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Friday, July 24, 2009

Greek Meatball Appetizers

When I was a little girl, Sunday lunch was at our house or my Aunt's house. It didn't matter where it was, there were always certain things on the table while lunch was being prepared. Greek olives (Kalamata), Feta cheese, stuffed grape leaves (if we were lucky), Greek appetizer meatballs (one of my all time favorites). and chewy crusty bread from the bakery. I still go to the International bakery on Cheshire Bridge Rd. to get delicious Greek cheeses. I don't go there often as I can't resist the baklava or other pastries.

Sitting around the table giggling with my cousins, lifting a lid on the stove, peeking in the oven were all weekly occurrences. Walking into the kitchen the aroma of Greek foods and spices wafting out into the carports, brought a feeling of great anticipation of favorite foods for lunch. I don't think I ever heard anyone say they weren't hungry, because we surely ate, and ate, and ate. Sitting at the table for hours laughing, talking, and nibbling on the foods on the table. My mom, Christina, was a great cook. She did not like lamb at all, but she made it often for the "carnivores" of the family (which was everyone else). Dad was usually the one who cooked the steaks when we had them as we liked them rare (but not cold in the middle). I know mom was probably squirming in her seat when she watched us eat it. She would eat meat, but she ate hers well done. No wonder she wasn't wild about beef. Well done beef loses so much flavor in my opinion. She would make the Greek appetizer meatballs sometimes and they were always a treat. They can be eaten hot, warm, or cold. I like them all ways. I used to dip them in yellow mustard sometimes for a change of flavor.

I had some ground chuck in the refrigerator today and decided that it had been a long time since I've made the meatballs (called keftedes in Greek).


Ground chuck (my pack happened to be about 1.12 pounds, but a pound will work for these ingredients

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 small vidalia onion minced very fine

1 piece of bread made into crumbs

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. lemon pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

Put the meat in a large mixing bowl. Mince the onion very fine and put in a mesh colander to drain the juices. Grate the bread with a rotary grater (it works great for fresh bread crumbs). Add onion, bread crumbs, oregano, egg, lemon pepper, salt, pepper, and juice of one half lemon to the ground chuck. Mince the parsley leaves very fine and add to meat mixture. Blend the meat mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. Form meatballs into walnut size shapes. I happen to like my "meatballer" gadget as it always makes them the same size. I made about 24 meatballs with this mixture. Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil and about 1/8 cup olive oil in a large skillet. Over medium heat, cook the meatballs (about 8 at a time) about 8 minutes until done. I constantly am turning the meatballs in the oil to get them uniformly brown. After the second batch, you may need to add more vegetable oil. Drain on a paper towel lined plate until cool. Alternatively, they can be cooked over a charcoal grill (that is my favorite way to cook them). These are also great with tzaziki sauce too.

A variation on the above recipe........... I'm always changing recipes.

3/4 pound ground chuck
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 dried bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 egg
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed

Gently mix the above ingredients. Form into walnut-size meatballs. Put meatballs on oiled, flat skewers. Grill over charcoal until cooked through. Serve hot or cold.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar