Pomegranate Molasses Hosin Meatballs

These quick easy weeknight meatballs have a few secret pantry items that really make them fabulous.  First, the meatballs are given body and flavored with crispy shallots which can be found in the Asian section of some grocery stores. and second, the pomegranate molasses which gives them a sweet tart flavor boost.  We love them on top of green beans, but buttered rice noodles would be great too.  They would make a dandy hors d’oeuvre as well.

18-20  meatballs

Glaze:

3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon miso paste

Meatballs:

1 pound ground chuck

1/2 cup crispy shallots

1 egg

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
  • Combine the egg, ground chuck and shallots in a large bowl and mix until well combined
  • Using a 1 1/2″ scoop, form the meatballs and place them on the baking sheet
  • Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the meatballs
  • Sprinkle with the sesame seeds
  • Bake for about 13 minutes or until they are browned and cooked through

You will find many ways to use these – they are just shallots and corn oil.

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

img_5331 I think this is the perfect way to start each and every day – It satisfies my sweet tooth and keeps me content until lunch – reminiscent of Carnation Instant Breakfast, but way better.

1 cup whole milk (I use organic lactose-free whole milk, but any non-dairy milk would work as well)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ripe banana

a handful of ice

  • Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender or Vitamix
  • Blend until smooth and the ice is fully crushed
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Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I had the pleasure of hosting my friend Sara’s 7th birthday.  We filled sterling silver candy dishes with sprinkles, Swedish Fish, Sno Caps and Gummy Bears, which the girls created delicious works of art, and yes there is frosting under all that candy.  Sara first thought she wanted vanilla frosting, which I made, but last minute she wanted to mix it up and have chocolate – how could I say no.  My classic buttercream with melted bittersweet turned out so well, I thought it was worth sharing.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 to 5 cups powdered sugar (more if you want a stiffer frosting)

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

  • In a standing mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla – mix until well combined and fluffy
  • Turn the mixer on the lowest setting slowly add the melted chocolate, increase speed and mix until well incorporated
  • Refrigerate until ready to use
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Walnut Lemon Salad Dressing

When I learned this new technique, I knew it needed to be shared. Take a walnut (or pecan) half and rub it on a microplane grater which will produce this fluffy cloud of nut essence and will give the dressing a lovely nut oil flavor.  When the nuts reduce to a size too small to risk injury from the grater, put them aside and those small pieces can be tossed in a pan and toasted in a bit of butter and added to the salad.  There are endless salad combinations with this dressing, below is mine.

1 lemon, zest and the juice (about 1/4 cup)

3/4 cup olive oil

10-12 walnut halves

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

  • Grate the lemon with the microplane, then squeeze the lemon.  Remember it is a 1:3 ratio, so if you have a scant 1/4 cup, go scant 3/4 with the olive oil.
  • Grate the walnut halves on the microplane, save the bits for sautéing in a teaspoon of unsalted  butter for the salad
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well

This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator

My favorite combination with this dressing is the sauted walnuts, spinach, avocado, grated Manchego and diced apples

 

Good cheese is a must for this salad, Cheddar, or Parmesan would work as well

 

 

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Pimento Cheese

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There is something so comforting about having a crock of pimento cheese in my refrigerator.  It’s great for a quick lunch with a few carrots and cucumber sticks or served with toasted French bread and cold beer.  You can go totally decadent and gooey and make a killer grilled cheese.  This version has just a touch of heat from green Tabasco sauce – use a good sharp cheddar cheese, as the ingredients are few in this recipe and quality matters.

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

16 ounce jar roasted peppers, drained (blot dry with a paper towel) and diced

1/2 teaspoon green Tabasco sauce or to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • Combine all of the above ingredients and mix well
  • Store the cheese in the refrigerator, it keeps well for about a week

Add some diced green olives next time, delicious.

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