Lamb Meatball Sliders with Chimichurri

 

 Lamb Sliders 1

January should be said as “Jan-YOU-ary” as its focus seems to be on creating a new you, a better you. Sure many of us have resolutions. Ours involve unplugging more often (get off the iPad and computer!), focusing on community, finally organizing the scary boxes labeled “important files” in our office (they’ve only been piled there for a year), and drinking all the beer and wine that’s left over from our New Year’s Eve party (not by ourselves of course, we’ll invite friends, maybe the whole neighborhood since we’re focusing on community in 2014 afterall).

“Jan-YOU-ary” seems to be all about green smoothies, spinach and kale salads, juice cleanses and breaking away from the indulgences enjoyed over the holidays. This recipe isn’t a green smoothie, but there is green involved and it’s a lot more satisfying.

Lamb Sliders 5

We served these lamb meatball sliders at our New Year’s Eve party and they were a HIT! We got the idea from the Kitchn’s post on throwing a “Glam Winter Cocktail Party”. Having a glam winter cocktail party sounds really adult. Our party wasn’t like that. But these meatballs were awesome. You could say they glammed up the bash at the Blue Door.

 Lamb Sliders 2

 These meaty-balls are made with lamb and beef, woah mama. We added ginger and chili powder for an unexpected and delightful warm zing to the tastebuds. The chimichurri made with cilantro, parsley, shallots, garlic and olive oil cools everything down.

We served the meatballs on ciabatta rolls that we had warmed in the oven. And based on our friends’ raving reviews, the toasty bun is really what put these meatballs over the top and into complete awesomeness.

What’s even more awesome about these meatballs is that they are the ultimate quick freezer meal. They can be frozen uncooked for up to 3 months, or frozen cooked for up to 1 month. Heat ’em up and you have a great weeknight meal in minutes!

Happy “Jan-U-ary.” Happy Double Dipping!

Lamb Sliders 3

Lamb Meatball Sliders with Chimichurri – recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 30 sliders

For the meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 small onions, finely grated
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour

For the chimichurri:
1 small jalapeño pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon capers (or 3 anchovies)
1 shallot, sliced
1 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley
1 cup lightly packed cilantro
1 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon oregano
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the buns:
Store-bought sourdough dinner rolls (we used Trader Joes ciabatta rolls)

Mix together the beef and lamb until they are well combined. Using your hands or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, stir in the onion, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, chile powder, cilantro, almonds, eggs, and flour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Divide the meat mixture into 1/4-cup portions and roll into evenly-shaped meatballs. Space evenly on a half-sheet pan and roast the meatballs for 20 minutes or until just barely pink in the middle.

For the chimichurri, add jalepeño, garlic, capers, shallots, parsley, cilantro, chives, and oregano to a food processor. Pour in half the olive oil and the sherry vinegar, then pulse 6 to 7 times. Add the rest of the olive oil, and blend for 1 minute. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the sliders, brush buns with olive oil and toast at 450° for 3 to 5 minutes or till golden brown. Spread a spoonful of chimichurri on the bottom part of the bun, then add a meatball. Serve immediately.

On freezing & refrigerating:
• Meatball mixture can be made up to 12 hours in advance and refrigerated.
• Meatball mixture can be frozen, uncooked, for 3 months.
• To freeze the cooked meatballs, place them on a large baking tray and freeze them for 2 hours or until solid. Then remove them and put them in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven until warmed through, turning the oven up to broil at the end for 5 minutes to re-crisp the edges.

Cowboy Caviar

 

Cowboy Caviar

Summer BBQ’ing is finally here with all the good stuff. Friends, beer, lawn games, and juicy, jaw dropping, lip smacking eats. Burgers and brats are classics, but sometimes it’s fun to take BBQs to the extreme…like roasting a whole pig in your backyard.

Pictured below is Wilbur, the 82 pound pig that our friends roasted in their backyard yesterday. Snout, ears, eyes, teeth, tongue, feet, tail…all parts were present.

Double Dippers and Wilbur

Roasting an 82 pound pig requires elaborate planning. Our hosts first had to determine where they could obtain the whole pig. They met a local farmer at the Lyndale Farmers’ Market in Minneapolis who raises pigs and sells them for events like this ($2 per pound. Wilbur was one pricey pig!). Yesterday morning at 5:30am they picked up Wilbur and the grill. By 7am Wilbur was stuffed with an orange garlic marinade and was roasting on the spit, slowly rotating. The sweet, savory smoke tempted us until 5pm when all parts were fully cooked through, juicy and ready to devour. We ate all parts of the pig…the shoulder, bacon (the sides), ribs, loin, and ham (the rump). We left the ears for the neighbor’s dogs to enjoy.

This was the most tender and juicy pork sandwich we’ve ever had. Not to mention it was awesome to know exactly where the pork came from. Can’t get more local than this!

Cowboy Caviar

To share as a side to the pork sandwiches, we brought Cowboy Caviar, a specialty of our friend Rachel (who we are going to visit in Washington state in 4 days! Expect to hear all about our adventures next week). Beans serve as the base and are jazzed up with crunchy peppers, red onion, corn and sweet nectarine. A squeeze of lime and the vinegar dressing give this dish the perfect amount of acidity. We dipped Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips into the salsa. This was an absolute hit at the party and was almost gone before Wilbur was even ready.

Even if you’re not going to a pig roast, Cowboy Caviar will be a hit at any BBQ or summer gathering.

Happy double dipping!

Cowboy Caviar

Recipe – from Rachel

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 15 oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2 15 oz. cans corn (or 1 bag frozen corn)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 nectarines
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Method

1. Combine beans, corn, chopped peppers, nectarine and red onion in large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add cilantro, cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, and vinegars. Stir to coat beans, peppers, nectarine and onion.

2. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for 2 hours.

3. Serve with Food Should Taste Good chips or your favorite tortilla chip. Enjoy!

*Salsa can be served at room temperature

Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers & a Property Sisters Update

Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers

We studied abroad in Costa Rica during our Junior year of college. During our time there we spent three weeks in “El Campo,” rural Costa Rica. E stayed with a family in Grecia, in the mountains of northern Costa Rica where she worked with five women who have their own organic shampoo factory and business. These were not your Aveda salon women with vogue hair styles and trendy clothes. These were working women who wielded machetes. E picked up some skills from them and learned how to use a machete in order to extract the chamomile and aloe vera needed to make the shampoo. Power tools are meant for girls too.

K stayed in central Costa Rica, in Pital, and lived with a woman who owned an organic pineapple farm. Besides enjoying the juiciest, sweetest pineapple every day, she was shown how to harvest the fruit. Like E with the chamomile, she took a machete to the pineapple bush. There is nothing more satisfying than biting into the yellow flesh, and letting the sweet, sticky juice run down your arm after chopping the pineapple with your own might. Girl’s got muscles.

Hostas Before

This weekend the machete skills we picked up in Costa Rica came in handy. See all those hostas and overgrowth in the picture above? That’s what our backyard used to look like. But we ripped those nasty, deep rooted plants out of there! (using a shovel and not a machete of course…)

Here’s what it looks like now. Ready to plant some flowers and vegetables!

Goodbye Hostas!

Not only did we get to use heavy-duty garden tools, we also used this grill master tool. Our new Weber Spirit 310 grill! It is simply amazing. We splurged and got the 3-burned, stainless steel finish, with stainless steel grates. Totally worth the extra spend. Pretty sure Bobby Flay would approve of this grill.

Weber Spirit 310

We grilled these rosemary honey mustard chicken skewers on our Weber. You should too. The rosemary and the whole grain Dijon mustard create an earthy base flavor for the marinade. The white balsamic and the honey are a combination of tart and sweet and know how to play with the base flavors. And a little dash of paprika gives the chicken a smoky-spicy kick. When grilled, the chicken becomes slightly charred on the outside, but the inside remains juicy and perfectly succulent. Served with grilled veggies, this meal is a no fail that everyone should have in their back pocket.

Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers

Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers

Happy double dipping!

Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • dash of pepper

Method

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.

2. Slice chicken breasts into 1/2 inch pieces. Add chicken to marinade and let marinate in refrigerator for 2-6 hours.

3. Assemble chicken on skewers. Place on grill over medium heat. Rotate once, after 4 minutes. Grill until cooked through.

4. Serve with grilled asparagus. Enjoy!

Spicy Dijon Baked Crab Cakes with Cool Chive Aioli

 Crab Cakes

Happy New Year! We welcomed 2013 with friends, laughs, champagne and these little tasty guys…spicy dijon crab cakes baked in the oven.

 

Crab Cakes

Served with a cool chive aioli. These crab cakes were perfectly festive.

 Crab Cake Dinner

Our crab cakes were the star of the New Year’s Eve meal, alongside roasted asparagus and sweet potato wedges. But, these would be perfect bite size apps for any party…Super Bowl perhaps? We think so.

Happy double dipping in 2013!

Crab Cakes

Recipe – makes 12 Cakes

Ingredients

·         1 lb. Lump Crab Meat (Note: This recipe also works with cooked crab meat.)

·         ½ Teaspoon Salt

·         ½ Teaspoon Pepper

·         ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

·         ½ Teaspoon Paprika

·         ¼ Teaspoon Onion Powder

·         ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

·         ½ Stalk of Celery, finely diced

·         1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped

·         1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

·         1 Tablespoon Coarse Ground Dijon Mustard

·         2 Egg Whites

·         ½ Cup Breadcrumbs

For the Aioli

  • 12 Chives, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • A Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • ½ Cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

Method

1.       Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula or large spoon to mix the ingredients together.

2.       Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3.       Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4.       While crab cakes are baking, combine ingredients for the aioli in a food processor or blender and process until combined.

5.       Serve as an appetizer or meal and enjoy!

 

Deck the Halls

 

It’s the Holiday Season and we’ve been busy decking the halls this weekend!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We got our Christmas tree yesterday, a tall frasier fIr that actually fit through the door this year!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We played Christmas music as we decorated and recalled the stories behind each ornament that we hung…the hand painted ornaments that we received each year from Grandma Patty, the yellow lab ornament we got for our puppy Kipper, the Lands’ End snowflake ornament we received in the mail in 1997 for being great customers (oh yeah, we rocked the Lands’ End style in the ’90s), and the giant, shiny, jewel-studded camel head ornament E got as a gift from her Secret Santa in high school (such a classy ornament).

christmas-background-4.jpg

Now that our halls are decked we are ready to dip into holiday treats! Expect more to come!

Happy decking the halls! Happy double dipping!

Bruschetta

It was a rainy day at the cabin. So what did we decide to do? Cook up a storm, of course.

We decided to indulge in a full meal…appetizer (this post), entrée (shrimp boil, see our earlier post for the recipe), and dessert (stay tuned).

We can’t take all the credit for these delicious bites. It’s our mom’s signature appetizer. So here’s a shout out to you Mom! We have been helping her make these since we were eight years old, sitting at the cabin kitchen counter wearing our overalls (we were so stylish in the ‘90s). Even yesterday was a tag-team effort. Fourteen years later this bruschetta is still the best.

Happy double dipping!

Recipe

Makes about 25 bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1 can black olives (15 ounces)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • Dash of black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut baguette into ¼” slices and lightly brush with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes
  3. In food processer, combine olives, capers, garlic, and olive oil.
  4. In separate bowl, combine diced tomatoes and green onions, and black pepper.
  5. Assembly: spread ½ tbsp. of caper and olive mixture on top of toast, next top with tomato mixture, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, place on baking sheet and toast for 10 more minutes.
  6. Enjoy with your favorite cocktail!

Cumin and Chili Powder Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

Spice? Check.

Sweet? Check.

Veggies? Check.

Delicious? Check.

These cumin and chili powder spiced sweet potatoes and carrots were the perfect side dish to our dinner last night. We dipped them in our own honey mustard concoction and devoured them. (And may have double dipped once or twice!) 

Happy double dipping!

 

Recipe – Adapted from www.ambitiouskitchen.com

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Honey Dijon Mustard

  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayo (or olive oil based mayo)

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Slice sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds. Slice carrots length wise, into 1 inch pieces.

3. In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt.

4. Toss sweet potatoes and carrots in mixture to lightly coat them.

5. Place potatoes and carrots on separate baking sheets.

6. Cooking time varies between sweet potatoes and carrots. So, place potatoes in oven for 15 minutes. Then place carrots in oven. Continue to bake both potatoes and carrots for 15 minutes. Sweet potatoes should be slightly crisp when done.

7. Serve with dijon honey mustard. Enjoy!

Grilled Avocado and Roasted Radish Crostini

Last night we were craving something packed with flavor, fun to eat, and different. We went on a scavenger hunt in the kitchen to see what we could find…not a whole lot. The winners were an avocado, radishes, and a whole grain artisan loaf of bread which we had bought at Kowalski’s Markets. So what did we decide to do with these gems? Make crostini, which is a  fancy name for toasted bread topped with what ever is in your kitchen!

Grilled avocado has been on our minds for a while. We’ve seen it in magazines and on the Food Network, but had never tried it. And we don’t know why! It’s so simple, and buttery, warm and delicious!

And since we’re currently addicted to roasted radishes (see our grilled pizzas post for more recipes with roasted radishes), we had to make a roasted radish and rosemary garlic crostini too!

We toasted thin half slices of bread rubbed with olive oil directly on the grill for about 2 minutes per side. Meanwhile, we placed the sliced avocado directly on the grill skin down for 2 minutes, then flipped it flesh down to cook for 2 more minutes. This way you get fancy looking grill marks! We also cut thin slices of radishes sprinkled with rosemary and black pepper, wrapped them in aluminum foil and roasted them on the grill for 10 minutes. We assembled our crostini (we sprinkled red pepper flakes on the avocado crostini and rubbed garlic on the roasted radish toast) and served them on the side of our spicy shrimp white bean stew for a relaxing dinner on the deck after yoga. It was only our second yoga class ever and we mistakenly went to a level three class. We thought yoga was meant to be relaxing, but when the instructor informed us that we were now going to be doing headstands, we just looked at each other and went into child’s pose. Needless to say, yoga was challenging and we felt we deserved a relaxing dinner.

The flavors were awesome, but what we loved most about this meal was the ease of making it. The entire meal only took 20 minutes to prepare and we used ingredients we already had on hand, without even planning! (See our Spicy Shrimp White Bean Stew post to get the recipe for the rest of this meal.) As long as you have some good bread on hand you can make your own crostinis and top them with whatever you find on your scavenger hunt. Happy double dipping!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of whole grain bread, cut into thin slices
  • 1 avocado, grilled
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced and roasted
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil, to spread on bread

Method

1. Heat grill to 350 degrees.

2. Cut radishes into 1/2 inch slices. Place on aluminum foil, sprinkle with chopped rosemary and black pepper. Place on grill for 10 minutes.

3. Cut bread into thin slices, and lightly brush each side with olive oil. Place on grill on indirect heat, and grill 2 minutes per side.

4. Cut avocado in half, and remove pit. Place skin side down directly on grill for 2 minutes. Turn over and place avocado flesh side down on grill for 2 more minutes.

5. Remove radishes, bread, and avocado from grill.

Assembly

6. Slice avocado into bite sized pieces (so that it fits on the toast). Place avocado pieces on toast, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

7. Rub garlic clove on toast, top with radishes.

8. Serve warm as an appetizer, or as a side to our Spicy Shrimp and White Bean Stew. Enjoy!

Nutrition info for 4 crostini (2 avocado and 2 radish)

Calories: 226   Carbs: 35g   Fat: 9g   Protein: 6g   Sugar: 2g   Sodium: 282mg

Blackberry Gin Fizz – Toasting the Summer Solstice

ImageImage

Happy summer solstice! How did you celebrate the longest day of the year? We toasted it with a fun and fizzy gin and tonic, which we sipped on our evening boat cruise around the lake. G and T’s are our drink of choice at the lake, light and refreshing. While we enjoy the classic drink, it’s sometimes fun to put a twist on tradition.

Image

We stumbled upon this blackberry basil G and T in Costal Living magazine and had to try it. The subtle tartness of the blackberries combined with the sweetness of the basil, and the fizz of the tonic gave our taste buds a jolt. It was the perfect summer solstice drink!

Image

Happy summer! Happy double dipping!

Image

Recipe- Adapted from Costal Living July Edition 2012

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. blackberries, rinsed
  • Gin (we used Tanqueray)
  • Tonic (we used diet tonic to cut out the sugar)
  • 1 Lime
  • Basil

Method

  1. In a blender or food processor puree blackberries.
  2. Using a sieve strain blackberries to separate the seeds from the juice.
  3. In a pitcher mix blackberry juice and tonic (enough to fill 4 glasses). Squeeze a little lime juice in the mixture.
  4. Add Tanqueray to each glass filled with ice, and distribute blackberry and tonic mixture evenly between the glasses. Stir.
  5. Add a slice of lime, fresh basil, and 1 blackberry to each glass.
  6. Sip and enjoy!

Nutrition info per serving

Calories: 86   Carbs: 3g   Fat: 0g   Protein: 0g   Sugar: 1g   Sodium: 0g

 

Rosemary Garlic Hummus

Image

Hum mus do you like hummus?  We like it so much that we don’t just double dip in it, we triple dip. It’s a great any time snack and delightful versatile spread. At St. Olaf we were spoiled with homemade hummus of almost every kind imaginable. Feta and garlic, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, spicy chipotle, basil, white bean…the list is never ending. Since we can no longer walk three minutes to the caf and pay with our fake money (also known as a pre-paid meal plan. Thanks Mom and Dad!) we’ve been buying our hummus. But to be honest it’s just not up to par with our spoiled taste buds. However, last Saturday we went out to dinner at a restaurant in Minneapolis, the Wilde Roast (so good!), where we were served hummus that contended with that of the caf. We asked our server what was in the hummus, but she wouldn’t reveal the secret recipe for this mouth-watering dip. So today we decided to toss away store bought imposter hummus, and create our own. While it does not taste exactly like the hummus in the caf or at the Wilde Roast, it’s pretty darn good and very simple to make. Not to mention less expensive too!

Image

We made a refreshing lemon rosemary and garlic hummus to go with the freshness of summer. When we first started blending the chickpeas they had a chalky texture. Who really wants to eat chalk? (Besides your three year old cousin, niece or nephew, which we know from experience is true). To solve this dilemma we added a few teaspoons of plain Greek yogurt. And voilà! We created the smooth and velvety hummus we had been craving, with just a few whole chickpeas remaining to add texture. Our hummus could have used just a bit more lemon, so go ahead and taste the hummus as you blend it, and add more garlic or lemon as needed.

We have two weeks of freedom left before we start our “real life” as corporate working women. In the meantime we are relaxing by the lake at our cabin and soaking up the summer sun, which surprisingly can build up an appetite! So we enjoyed our hummus with carrots, cauliflower, grape tomatoes, and apples on the deck. It was so tasty! Thankfully we made enough for left overs which will be great spread on a piece of multi-grain bread, with a slice of tomato and avocado for lunch tomorrow. Happy double dipping!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1  15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 ½ lemons (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 teaspoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp. warm water
  • 4 dashes garlic salt (you can add more or less at your discretion)
  • Dash of black pepper

Method

  1. In a food processor chop garlic.
  2. Add chickpeas, rosemary, lemon juice and water and pulse a few times. Mixture should remain chunky.
  3. Add yogurt and garlic salt, and blend. If the hummus is too chalky add more Greek yogurt.
  4. Taste to test flavor. Add more garlic, garlic salt, and lemon as desired.
  5. Serve with fresh veggies, spread on crackers, pita bread, or dip in tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Nutrition info per serving (2 tbsp.)

Calories: 65   Carbs: 9g   Fat: 1.5g   Protein: 4.5g   Sugar: 3g   Sodium: 1695mg

*You can lower the sodium amount by using less garlic salt.