David Ross

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  1. I guess I just don't get this whole meal kit thing. One of my former employees asked me about it since she knows I teach cooking classes. She was very enthusiastic about this stuff, and is in fact a fitness instructor. She somehow got herself to the point of thinking this is a new, enlightened way for folks to cook healthy meals at home. I suppose on some levels one could make that argument, but I can't. So how does it save you time if you order a meal kit online and have it delivered a day, or days, later. Why wouldn't you just stop by the local grocery store and pick up the ingredients and have them immediately? But of course, if Martha Stewart tells you it's good, it's good. Everything is portioned out for you and yes, you can cook it, you can cook it. The wise folks above have defined it better than I have. I'm old enough to remember watching the Jetson's cartoons on Saturday mornings and I marveled at the "space-age" cooking conveniences. Maybe the folks that shill these meal kits referred to the Jetson's when they drafted their business plans.
  2. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    I really appreciate your thought process and sharing the steps with us. I've learned a lot from your experience and, as always, our discussions during these Cook-Off's.
  3. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Well, after my depression over the sloppy presentation, (although the flavors were delicious), of the lamb merguez meatballs, I found success with a Japanese-style meatball. In the past year I got hooked on "Dining with the Chef" produced by NHK of Japan. It runs on one of our local PBS Stations and there are countless videos on YouTube. Their website provides lots of recipes with photo instructions. So the morning after the lamb merguez meatballs, I was sulking and then an episode of Dining with the Chef came on and wouldn't you know, they were preparing fried pork meatballs with vegetable tempura. The meatballs are very soft and delicate and so you have to go softly when rolling them in cornstarch and deep-frying. But they are very tender to the bit and have subtle flavors. I served a small dipping bowl of soy sauce, but it's not needed and too salty. Next time I'll just serve the meatballs with a wedge of fresh lemon like they do in the recipe. I don't think I've ever made tempura, which I know takes a lot of practice to get right. But using a boxed tempura flour and following the lead of Dining with the Chef, the tempura came out very good and I liked the sweet flavors of the asparagus and yellow zucchini with the meatballs. Definitely a meatball to add to your recipe collection.
  4. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    Two weeks ago I was doing a private home cooking class teaching folks how to make meatballs and marinara sauce. The host went into her pantry and come out with this bag of beans. She asked me if I had ever heard of Rancho Gordo. What a wonderful moment. She had no clue I was a volunteer staff member at eGullet and didn't know the background of Rancho Gordo. I told her the story and then she asked me if I had ever made cassoulet. Then she asked me to do another private home cooking class on Cassoulet. How lucky can I be? She's ordering more of the cassoulet beans for our class and it will be wonderful to share the story with the other students. I'm getting started on the duck confit for the cassoulet.
  5. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    The Lamb Merguez Meatballs turned out to be delicious, but this photo doesn't do the dish justice. My tastes are typically on the mild side, but this batch could have used some more heat from the harissa and a few more chipotle chilies thrown into the mix. I was impatient at the store and couldn't find pita bread, so went with this flatbread I found. The lettuce was fine, but I also think thinly sliced cabbage with a quick pickle or vinaigrette might work better. It's eaten like a wrap, or imagine stuffed into a pita. So the meatballs are very good, but my presentation this time was meh. Here's the recipes: Cucumber Raita- 2 cups yogurt, (I used plain yogurt as I haven't acquired a taste for Greek yogurt) 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, chopped 1 tsp. cumin seed Juice of one lemon 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 2 tbsp. each chopped mint and basil Salt and black pepper Mix everything together and chill. Harissa- 8-10 dried red chilies, seeds removed (I buy them at the Mexican grocery store and just use whatever I have on hand) 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. caraway seeds 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. smoked paprika Salt and black pepper Reconstitute the dried chilies in boiling water and let sit for about 30 minutes. In a blender, combine the drained chilies, garlic, olive oil and spices and blend to make a paste. (I add some of the chili water to thin the harissa). Lamb Merguez Meatballs- 1 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds 1 pound ground lamb 1/2 pound ground pork 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. harissa 1 chipotle pepper in vinegar sauce 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander 2 tbsp. chopped mint 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro 2 tbsp. chopped basil 2 tsp. lemon zest Salt and black pepper Olive oil Mix together the lamb, pork and all of the spices and seasonings. Form into meatballs. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, then into a 375 oven for about 25 minutes to finish.
  6. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Funny you should post about the meatballer. I was just thinking the other day how my meatballs are more 'rustic' than round. I don't mind, but I'd love to have a tool like this when the more 'round' meatball shape strikes me. I'm finishing up the harissa sauce this morning to blend into my lamb merguez meatballs. I'll serve it with lettuce and cucumber raita, still haven't decided on pita bread or naan.
  7. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    I really like making the roast poblano crema as it takes me out of the realm of my standard salsas.
  8. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    Carne Asada street tacos with pico de gallo and roasted poblano crema. This is one of my favorite meals. This time I chose flat iron steak instead of hangar steak or flap meat. It was actually quite good and very tender. Skirt steak and hangar steak have gotten so popular that it now sells for $10.99 per lb. At least up here in Eastern, WA. The marinade for the meat was charred onion and garlic, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, a little orange juice, salt, pepper, cilantro and some chili powder. I only marinated the steak about 3 hours because I find if it goes longer the lime juice starts to cook the meat, aka ceviche and it turns gray in color. This time of year up here we have to use Roma tomatoes from down South for our pico de gallo. (Actually we don't see home grown tomatoes until late July). In addition to diced onion and cilantro, I add garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper and a bit of chili powder and minced jalapeno. The poblano crema is really delicious. Just broil the poblano to blacken the skin. Let it sit in a paper bag to steam off the skin, then puree with cilantro, charred garlic and onion, minced jalapeno, salt, pepper and Mexican crema. It's the consistency of a thick herb mayonnaise. It's also delicious on both hot grilled chicken and cold chicken.
  9. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Wow that looks delicious. What is the bright red-purple condiment? I'm putting together my shopping list for my lamb merguez meatballs. I've made them for years as a filling for tacos, sort of a North African-Mexican dish I suppose. I'm turning the recipe into meatballs and will probably stuff them inside some type of bread. I like pita bread, but I prefer naan bread so I might see if I can grill the naan and then cut a slit into it for stuffing in the meatballs. I think I'll probably make cucumber raita as a condiment. And by the way your greek salad also looks delicious.
  10. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    That sounds delicious. I always keep tamarind paste on hand. I shocked myself the first time I used the tamarind paste in a Thai-style seafood stew. Way to pungent and sour, but once I played with it and the other sweeter ingredients I'll never do that dish without tamarind. Your dish sounds wonderful.
  11. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    I agree. I can just taste that wonderful sticky sauce.
  12. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Thanks. Pretty fiery hot but the flavors and textures are fantastic. It would surprise a lot of folks up here in Spokane to see something like this on a restaurant menu. We have a few Thai restaurants, but I don't think they are this adventurous. Although there are a lot of ingredients, it's a pretty cheap dish and easy to prepare, just takes time. I did the sauce a day in advance, and made the prawn mixture in the morning and kept it refrigerated until frying.
  13. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    I crafted my version of a Thai green curry a few years back and I normally use it in a dish with grilled whole body prawns. But I wanted to venture beyond my Italian-American meatballs and try Asian style prawn balls. I used a recipe from one of my older Chinese cookbooks, but added some additional ingredients. I minced the prawn meat in the food processor, but only a few pulses because I didn't want to mush it into a paste. I like deep-fried foods really crunchy, so I rolled the prawn balls in panko and deep-fried in canola oil at 350. I don't think my family and friends would like them--the texture, the unfamiliar flavors, the thought of ground prawn meat. Probably not for them but I think you all would enjoy this dish. Funny, but the Thai green curry recipe started a few years back with just using the recipe on the back of the little jar of Thai green curry paste you can buy in all the supermarkets. Then I add all sorts of additional things, notably some hot yellow Thai curry paste, pickled Thai bird chiles, and lots of cilantro, Thai basil and mint. This time it was way too spicy hot for my tastes, but I'm sure many would like it. The garnishes are red pepper threads that I buy at a local Korean grocery store, chopped peanuts and cilantro and lime wedge. Prawn Balls- 1 1/2 lbs. shelled prawns 1/2 tsp. fish sauce 1/2 tsp. soy sauce 1 tsp. minced lime zest 2 tsp. minced ginger 2 tsp. minced garlic 1 tbsp. chopped green onion 1 tsp. Chinese rice wine 1 tsp. minced pickled Thai bird chilies 1 beaten egg white 2 tsp. cornstarch Dash white pepper and salt Panko breadcrumbs Canola Oil Pulse the prawns in a food processor, then add the additional ingredients and pulse just to combine. Refrigerate the prawn ball mixture to chill it, about 4 hours. Heat canola oil in a deep-fryer or deep pot to 350. Form the prawn mixture into meatball shapes and press in panko breadcrumbs. Deep-fry the prawn balls for about 4 minutes until golden brown. I used bamboo skewers for the prawn balls. Thai Green Curry Sauce- 1 tbsp. canola oil 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil 1 tbsp. minced garlic 1 tbsp. minced ginger 1 can coconut milk 3 tbsp. Thai green curry paste 3 tbsp. Thai yellow curry paste 2 tbsp. brown sugar 1 tbsp. fish sauce 1 tsp. minced pickled Thai bird chilies 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice 2 tsp. minced lime zest 1/3 cup chopped cilantro 1/3 cup chopped Thai basil 1/3 cup chopped mint Chopped dry roasted peanuts Red pepper threads Lime wedges Cilantro Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, green and yellow curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, chilies, lime juice and lime zest and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until all the ingredients are combined and sauce is bubbling. Stir in the cilantro, basil and mint. The sauce can be refrigerated and used the next day. I served the sauce cold with the hot, deep-fried prawn balls, garnished with peanuts, red pepper threads, lime and cilantro. I also use this sauce as the base for seafood stews and with grilled prawns.
  14. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Wouldn't you know that right when I wanted to take the photos last night of the prawn balls hot out of the deep-fryer, the camera battery went dead. So photos tonight, but the dish turned out well.
  15. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Well, I've got the dipping sauce finished, and I think I've got the prawn meatball mix about right. I'll be finishing my next dish tomorrow, Deep-fried prawn balls with a Spicy Thai Green Curry dipping sauce. Never made prawn or shrimp balls before, only shrimp toast so this was a new experience. I drew off some of my Chinese cookbooks, and surprisingly, one published in the 70's had the best recipe to start with. I've been making this Thai Green Curry for about 5 years now, and have used it with grilled or stir-fried prawns. Although it got way above my personal heat taste index, I think it will be delicious. Stay tuned for photos tomorrow!