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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crunchy and Crusted: Crinkle Meatballs

For this month's Five Star Cooking theme, I made a very different kind of meatballs. Instead of soft and juicy, these are crunchy and crusted, with a tint of sweetness from pieces of dates. The yogurt sauce drizzled on top balances out the texture. Surprisingly, this is now my favorite kind of meatballs.

Crinkle Meatballs with Turkey and Date

Crinkle Meatballs with Turkey and Date
from Food and Wine
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 6 dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  1. In a bowl, combine the ground turkey with the bread crumbs, dates, eggs, sesame seeds, sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the lentils, garlic, thyme and cinnamon stick with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl; pick out and discard the seasonings. Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the lentils and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Spread the meatballs on a lightly oiled large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on the bottom and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, blend the yogurt with the lemon juice, mint and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs with the lentils and yogurt.
Thank you to Natasha from 5 Star Foodie and Laz from Lazaro Cooks! for hosting this month's 5 Star Cooking!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Michael Mina, Vegas.

The moment we decided that we were going to Vegas to celebrate the new year and my dad's 60th birthday, I (of course) started listing restaurants I couldn't miss. My wish list looked something like: Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Michael Mina, Lupo by Wolfgang Puck, Mesa Grill..., and so on. As a Michelin-starred restaurant, Michael Mina had impeccable service and creative dishes. If you'd rather try it at home, buy Michael Mina: The Cookbook.

For those who can't decide and prefer to try a little of everything, the tasting menu was fantastic. It includes Chef Michael Mina's signature dishes like the lobster pot pie. I was too intrigued by the a la carte menu offerings to pass on the opportunity. My only critique would be the lack of theme and consistency across his menu items. I felt that there was no central theme (cuisine, ingredients, or seasoning) to tie his dishes together. In my opinion, his specialty seems to be seafood and appetizers.
Here is a list of what we sampled:

Tasting Menu
Ahi Tuna Tartare - Ancho Chile. Mint. Pine Nut. Sesame Oil.
Lobster Pot Pie - Summer Vegetables. Brandied Lobster Cream.
American Kobe Rib Eye - Porcini Butter Poached. Creamed Corn.
Hot Mulled Apple Cider - Vanilla Sugar Cookie.
Glazed Chocolate Brownie - Cocoa Nib Ice Cream. Spiced Pecans.
Root Beer Float - Warm Chocolate Chip & Cookies.
Brown Sugar Wafer
Chocolate Bon Bon

A La Carte
Hors d'oeurves - Foie Gras PB&J, Cured Ocean Trout, Steak Tartare, Crab BLT
Truffle-Stuffed Jidori Chicken - Savoy Cabbage, Foie Gras Rice
Banana Tarte Tatin - Brown Butter Ice Cream, Toffee
Apple Crisp - Cinnamon Ice Cream, Oat Streusel