The Fall Frenzy is in full swing, so it's a good time to share delicious recipes that aren't too complicated and handy cooking hacks, new ways to use what's in your pantry. I've always kept versatility in mind when choosing products from our Artisans to bring to the States, since I suspect we're all looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, no matter if you're in your 20s like my kids or in your 50s like me.
Of course, looking for shortcuts doesn't mean you can't still have fun playing in the kitchen! I love to create new dishes with whatever I have to happen on hand, to try new things. I do get bored making the same thing over and over (even though, as I've written before in this blog, my youngest son always asks me to make his favorites in exactly the same way, time and time again, which I just can't do!).
That love for both playing around and a good shortcut is exactly why I've enjoyed Sparoza's Greek Cuisine Classics. Not only are the tubs are conveniently stackable, with an eye-catching design (read about Xenia & Nikos, who are behind these fun packs), they're also more versatile than you might think. Many people are sprinkling the Greek Farmer's Salad Mix on their tomatoes & cucumbers, and even on their lettuce salads, but have you tried them in meatballs?! Like most Greeks, I grew up with keftedákia, aka meatballs, since they're so much a part of everyday life: taverna dinners, family meals, and classic part of school field trip lunches. Keftedákia are seasoned mainly with dried oregano, salt and pepper, but I just loved the smell of the Greek Farmer's Salad mix and thought I'd try them in my meatballs. The result was such a nice change from my usual recipe - more flavorful and wonderfully aromatic, and like all good Greek dishes, the meatballs were even more flavorful the next day.
Give the recipe a try this weekend and think about doubling the batch if you've got a hungry crowd to feed. You can always freeze the leftover meatballs or simmer them in your favorite Elli & Manos tomato-based Greek Flavor Burst ...but that's a hack for another blog!
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
1 small onion, grated
1 clove garlic. grated
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Mix everything together in a large bowl and knead with your hand to blend the ingredients well and until you have a homogenous mixture. You may need a bit more water depending on the breadcrumbs - your mix shouldn't be too dry or stiff, but you don't want it wet either. Put the bowl in the fridge for an hour. (this is a good time to make a fresh green salad or a light dessert, like my Yogurt-Gelatin Citrus Parfait!).
After your mix is chilled, shape your meatballs - use a teaspoon to scoop out the mix and roll them in your hands. Put them on a paper towel or cookie sheet until you're ready to cook them all.
The traditional Greek way of cooking keftedákia is to fry them in olive oil. In a deep skillet, pour enough olive oil to cover the surface of the pan about 1/4" deep, and heat to medium-high. Some people like to flour the meatballs first to give them an extra crunch. Either way, place them carefully in the hot oil and let them cook for about 4-6 minutes before turning them to cook evenly for another few minutes. Take them out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper-towel lined dish.
A lighter way of cooking meatballs, which I prefer since I'm not a fan of fried foods, is to place the meatballs on a baking dish and bake at 300F for 45-60 minutes.
Whether you bake or fry, definitely try adding a squeeze of lemon on top of the meatballs before you serve them (Greeks just love their lemons!) - enjoy and let us know how it goes!
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