Ginger Scallion Meatballs

By Libbie Summers (recipe inspired by Epicurious)

This ain’t your Italian meatball! Minimal ingredients, full of delicious flavor, overly moist, gluten free and on the table in under 20 minutes. Use them as a main dish or appetizer with a simple sweet and sour sauce.
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Ginger Scallion Meatballs
makes 16

What you need:
1 pound ground fresh pork
1 egg
6 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced pickled ginger (sushi ginger), can substitute 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
2. In a large wooden bowl, stir together the fresh pork, egg, scallion, pickled ginger, ONLY 1 tablespoon oil and salt. 3. Stir mixture together pretty vigorously until it has lightened in color and shaggy (about 3 minutes).
3. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over a baking sheet. Working one at a time, use a small portion scoop or heaping tablespoon to scoop out portions and roll into balls; arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake meatballs until cooked through and browned on top, 8–10 minutes. 5. Serve warm as an appetizer with a simple Sweet and Sour Sauce or as a main course over jasmine rice with a Spinach Curry Sauce (recipe below).
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Spinach Curry Sauce

What you need: 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup store-bought or homemade Thai green curry paste
1 (5.4-oz.) can coconut cream
1 (5 oz.) container baby spinach
Juice from one lime

What to do: 
1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add oil, onions and salt. Cook, stirring until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). 2. Stir in curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
3. Stir in coconut cream and bring to a low boil.
4. Stir in spinach and cook, stirring until spinach is wilted.
5. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
6. Add in lime juice and pulse until combined.

 

Adult Tuna Melt

By Libbie Summers

What started out as cheap mundane dorm fuel before parties has become a fancy adult lunch sandwich when made with layers of flavor that I couldn’t have appreciated at 18. 

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Adult Tuna Melt
Serves 1

What you need: 
1 thick slice of rustic bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (can sub adobo sauce or hot sauce)
1 (5 ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, hand grated on large grate
1 cup mixed greens
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
Flake sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

What to do:
Preheat broiler.
Place slice of bread on a baking sheet and slather with butter. Broil until just browned around the edges.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and chipotle powder.
Spread spicy mayonnaise over bread.
Top with tuna.
Top Tuna with grated cheese.
Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Top with greens. Squeeze lemon juice over greens. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a dash of salt and pepper.
Serve hot!

Pro Tip: If I have a red onion on hand, I will shave a few pieces and caramelize them in a pan with butter. Then top the tuna with them before adding the cheese. It’s a delightful surprise inside!

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Pork Carnitas

By Libbie Summers
Recipe by Pati Jinich (with a couple of tweaks)

I’ve been making carnitas since as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until the blizzard that hit New York City in January 2016 (when I made Pati Jinich’s recipe) that I upped my carnitas game. I was in NYC food styling a shoot for Better Homes and Gardens for their May issue (we were working 3 months in advance) and we were featuring Pati’s recipes from her new book. This was one of them…and it changed my life forever. Just the addition of one or two ingredients and a whole new world opens up. It’s easy, it’s affordable, it feeds a crowd and it’s damn near impossible to beat. 

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Pork Carnitas
serves 8

What you need: 
1/2 a white onionpeeled and coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic
*1/2 whole jalapeno (cut lengthwise) *my addition
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cumin
4 whole clovesstems removed *(I used 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea saltor to taste
1 tablespoon lardvegetable shortening or oil
4 to 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder or buttcut into 4-inch chunks, fat on!
Kosher or flake sea salt
2 bay leaves
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
Corn tortillas, charred for serving
Salsa verde, for serving (optional)
Radish, cut into matchsticks for serving (optional)
Cilantro, chopped for serving (optional)

What to do: 

In the jar of a blender, place the 1 1/2 cups water, onion, *jalapeno, garlic cloves, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, cumin, cloves and 1 tablespoon salt. Puree until smooth.
Set a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Add the lard (or vegetable shortening or oil), and once it has heated up, add the pork chunks and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Brown the meat on all sides, stirring and flipping as each side browns, about 10 minutes.
Pour the onion mixture over the meat, let it come to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in the orange juice and sweetened condensed milk, add the 2 bay leaves, and give it a good stir. Let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to low and cover.
Cook covered, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the casserole 2 to 3 times along the way, until the meat is completely cooked and coming easily apart if you pull one piece, about one hour and a half (this took 2 1/2 to 3 hours for me). Remove the lid, cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Scoop out the carnitas with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat behind, and serve in a bowl or platter. Shred with a fork, if desired, before tucking into tacos. Or do like we do, serve straight from the pot.
To Serve: Serve warm with charred tortillas and cilantro, salsa verde and radish on the side.
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Easy Egg Foo Young

By Libbie Summers

In 1997 this simple recipe helped make the toughest days aboard our 40′ sailboat, Calumet, a happier place. We were able to use up the bits and bobs of produce that was on its last legs AND enjoy a dinner that our then ten year old son said “tastes just like carryout from home”.
Pro Tip: Make this dish your own. Don’t have the produce I call for? Use what you have! Make sure there is a crunch inside and always make the brown sauce…always. 

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Easy Egg Foo Young
Serves 2 (can easily scale up for 4, 6 or more)

What you need: 
For Brown Sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons corn starch
For Omelets
4 eggs
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup finely shredded cabbage (can substitute bean sprouts)
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions plus more for garnish
Canola oil for frying
Sesame oil for frying (optional)

What to do:
1. Make Sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk together all ingredients and place over a medium heat. Heat, whisking often, until thickened.
2. Make Omelet Mixture: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, soy sauce, water and black pepper. Stir in cabbage, mushrooms and green onions.
3. Fry Omelets: In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil. Once oil begins to shimmer, use a 1/2 cup measuring scoop to add one scoop of mixture to the pan. Cook until bottom is set and beginning to brown and top is almost set. Use a spatula and flip omelet over and continue to cook until eggs are just done.
To Serve: Place omelets on plates or a platter and spoon sauce over. Garnish with green onion. Serve immediately.

Indian-spiced Roasted Carrot Soup with Spiced Kale Chips

By Libbie Summers

Challenge: Carrots and Kale. 
Challenge Accepted: An Indian-inspired Roasted Carrot Soup with Spiced Kale Chips. This creamy soup is packed with smooth flavor and the kale chips…well, they aren’t your average kale chip so they make the perfect garnish!
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Indian-spiced Roasted Carrot Soup with Spiced Kale Chips
serves 4

What you need: 
For Kale Chips:
4 stalks kale, washed and thoroughly dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon nut butter (I used almond)
1 teaspoon oil (I used a garlic olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch sea salt

For Soup:
1 pound carrots, washed and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1/2 onion, quartered and broken into pieces
5 cloves garlic, left in skins and lightly smashed
small sliver of jalapeno
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used a garlic olive oil)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (can sub 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger)
3 cups vegetable stock, hot
Flake sea salt

What to do: 
1. Make Kale Chips: Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet tray with foil. Place kale in the middle of the sheet tray. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until smooth. Spoon mixture over kale and massage into kale with your hands, coating every piece evenly. Separate the coated kale pieces on the sheet tray and bake until crisp (about 10-12 minutes). Set aside.
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2. Start Soup: Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet tray with foil. Add carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeno, olive oil, garam masala and a heavy pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Spread mixture out over the tray, separating all the pieces. Roast just until carrots can be pierced with a fork (about 20-25 minutes). Remove from oven and remove skins from garlic and place garlic back on tray.
3. Finish Soup: Add the roasted vegetable mixture to a blender along with the coconut milk and stock. Place lid on blender and cover with a towel. Process until smooth. Salt to taste.
To Serve: Divide soup between bowls, drizzle with olive oil (optional) and garnish with spiced kale chips.
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