Monthly Archives: April 2014


Spaghetti & Meatballs

I love a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs with buttery garlic bread and a glass of red wine. However, meatballs can be disappointing if they aren’t done right. If they are cooked too long they become dry and tend to crumble. To keep them moist I combine a little day old bread and milk with the meat and poach them in the sauce until they are just cooked through.  Although it isn’t traditional, I also like to add cream and nutmeg to the sauce for a little sweetness as I would to a Bolognese.

This recipe makes a lot of meatballs but the leftovers make great sandwiches and they freeze well if want to save them for another day.


  • 3/4 lb ground veal
  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 lb ground mild Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Mix bread and milk in a small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients before adding bread mixture and mix well.

Form  meat mixture in to balls. I like to make them about 1 1/2 inches thick which makes about 24 meatballs. Refrigerate them for about 25 minutes while you prepare your ingredients for the sauce.


  • 1 small yellow onion quartered
  • 1 large carrot, pealed
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin removed
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Chop carrot, onion and garlic in a food processor until smooth and set aside.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil and heat until smoking. Add one layer of meatballs and brown well. This takes about 6 minutes. Set browned meatballs aside while you repeat this step until all your meatballs are nice and brown.

Add the vegetable mixture to the pot and cook until it begins to brown. Add fresh thyme, nutmeg and tomato paste. Saute for 1 minute then add the red wine, scraping up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato puree and mix well. Bring up to a simmer cook the sauce for about 15 minutes to bring all of the flavors together. Gently add your meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for 15 minutes until meatballs are just cooked through. Remove the top and add the cream. Stir gently and let simmer for another 5 minutes then add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over spaghetti with parmesan and garlic bread.




Tandoori Style Whole Barbecued Chicken

For this recipe you will start by removing the skin from the chicken before marinating so it absorbs all of the flavors from the spiced yogurt and gets crispy on the grill. Generally, removing the skin before grilling would produce tough, stringy chicken. But in this case the yogurt keeps the meat from drying out and it gives it great flavor.

Have your butcher butterfly the chicken by removing the back bone or you can do it yourself with kitchen scissors.

Tandoori Style Whole Barbecued Chicken

Prep time: 25 minutes + 8 hours for marinating Cooking time: 30-40 minutes Serves: 4

  • 1 five pound chicken, butterflied with the back bone and skin removed
  • 2 cups full fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch fresh, pealed ginger
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Mix the ingredients well before slowly adding the oil.  Pour marinade over chicken making sure to rub it in. Cover and chill for 8-12 hours.

Let the chicken sit out for about 30-45 minutes before grilling. Get your grill nice and hot. Just before you start to cook the chicken, brush the grill with oil. Put the chicken flesh side down and cook for 7-10 minutes with the top on.

When the chicken has a nice char, turn it over and cook the other side for another 7-10 minutes with the top on. Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill and repeat this process until the breast registers 145 on an instant read thermometer and the leg reads 165.

Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pita, cucumber salad and Coriander-Mint Yogurt.

Coriander Mint Yogurt:

  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch corriander
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Serrano chili
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Thin out with olive oil if necessary for desired thickness. Serve with chicken and pita.




Chicken Tikka Masala & Spicy Mint Chutney

Chicken Tikka Masala is probably the most popular dish on the menu at most Indian restaurants. Although the recipe requires a lot of ingredients, it is actually very simple to make. Before I started putting together my Indian feast,  I wondered how my version of Chicken Tikka Masala would stand up to my favorite Indian spot. As it turns out, although they are not quite the same it was definitely just as good and the spicy mint chutney really brightened the dish.

Prep time: 4 hours 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Serves: 6-8

6 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1teaspoon cardamom
1 serrano chili
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
Steamed basmati rice (for serving)

Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.  Use half of the spice mixture and blend in a food processor with yogurt, lime juice, Serrano chili, salt and cilantro.  Pour over chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours.  Add the 1 teaspoon of cardamom to the remaining spice mixture. Cover and chill.

Heat ghee (or oil and butter) in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion and tomato paste.  Cook, stirring often until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often while scraping up browned bits from the pot. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.

Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and gets a little darker, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Shake some of the excess marinade from the chicken and place on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; add to sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice and mint chutney.

Mint Chutney

  • 2 cups fresh mint, stems removed
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 inch piece of pealed fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  You will need to scrape the sides down and blend several times to get it well pureed. Store chutney in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three hours to let the flavors come together. Stir before serving.