The same way one tells a recipe, one tells a family history. Each one of us has our past locked inside.
An Elegant Hors D’oeuvre or Hearty Main Course
When I began Be Still & Eat almost three years ago today, it was intended as an ode to my family; my children for their future, my husband for our present, my parents for the memories they helped me create, my grandmother most certainly because she is with me in the kitchen always.
I’ve discovered along the way that it is also for my brother and sister. We’ve long shared a love of food and have spent many happy hours in this kitchen or that, and now they contribute to the contents you find among these pages. Sift through some of the old family recipes and you will see my sister’s hands (literally and figuratively!) and in the past few months, you will see my brother’s wonderful wine pairings. Be Still & Eat is about family, it’s about preserving heritage and it’s about sharing the experience of not only eating but also creating really good, really simple food.
I came up with this dish as a way to serve tahini sauce. No kidding. I love the stuff so much and not just for the flavour but for the memories it conjures. Tahini is one of those ingredients that immediately reminds me of my Sittoo’s pantry, really phenomenal Lebanese restaurants in Montreal, and slow, easy Sunday afternoons preparing meals for friends and family. Seems a lot for a little sauce but isn’t that usually the way?
And simple it is! It’s made of only 4 ingredients and although tahini may not be in every single grocery store it is in most and it honestly keeps FOR (practically) EVER!
I’ve really been into making meatballs lately, they’ve all just been so delicious and moist and flavour packed, with the wonderful ability to feed a few or many, as an appetizer or a main course.
I’ve made this recipe with a combination of veal and pork (delush!) and then again with turkey. I can honestly highly recommend both with much enthusiasm. The point is that you can sort of use just about any ground meat you would like.
I had a go at baking the meatballs as well to make them a bit more health conscious but the moisture was lost rather dramatically, so drain the fat off carefully at the end of browning and you’re half way there.Tahini sauce is something I’m pretty certain I could eat on just about anything so I typically whip up a rather large batch and keep it in the fridge for, well for anything I feel like putting it on or dipping in it. It is marvelous as a dip for veg or bread. And as you can see, the day I photographed it, I was actually planning on drizzling it over baked cauliflower. I can say with complete honesty that it’s one of the few ways of serving cauliflower that I find truly satisfying.
Menu suggestion: I like how these little devils can pull double duty. They might be served with a beautiful Couscous Salad or with some brown rice which I pretty much always toss in some chopped spinach or arugula. Or they can just be all by their gorgeous selves as an hors d’oeuvre. It’s your call entirely!
Wine pairing: Here’s my brother’s recommendation for this lovely Middle Eastern inspired dish. “Hard to get away from southern France or Italy with this dish. I feel like something off-dry might work with the puckering effect of tahini. I know I’ve called Provençal rose before, but that feels right again in this instance.”
Enjoy & Namaste!
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 lb ground veal
- 1 lb ground pork
- ½ cup rough chopped parsley
- ¼ cup rough chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp cardamom
- ¾ tsp turmeric
- FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE
- 1 cup tahini
- ¾ cup cold water
- ¾ cup lemon juice (more or less to taste)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and using your hands delicately but thoroughly mix until seasonings and fresh herbs and well distributed.
- Heat oil in a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan (but honestly if you don't have a cast iron pan, please invest in one. It is probably the single most useful pan in any kitchen!)
- Brown meatballs on all sides over medium heat, checking and turning often and cook until no longer pink inside, about 15-20 minutes.
- Combine tahini and cold water stirring until smooth. By adding the water first you will have a much whiter sauce.
- Add lemon juice and garlic stirring until smooth.
- Serve over or under the meatballs or even on the side as a dipping sauce