Pippi’s Meatball Sandwich

pippi-swedish-meatball-sandwich

On scrubbing vacation day (sounds fun), Pippi packs a lovely picnic for Tommy and Annika, including meatball sandwiches. I’m a huge meatball fan in all forms, and like playing around with different ingredients and techniques from different regions. Swedish meatballs are made with milk-soaked bread which keeps them nice and tender, and are mixed thoroughly so that they’re almost silky. They’re mostly made with a mixture of beef and pork, but as we don’t eat pork and had had beef earlier in the week, I decided to try them with ground chicken – and they turned out great!

Also, rather than cooking them in gravy, I made some Swedishy sandwich fixings – quick pickled cucumbers and a bright magenta beet spread.

Pippi’s Meatball Sandwich

Loooooosely based on Alton Brown’s Swedish Meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon (plus a pinch) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a food processor, combine onion, bread, milk, butter, egg yolks, salt and nutmeg. Mix well with the ground chicken, and form into meatballs (about one heaping tablespoon in size). The mixture will be fairly wet, to make it easier you can form balls, then put them in the freezer for a few minutes, then reform as you put them in the pan to fry.

On medium high, heat a couple tablespoons oil with a tablespoon of butter. In batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, turning with spoons, then remove to a plate. When the last batch is browned, put all the meatballs back into the pot and cook, covered, 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

For the cucumbers

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • small palmful chopped dill

Toss cucumber slices, salt, sugar, and dill, let sit at least 15 minutes.

For the beet spread

  • 1 cup pickled beets, diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • good pinch salt

Combine beets, mayonnaise and salt.

Serve meatballs on a toasted sub roll with cucumbers and beet spread. Enjoy!

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Vision Muffins

vision muffins

Vision is totally my favorite character from the film, and for some reason muffins is what immediately came to mind when I was brainstorming food ideas. I have no idea why. And to get that beautiful magenta/deep pink color of Vision’s face, there is no other ingredient better than a beet.

Vision Inspired Beet Muffins

Adapted from a recipe on Journal Sentinel

  • 1/2 Cup Beet Puree (about 1 medium beet)*
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
  • 1 Egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/3 Cup Buttermilk (or 1 tsp. lemon juice + enough milk to make 1/3 cup, let sit for abt. 5 mins)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Tbsp. Orange Juice Concentrate (optional)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • Turbinado Sugar (raw sugar)
  • Dried Pineapple Tidbits

*To make the beet puree, preheat your oven to 375ºF & wash & pat dry the beet. Wrap in foil & place on the middle oven rack. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce it. Unwrap it (careful! It’s hot!) & then let it cool completely. Rub/peel off the skin & cut it into small chunks, & then puree well in a food processor.

In a large bowl, whisk together the puree, butter, egg, sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, & optional orange juice concentrate. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. Next, stir the dry into the wet just until combined. Line a muffin pan with baking cups (preferably yellow) & fill the cups about 2/3 full with batter. Sprinkle the tops lightly with turbinado/raw sugar.

Using your fingers, squish & reshape 12 pineapple tidbits into a sort of rounded diamond/pointed oval & place 1 each at the top edge of the unbaked muffins. Slide the pan into the oven, middle rack, & bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan & let cool on a cooling rack. To continue The Vision’s color scheme, drop the muffins into green baking cups (to me, green on the outside & yellow on the inside looks more appealing than vise-versa).

vision muffin bite
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 14: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

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Scarlet Witch’s Brew

scarlet-witchs-brew-borchst

For our Avengers: Age of Ultron episode I wanted to come up with something for my favorite, character, Scarlet Witch. Borchst seemed perfect – vibrantly red (ok, magenta), with eastern European roots, and lots of witchy herbs.

I’m a big fan of beets, and often roast a bunch on the weekend and use them throughout the week in salads, soups, pilafs, etc. I talked about it on the podcast, but the easiest way to do beets is to wash, trim, drizzle with olive oil then wrap them in foil to roast whole, then peel off the skin once they are soft – it’s way easier than trying to peel/chop/grate them raw, which is a miserable pain that will thoroughly dye your hands and cutting board.

A few of the correspondences of ingredients that might be interesting to Scarlet Witch – I mentioned some on the podcast, but here they are plus a few more:

  • Beets – beauty, love, rebirth
  • Celery, Bay Leaf, Oregano, Carrots – psychic powers
  • Onions – protection
  • Cabbage – luck
  • Garlic, Thyme, Dill – strength, courage
  • Rosemary – memory
  • Butter – reconciliation (hmm, maybe that could help her becoming an Avenger!)

Referenced: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs as well as this list on Kitchen Witch Corner.

Scarlet Witch’s Brew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 bunch (3-4 medium) beets, cleaned, trimmed, roasted, peeled, and chopped
  • 4-5 tomatoes, chopped, or one can
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 8 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
  • your choice of herbs, fresh or dried – definitely recommend bay leaf and a handful of finely chopped dill! I also used a good sprinkle of Herbs de Provence which I usually have on hand, it has a mix of herbs like thyme, basil, marjoram and oregano – this is less “borschty” but more witchy 🙂
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • sour cream, more chopped dill to serve

Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Cook onion until thoroughly golden (but be careful not to burn). Add garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for a minute or two (until garlic looses its raw smell), then add cabbage and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage is very soft. Add beets and tomatoes, the paprika, and another sprinkle of salt, and cook until tomatoes have completely broken down, are reduced and somewhat jammy.

Puree the whole vegetable mixture in a blender with a cup of water or chicken broth (you will likely have to do this in batches). Return to the pot and add the rest of the water or broth, plus the herbs. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 14: Avengers: Age of Ultron

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