Saturday, July 7, 2012

Caponata and Lamb Meat Balls

A perfect summer day for us is one that is spent primarily outdoors, either working in our gardens, or shooting pictures. It definitely isn't a day full of household chores! But girls have to eat, and we like to eat well. So I bite the bullet, and from time to time, make up a bunch of yummy stuff, and then we graze on that for the rest of the week.

And so, recently, I made up some lovely caponata, a cold dish of eggplant, raisens, pine nuts, and capers plus a whole lot more. With some wonderful lamb meatballs, tabouli, hummus, and store-bought nan, we had lunches and dinners for days. And many of theme were taken on the patio, with the flowers and birds as company!


This is recipe started with one by Mario Batalia. Don't be put off by the strange additions of coco and cinnamon. I promise you will like it!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 stalks celery cut into 1/4" cubes (3/4 cups)
1 medium eggplant diced
6 large green olives, chopped. I like the ones with pimento best, but use whatever you like.
9 good black olives -- the oil cured kind - chopped
1 small roasted red pepper chopped. If you used the green olives with pimento, you could probably skip this.
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins reconstituted in 1/4 cup water in the microwave for a minute or two
1/4 cup tomato sauce. I use leftover marinara
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/6 cup balsamic vinegar

Saute the onion, celery, pepper in the olive oil until the onion and celery are soft. Stir in the eggplant and cook for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more vinegar or honey as needed.

Lamb Meatballs

Suddenly Wegmans has been selling ground lamb. I love this recipe because they are baked. I cook them ahead and then heat them up at supper.

1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, Form the meat into small round meatballs. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake them about 45 minutes.

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