Ball so hard.


Ball so Hard

Real, straight talk: It has taken me about 4 winters to perfect this recipe so be grateful I’m opening up and letting you into my kitchen with my fames-within-my-inner-circle meatball recipe. Ya dig?

Ok, now that we’re done worshipping at the alter of the stove (my stove, obv). Let me start my saying this. I am a huge a meatball lover. I’ve had The Meatball Shop balls, Batali’s balls, your nonna’s balls, your tia’s balls. You name it, I’ve belly-ed it. However, being somewhat OCD in the kitchen, I scoured the internets, took techniques from cooking school and interrogated your Nonna bordering on water torture (true) to perfect and refine my meatball ‘n sauce recipe. I call this, CATEGORICALLY, the best meatball recipe. Ever. EK Out.

THE SAUCE

I use a simple, tart, tomato-y sauce to compliment the balls. Obv Marcella Hazan’s cult recipe is boss. Go easy on the salt as the meatballs have Pecorino Romano cheese incorporated. You can always add salt, but you can’t take it away #evasays

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can.  (San Marzano only please)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, careful adding any more salt)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

  1. Chop the whole tomatoes into ½ inch cubes
  2. Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

THE BALLS

I like a meatball with a lighter mouth feel so don’t overwork the balls by over handling

2 pounds ground beef, veal and pork (fresh from the butcher please!)

4 large cloves garlic, grated

1 cup onion, grated

1 egg (reserve 1 more in case mixture is not wet enough)

3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 teaspoon of salt

ground black pepper to taste

2 cups stale bread, cubed

Whole milk

  1. Combine the stale bread, grated garlic and grated onions in a bowl and mix to combine. Cover with whole milk. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Combine the meat, egg and Pecorino Romano with the bread mixture and mix very well with your clean hands. Season with salt and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. The mixture should be very wet. Add another egg if needed.
  3. Make balls slightly larger than a golf ball. Careful with too munch handling. These pups need their space.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Brown meatballs in batches and place into 325 degree oven until cooked through. About 15 minutes.
  5. Once the meatballs are done, place gently into simmering sauce for about 15 minutes.
  6. My favorite way to enjoy this dish is with a few slices of good bread and topped with fresh parsley. I find pasta unnecessary with this dish.

Makes about 20 balls.

Oh. If you are a weirdly psychotic about calories, Mama did the count for you:

117 calories per ball.

Holler at me with ?’s.

The art of pastry//another reason to love Paris

“The fine arts are five in number, namely: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture, the principal branch of the latter being pastry.”
Antonin Carême (1783-1833)

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hunters bounty

When three food writers come together to discuss the art of Parisian Pastries for an hour, you can bet that most people in the audience will be planning an excursion to the best pastry boutiques Paris has to offer armed with a list, a map and an empty tummy. Or, maybe that was just me.

In the span of 3 hours, I got back together with Pierre Herme (we broke up in June due to my impending addiction to the Isphahan croissant), re-connected with Laduree (we parted ways in June due to lethal doses of macarons) and found new love with Ble Sucre. Please see photo exhibits A-D:

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Doomed romance: Pierre Herme's Isphahan Croissant

Isphahan: a combination of rose jelly, raspberries and litchi. I ate them almost everyday, until I had to quit. Still, she is the most amazing croissant I’ve ever had.

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Chestnuts, Violette & Chocolate, Rose and Vanilla macarons from Pierre Herme

Considered the most modern and innovative patissier, Pierre also makes the best macarons in Paris.  With crazy flavor combinations and special edition macarons which are available for a limited time, he’s certainly one-of-a-kind.

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Laduree's Fig Tart

House of Laduree (as I like to call it), born in 1862, is one of the oldest pastisseries in Paris. Furthermore, the art of pastry is one of the oldest crafts in France which lends the explanation as to why the French are so obsessed with their pastry.

Laduree holds a very special place in my gastro-heart as its windows could rival Cartier for the lavish colors and decor. It is a jewel unlike any other. Willy Wonka has nothing on Laduree kids.

*This fig tart was so fresh and luscious and just a pleasure to look at. The French do know beauty.

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Bergamot macaron by Laduree. Nail polish "Madrid" by Movolo.

This is one of my favorite flavors – bergamot – also seen in Earl Grey tea. Look at the color…vivid…the taste? Tart and sublime.

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Violet Gateau from Ble Sucre

My last stop was a small and rather new pastisserie & boulangerie in the somewhat out of the way, 12th arrondissement – Ble Sucre.

Highly suggested by David Lebovitz, Ble Sucre is located on a very charming street off of Square Trousseau.  The shop is is owned by Fabrice Le Bourdat who trained under Gilles Marchal of Hotel Bristol, clearly this was not going to be an epic fail.

Though known for the madelines, I chose to break away from the mold and eat their violet gateau. Floral and velvety, this little piece sat in my fridge for 2 hours before I could no longer resist her temptations – and that was after eating the macarons, fig cake and croissant.

Paris can be everything and anything to anyone: beautiful, cold, chic, unrelenting, delicious, extravagant but there is one thing we can all agree on: it is, most certainly, sweet.

Laduree
21 rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
Metro: St. Germain-des-Pres

Pierre Herme
72, Rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
Metro: St. Germain-des-Pres

Blé Sucré
Square Trousseau
7, rue Antoine Vollon
750012 Paris
Metro: Ledru-Rollin

Fwiends forever.

Me 'n Paris.
Me 'n Paris.

Can we talk about how awesome and amazing it is to shop for groceries in Paris? It’s a never ending labyrinth of outdoor markets, grocery stores that put anything in the US to shame (holler at me Monoprix), pastisseries, boulangeries, boucheries, frommageries and fruit stands. Phew. I can barely walk the 25 minutes home from school without buying something…anything. Chocolate, mayonnaise, cheese. Maybe this is why you’re fat?

I joke.

Besties 4 ever?

Here is a short list of some of my besties (note: most are in the 6th arrondissement as that’s where I live):

Le Grand Epicerie – This place is huge and quite literally has everything. It’s expensive but worth it. They even have regional sections so if you happen to crave that Fluff from the US (what?), they got it.

Fromagerie 31 – A small and friendly cheese shoppe that even has a few seats for patrons who want to do a cheese tasting. Great selection and they also have a nice selection of yogurts (loves).

Da Rosa – Next door to Frommagerie 31 is this lil’ gem. You can sit and eat small plates consiting of cheeses and meats or pop inside and browse through the small but well edited selection of specialty good ranging from olive oils and jams to Iberico Jamon, which is proudly displayed in the store window. Ain’t nothing like seeing that black trotter and knowing you’re in for Iberico.

Boulevard Raspail Market: This outdoor market is literally right around the corner from me (me = one lucky charm). On Tuesday’s and Friday’s it functions as any other outdoor market in Paris however I am partial to this one as it’s large and has a wide array of cheese products. I am totally in love with the tapenade man and go here every week just for his fabbie creations. NOW…on Sunday’s (drum roll please) this market turns into a bio (organic) market filled with amazing savory pies, roasted chicken, produce, cheeses and all sorts of dairy.

Eric Kayser: My new boyfriend! Some of the most delicious baguettes and tartes au citron come from Mr. Kayser. The sandwiches are quite tastey and proper as well. He has several locations in Paris so thanks be to god that I am never far from one.

Gerard Mulot: Walking into this place is like walking into Disneyland for pastry lovers. His famed tarts are nothig to shy away from, it’s the little pleasures in life isn’t it kids? I also love the watermelon colored boxes the staff packs your treats into. Enchanted, I am.

Pierre Herme: Hands down. The best macaron in Paris.He’s got seasonal flavors to boot.

Poilane: There’s something about this bread…every Parisian knows it’s arguably one of the best places to come for your breading needs. I especially like their whole wheat offerings. Plus their famed chausson aux pommes makes a great dessert.

Coffee collabo

The espresso collabo of the century

After what seems like years of trying to perfect my espresso and iced coffee making skills, I finally reached what is known to me as the purrfection: A Moka pot + Lavazza espresso. A moka pot makes the best cup of strong and hot espresso as the coffee is brewed via the pressure of boiling water rising through the filter and percolating at the top half of the moka pot. . Now combine this with Lavazza’s cafe espresso, which is the best mass market espresso coffee I’ve had (intense, aromatic, chocolaty and nutty – like a good Italian fling should be). 

Extras:

This is a really funny article by William Grimes on his frustrating search for the best espresso in NYC.

A Yelper rates the best espresso in New York City. I like Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope, I also like to stare at the really good looking barrista but that’s just me. 

 

A lobster roll in Brooklyn

totally unappetizing.

In light of rising foods prices across the nation, it is with great delight that I present to you a thread on Chow of “budget” options for that summer bit of succulence, the lobster roll.

Though this thread is specific to Brooklyn, I must make mention of my absolute most favorite lobster roll: that of Pearl Oyster Bar fame. Now, let’s deconstruct this for a hot sec…the lobster roll is the most delicate of sandwiches (if one can call it that) as the lobster stuffing, the roll and the sides are of equal value to the dish. The reason why Pearl’s is so excellent is because the roll has a wonderful hot dog bun meets brioche quality and the lobster stuffing is always sweet and creamy. The kicker? The lovely and salty shoestring fries that cut the creaminess of the roll perfectly.

Here’s a round-up of the best lobster rolls in the city.

Here’s a FABULOUS recipe (courtesy of John Mitzewich)

Makes 4 rolls

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped (you can use scallions too)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cold lobster meat from freshly steamed lobsters (approx. 2 large lobsters, 1 3/4 lb each), cut into large chunks
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 large hot dog buns
  1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Add the lobster meat and carefully fold in with a spatula. Do not mash the lobster. You want nice, defined chunks.
  2. Butter the inside of the hot dog buns, and toast under a broiler, or in a skillet, until golden. Fill with the lobster salad and serve immediately.

Have fun and don’t go too wild.