Monday, April 24, 2017

'Just Like a Woman' Meatballs #FoodNFlix


Here we are at the April Food'N'Flix event and I'm hosting! You can read my invitation: here. I invited the bloggers to watch A Touch of Spice.* And, truth be told, I had never watched the movie myself, but I knew that I would like it. I was correct. What a beautiful movie!

On the Screen
Okay, so you already know that I was quite taken with this movie. The scenes in the past were filmed in muted colors, not quite sepia-toned, but softer than usual. I loved that instead of spraying their correspondence with perfume, they rubbed the postcards in spices. How fun...and fragrant.

The movie is structured like a dinner, divided into three parts: appetizers, main course, and dessert. We see Fanis as young child in his grandfather's spice shop; as a Greek citizen being deported out of Turkey; as young adult, still in Greece; and as an astronomy professor who has returned to Turkey when his grandfather is gravely ill.

"Grandpa said the word 'gastronomer' conceals within it the word 'astronomer'. As such, my lessons in astronomy involved the use of spices," Fanis says.


On the Plate
There was so much food inspiration in the movie. Tables full of food, kitchens full of women - and Fanis - teaching soon-to-be-brides how to cook, the grandfather's spice shop, and more. But I was inspired by an exchange in the spice shop and, then, Fanis' house about meatballs.

When a customer comes into the shop requesting cumin and oregano for meatballs, the grandfather suggests cinnamon. She balks. The grandfather says, "Sometimes we have to use the wrong spice to get a point across; add something different. Cinnamon makes people look in each others eyes."

Later, as he's teaching Fanis about spices, he tells him: Cinnamon is sweet and bitter "just like all women." That made me chuckle...and inspired this dish.


I looked at traditional Greek meatball recipes (Keftedakia) and I considered Turkish meatballs (Kofte). But, in the end, I decided to create a recipe with elements from both. I simmered my meatballs in a spiced tomato sauce with a Greek-inspired yogurt sauce over the top. And, naturally, I used cinnamon in mine!


Ingredients makes approximately 3 dozen walnut-sized meatballs
Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C ground almonds
  • 1 T gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 t fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Tomato Sauce
  • 1-1/2 C tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C dry red wine
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 C Greek yogurt
  • 1 t fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 t red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Meatballs
Place all of the meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Blend well to combine. Form walnut-sized meatballs and set aside.

Tomato Sauce
In a large, flat-bottom pan, whisk all of the ingredients together. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a simmer. Gently drop the meatballs into the sauce and simmer until cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. They will be firm to the touch. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.


Yogurt Sauce
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste.


To Serve
You can serve the meatballs in the large skillet with toothpicks on the side and the yogurt sauce in a small bowl so diners can help themselves. Or you can plate three or four meatballs and drizzle them with the yogurt sauce.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

5 comments:

  1. I loved that line, too! And I'm a sucker for meatballs of any sort, so I'm digging the sound of these. Thanks for the fun pick this month, so much inspiration!

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  2. I also loved the scenes in the past! And love that you took oe recipe and married both Greek and Turkish influences, they look wonderful. Thanks for hosting!

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  3. I love that, like the movie, you combined both cultures to make this dish. It sounds amazing. Thanks so much for hosting this month.

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  4. I adore meatballs,and these look amazing with the two sauces. Definitely giving them a try!

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  5. Your meatballs look perfect and I love both of the sauces you paired with them. Great pick for the movie and great movie pick! ;-)

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