Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A Light, Greek-Inspired Meal
It all started with some baby artichokes in our CSA box. That and the giant block of feta in the fridge R had picked up from Costco. I was leaning Mediterranean, as I had already made some fresh hummus earlier in the day. The meal ended up having a Greekesque flair to it. Nothing hardcore authentic, but throw some feta, lemon, and mint together and it's going to at least hint of being Greek.
I have never prepared baby artichoke before, so I kept those simple. I peeled the outer, tougher leaves off, trimmed the stem and the top of the choke and then quartered them and let them hang out in some lemon juice infused water while I prepped everything else.
I made some long grain white rice, cooked with lemon zest, and then fluffed with minced mint, from our garden, after it was finished cooking.
I wanted a simple and light protein to go with it, so I ended up making some baked, mini, Greek, turkey meatballs. The ground turkey was mixed with one slightly beaten egg, about 1/4+ C. of feta, 2 Tbs. fresh zatar (it tastes a bit like oregano), 2 Tbs. fresh mint, some minced shallot, and minced garlic. I also mixed in a bit of bread crumbs and oats because I had them. Any sort of binding agent would work. They were loosely rolled into small balls and placed individually in the wells of a mini muffin tin. While they baked in a 425 degree oven (for about 20 minutes), I got to work on the chokes.
I started by braising/steaming them in a saute pan with a tight fitting lid. I used some homemade veggie broth and a little of the lemon water. There was probably about a 1/4 inch of liquid in the pan with the chokes. After about 15 minutes they were getting tender, so I removed the lid to cook off the liquid. Once almost all of the liquid was cooked off, I added some butter, shallot, and a bit of the fresh zatar and sauteed the chokes until they browned slightly.
The artichokes and meatballs were served over the lemon mint rice, all with a healthy drizzle of lemon juice and more feta. Was this the most amazing meal ever? No, but it was pretty good. Light, seasonal, and it's just generally hard to argue with a homecooked meal.