Scatter your pomegranate seeds over top your roasted chicken and serve!

NOTE: You can get all ingredients ready in the pan, including the bird a day a head so it’s one less thing you have to worry about the day of your dinner party! Just wrap the roasting pan and refrigerate until ready to be roasted, just pull it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.

I hope you guys enjoy this one, it’s a favourite of mine and I’m happy to share it with you all here!

Let the holiday festivities BEGIN,

– Chef Steph xo

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Avo Mayo BBQ Chicken with Grilled Apricots

Howdy Gang!

So aren’t we all a little happier with this nice weather, epic sun shine and the fact that it’s finally summer .

Let’s be honest, we’re all a little happier because patio season is here and it’s finally appropriate weather to drink sangria. I know I’m not the only one who counts down for Sangria…

Unfortunately this isn’t a sangria post, I do however wish it was – so I’ll make a note to get working on that recipe.

Another highlight of good weather, is being able to bust out the BBQ. I can’t tell you how much I use the BBQ over the summer; it’s always convenient (unless it rains, because mine is not covered), you can literally cook everything on a grill and you get to be outside! Personally it doesn’t get better. At work, I’m in a hot kitchen and don’t get to be outside or even see much sunlight. So on my days off or before/after work, I’ll try to either eat a meal or actually cook outside, I find it so uplifting and energizing. Plus, here in Toronto we are blessed with only 2 -3 promising months of decent weather…..so I’d like to be outside as much as possible.

Summer grilling is clearly off and running over here and today I’m sharing a delicious chicken recipe that is easy enough to make any night of the week and it will appeal to anyone, even the pickiest of eaters!

I paired this chicken with grilled apricots, like I mentioned above: you can literally grill anything! I love grilling fruit: peaches, nectarines, pineapple, mango, grapefruit – you name it, it heightens any simple dish. Plus grilling fruit caramelizes the sugar, which makes it seem like such a treat.

In this recipe, I’m featuring Sir Kensingtons new Avocado Mayo that is the perfect addition to any chicken marinade. I appreciate how clean the ingredients are therefor it has a place in my kitchen.

Avo Mayo chix 2

Summer Grilled Chicken with Apricots
Yields 2 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken:
½ cup Sir Kensington’s Avocado Mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp Sir Kensington’s Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
4 chicken thighs, skin on/bone in
For the Apricots:
5 apricots, halved and pitted
olive oil
salt and pepper
Additions:
Radishes, sliced
Arugula
Lemon Juice

METHOD

  1. For the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk all the marinade ingredients together.
  2. Place chicken in a container and toss in the marinade. Seal with a lid and let marinade overnight (preferably) in the refrigerator.
  3. For the Apricots: When you’re ready to grill, you can start with the apricots.
  4. Toss them with a little olive oil, pinch of salt and black pepper.
  5. Heat your BBQ to medium heat, if you go by temperature – I let mine get to around 350 degrees.
  6. Place the apricots, cut side down and grill for 3 minutes. Then rotate and grill for another 2, so you are left with cross lines. You don’t want over cook them, you still want the apricots to have some bite.
  7. Time for the chicken, pull the chicken out of the fridge at least 15 minutes prior to grilling.
  8. Place your chicken thighs on the hot grill, skin side down for 6 minutes then flip over for another 6 minutes.
  9. Assembly: The chicken and apricots are a great addition to a weeknight meal, so I just kept the rest rather simple. Toss some arugula and raddish slices in lemon juice and place the chicken ad grilled apricots over top.

 

I hope everyone kicks off summer in some way or another, even if it’s just sitting on a patio with some sangria…..and this chicken:)

-Chef Steph