Posts Tagged ‘Spicy Side of Meatball’

From Dish Gwen (and her Spicy Side Chris):

My Saucy Fiance, Christopher, makes a killer kale salad. This time of year we have a ton of kale growing in our garden and it can sometimes be tough to eat it all, but this salad has changed everything. Plus it’s really easy to make and requires zero cooking (which is of great benefit on those hot summer days when your kitchen is already 140 degrees).

1 lb kale, chopped into large pieces (about 2-3 inches)
1/2 head of garlic, diced
1 cup ricotta cheese
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil


In a large bowl, blend together all of the ingredients so that the different components are well mixed and the kale leaves are covered with the dressing. With your hands, “massage” the kale, squeezing and scrunching the leaves to tenderize them for about 3 minutes. Once the salad is all mixed and scrunched, it’s ready to serve! Eat as much as you want and store the leftovers in a tupperware in the fridge – this salad will last several days and make a great snack or lunch side.

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Spicy Side of Meatball Andrew is such a saucy lil cook that his work, alongside supperclubs (and friends of SLD) A Razor, A Shiny Knife and Studiofeast, recently appeared in the NY Times! Scroll through the accompanying photos to spot not one, but two SL-Dudes.

(Yeah, that’s a salad in the background. So what? It’s greens, nuts and avocado. Little lemon, yummy oil, salt n’ pepa. Shoop.)

Imagine Christmas.

We all have friends and family members who we love, but are impossible to shop for.

For my father, it’s me.

Fortunately, facing this annual dilemma, you know that your recipient has a hobby, so you start from there. But chances are they already have all of the equipment to participate in that hobby. Painters have brushes. Gun enthusiasts have guns. Cooks have knives.

It comes to you in a stroke of insight! Hobbies have consumable equipment!

Painters can’t have enough hard to find paints!
Gun nuts can’t have enough rare bullets! (I’m talking about those cop killers banned in the 90s. You know what I’m talking about.)
Cooks can’t have enough exotic foods!


A few years ago, I told my father about Exotic Meats USA. I was cooking with the Whisk and Ladle, and we had been using boar bacon, and bear rib eyes, even the occasional alligator and rattlesnake. Exotic Meats sourced all of it.

After presumably letting the idea marinate for the intervening years, my father decided to pull the trigger this Christmas.

Enter The Emu Egg.

It’s pretty stunning.

It weighs about as much as 9-10 chicken eggs.

Step one…Open it. The shell is at least 10 times as thick as a chicken egg. So have some tools ready.

Tools + Thumbs = Victory:

Now, what do you do with it? Well, anything that takes 10 eggs. I went for fresh pasta with a pork sauce.

I make pasta by weight, with a 3:2 flour to egg ratio.

Emu Egg Pasta:
510g Emu Egg, beaten. (~1 egg)
765g All purpose Flour (use your fancy flour if you’ve got it)
15g salt (~2tsp)

Sorry for the weight measures, but it does make the dough come out perfectly.

There are two styles of pasta making:
1) Make a flour well on a work surface. Pour in the egg and salt. Slowly incorporate flour and egg with a fork until it is solid enough to use your hand. Then start to knead.
2) Throw it all in a stand mixture. Mix until incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead.
Option #1 makes you feel like an Italian grandmother, which I like. But if you don’t want to get your hands so dirty, or you like technology a lot, go for #2.
Knead the dough until it feels smooth. It should start to feel like play dough. When you pinch it, it should spring back very slightly. When you poke your finger into the middle, it shouldn’t feel sticky. This takes between 10-20 minutes.

Cover the dough with a bit of olive oil, and wrap with saran wrap, and throw in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This is important. It lets the flour hydrate and gets the elasticity and “bite” you want in the dough.

Roll pasta in a pasta crank. Or use a rolling pin. Here I opt for technology over tradition. But it’s up to you.

Cut into fettucini-sized strips.

When you’re ready (read, after the sauce is made), get a pot of water to a boil. Add a healthy amount of salt. The pasta will take about 3 minutes to cook, depending on how thin it was rolled.

Pork Sauce:

As precise as the pasta recipe is, the sauce recipe is not.

1-2 lb pork sausage, broken apart. (as meaty as you want it)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Half a large onion.
Half as much carrot as onion
Half as much celery as onion
1 tsp red pepper flakes (skip it if using a hot Italian sausage)
2 sprigs thyme
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 sprig fresh.
1 28oz can diced tomatoes.

First make your mirepoix – diced onion, carrot, celery in a 2:1:1 ratio. If you’re feeling particularly tight, use a scale or measuring cup, but here I eyeball it. (Fun fact: mirepoix doesn’t mean anything in French, it was a royal chef’s name.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Brown the sausage, and remove.

Add garlic. Cook until very lightly golden brown.

Add mirepoix. At a minimum, cook until the onions have released some liquid and are fairly translucent. (Pro tip: adding a little salt while sweating onions will keep them from browning.) At a maximum, go del posto-style, brunoise (very finely dice) the mirepoix and let it turn to mush over low heat for 4 hours.
Add pepper flakes, thyme and oregano. Let it warm a bit.
Add tomatoes. Once hot, add the sausage back in.

Simmer for at least 15 minutes, but at this point it’ll keep warm. If it gets too dry, add some water.

Toss pasta in sauce and serve.

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Saucy Little Dish welcomes Johnny: another culinary Bushwick, Brooklyn resident, painter extraordinaire, and Dish Paige!’s main Meatball!

Hey everyone! John Szlasa here with the latest edition of… “A SPICY SIDE of MEATBALL!” So today I’m going to make SOUPE AUX CHOUX otherwise known as Garbure. I’m using three different recipes. I’m mostly following Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I was inspired by my father who sent me his own rendition of Jacques Pepin’s from Jacques Pepin’s Table. I also perused the Joy of Cooking‘s version as well. All three of these cookbooks mention the famous version from Bearn, which uses Confit d’ Oie or preserved goose, which is added to the pot at the end of cooking to warm up (we’re not goin’ this crazy here y’all!). So I guess we’ll be making the classic Basque version of this peasant cabbage and bean soup. This is a soup that is ideal for the winter season, but I’ve been waiting to make this for quite some time. Now that I get a chance to be “A SPICY SIDE of MEATBALL,” I see it as a great excuse to finally make it – despite the 90 degree heat movin’ on into our town.


2 Medium Potatoes (cut into 1.5 inch cubes)
1 Boneless pork shoulder trimmed of skin and surrounding fat (Julia Child makes a point of telling us that, “In the Basque country, a good cabbage soup must always have a chunk of lard rance, their slightly rancid and much appreciated salt pork; otherwise, the dish is considered to lack distinction”)
12 cups of water or enough to cover the pork.
1 Leek (cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 Celery Stalks ( cut into 1.5 inch pieces)
3 Carrots (cut into 1.5 inch man pieces)
3 Parsnips (cut into 1.5 inch man pieces)
1 Onion (Chopped into 1.5 inch man pieces)
1 8oz. Savoy Cabbage (sliced and shredded into 1/2 or 1 inch pieces)
1 pinch ground chili Pepper ( or 8 peppercorns)
A few sprigs of Parsley (tied)
1 Bay leaf
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
1/2 tsp Thyme
3 pork Sausages (you can use any kind you like, including a variety, my Father used Kielbasa because he’s all about his Polish heritage)
2 cans of Navy Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Tablespoon bacon fat
Sea Salt
Coarse ground black pepper
Thick country bread (We used Old Poland Foods Farmer’s Bread Chleb Farmerski.)
Gruyere or Jarlsberg Cheese

Buy all of your ingredients. I went to the Ridgewood Pork Store on Seneca Ave. for my Pork shoulder, and sausages. This place is really special. Our picture doesn’t do it justice because we took it after they closed, but it’s like walking into a time warp. It feels like a butcher store in a small European village that has been in the family for generations. Check it out! The rest of our ingredients are from the Associated super market.

Put the potatoes and pork shoulder (I cut mine into quarters) into the pot and cover it with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, periodically skimming the foam off the top.

After 20 minutes drop all ingredients into the pot except for the sausages, beans and bread.

Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Add the sausage 30 minutes into cooking. Add the canned beans 15 minutes before end of simmering.

Take the pork out, slice it. Put it back in. Add in the bacon fat (we added this to gain distinction). Salt at the end. Add pepper or ground chili to taste. Remove parsley and bay leaf.

To Serve:

So My father served it this way, which is the way I would have liked to have finished things off, but I don’t own an enameled cast-iron pot or casserole dish:

“At serving time, pre-heat the broiler, bring the 2 quarts of soup you’re going to serve to a boil on top of the stove, and pour it into a 2 ½ quart casserole dish or enameled cast-iron pot.

Arrange bread slices on top to cover the soup in one layer and push them gently into the liquid until they are moist.

Sprinkle the cheese on top, place the dish under the hot broiler, about 4 inches from the heat. Broil for about ten minutes, until the cheese on top is bubbly and golden brown. Carry the dish to the table and serve in 4 to 6 bowls or soup plates.”

We toasted the bread slices with the sprinkled the cheese on top and placed them gently into the liquid.

My father also adds that if you’re vegetarians, leave out the meat, start with a vegetable stock, and it should
be great.

We were going to listen to a soundtrack of manly 80s French Oi! but we stuck with Django Reinhardt and Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France instead – seeing as I’m working with a Saucy Little Dish. I figured Django was sufficiently manly:

“Returning from a performance late one night, Reinhardt apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbors were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second- degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralysed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs. Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane.” (Wikipedia)

One tuff mothah!!!!

Now if only I was in the basque region eaten’ this shit…

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This cycle’s Spicy Side of Meatball is Adam, aka Cusp, aka the Brew-Ru: a man who waxes philosophical about everything from T-shirts to grilling. Currently living in Northern California, he can train your dog to chase geese off your property, clean your house using only environmentally friendly products, and soon, he’ll be able to litigate your ass to the edge of the galaxy. He’s also Dish Rachelle’s former roommate. Check out his blog for some beer pairings.

Ah, Spring! When young men’s fancies turn all tangy and sweet! The weather warms; the birds and buds appear; work and homework are no longer an option because the brain is aflutter with possibilities only the springtime brings. For some men, there is the content assuredness of one who has already Found what he is Looking For, but for so many of us the return of spring means only a return to Toil, and Disappointment – and perhaps Glory.

The perfect Barbecue Sauce is not jealous, its charms are as beguiling in a marinade as they are bewitching in a condiment. It shines on the grill, brushed on bubbling baby-backs, and as a simmering medium for your roasted and pulled Boston Butt. You secretly want to find a way to make it into icing for your birthday cake. What follows herein is the first step on a journey into a larger world. If you have never made your own Barbeque Sauce (always capitalize “Barbeque Sauce”) it may be a revelation; if you are a seasoned griller it will seem tame – ultimately, like all professions of faith, it is only one delicious glimpse of the infinite.


5-8 decent sized cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 large white or yellow onions, peeled; cut them into halves or quarters lengthwise, then into 1/4″ slices
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 large (28oz) can of tomato puree or unseasoned sauce
2/3 cup concentrated lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 bottle (6ish oz) Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

In a skillet, sauté chopped onions and garlic in melted butter or olive oil until tender. Remove from skillet and place in a slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients. Turn it on Low for up to ten hours. Let it cook, uncovered, until it is as viscous as you wish, being sure to stir every so often to forestall that ring from forming inside your slow cooker. Remember, your slow cooker is a Temple for the Barbeque Sauce. When it has reached your desired consistency, cover it and let it be. If you can give it a night to rest, that goes over pretty well, and it will keep in the fridge for… probably for a couple of weeks? It’s pretty acidic. To that end, don’t store it in plastic or with aluminum foil.

The path to Glory has many branchings. Some of these include
– Plenty of extra cayenne
– Molasses instead of brown sugar
– Three or five brined anchovies
– Coleman’s Mustard Powder
– Diced pepper. I like Serrano, but also want to try Scotch Bonnet.

Suggestions for Service:
– Once I tried putting the sauce through the food processor when it was done, trying to achieve that smooth consistency. It didn’t really work that well, and I don’t recommend it.
– Brush just about anything with this stuff while on the grill, and garnish just as it comes off. Also have extra on the table.
– Get a side or two of pork Baby Back or Spare Ribs. Cut them up so they’ll fit in your slow cooker (this will probably mean orienting them vertically and calling on your tetris skills, or making a nifty spiral design if your slow cooker is cylindrical). Pour sauce over them until covered, turn on, walk away for a few hours. NB: Be careful removing them from the cooker – if you just grab a bone and pull, a bone is all you’ll get. They’ll be that tender.
– Get a decent size (4+ lbs) piece of pork country ribs, aka shoulder, aka Boston Butt. Rub in some cayenne, salt, pepper, and plenty of finely ground coffee. Roast it until quite rare. Let it cool and cut / pull it apart until there aren’t really any chunks left, then put it in a slow cooker, pour the sauce over it until covered, turn it on and go make this:

1 large head of green cabbage
1 pineapple
1-2 cups trail mix of your choice. No M&Ms, please.
Apple Cider vinegar

Chop the cabbage up into strips no wider that 1/3rd inch. Set aside. Trim and peel pineapple, chop coarsely, then put it in a blender / food processor just for a few seconds. It’s cool if there are chunks. Put pineapple and cabbage in a large bowl and mix. Slaw dressing is basically Mayo and vinegar, so find a proportion that works for you and grind some fresh pepper into it. Keep in mind that there will be plenty of acidic liquid provided by that pineapple. Salt optional. Combine. Mix. Reserve the trail mix until ready to serve, then mix it in too.

After the pulled pork has cooked for a day or so go get some structurally sound buns and pile them up with these two.

Everyone’s path to their own personal Barbeque Sauce is a little different. Don’t be afraid of the dark side, or Stubbs Liquid Smoke. Regular meetings with like-minded people form a vital support mechanism for those pursuing their own personal Barbeque Sauce, and will certainly help you through the inevitable moments of doubt about the role of Barbeque Sauce in the world and your life. Don’t be afraid to disagree about the nature of Barbeque Sauce, but respect the tastes of others and remember that no individual manifestation can ever fulfill all of the potential or embody all of the possibilities of Barbeque Sauce.

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2010 brings a new feature to Saucy Little Dish: BOYS! Say hello to our guest Spicy Side of Meatball David – he works in television advertising by day, presses towards his MBA at night, and is marrying our own Dish Erin in June. He keeps our dude entries sufficiently dudish with this violently good ribs recipe. And despite the occasional rage blackout, he’s a really nice guy.

Whiskey. A fine cigar. Ribs. A bit of rage.

Your grandfather might have told you that there are few things better than a fine glass of rye, a chomping good cigar, and a side of ribs – and I’m certain in that, he would have included a good heaping portion of rage. Why, you ask? Well, he’d probably smack you for even asking the question. Don’t question your goddamn elders.

In fact, there was a time when Jackie Gleason entertained most of America by threatening to continually beat his wife Alice, and send her to the moon with his fists. I think this recipe is a throwback to a more innocent and, perhaps, violent time. I’m not advocating the beating of anyone (though if you know me, you’d probably know that I do advocate many beatings) – but what I am saying is that when I made these ribs, someone could have been mangled.

So, first you want to start with a nice rack of baby back pork ribs from the supermarket. Be careful though because I’ve had a difficult time tracking these down at your usual neighborhood A&P type shops. If you can, head to Whole Foods – otherwise you may end up at a market with plenty of Short Ribs, and a whole lot of pre-made Tony Roma bagged ribs with sauce. You don’t want that – but when presented with a whole aisle of them, and no choice but to use spare ribs, the rage may begin to simmer.

Here are the spices and other ingredients you’ll need for the ribs:

Orange Juice
Salt (Kosher preferred)
Cayenne Powder
Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Brown Sugar
Olive Oil
BBQ Sauce (Your pick)

I would also recommend picking up some ingredients for a big old tray of homemade Mac & Cheese to go with the ribs; maybe the type with a little spice to them, a crusty top, and if you’re into it, some bread crumbs mixed in. However, this is also a good time to let the rage begin to braise in the juices of your companions’ desire for vegetables instead.

When you get home, take a aluminum roasting tray and fill it halfway with a mixture of water, OJ and salt. Create a mixture that’s somewhat like 60% Water and 40% OJ, and pour enough salt in there to make sure that you’re not remotely tempted to drink the orange-y mixture. Submerge the ribs in the liquid and allow them to brine for an hour and a half. If the ribs aren’t covered by the liquid, add more water and OJ. At some point, pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

While the ribs are brining, it’s time to tend to the rage. By now, your rage should be on the stove and on its way to a rolling boil. Mix in a few glasses of Jameson on the rocks, and let the rage flambé. Normally, the flambé serves to reduce a mixture – perhaps not in this case. You can season to taste, and recommended accoutrement include: Potentially touchy conversation topics, including religion and politics. Perhaps even a no-holds-barred discussion of women’s rights issues with two of your [ardent feminist] female guests. An advanced technique requires one of the feminists to be a wife or fiancé.

Once the ribs are done brining, either transfer the ribs to a new tray or pour the liquid out and re-use. Take the rack of ribs and administer the dry rub: season the ribs with the mixture of spices above, in no particular order, using small amounts of each. This is a very forgiving process, so season as you see fit depending on how you feel about the spices. Make sure all the spices are on the rack, rub them in, lightly drizzle with olive oil, and rub again.

Put the ribs in the oven and set a timer for two and a half hours, making sure to flip the ribs halfway through.

While the ribs cook, it may be time to let the rage cool. Ignoring your friends and solely committing your attention to something else is a popular method. For best results, use the Men’s Ice Luge event at the Winter Olympics. If the live broadcast is unavailable, try YouTube. If there is no computer or television in the vicinity, use your smartphone to post offensive comments about remakes of charity songs. Remember, there are many ways to let rage cool, so feel free to try any method – but don’t let the rage cool off entirely. Find a few cold beers to make sure the rage stays close to room temperature and ready to be served.

Once the ribs are done cooking in the oven, turn on the broiler and take the tray out of the oven. With a pastry brush, paint the ribs with the BBQ sauce. The goal is to get a nice, caramelized sauce-crust to the ribs, so you’ll do this a few times: Brush the ribs, put them under the broiler for a bit, and when you have a nice sizzle, flip the rack and re-apply. A few turns, and you’ll be good to go.

Take the ribs out, and let them sit for a minute or two while you return your rage to a full-heat. Icy looks, short responses to questions, and off-hand references to war criminals are a good way to prepare for serving. If you have a weapon or blunt object, now is a good time to brandish the object with a menacing glance or two. A candelabra or detached doorknob will suffice.

Plate the ribs, the side-dishes, and maybe just make a few comments about your sincerest wishes for a shortened lifespan and, as Julia Child would say, Bon Appetit!!

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2010 brings a new feature to Saucy Little Dish: BOYS! Say hello to our first guest Spicy Side of Meatball Andrew – Professor of Computer Science, frequent supper club cook, and – heart – SLD boyfriend. He dudes up the place appropriately with some sports talk.

2009 was the year I would start following football.

Over the summer, during a weekend in Point Pleasant, NJ (before The Jersey Shore) my friend Dave and I tried to find me a team to follow:

The Giants won the Superbowl a few years ago and the last time I paid attention to football was with my mom’s boyfriend in 1990 during their last championship season – they’re in.

The Lady’s dad has had Jets tickets for a lifetime. He took me to my first game this fall when the Jets beat the Patriots – they can stay.

We lived in New Orleans for a few months in 2008 – Geaux Saints!

And the Vikings have a rad helmet. (Seriously, that’s all it took.)

So having narrowed my teams to 4, I followed the first few weeks of the season closely. I watched games. I checked box scores. I was a fan. Then I got distracted until the playoffs.

Reemerging two weekends ago to watch the conference championships with Dave, Dish Erin and Dish Rachelle, I found three of my beloved four teams still making a Superbowl run. In the AFC, the Jets were looking strong, and the Vikings and the Saints were competing for the NFC Championship. Wait — either way, one of my NFC teams was going to the big game!!! We did it!!! We’re going to the Superbowl!!! I’m number one!!! But first I had to see which of my teams were going with me. And that was going to take a serious commitment, the likes not seen since early September. And what better sustenance for seven hours of football than a pot of chili.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6):

2 tbsp olive oil (or so)
4 spare ribs (a little over a pound)
1 lb ground chuck
2 jalapeno peppers, charred and diced.
2 cloves garlic, whole
1 onion, diced
6oz Miller Genuine Draft
2 cans (28oz) san marzano diced tomatoes
1 can (28oz) water
1 can (15.5oz )kidney beans
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp ginger
1 bay leaf

1 jalapeno pepper
2 scallions
A pile of your favorite grated cheese — I like Colby or Queso de Papa
Cornbread — you’re going to have to ask Dish Erin how this was done…specifically how to make milk from half-and-half.

Spice Rub
1tsp cayenne
1tsp cumin
1tsp ginger
1tsp oregano
1tsp paprika
1tsp tumeric

Heat olive oil on high in a heavy bottom stock pot.
Meanwhile, dredge ribs in the spice rub mix.
When the oil is hot, add the ribs. Sear on all sides.
Remove the ribs.
Season the ground beef with a little salt and pepper.
Add the ground beef and cook until there are the first bits of char on it – past grey is what I’m trying to say. You want to get some beef flavor on the bottom of the pan.
Remove the ground beef from the pot.

Over an open flame — I like a stove flame — roast two jalapeno peppers. (This can be done while searing the meat.) The skin should be completely blackened. Then dice.

If necessary, adjust the oil in the pot. The bottom of the pot should still have a thin coating of fat. If not, I’m going to guess you used ground sirloin instead of ground chuck…thinking its healthier because it’s leaner. Well, now your pan is dry. I hope you learned your lesson. Add a little more olive oil and carry on.

Add the diced onion and whole garlic cloves to the pot. Add a pinch or two of salt. This will keep the onions from browning.
When the onions are looking glossy, add the diced jalapeno.
When the onions are translucent, deglaze with beer. (Deglaze french for “scrape up all the delicious bits of meat from the bottom of the pan”.)

Add tomatoes and water.
Bring to a simmer.
(Everybody in the pool.)
Return the meat to the pot.
Add the beans.
Add remaining spices — cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder, bay. There should be enough heat from the cayenne rub and the jalapenos for it to be pretty spicy, but if you like more, go ahead and add some more cayenne or an ancho chili, or some sriracha, or whatever you want, big strong man.

Reduce heat to low/medium low and let simmer for at least 40 minutes. We let it go for about 3 hours, which was pretty perfect. It’s not going to overcook, so don’t stress it. If it starts to get dry, add some beer (if you’ve got any left, you lush) or water.

While you’re waiting, slice some scallion and raw jalapeno. Grate some cheese. Ask a friend to make cornbread.

Geaux Saints!

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