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Asian Meatballs and Mendocino

Asian Meatballs

Asian Meatballs

A lot of things can happen in a few short months.

Yes!Chef! and I have been busy…and a little lazy about blogging.  As I have mentioned, Yes!Chef! has a day job that sometimes takes him out of town for several weeks.  And, since I am a photographer, by trade, I have also been busier than usual this year (which is always a good thing.)

One of the best things we got to do together at the end of March was to photograph a wedding in Mendocino County in Northern California.  Most people would say that I live in Northern California (I would also say this), but in reality we live a little north of the center of California.  Mendocino County is near the top of the state…about a 5 hour drive from our house (which is near Lake Tahoe.)

The wild Mendocino Coastline

The wild Mendocino Coastline

Most people, who have never been to California or have not spent much time in Northern California think that California is one big beach with sunbathers and surfers galore.  Southern California can be that way.  Northern California coast is much cooler and much wilder…not so conducive for either surfers or sun bathers.  But it is a delight for the eyes.

Yes!Chef! and I had the privilege of staying at the Light Keepers house on Point Cabrillo.  We stayed there with two other families, whom we knew, who were family members of the couple that was getting married.

Asian Meatballs blog 7

We had a great view of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse from the Light Keepers house (which was built in the early 1900’s for the Light Keeper and his family).

Every morning, Yes!Chef! and I got up early to watch the sun rise and look out at the ocean and the Lighthouse.

Yes!Chef! looks out on the lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean

Yes!Chef! looks out on the lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean

The wedding was fabulous and we enjoyed ourselves very much.

The happy couple (top), The Light Keepers House (bottom left) and the church where the wedding was held (Bottom right)

The happy couple (top), The Light Keepers House (bottom left) and the church where the wedding was held (Bottom right)

We drove home on Sunday after two very full days of wedding photography and great fellowship.  We drove through Anderson Valley, which is famous for Pinot Noir.  We stopped at a couple of places to do a little tasting and we happened upon, Golden Eye Winery.  It was a beautiful spring day and we were able to sit out on the tasting patio which had gorgeous views of the surrounding hills and vineyards.  The tasting fee was $15.00 per person (non-refundable even if you bought a bottle of wine.) But it was well worth it.  We got a little tray with 5 “tastes” served in Riedel glasses.  We decided to share the “tastes” and it was plenty of wine.  We both got good tastes and swooned through every one of them.

Wine Tasting at Golden Eye Winery

Wine Tasting at Golden Eye Winery

The wine was very expensive, but we bought a bottle anyway to celebrate when we finally sell our house (yes, it’s still on the market.)  Good thing the wine ages well.

Anyway, it was quite pleasant and Yes!Chef! and I vow to go back to Mendocino when we can spend more time wandering around together.

What does all this have to do with Asian Meatballs?

Not much.  It was just another adventure that I enjoyed with Yes!Chef!

Some of the scenery in Anderson Valley and a great little salad we each had in the small town of Booneville.

Some of the scenery in Anderson Valley and a great little salad we each had in the small town of Booneville.

I told Yes!Chef! the other day that I would love some meatballs with an Asian flare and flavor palette.  So, of course, he immediately found something that fit the bill and added his own flavorful touch to it.

He initially made the meatballs as per the recipe, but altered the sauce a little to suit our tastes.  I requested that he make them again, because we had leftover sauce (delicious), but using almond flour instead of Panko breadcrumbs.  Yes!Chef! and I are avoiding flour and other grains, for the most part, so substituting almond flour works for us.

Meatballs with Asian Sauce

Meatballs with Asian Sauce

Here’s the recipe:

Asian Meatballs (adapted from Food.com)

Makes about 35 meatballs

Takes about 30 minutes

Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onion

Optional garnish:  toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions

Asian Sauce Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all meatball ingredients with your hands until well-combined.  Form into 1 1/2″ diameter balls.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until meatballs are golden and no longer pink on the inside.
  3. For sauce, mix together all of the sauce ingredients with a whisk.  Set aside.
  4. The sauce can be served as a dipping sauce, or pour over the top of meatballs and top with sesame seeds and scallions.
  5. Or both…which I did.

The sauce is very, very yummy.  I could not get enough of it.  We had some left over so, Yes!Chef! cooked up some tuna and we poured it over that top of that, too.  Yum!

Sesame Encrusted tuna with Asian Sauce

Sesame Encrusted tuna with Asian Sauce

I upgraded my cell phone (an old iPhone 4) for a new iPhone 6 (not the +).  So, I used the camera on the new phone to take all the food photos.  I’m not willing to throw away my Canon 5D Mark III, yet, but I think it did a pretty decent job.  Food photography is all about the light, anyway.

And one final piece of advice that I saw as we were walking along Point Cabrillo (we saw whales, too, but I didn’t get a picture of them.)

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Try not to get angry because it can cause you to fall off the cliff and die.  So stay happy, folks and eat meatballs with Asian sauce.

Merry Christmas Cookies and Cheer!

Cookies for neighbors

Cookies for neighbors

It’s been a busy and hectic couple of months for the Schmautzhaus and Yes!Chef! and I have not had much time to attend to this poor little blog.  I apologize and promise to do better in the new year.

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Turkey Soup: It’s what’s for supper (and probably lunch)

20121216-_MG_3680 webI love soup…especially homemade soup.  I think there is nothing more homey and comforting than soup.  It makes the house smell good.  It warms me up.  It can be easily shared.  It can be frozen for a later date. It’s economical.  And, it gets better the next day. What more could you ask of food?

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Chili Today, Hot Tamale or The Pressure’s On

Pressure Cooker Chili

A couple of months ago we were contacted by a cookware manufacturing company by the name of Magefesa.  They wanted to know if we would try out their cookware and then report on it on this blog.  We were delighted to do so.  They sent us a complete set of cookware, 2 frittata pans and a pressure cooker.  Our first post was here.  We used the frittata pans and the covered pots to make this meal.  We enjoyed using them and continue to use them almost every day. (P.S.  They have some great recipes to try here.  They also have all kinds of informative videos with tips about how to use the pressure cooker, frittata pans, cooking tips, etc.  Check it out!)

We really wanted to try out the Pressure Cooker but Yes!Chef! had never used one before and we wanted to find a recipe that would showcase the cooker.  Yes!Chef! would suggest things like beans (of which I am not a big fan), or other food items that take a long time to cook conventionally, but would work well in the PC (Pressure Cooker).  We searched around the internet, but nothing seemed right.  And worse, all the PC recipes we found seemed more suited to cold weather and it was still pretty warm out.

Enter the Cold Weather

Snow on the deck

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches al Fresco and a Family Celebration

Pulled Pork, Spicy Slaw and Corn on the Cob with Compound butter

I think I’ve mentioned before that my family loves to get together and celebrate.  Frequently, we have nothing special to celebrate, but we just like to get together, laugh and eat good food.  However, on Sunday we had many reasons to celebrate:  it was the first time the whole family had been together since Christmas, my daughter had returned from 5 1/2 months in Africa; we’ve officially welcomed daughter’s boyfriend into the family, my oldest son and his girlfriend had returned from an interesting vacation to the hot midwest, my youngest son had his first accident in the car and neither people nor property (except a few cinder blocks) were hurt; Yes!Chef! was starting a new job and I had just landed a great magazine photo shoot.  Yes, those were all good reasons to celebrate.  But, mostly we just all wanted to get together.

The Fam: Together at last

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