Sunday, August 25, 2013

On a Stick! {Cookbook Review}

When I tore open the envelope from Quirk Books and revealed On a Stick! 80 Party-Perfect Recipes by Matt Armendariz*, I had to fight all three of my boys to flip through it. Literally fight. By the time I got to thumb through the pages with post-it notes and a pen in hand, there were already some pages marked as favorites. 'Please!' was scrawled in someone's messy handwriting on a scrap of paper, holding the page. Probably Dylan.

The only stumbling block: many of his recipes are deep-fried and I, as a general rule, don't eat fried food. So I knocked Breakfast Pancake Dogs with Maple Syrup, Chicken and Waffles, Corn Dogs, Deep-Fried Mac'n'Cheese, and Doughnut Holes off the list immediately. They just didn't appeal to me plus I don't have a way to deep fry anyway.

I really wanted to figure out how to adapt his Fried Mushrooms with Roasted Onion Dip, Molotes with Fresh Tomato Salsa, and Savory Tofu Dango into non-fried versions. I'll get around to that eventually.

I hastily scribbled out a grocery list for Pinchos de Gambas, Grilled Sweet Potatoes, and Elote. I had everything I needed for some Antipasto Skewers. It sounded like the perfect Friday night dinner. It was.

"Skewer it, stab it, stick it!!" Armendariz writes. "Eating food on a stick is fun, festive, and just plain delicious." He's right, you know. Sticks are playful; everyone's inner toddler likes to play with their food.

That's an 'R'...just in case you can't make that out!

But the recipe I'll share with you from On a Stick! was, as Armendariz intended, a party favorite. I brought this to our friends' house for a potluck. And they were gobbled up so that nothing by the sticks remained. Sweet. This recipe, as originally written was also deep fried, but I have baked meatballs with great success before...

The Great Disappearing Chinese Meatballs
adapted from  On a Stick! 80 Party-Perfect Recipes by Matt Armendariz

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground chicken
4 T soy sauce
2 T crushed garlic
1 T minced ginger
1 t minced lemongrass
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground cinnamon
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 t red pepper chili flakes
splash of sesame oil

Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce
1 C rice wine vinegar
1 C organic granulated sugar
1 T minced garlic
1/2 t minced lemongrass
1/2 t minced ginger
dash of ground cumin
dash of ground cinnamon
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch of red pepper chili flakes
splash of sesame oil
splash of soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. With moist hands, shape meat mixture into tablespoon-sized meatballs. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake meatballs at 375° for 35 minutes or until done. Roll them  in a little bit of sauce return them to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve with additional sauce on the side.

Not only were the recipes in this book super fun, they were tasty. I tried half a dozen of the recipes and each one was easy to follow and delicious to boot. Winner, winner chicken dinner in my book!

*I did receive a complimentary copy of the cookbook from the publishers. 
But all opinions are 100% my own.

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