Beef Meatballs with Kale and Radishes

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The weather is getting chillier these days, the mornings foggier, and I’m layering again, Bay Area-style. In other words, the temperature has dropped below 75 degrees and I’m freezing. I’m also craving heartier food, like meatballs and leafy greens. I can turn on the oven in this weather too, which is perfect, because quite frankly, I’ve always kind of sucked at stovetop meatballs. But oven-baked? I’m a pro.

These oven-baked beef meatballs are among my favorites to prepare. No red sauce here: just the meatballs, sauteed kale and radishes, and a couple of secret ingredients: garam masala and miso. That’s right. You’d never guess it, but a dollop of salty-sweet white miso and a sprinkling of warm spices gives these meatballs an extra depth.

Cold weather isn’t so bad after all.

Beef meatballs with kale and radishes

Ingredients:

1 egg
4 garlic cloves, 2 finely grated, 2 thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white miso
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Pecorino, finely grated
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 pound ground beef
2 bunches Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
8 radishes, trimmed, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Whisk egg, grated garlic, miso, milk, garam masala, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Mix in Pecorino and panko. Add beef gently mix with your hands just until all ingredients are evenly incorporated (do not over-mix).

2. Working one at a time, scoop out 2 heaping tablespoons mealtball mixture and roll into balls between your palms. Place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake meatballs until lightly browned on top and cooked through, about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add radishes and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add kale and stir, until they wilt, about 5 minutes. Push kale and radishes to one side of skillet. Pour remaining 1 teaspoon oil on the empty side and add sliced garlic. As soon as garlic starts to sizzle, stir it into vegetables. Remove pan from heat and add lemon juice to mixture; season with salt. Toss well.

3. Tear meatballs in half and add to skillet. Toss everything together and serve warm.

Green Beans with Anchovy-Parmesan Dressing

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I don’t like green bean casserole. There, I said it. Every Thanksgiving, I’d steer clear of the green beans on the table, feeling guilty for allotting less real estate for vegetables on my plate but hey, mashed potatoes count, right?

This year, though, I’m turning a new leaf. This green bean dish is electrified with a bright, piquant dressing that has me converted. Think Caesar salad meets green beans. It might just be my new favorite Thanksgiving side dish — and it’s versatile enough to serve all year.

Green beans with anchovy-Parmesan dressing

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
3 cups baby spinach
3 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Salted toasted sunflower seeds, for garnish

1. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to an ice bath to cool; drain well. Place the beans in a bowl.

2. In a blender, pulse the parsley with the spinach, anchovies, cheese and mustard. With the machine on, drizzle in 4 tablespoons of water and oils and blend until combined. Season with salt.

3. Add the dressing to the beans and toss to coat. Garnish with sunflower seeds.

Kimchi-Fried Bulgur

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You know a food trend has arrived when you see frozen bags of it at Trader Joe’s (no disrespect to Trader Joe’s, purveyor of all things delicious, whimsical, and well-priced). So once I started seeing frozen kimchi fried rice in their aisles, I wondered how else I could riff on one of my favorite weeknight dishes. Enter alt grains.

Why not kimchi-fried bulgur? A little Middle Eastern-East Asian mashup, if you will. It’s just as easy as kimchi fried rice, but more filling, and pretty guilt-free. Put an egg on it and you’ve got yourself a complete meal.

Kimchi-fried bulgur

1/2 cup kimchi, plus 3 tablespoons juice from jar
4 green onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
Salt
1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
3 cups cooked bulgur
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 sheet nori seaweed, shredded
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Chop kimchi; set aside. Cut green tops from green onions and thinly slice; set aside. Thinly slice white and pale green parts and set those aside too.

2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Crack eggs into pan; season with salt. Cook until whites are golden and crisp around edges and puffing up and set near yolks, about 4 minutes. Transfer eggs to a plate.

3. Return skillet with oil to medium-high heat, add carrot, and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved white and pale green parts of green onions and kimchi and cook, stirring often, until scallions are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add grains, soy sauce, sesame oil, and reserved kimchi juices; cook, stirring, until grains are slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt; divide between 2 plates. Top with eggs, then nori, sesame seeds, and reserved scallion tops.

Spanish-Style Deviled Eggs

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I hated eggs growing up. I’m talking complete revulsion: eggs were up there with monsters and flu shots for me. But somewhere along the way, my adult tastebuds changed their mind and these days, eggs are one of my favorite foods. I can’t get enough of them. Especially deviled eggs.

One of my favorite ways to prepare deviled eggs is with Dungeness crab, but the season only lasts a few months. So for the other half of the year, I make this Spanish version, which is just as delicious. Flecked with paprika, chopped almonds and a generous amount of olive oil, the quality of your ingredients makes all the difference here. These are perfect as an appetizer or alongside a green salad for a light lunch.

Spanish-style deviled eggs

Ingredients:

6 room temperature eggs
1/2 clove garlic
salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled almonds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Put the pan over high heat. When the water boils, turn off the burner and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Remove eggs from the pan, transfer to an ice bath, and let cool.

2. Peel the eggs, halve lengthwise, and ease out the yolks into a bowl. Arrange the whites on a serving platter.

3. Peel and chop the garlic, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and use the side of a chef’s knife to smash the garlic into a paste. Add the garlic to the bowl with the yolks, along with the olive oil, mayonnaise, almonds, lemon juice, parsley, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use a fork to smash the yolks and blend the ingredients. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed.

4. Pipe the mixture into a pastry bag or ziploc cut with a 1-inch hole. Divide the mixture among the egg whites.

5. Garnish the eggs with more parsley and a dusting of paprika. Serve at room temperature.

Skillet Lamb Kofta

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This Iranian-inspired main is the perfect dish for when you want something like kabab koobideh but don’t have the patience to fire up the grill. Lightly spiced and easy to put together, this lamb kofta kabab comes together in under an hour. It reminds me of kabab maytabaiyee, a skillet kabab dish that mimics the grilled version but without that charcoal kiss.

Use a light hand with the pomegranate molasses: too much and the koftas won’t hold their shape when heated. And a word about kofta versus kabab: in Persian, kabab refers to grilled meat dishes and kofta refers to meatballs. So this is sort of both. This dish isn’t traditional, but rather an amalgamation of distinctly Iranian spices and ingredients.

Skillet lamb kofta

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb

1/2 cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons paprika

3 tablespoons grated onion

2 garlic cloves, finely 
grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Combine lamb, mint, pomegranate molasses, paprika, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Using clean hands, shape lamb mixture into 1 1/2-inch-thick oval patties. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.


2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high and add olive oil. Add patties to the pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes, turning every few minutes for even cooking. Transfer to a platter and serve with yogurt alongside rice or flatbread.