February 23, 2012

Recipe for Moroccan turkey meatballs


I have a theory about turkey meatballs: you can mix anything from your pantry with ground turkey, and create great meatballs. Okay, maybe not anything, but except for Nutella, I can't think of a pantry staple that wouldn't work. Our latest incarnation, Moroccan turkey meatballs, features ground-chickpea falafel mix in place of breadcrumbs. The warm spices of ras el hanout -- cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric -- give these meatballs the sultry flavor of North Africa, and the dark appearance of... rocks! Oh, well. Forgive the strangely yellowish-brown color, and serve these meatballs in a salad, in a pita stuffed with hummus, or with roasted vegetables and couscous.

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October 6, 2011

Recipe for tabbouleh (bulgur wheat and parsley salad) {vegan}

Tabbouleh, a popular Middle Eastern salad. #vegan

Here in Rhode Island, early October affords a very small window of opportunity, before the first frost, when the garden gives up its last vine-ripened tomatoes and the parsley is at its most robust. That's the best time to make tabbouleh, the Middle Eastern salad of bulgur wheat, parsley and tomatoes with a lemony dressing. Very few dishes really give parsley the star turn it deserves, especially when it's as aromatic and crisp as my garden parsley. Tabbouleh (also spelled tabbouli) lets parsley shine. Thanks to an early-season gift from my friend Julia, I also have scallions in my garden. I love this particular version of tabbouleh because it doesn't call for raw onions (I don't like them), though you can substitute onions for the scallions if you prefer. Serve this salad as a side dish with any grilled meat or chicken, or stuff into a pita with some falafel or chickpeas for a substantial (vegan) lunch. The salad tastes best when it sits for a couple of hours before serving, so be sure to plan for that.

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August 18, 2011

Recipe for whole wheat orzo with cucumber, mint, feta, olives, and zahtar vinaigrette {vegetarian}


Ever since I moved to the country and planted an herb garden, I've become a mint snob. During the winter, when the only fresh mint comes from the grocery store, I crave recipes like this orzo salad, but when I reach for the mint in the produce section, I can't quite bring myself to buy it. For me, "seasonal" means walking out the front door with my nippers in hand, and returning to the kitchen with a fist full of fresh herbs. If you don't have an herb garden, please don't forego this salad; tweak it a bit with lemon zest in place of the mint, and you'll have a vibrant vegetarian pasta dish that's a bit different, but equally lovely. The lemon zest plays up the lemony flavor of the zahtar. So, mint or lemon -- everything else the same -- two salads in one!

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March 31, 2011

Recipe for roasted red pepper and garlic hummus crostini {vegan}

Roasted red pepper and garlic hummus crostini

My friend Louane hosted a progressive dinner with friends in our Boston neighborhood some years ago, and when it came time to selecting a course to serve at our house, I chose dessert. Now, you know I am a bake-o-phobe, but I was even more fearful of making the appetizers than I was of tackling some sort of baked sweet for the end of the meal. Appetizers set the tone for everything to follow, and I must admit that my appetizers tend to be more dips than dainties. This roasted red pepper and garlic hummus is one dip that works well as a spread on toasted slices of bread. It's easy to put together, and looks a little bit fancy when served on a nice flowered plate. A few crostini with a green salad would make a nice vegetarian lunch, too.

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March 15, 2011

Recipe for North African harissa turkey meatballs

North African harissa turkey meatballs

My love affair with turkey meatballs continues, as intense as ever, this time under the exotic influence of Morocco and Tunisia. Cumin, coriander, parsley and harissa -- fundamental flavorings in North African cuisine -- turn a basic meatball recipe into something exciting, like a love affair should be. Even if you usually don't eat spicy food, please don't omit the harissa, a fiery hot pepper paste that includes chile peppers, coriander, cumin, caraway and garlic; a small amount, balanced by the cooling Greek yogurt and bland flavor of the turkey, will feel just right. And if you're a hot food lover, go ahead and add a bit more spice to your life  -- I mean, add a bit more harissa to your meatballs!

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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