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Food Poetry Poetry

“On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch” by Rachel Wetzsteon and Sesame Crackers with Smoked Salmon and Chive Crème Fraiche

It’s not often that I find a blog or a person with whom I share many affinities. Food alone, yes, I’m pretty confident in my confidantes who weekly write to their newest food obsessions. Poetry is a bit harder to come by as most poets keep their work private until the hatching time of publication. Nicole Gulotta of Eat This Poem came to my attention through a friend and as I read her insightful deconstructions of poems that then inspired recipes, I found myself taken in by her sensibility. Then, I discovered we both share a passion for changing the food system and doing good with food through her other blog, The Giving Table. Naturally, we found ourselves in a bit of a good predicament and rather than start a mutual admiration society, decided we would make the last week in February fresh with guest posts. Today, she she shares her thoughts on breakfast and a reading of Rachel Wetzsteon’s “On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch,” just before delving into a recipe for Sesame Crackers with Smoked Salmon and Chive Crème Fraiche. I think you’ll find both winsome. Perhaps it’s best to enjoy with a mimosa.

Sesame Crackers with Smoked Salmon Chive Creme Fraiche Nicole Gulotta

Breakfast is a meal I’m quite particular about. I’m not keen on bacon and sausage early in the morning, nor do I enjoy rising early on Saturday to leave the house in order to have my first meal. Unless I’m traveling and decide to make an effort to avoid the overpriced room service menu, I believe breakfast is a meal for the interior and best enjoyed within the four walls I call home.

Brunch—a meal usually beginning at a more civilized hour—I’ll happily get dressed for. I’ll sip a mimosa, and even eat something savory on occasion. It’s certainly a meal worth savoring, which is why it’s often the backdrop for social affairs such as a baby shower, catching up with friends, or in the case of this poem, a morning spent with bridesmaids.

 

On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch
By Rachel Wetzsteon

Because I gazed out the window at birds

doing backflips when the subject turned

to diamonds, because my eyes glazed over

with the slightly sleepy sheen your cake will wear,
never let it be said that I’d rather be

firing arrows at heart-shaped dartboards

or in a cave composing polyglot puns.

I crave, I long for transforming love
as surely as leaves need water and mouths seek bread.

But I also fear the colder changes

that lie in wait and threaten to turn

moons of honey to pools of molasses,
broad front porches to narrow back gardens,

and tight rings of friendship to flimsy things

that break when a gold band brightly implies

Leave early, go home, become one with the one
the world has told you to tend and treasure

above all others. You love, and that’s good;

you are loved, that’s superb; you will vanish

and reap some happy rewards. But look at the birds.

_______________
“On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch” from Sakura Park by Rachel Wetzsteon. Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Wetzsteon. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books, Inc., New York. No part of this poem may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system without prior permission, in writing, from the publisher. All rights reserved.

 

This poem is a meditation on friendship and its many layers. Life events—like getting married or having children—while joyful occasions, can often strain relationships. I can’t help but feel the speaker harbors a bit of fear that the friendship presented here will change now that a wedding is imminent. The speaker craves “transforming love as surely as leaves need water and mouths seek bread,” (let’s pause for a moment to take in the beauty of that line), but in the same breath she also fears “the colder changes that lie in wait.” It’s as if she’s sitting up straight at the table, gazing out the window, already mourning the loss of her friendship to melting “pools of molasses.”

It’s a dreary morning indeed, but there’s also some hope to be had. Wetzsteon does not imply that her friend should avoid marriage. Instead, she offers this wisdom: “Leave early, go home, become one with the one the world has told you to tend and treasure. The poem closes with a gentle reminder to “look at the birds.” It’s a call to observe, be present, and not neglect the relationships around you. Don’t forget the rest of us, she quietly says.

While envisioning the scene of this poem play out, my mind turned to the usual fare of quiche, scones, and fruit. For brunch, I enjoy offerings that are elegant and understated, and it’s particularly wonderful when a dish appears to have taken more time to create than it actually did, so this recipe will be our little secret. I recently made this appetizer for two occasions. First, New Year’s Eve dinner with my husband, and second, for an office baby shower I threw for a friend. The crackers are a perfect bite, easy to eat and prepare in advance, and they look darling on the platter all dressed up with salmon and a dollop of chive crème fraiche. If serving all the crackers at once, you’ll want about 4 ounces of smoked salmon.
Sesame Crackers with Smoked Salmon and Chive Creme Fraiche Nicole Gulotta

 

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SESAME CRACKERS WITH SMOKED SALMON AND CHIVE CRÈME FRAICHE 

Sesame Crackers
I had bookmarked these crackers from The New York Times for a rainy day. You can easily make them in advance and store in an airtight container at room temperature. The original recipe calls for whole-wheat flour only, but I modified that slightly.

YIELD: Makes about 80 1-inch crackers

¾ cup whole-wheat flour

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup toasted sesame seeds

½ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons sesame oil

4 to 5 tablespoons water, or as needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine the flour, sesame seeds, salt, and pulse to combine. Add the sesame oil and run the machine until the dough is crumbly. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, adding just enough until the dough forms a ball.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough in four sections between. Cut into 1-inch circles with a cookie-cutter (or any desired shape), and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.

 

Chive Crème Fraiche

8 ounces crème fraiche

¼ cup minced chives

Salt

Pepper

In a small bowl, mix the crème fraiche, chives, and season to taste with salt and pepper. You’ll want to use a lot of chives here. They really add a wonderful flavor and the flecks of green play nicely against the pink salmon.

When you’re ready to assemble, place a small piece of smoked salmon onto each cracker, then pipe a dollop of crème fraiche on top using a pastry bag. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can also use two small spoons; this method will take a bit more concentration.

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Nicole Gulotta
About Nicole Gulotta
Nicole Gulotta is a grantmaker by day and gourmet home cook by night. She pens the literary food blog Eat This Poem, and founded The Giving Table, a website that helps people change the food system through personal philanthropy. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Categories
Recipes

Squash Blossom Poppers

squash-blossom-poppers

Social media advertising can be intrusive- the amount of information that lovely facebook social graph knows about you or the eerily right-on ads gmail users see in their inbox can make even the best of us think of big brother as more technological than governmental. One evening, perusing facebook, an ad of less than 25 characters stood out. I learned that Tears for Fears would be performing in San Francisco.

Stop the presses. Stop the clocks. Let all life cease for one single exhilarating moment as we collectively breathe in this fortuitous news.

To say excitement coursed through my veins giving the blood a run for its money would be an understatement. Right then and there, I declared that my birthday extravaganza would start early. Very early. We scheduled an alarm to sound 10 minutes before the concert tickets went on sale and waited.

It all started back in the tender and oh-so awkward days of junior high. Let’s just say I came into my own at a young age and keep it at that. My friend Erika happened to be quite ahead of her time musically. From her, I would hear of Jeff Buckley, the Smiths, the Cure and Morrissey. My tastes veered more toward mainstream pop music. I can’t credit her with my Tears for Fears introduction, but as a crucial part of my musical coming of age story, she factors in. What Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears was to me, Morrissey was to her.

Perhaps my youthful crush started from a shared appreciation of Roland’s curly coif and my ever-expanding mushroom cloud of hair. It might have been his passionate vocals or the catchiness of the songs. They certainly reigned as my favorite band of the 80s and made the transition with me into the 90s. It’s rare to consider an album perfect, but “Sowing the Seeds of Love” sits in my top five albums of all times. The placement of the songs, their transitions, the caliber of the lyrics and the powerful vocals augmented with featured singer Oleta Adams make this one of my go-to albums.

Several years ago, I lucked out when Alice 97.3’s Now and Zen concert lined up Tears for Fears for their annual free concert in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow. Katy and I set out early to stake out our seats for the concert and wouldn’t you know the headliner, Morrissey, canceled at the last minute with Tears for Fears stepping into mainlining the show. Roland and Curt’s voices were well preserved and captivated the audience. Their short set of songs kept me on cloud nine for days.

Last Thursday evening, Beck and I met up at the concert venue. I had declared that day a marathon listen-a-thon of favorite TFF songs to ready me for the concert. I felt like I might jump out of my skin in anticipation. We found our way to our seats in the balcony and settled in, beckoning the beginning of the night’s festivities. Then, after the roadies set up Roland’s cherry Strat and a hollow body Gibson and then the lead guitarist Telecaster and Sunburst Les Paul guitars. Beck described the sounds and effects achieved by each guitar as the intermission ended. The lights dimmed and in the cover of darkness, I recognized a head of curly shoulder length hair and along with the crowd began screaming. In an instant, all that wonderful junior high awkwardness and bravado returned as I embraced my inner super-fan with open arms.

Beck found a spot in an empty row behind ours where we promptly moved so we could dance as they rocked out. We shimmied. We sang along at full octave. We beat the air with imaginary drumsticks. We even snuck in a slow dance during one of their ballads. Everybody Wants to Rule the World gave way later to Mad World to Advice for the Young at Heart and Head Over Heels. A roar rose from the crowd as Pale Shelter and the strains of Change began. I became ecstatic to hear Badman’s Song performed, later surprised to hear them perform Woman in Chains, and lamenting the absence of Oleta Adams’ vocals to carry her signature song. When the concert end came near, they cleverly omitted the lyrics “Time Flies” and instead exited the stage. Their fans- other super-fans like me knew better. We finished the show in a giant Shout anthem.

Out, we stepped, into the fog-riddled late evening Nob Hill air and quickly made our way to the bus stop. While we waited, we conversed with two other concert-goers and swapped notes on missing Oleta, and the greatness of the Santa Barbara concert of 1995. Ah, it was a good evening that bled into the next day for another listen-a-thon.

My joy at finding something cherished from the past, here in the present, reminds me to hold onto the good things when they come. The retro can find relevance in today. Take jalapeno poppers. These deep-fried breaded zingers of melty cheese as small riffs on chiles rellenos evoke a certain decadence of the 80s with its crimped hair, bubble skirts and jelly bracelets. I wondered what it might look like to take the zing, creaminess and crunch of the jalapeno poppers and make them better. We tried them fried using regular beer and AP-flour and then settled on a baked version that uses an Ancient Grains flour mix of millet, sorghum, and amaranth with a gluten free Blonde beer. This combination lets you taste the subtle sweetness of the beer, grains and blossoms with the zip of a green chile and jalapeno-infused Chevre.

squash-blossom-poppers

 

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SQUASH BLOSSOM POPPERS

Adapted from the Fried Stuffed Squash Blossoms recipe by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos Cooking Channel

GLUTEN FREE ADAPTATION-I made a batch using the original recipe and adapted it as follows. In my revisions, I undertook the challenge to make these gluten free. If you opt to go gluten free, aim for a pretty flavor neutral flour like an organic brown rice flour or the Ancient Grains flour blend I used below that’s a blend of amaranth, millet, sorghum and quinoa that I picked up during a recent foray at King Arthur Flour. When selecting a beer, go for a blonde like Green’s.

MAKE YOUR OWN GREEN CHILE CHEVRE- Also if you can’t find a Green Chile Chevre at the grocery store, make your own. Mince ½ a jalapeno, then open, drain, dry and mince 1 tablespoon of green chiles (small can of green chiles). With a fork, incorporate them into the goat cheese. Refrigerate so the cheese sets until ready to use.

MAKE THEM FRIED & NON-GLUTEN FREE- You can certainly use A-P flour and a regular beer like Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock. Lastly, if you choose to fry them instead of baking them, use a high heat oil like peanut oil and set over medium high heat. Keep each popper in the oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning at 1 minute.

FREEZE & REHEAT- You can freeze the poppers in a sealed container. To reheat them in a toaster oven, set the temperature at 350 F and bake for 10 minutes.

YIELD: 16 poppers

1 ½ cup gluten free blonde beer

1 ½ cup Ancient Grains flour blend

16 squash blossoms

4 oz. Green Chile Chevre

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and beer. Set aside.

3. Make a slit in the side of one of the squash blossoms near one of the green “seams” and you will find it’s easier to carefully nudge the paring knife along that line to make an opening about ½ inch or 1 inch long.

4. Put your fingers into the middle of the blossom and carefully remove the stamen. You might get pollen on your fingers removing it, so take note and tug underneath the stamen to pull it out, wiping your fingers on the damp paper cloth to keep them clean.

5. With a small flat spoon, scoop in about 1 teaspoon of green chile chevre into the center of the blossom. You can use the petal to the left of where you’re spooning in the chevre to slide the rest of the chevre into the middle of the blossom. Then fold that petal over the chevre and then bring the petals together to twist from the top to seal the chevre inside the blossom.  Keep stuffing and set aside until all blossoms are filled.

6. Dip each squash blossom into the beer batter up to the stem. Place the squash blossom popper onto the parchment paper with about ½ inch between each. Once you’ve placed all the poppers onto the parchment paper and with your kitchen scissors, snip off the stem of each popper.

7. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Categories
Recipes

Fresh Fennel Lychee Spring Rolls with Black Tea Dipping Sauce

VEGETARIAN RECIPES- Fresh-Fennel-Lychee-Spring-Rolls-with-Black-Tea-Dipping-Sauce_IMG7743

We stop to smell the roses. We stop to find their petals caress our fingertips, soft as rustling silk. We find their sweet aroma lingers into the rest of our day, its faint residue a recollection of gathering the mind swell of remembering we are part of life once.

Travel can be such a disjointed event, as if excising a limb from the rest of the body. Apart from the central nervous system, the phantom limb pains come in as text messages from the body of I miss you. Come home soon. With it comes the setting off to explore and entrench oneself deeply into the alien environs even if there is a modicum of familiarity in the place being visited. The adage, “You can never go home again” bodes true. Regardless of how deeply ingrained a place is with your spirit, something about you has changed since you last visited and the same is true of the place. Perhaps it’s the old house knocked down to build a McMansion or the discovery of a second bakery opened up in the quaint small town.

Life does not stop as we move forward by plane, train or automobile. People still get married and people still die. We are just out of pocket to respond accordingly.

Recently, I traveled for a wedding and found myself consoling the bride in her dressing room. Her hair piled high and her face made up, she fanned her eyes to try to avoid letting tears that tugged at the corners from making their imprint in mascara. Some things you can talk away and others assert themselves as unexpected guests that you can’t politely escort out. We sat there in the bridal dressing room with me trying to make the bride laugh, using my recent comical comings and goings as fodder. I succeeded once, but what transpired is not something easily passed off.

On the day of the wedding, a day several years previous that the father of the bride had passed away from cancer, the mother of the groom did not wake up but was instead non-responsive and rushed to the hospital, in the midst of her own battle with cancer. The classical guitarist charged through his set of music and repeated the set as the wedding was delayed and inevitably started without the groom’s parents present. We hold the bitter and the sweet enough to understand that’s why we’ve been given two hands. Ultimately, the joy of two families forging as one played itself out. The mother and father of the groom arrived at the end of the reception, their presence such a sweet gift and a reminder that like the bubbles we blew as the couple departed, our lives are iridescent and infinitely fragile.

Another trip followed. This time a phone call pulled me from the reverie of being ensconced in the small town where I ventured for a self-imposed writing retreat. After the usual cavalcade of conversation, we arrived at the gist of the phone call, the death of our friend and landlord. Just a week prior, he had been brought home with his living room outfitted to accommodate his hospital bed. I had barged into the room to usher in our eagerness to have him back and to give him a box of cereal. As my eyes took in the situation and the whiteboard with the words “difficulty swallowing” scrawled by black dry erase marker, the cereal box felt superfluous and I stood there trying to cheer the man whose blue eyes used to dance with the playfulness of a vibrant zest for life but now appeared lackluster. “See, I’m not teasing her,” he said as he proceeded to tell me how I looked more svelte. Ever the generous bighearted fellow, he tried to pull himself from the bed to sit on the couch, wanting to properly spend time with his guest. We each acknowledged this misstep with “maybe later in the week” and my reclamation of the cereal box for a promise to make something “ridiculously good- a pureed soup!” He smiled at me and I told him I would come visit again in a few days.

We see what we want to see.

While his stalwart spirit had diminished and he appeared shrunken, I let myself believe he would be on the mend as he had been countless times before and that soon, we would hear him hollering through the floorboards when the Glasgow Celtics scored a goal or singing a song in his assured tenor. Sometimes what is required is bending to what must be, and finding the grace to let what will be begin its unfolding. The news on this telephone call with me as far from home as I could be without leaving the United States left me feeling distant and trying to process this new fact and that I would miss the memorial service. That his hand was held by his life partner in his final moments – that he rested comfortably as his spirit departed from his body makes the finality of his passing bearable and gives levity to something so somber.

During that stint on the East Coast, I talked with a fellow writer about how the seasons evoke themselves into friendships. Where one friendship may be in its peak of summer, another settles into autumn or winter. I have stopped fighting this natural progression. Call it a Darwinist evolution of living that as we change and others change, paths will diverge. Just as the bride and I have held our friendship since our mothers’ meeting in lamaze class, so too the landlord and I find our friendship pinned to the memories of recollection, a flower pressed in between pages of a favorite book.

How sweet and rare are the friendships of kindred spirits who have moved far away and upon meeting up again, things resume as they once were. These are valuable gifts. 

In spite of what is happening around us, people still get married and people still die. In this truth lies the wisdom to celebrate the moments and opportunities as they come- to smell the roses and let their lingering aroma envelop us with sweetness.

Fresh Fennel-Lychee-Spring-Rolls-with-Black-Tea-Dipping-Sauce

 

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FRESH FENNEL LYCHEE SPRING ROLLS WITH BLACK TEA DIPPING SAUCE 

YIELD: Makes 20 spring rolls

My friend Pamela taught me how to make spring rolls years ago when she lived in the Mission district and we would get together weekly for dinner and conversation. I look back on those times with the fondness of creating community and a long-lasting friendship. This past weekend with a birthday party potluck in store, I found myself thinking of Pam and her Mango Spring Rolls. Given that the birthday girl has a bit of an adventurous foodie flair, I thought she wouldn’t mind this revision as our potluck dish, even as I gifted her with Dark Chocolate Campari caramels and two books of poetry- one by Kaminsky and another by Prado. Indeed, the spring rolls brought a bit of  surprise by lychee that makes them a tasteful and refreshing dish for summer potlucks or parties. You’ll find the black tea brings a bit of astringency to this dipping sauce that complements rather than masking the subtle flavors of lychee and fennel.

SPRING ROLLS
20 fresh lychees

½ fennel bulb

½ cup fresh mint leaves

3 ½ ounce rice noodles

20 rice paper wrappers

 

DIPPING SAUCE
1 tablespoon English Breakfast black tea

1 cup water

1 teaspoon sambal oelek (chili paste)

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 ½ tablespoon raw honey

 

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Turn heat off and add in the rice noodles to soak for 10 minutes. Assemble your mise en place (“putting in place” all the bowls of fillings) while the rice noodles soak.
  2. Peel skins off of lychees. Then peel the lychee off of the nut in quarters. Set aside in a small bowl. Cut the fronds off of the fennel bulb and then cut the bulb in half. Then cut into thin matchstick slices and set them aside in a bowl. Pull fresh mint leaves off of the stem and place them in a small bowl.
  3. Drain the rice noodles and then run cold water over them until cool. Set aside to drain the water from the noodles. Fill a pie plate or medium sized pan with warm water (whatever will fit the diameter of the rice paper wrapper). Position a dry cutting board next to the pie plate and you’re ready to go.
  4. Dunk one of the rice paper wrappers into the pie plate until submerged under the water and soft (between 10-15 seconds- you can tell when the rice paper goes from feeling inert to pliable). Remove the rice paper from the water and place on your cutting mat. Once you’ve gotten the rhythm of filling the rolls, put a new rice paper wrapper into the water as you’re filling the ready-to-go wrapper.
  5. Place a few pieces of fennel sticks in the middle of the rice paper (about 2 large ones and 2-3 small pieces). On top of that, add a pinch of rice noodles (eyeball it at about 1 tablespoon) and make sure they’re nice and snug in that middle section. Place 4 quarters of lychee over the noodles lined up like a marching band. Then place one large mint leaf or two smaller ones atop. Next, sprinkle on a smidge of green onion.
  6. Now that you’re ready to wrap, take the top section of the rice paper and fold it down. Take the bottom section of the rice paper and fold up. Pull the left side of the rice paper wrapper and fold it in tightly. Then flip and roll the rice paper wrapper toward the open right side until the roll is sealed. Place in a large casserole dish, butted up against one another. Keep rolling until you’ve exhausted your ingredients.
  7. Make your dipping sauce by setting the water to boil over medium high flame. Once the water is boiling, add in the tea leaves and turn the flame down to medium. Steep tea leaves for four minutes. Turn off heat and strain tea from the tea leaves. Set aside. In a small bowl (or pint sized mason jar), add rice vinegar, honey, sambal oelek and minced garlic, whisking together. Add in two tablespoons of the brewed black tea and whisk until combined. (You can add more to taste).

 

NOTE: If you struggle with the rolling technique, it should become easier as you do it. My first rolls always seem to be a practice run and opportunity for a teaser taste test.

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Categories
Recipes

Blackberry Sage Glazed Meatballs

APPETIZER RECIPES- Blackberry Sage Glazed Meatballs

The lovely folks at Driscoll’s sent over some blackberries for me to play with in my kitchen. While their original invitation involved dessert and treats, I kept imagining the winsome combination of blackberry and sage having their way with meatballs. Cocktail meatballs are noted in the annals of party hors d’oeuvres and involve grape jam, so the idea wasn’t entirely farfetched. Rather than using commercial jam, I kept imagining rotund balls of beef or ground turkey slathered in a just-made glaze still kind of chunky from the slightly muddled blackberries mingling with tawny Port.

We eat with our eyes, don’t we? The first batch was a far cry from what I envisioned in my mind’s eye and resembled a practical joke. That first batch  ended up finding their ways into the mouths of some food friends who were being kind and tried my “purple meatballs.” All the while, I heeded a warning that they looked weird but tasted reminiscent of meatballs in a purple tomato sauce. The disquietingly purple hue left much to be desired.  Steph gave a thumbs up on the flavor but let’s be honest, no one outside of an alien planet in the outer reaches of the Milky Way would serve these at a party.

Back to the drawing board I went, tinkering with the ingredient proportions. This time, I struck gold. Purple gold. One down the hatch became four in a mere shadow of minutes for Beck.

Oh yes, shellacked purple gold.

NOTE: Driscoll’s sent me the blackberries for free and all opinions about the culinary dexterity of blackberries are mine.

blackberry sage glazed meatballs

 

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BLACKBERRY SAGE GLAZED MEATBALLS 

I didn’t use breadcrumbs in the meatballs. To be frank, I wanted to see if breadcrumbs are an imperative in meatballs. No, is a good short answer here. Then again, I know there are purists who chafe at the idea of a meatball not involving pork, beef and veal, but we don’t eat two of those meats. So I encourage you to experiment and use the meat combination that most appeals to your sensibilities and consider ground turkey as another alternative. Batch one didn’t have anything other than the egg and spices for a binder which turned out okay, but I prefer them as laid out below with the almond meal. I think of it as an extra touch of protein and a bit of textural intrigue, not to mention they’re gluten free.

YIELD: 20 meatballs
TIME: 45 minutes

  • 1-inch knob ginger root, minced and divided (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 shallot, minced and divided (4 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 sage leaves, minced
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup tawny Port
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add ½ tablespoon of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of minced shallots, egg and almond meal to ground beef. Mix with hands until well combined. Then form into small meatballs and place on lightly greased roasting pan. There should be 20 meatballs. Place in oven to cook for 25 minutes, turning meatballs halfway through their cooking time.
  3. Saute the remaining shallots, ginger and garlic in a pan with the olive oil until lightly brown. Then add the sage and cook for another minute. In a large glass with a muddler, slightly muddle blackberries not until they are mushy. Then add muddled blackberries and salt to the pan and add the Port. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Stir in chicken stock after about five minutes and let cook on low heat for about five minutes more or until thickened.
  4. Remove the meatballs gently with tongs. Place them into the large pan with blackberry sage glaze. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs and let simmer for five minutes, turning the meatballs gently.
  5. Serve hot and make sure to scoop any remaining sauce from the pan onto the meatballs in your serving dish or bowl.

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