Tag: appetizer

Martha Stewart’s Asian Meatballs

Happy New Year everyone! May your 2015 be filled with love, luck and good food.

I’ve hardly made any resolutions this year, although cooking good food is always among them. Working in the house is still on the list, which explains my absence here for the past half year… Sorry about that, though I’m not making any promises I can’t keep until the house is done :-)

And don’t worry about the title of this post – I’m still a vegetarian, no changes on that front (in fact, I started replacing a lot of my dairy with soy products in 2014 and I plan on keeping it that way). I just made these meatballs for our New Year’s Eve party and they are always such a hit that I figured I had to share them. If you consider me a hypocrite now, you’re just giving me a good occasion to put my resolution not to care too much about others’ judgments into practice… On a more serious note: to all vegetarians out there (and to all those meat-eaters who feel the need to judge vegetarians): there is no Bible laying out the rules for being a ‘good’ vegetarian. So if you feel like having meat every once in a while, whether you like or don’t like eggs, dairy, or you can’t go without blue cheese, don’t let anyone tell you what’s right and what’s not. I had one of these yummy meatballs on the very edge of 2014 and I expect I won’t be eating any more meat until at least halfway 2015 (oh barbecue season, still can’t resist those merguez). Any diminishing of meat and animal products on your plate is a contribution toward a better environment… Anyway, time for the recipe!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s hors d’oeuvres bible (if you can lay your hands on it, don’t hesitate to buy!). I’ve adjusted it a bit more in keeping with Belgian meatball tradition and added eggs and bread-crumbs.

For a big platter of meatballs that will satsify at least 10 people (as a hors d’oeuvre):

about 750-800 grams of mixed ground meat (pork – veal – beef, all fine)
a bunch of fresh coriander, leaves finely chopped
one egg
one medium size or two small shallots, finely chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped or grated
2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce
bread-crumbs (paneermeel)
salt and pepper
for the sauce:

two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 heaping teaspoon of corn starch (maïzena, the yellow package)
200 ml of chicken stock (I just add one cube of chicken stock to water and mix it in the sauce afterwards – laziness prevails)
2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce
2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
a hint of chili paste (harissa, for example, but anything spicy will do)

How to:

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a big bowl with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste, and bread-crumbs until the meat is not too greasy and can be rolled into balls easily. I usually add at least 2-3 tablespoons, but this can really depend on your ground meat mix. Roll into 2-3 cm bite-size meatballs.

Put a large heavy pan on a medium fire. Add a little bit of oil for the first batch (afther that, there’s enough grease). Bake the meatballs until they’re completely baked in the middle – 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Shake the pan every few minutes to let them brown evenly. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch with two teaspoons of water in a glass.

Once the meatballs are done, leave the pan on the fire and add the chopped garlic and ginger. Let them bake for about a minute, don’t let them become too black though. Add the chicken stock (this is where you’ll be making sure the stock cube gets dissolved) and stir loose the baked bits on the pan. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar and chili. Let the sauce heat up and when it’s boiling, add the corn starch and let it thicken for a minute. Then spread the sauce over the meatballs. Serve with toothpicks and enjoy!


Fall menu: hors d’oeuvre and soup

My cooking class was canceled for today! Due to three non-functioning elevators. Must be the lamest excuse I’ve heard since ‘soccer game is canceled because of the rain’ in US High School. But, no class. Thank you, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie for putting down a brand new ‘cook tower’ for the Anderlecht hotel school with really bad elevators.

Anyway, this means I have time for a new blog post! I’ve been waiting for a while until I found time to write something about the fall menu I’ve been working on the past two weekends. Seasonal cooking is not just hip this days, but also more environmentally responsible. So here we go! I made two menus: one for a lovely evening at home and one for our ‘housewarming dinner’ with the parents…

Hors d’oeuvre: herb-filled portobello mushroom (recipe courtesy of delicious. magazine – no picture of my own, they were gone before I could find my camera, sorry!)

Ingredients for six people:

6 portobello mushrooms

4 spoonfuls of fresh herbs (I used parsley and mint, but try your own combination if you like!)

3 spoonfuls of (old) bread crumbs

40 grams (more or less) of freshly grated parmezan cheese

olive oil, salt and pepper


preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Remove the stems of the mushrooms and chop them coarsely. Put the mushrooms with their hollow sides up on a baking sheet and sprinkle with some olive oil and salt and pepper (this is not in the recipe, but I find otherwise they’re a little dry). Mix chopped mushroom stems with chopped herbs, cheese and breadcrumbs and stuff the mushrooms with this. Sprinkle with more olive oil and put into the oven for 15 minutes until the stuffing is golden brown.

Great as a hors d’oeuvre, but my guests found it a little difficult to eat without fork and knife. Better serve it on a plate. Very veggie-approved!

For the entree, I made two types of soup. I’ll give the tomato soup recipe here and keep the pumpkin-carrot-sweet potato soup for another time.


Tomato soup with mozzarella and basil garnish

Tomato soup with melting mozzarella balls and basil garnish (mozzarella idea from delicious. magazine)

Recipe (for a good amount of soup)

This soup is bound by using a bit of flour and making a sort of roux with the basic soup vegetables already in it. Start by melting some butter and add a chopped onion and some chopped celery. You can add some thyme, parsley and laurel (bouquet garni). Then add two spoonfuls of regular flour and stir around for a minute or two so the starch is ‘cooked’ and won’t taste of flour. Add in a small can of tomato concentrate and stir for another minute. Then add in a kilo (about 2 pounds) of flavorful tomatoes (I used the last-of-the-season cherry and plum tomatoes from my parents’ greenhouse) and let heat on the fire. Add in a 500 ml can of chopped tomatoes and about two liters ofcold vegetable stock, I use two cubes per liter (for a roux, one of the two parts always needs to be hot while the other is cold to make it work, if you want to know why better ring up a scientist friend ’cause I have no idea) Let it come to a boil and simmer for a while. Add in pepper, salt and herbs to taste (if the tomatoes are sufficiently tasty this is hardly necessary) and mix the soup with a blender or mixer. If you don’t want tomato skins, put through a conical strainer. Little trick: put your mixer into the strainer, the soup will go through much faster! (You can see in the picture that my soup is kind of thick because I have no conical strainer – yet!)

Heat up some small mozzarella balls (usually bought to skewer with cherry tomatoes but also delicious as garnish!) in a warm oven for a few minutes until slightly melted and then add into the soup. Garnish with a bit of fresh basil. Yum!

Now I’m about to catch up with some episodes of inspector Frost – as soon as I find time (or as soon as the school’s elevators refuse to function again), my very own recipe of blackened salmon with pumpkin and sweet potato fries and Jamie Oliver’s red wine and mushroom risotto will follow!