Thursday, August 5, 2010

Swedish Meatballs...In the SUMMER?

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My work schedule has been pretty consistent lately. I have been working 2 days, off for 1, work for 1, and off for 3. This allows me to cook ahead, or cook all day! I have a nice variety of fresh vegetables in the fridge, courtesy of a local farmers market simply bursting at the seams with fresh colorful goodness. I currently am using the following vegetables to mix and match with a couple of meats: English peas in the pod, arugula, cauliflower, green beans, tiny new potatoes, and carrots. I eat the peas, arugula, and carrots raw, and lightly blanch everything else. This gives me absolutely no excuse NOT to eat my veggies! As I was doing some blanching this AM, I was thinking how the green beans and the new potatoes would pair well with a nice jar of Italian tuna in olive oil, some black olives and a hard cooked egg to create a lovely Nicoise style salad, with a splash of lemon juice as dressing. MMMM...a potential lunch in the making!

I, personally, would never want a completely vegetarian diet. I don't know if it is due to my Ukrainian upbringing, or habits from my youth, but I am a fan of meat. I also know that my stomach simply cannot deal with a strict diet of vegetables and fruit. I tend to get a sore achy stomach, especially from too many raw vegetables, and have found that even a light blanching helps my digestion immensely.

I already have some baked chicken breasts, and some turkey vegetable ragu sauce prepared for the week, but I wanted some red meat. I took out a pound of ground beef from the freezer, and proceeded to search for a recipe that would not duplicate the tomato base, I already have in the ragu. I decided on : 'Swedish Meatballs with Shitake Mushrooms.' You can find the recipe at one of my favorite 'go-to' recipe sites. The recipe was very easy to follow, and not alot of work, with the exception of thinly slicing the 4.5 cups of Shitake mushroom caps. I found the addition of the allspice and the ginger in the meatballs to be trans formative in the dish. I have made meatballs over the years, a million different ways, and these were incredibly flavourful. I also found the combination of the beef broth with the low fat sour cream wonderfully rich. I am so used to cooking with chicken or vegetable broth, that I forgot what deep flavour beef broth lends to a dish.

This recipe was definitely a winner. Although a meatball dish, cooked on the stove top in August, may not seem and eating what you crave, is always the right choice for me.

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