Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring At Anna's Kitchen Table

Keftedhes (Greek Meatballs)


Every Tuesday I take a break from me and focus on someone else for a change. Which is a lot more fun and rewarding than obsessing over myself. Or testing recipes over and over and over and over...

Thus on Tuesdays, I feature an original recipe from another blogger: I make the recipe following the author's directions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I taste the result - and I then share everything I love about the recipe.

Confused? Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor.


Today's Tuesday Tutor: At Anna's Kitchen Table
Selected Recipe: Keftedhes (Greek Meatballs)
Follow on Twitter: @annauk1

My tutor today was Anna from the ever-surprising At Anna's Kitchen Table. Anna's blog is filled with her own family's delicious and best-loved recipes - many of them Cypriot in origin. And for someone who is as culturally stunted as I am, Anna's blog is a treasure-trove of delightful new flavors, textures and techniques. In fact, I first learned about Cypriot cuisine when I began reading At Anna's Kitchen Table.

Anna's genuine love for her family, heritage and food is infused into every post she writes. And as we all know, I believe love is the most important part of cooking (or life, for that matter), so I want to share Anna's love with you all. In fact, please stop At Anna's Kitchen Table and show her some love - she doesn't seek attention, but she deserves it.

About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "My blog started out more about my life, rather than just food, but as I wanted to appeal to a wider audience (and was nervous that I was revealing too much about my life on the Internet) I decided to concentrate on food."
     
  2. "It pleases me immensely that my blog will (hopefully) still be there long after I've gone.  It  especially gladdens my heart that my family's Cypriot recipes are recorded for posterity."
     
  3. "I've always enjoyed photography, but have never owned a DSLR, they scare me! My camera is a simple point and shoot. Plus I've taken some very good photos with my iPhone camera!"
     
  4. "I would like to improve my photos and food styling, but lack imagination!"
     
  5. "I have a Facebook food group called 'Yes, I do take photos of my food, I admit it!'
    If you would like to join, please do."
Author's Photo

These are the best meatballs I've ever had. That's not pandering, that's just a fact. I've had Swedish meatballs, Italian meatballs, those pre-prepared sponge-balls from the freezer section, and even my own homemade meatballs. NONE were as good as Anna's Keftedhes. Need I go on? Make. These. Meatballs.

Just to be clear, Keftedhes are nothing like Italian or Swedish meatballs and nor should they be. These meatballs are packed with the warmth and spice of cinnamon and cloves, the moisture of grated potato, and just a hint of brightness from mint. You don't pile them over spaghetti, you don't douse them in Marinara sauce, and you never mistake them for disguised bits of sponge. Once again, MAKE THESE! 


I used ground pork as Anna suggested.
Next time I plan to try mixing ground pork and ground turkey

You only need a handful of ingredients:
potatoes, egg, onion, parsley, mint, bread and meat

This was the perfect recipe for this week
because my potatoes were started to sprout!

I used my handy chopper to mince my onion

10 seconds later...minced onion!

I decided to mince my onions a little bit more by hand

I initially tried grated my potatoes on the "zester"
side of my microplane box grater, but that didn't work
So I used the "medium" grating edge instead

Don't forget to squeeze the water out of the poatoes

For my breadcrumbs, I used crusty leftover Italian bread

I broke it into a few pieces and blitzed for a 30 sec
in the food processor until I arrived at crumbs

So all the ingredients go into a big bowl

Including the breadcrumbs

Stir it all together - it will seem a little dry at first,
but resist the temptation to add more liquid!

Chop your parsley - I used a healthy handful
of Italian flat leaf variety

Add your mint - I used fresh mint so I had to finely
chop mine before adding

Add seasonings

Including cinnamon and cloves
Don't be shy with either spice - the warmth is amazing

Mix everything together with clean hands.
Don't bother using a spoon - get your hands dirty

Heat the oil in a heavy pot. I used Canola oil in my enameled
cast iron dutch oven. I don't recommend using olive oil as
it has a low smoke point...

While oil heats, make your Keftedhes
I made mine round, but Anna recommends a more
elongated football or torpedo shape 

Once the oil is hot enough, add your meatballs
Don't overcrowd the pot or you will end up with
hot-spots and your meatballs will burn before
they cook through. Work in batches.

You know the oil is hot enough when little bubbles come up
from around each meatball - but the bubbles don't violently explode
when they reach the surface. Watch carefully.

I found that my meatballs were finished when they floated to the
surface of the oil rather than remaining submerged; You may
want to check one of your meatballs for done-ness before
removing all the meatballs from the pot

I transfered mine to paper towels so excess oil
could drain away before plating

These Keftedhes are delicious with just a drizzle of the
easy and fast cucumber-yogurt sauce. 

I also enjoyed these as a sub sandwich.
If I had had pita about, I would have replaced
the baguette with pita


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • So, as my friend D can attest, I have attempted to make meatballs on multiple occasions and I have FAILED miserably every time. I add to much bread or I add too much liquid or I add too many add-ins or they stick to the pan... But these meatballs are foolproof! I successfully made these, they turned out perfect, and my boyfriend nudging me aside before I could finish snapping pictures!
     
  • You really do need to add mint - don't leave it out. Normally mint can be an over-powering herb, but in these Keftedhes, the flavor is subtle yet welcome. I used fresh mint because now I have leftover mint to make mojitos, but Anna's recipe calls for dried
     
  • I'm no buff on Mediterranean cuisine, but I suspected these Greek meatballs might be paired with some kind of dipping sauce. So I turned to Google and sought enlightenment. It seems Keftedhes are often paired with Tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt dip), thus I found an easy but delicious recipe by Cat Cora. I added a little cracked black pepper and fresh chopped mint to my sauce, but otherwise followed Cora's recipe. To summarize, I highly recommend Tzatziki with these meatballs
     
  • Because I am obsessed with bread and will invent reasons to eat it (and because I didn't have any pita), I also found Keftedhes and Tzatziki make for a delicious sub sandwich. I sliced one of my homemade baguettes in half, added meatballs and sauteed red onions, topped with a little grated smoked provolone, and put the whole sandwich under the broiler for a minute. Topped with a little Tzatziki, this sandwich was way better than any sloppy meatball sub drenched in Marinara

Other Must-Try Recipes from At Anna's Kitchen Table
Maybe meatballs aren't your thing. But I guarantee you'll find something uniquely scrumptious and culturally enriching At Anna's Kitchen Table. Check out these mouth-watering eats and tell me you're not inspired!

Stuffed Vine Leaves: A Step-by-Step Guide


14 comments:

  1. I am so pleased you tried these!! They look fantastic :)) it's nice to see you used fresh mint, I'll have to try that next time I make them.

    I am thrilled that you enjoyed them so much!

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    1. Anna, they really were amazing and my boyfriend and I have been enjoying the leftovers over the past couple of dinners! Thank you so much again for sharing...it's been such a pleasure!

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  2. OK...I just checked out her blog, great stuff! I love to go out of my comfort zone, so I'll have to try some of her recipes (especially the galaktoporeko sp?), any way - her most recent dessert!

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    Replies
    1. I agree - that dessert looked amazing! Thanks so much for checking out Anna's blog...

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  3. This is such a lovely recipe - there's something about home made meatballs, I think it's my kids' favourite kitchen activity! Love your step by step photos!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you - I'm so glad you enjoyed! It was great fun having Anna as my tutor...

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  4. Fun to learn a bit more about Anna. And I think my boys would love these yummy meatballs just as you prepared them :)

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    1. Thanks Lizzy - there should be enough to feed at least 6 with Anna's recipe, maybe more depending what else you serve with them...

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  5. home made meatballs sounds terribly tempting...wanna try now..
    I love Anna's space & her excellent presentation always..;)

    Tasty Appetite

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  6. What a great post! I like that you gave us the FLAVORS of the dish! Sadly, I am allergic to cinnamon and while I have no doubt they add to the flavor - I bet they'd be good without it for someone like me! Thanks for sharing the recipe AND the step-by-step photos!

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  7. What a great series! And I am loving this recipe. I'm a big fan of meatballs and Greek food so I will definitely have to give these a try!

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  8. I love homemade meatballs, they are special.
    Very interesting blog with beautiful mouthwatering pictures.

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  9. Fantastic! I love knowing more about blogs that I read. What a great series! Ah, and the meatballs look fab. I love the combination of flavours. Yum.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed and Anna was the perfect Tutor =)

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