Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches

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One of my ultimate comfort foods is the humble meatball. The funny thing is, we NEVER had them growing up. My mom, grandma, and aunts never really made them. Sure, we had spaghetti with meat sauce, but never meatballs. I always longed for a plate of pasta and meatballs, a la Lady and the Tramp. It’s just that kind of nostalgia evoked via cinema and whimsy that you sometimes crave. You know? As an adult, I have made certain meatballs have become part of my cooking repertoire.

Recently, I was contacted by Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma inquiring if I’d be interested in participating in a traveling potluck, dubbed #lapispotluck, using the exclusive Lapis French Oven. My answer was obviously, YES…duh. I have a Le Creuset Braiser that I treasure and use often, so I knew I would love a chance to use the French Oven. I’m just a sucker for enameled cast iron.

When I was thinking of what to make with this beautiful oven, I really wanted something with a color that would pop against that deep blue. Enter these Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches. I love meatballs a top a pile of spaghetti, but there’s just something so irresistible about a messy, meatball sandwich. I knew the red sauce with bits of bright-green basil would compliment the Lapis hue perfectly, plus it would make a delicious dinner.

I made these meatballs with turkey, since it’s spring and some of us may be seeking comfort foods on the lighter side. Even though these are turkey meatballs, they are still juicy and full of flavor thanks to the sausage, aromatics, parmesan, and plenty of fresh zucchini. I like to brown my meatballs a bit before dropping them into the sauce for an extra layer of flavor, plus those brown bits leftover are perfect for helping to season the sauce–all made in the same pot! The meatballs are great on their own, but piled on top of a lightly toasted roll and topped with plenty of melty cheese and fragrant basil is absolute meatball sandwich perfection.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Turkey & Zucchini Meatball Sandwiches

Makes several sandwiches (at least 6).

For the rolls, I used some sausage rolls made in the bakery of my favorite market. Small hoagie or sub rolls, or even portions of a baguette would work perfectly.

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 lb. turkey Italian sausage (hot or sweet, depending on your preference)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1 heaping cup shredded zuchinni

1 heaping cup minced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Sauce:

1 onion, diced fine

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1, 28 ounce, can crushed tomatoes

salt to taste

For sandwiches:

basil

shredded mozzarella

parmesan

sandwich rolls

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. I like to use my hand in a claw-like motion, stirring in one direction vigorously until well combined. Scoop meat into golf-ball sized portions and set on a sheet pan or large plate. Heat your French oven, or other wide pot, over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches, on at least 2 sides, remove the browned meatballs back to the plate or sheet pan (they do not need to be cooked through, cooking will continue in the sauce.

Once the meatballs are done, lower the heat to medium and add the onions for the sauce to the pot, adding about 1 tablespoon of olive oil if needed, plus a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan as the onions become soft and release some liquid. Once the onions are translucent, add in the garlic, and cook for about 60 seconds. Add in the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook until the tomato paste becomes a rusty-red color, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, and add a pinch of salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and add in the meatballs plus any juices collected on the sheet pan/plate. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Taste for seasoning before building your sandwiches.

Preheat the broiler, split your sandwich rolls, place on a sheet pan, and toast lightly under the broiler. Top rolls with a few meatballs, mozzarella, and parmesan. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, remove from under the broiler and scatter with some torn or shredded basil. Serve hot and melty! [/recipe]

I was compensated by Le Creuset & Williams Sonoma for the development of this recipe. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Grilled Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Jam Breakfast Sandwich

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While it’s not the prettiest specimen, this sandwich is one of my all-time favorite, go-to breakfasts (and honestly, lunches). It’s a little weird with the bacon, cheese, egg, and jam all mingled together, but it’s weird in the most sensical way…I promise. It hits all of my cravings–salty, sweet, rich, tangy, and crisp–in each bite. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve never shared this with you before because we have it ALL THE TIME.

A version of this sandwich often makes weekend appearances when we want something more than just cold cereal for breakfast. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and switch them up according to whatever is in the refrigerator. If I don’t have goat cheese, I will happily swap in cheddar, pepper jack, fontina, or whatever there is hanging out in the cheese drawer. If there isn’t any bacon–ham, proscuitto, or any pork product works just as well. An egg is always required, and if I weren’t pregnant, you’d better believe it’d be a runny one. The jam gets mixed up too–this time I used marionberry because–I live in Portlandia* now–and it’s was in the fridge. If I have some leaves of arugula wilting away in the crisper drawer, those go in there as well for some spicy-green bite. Really it’s an anything goes sandwich so long as you have a sweet, jammy spread, some sort of salty-cured pork situation, an egg, cheese, and some bread.

*Ps, when my brother-in-law and his gf were here visiting last week, we definitely waited in an out-the-door-long brunch line, walked by a store with birds on everything, and they saw Carrie and Fred handing out Voodoo donuts at Powell’s books. True life.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Grilled Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Jam Breakfast Sandwich

I mean, I know you can make a sandwich without a recipe, but look at this as a guide to a deliciously weird breakfast.

2 slices bread

soft butter

jam of choice

goat cheese

2 slices crispy bacon, cut in half

fried egg, however you like

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter the bread on the sides that will make contact with the pan. Spread a thin layer of jam on the opposite sides of the bread that are buttered. Spread or sprinkle some goat cheese chunks on one piece of the bread on the jam side, lay the slices of bacon across the top and place the egg on top of that. Top it all with the second piece of bread, jam side on the inside, and grill in the heated pan until the goat cheese is melty and the bread is golden brown and crisp on both sides. EAT.

[/recipe]

 

 

Savory Maple Beer-Battered Apple and Onion Rings

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When I was in grade school I struggled with reading and by third grade I dreaded it. So, my mom, knowing I was falling behind and embarrassed to not be at the level of my peers, hired a reading tutor and things totally changed for me…I began to love reading and would get lost in a book for hours. The first book series I ever fell in love with were the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the pioneer spirit and, surprise, all the food imagery. One of the best books in the series for food imagery was Farmer Boy, a book about her husband’s childhood growing up on a farm…it is full of hearty farm meals and his favorite dish was made up of apples and onions. Since reading the book for the first time I have been enamored by the sweet and savory pairing.

These beer-battered, maple-seasoned, apple and onion rings are so savory with an addictive, shattering crispness. There’s just a hint of sweetness from the apple rings themselves and from a few liberal dashes of Tonewood Maple’s* savory Maple Seasoning. Tonewood is a maple company that collaborates with maple producers to provide pure and delicious maple products with a focus on family-owned farming and sustainable stewardship. I really loved this seasoning both in the batter and sprinkled on top, it made for a very autumnal batch of onion rings with the twist of apple and maple. In addition to the seasoning, there’s beer in this batter for extra lightness and a little bit of brown rice flour that gives these rings an utlra-crisp edge. I totally suggest sandwiching both and apple ring and onion ring together for the ultimate in savory-sweet goodness. A drizzle of maple-laced sriracha is the perfect sweet-spicy condiment for these rings. [recipe]

Print Recipe

Savory Maple Beer-Battered Apple and Onion Rings

You can purchase Tonewood products here and use the discount code HGPVOCT for a Buy-One-Get-One offer on the maple seasoning I used here. From Tonewood:

Through collaboration with expert sugarmakers, Tonewood produces pure maple syrups and other specialties that are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives.

…By funding climate change research, local farming efforts, and sustainable forest stewardship, Tonewood seeks to preserve family-owned maple production.

If you don’t have brown rice or regular rice flour, all-purpose may be substituted. For the beer I used a lighter wheat beer to keep the beer-flavor mild. To cut the apple rings, just use graduated sizes of biscuit or round cookie cutters. If you do not want to buy any maple seasoning a mixture of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or so of maple syrup is a good substitute.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour, plus 1/4 cup more

2 teaspoons of Tonewood Maple Seasoning (check name), plus more for sprinkling

1 egg white

1 cup beer

1 large, sweet onion sliced into rings and separated

1 large apple (I used a Honeycrisp), sliced into rounds

Canola oil for frying

Maple Sriracha Drizzle

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 -2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/4 cup of the rice flour with the maple seasoning to combine. Then whisk in the egg white and beer until a smooth batter forms. Set aside while you cut out the apple rings. Using a few sizes of round cutters, cut out apple rings and place on a plate with the separated onion rings. Place the remaining rice flour in a shallow dish. Prepare a plate with several layers of paper towels and set to the side.

In a deep skillet fill with a generous 1-inch of canola oil and heat to about 375˚F. In batches, dredge the onion and apple rings in the rice flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beer batter before gently lowering the rings into the hot oil. Cook the rings on both sides until golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and place on the paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with additional maple seasoning while still hot. Serve immediately (with extra beer!). [/recipe]

*Tonewood kindly supplied me with the Maple Seasoning and a few other ingredients that will show up in a later post. As always, all opinions are my own.